Friday, February 22, 2019

Ian Cochrane: Observing With a Lens and a Pen

Credit: Ian Cochrane
flowers by the ocean

Ian Cochrane is intelligent, witty and creative but this intelligence is paired with a down-to-earth, engaging personality that is easy to connect with. Just take a look at this second photograph.


Don’t let Ian’s avatar intimidate you. Yes, just like the photograph suggests, Ian Cochrane is intelligent, witty and creative but this intelligence is paired with a down-to-earth, engaging personality that is easy to connect with. Just take a look at this second photograph you can’t help but warm up to this fellow.


Ian is not only a writer but also photographer, freelance draughtsman and blogger on people, places and the human condition. He is a multifaceted character who is fascinating, often incomprehensible. Case in point, I was shocked to discover that Ian’s favorite movie isLost in Translation. Honestly, I list this as one of the worst movies I have ever seen because there is hardly any plot, emotion, direction or even any obvious purpose! However, Ian is an Aussie ( looks just like my idea of one too) who is living in South Africa at the moment! That alone speaks volumes about this man and perhaps even more about his partner, soul mate and proofreader, Sue, but this is from a woman’s point of view, of course.

I was first introduced to Ian’s writing through Blog Catalog and Broowaha. I love his stories. After reading the first one I realized how little I knew about the craft of writing. Ian’s stories are masterful, they engage me from the first sentence. I especially like A Viking Funeral – a parting of ways. In a few paragraphs, Ian manages to convey the pain in the death of a 30 year relationship as he helps a divorcing couple fill garbage bins with the remnants of their lives.

“Her eyes lift. She takes a deep breath. “So…I suppose this is the funeral. Is there an afterlife?” I’m caught in Ingrid’s stare until, thank goodness, she again looks towards the front door. “You know, he still says almost nothing. I wonder if we ever really spoke at all.”

“As the truck moves off, there’s a cough from the engine and a pall of black smoke hangs above the exhaust. One of the rear lights is not working. There’s an eerie red shroud over everything now. The smell of smoke hangs heavy as the last bin cruises down the street.”

The descriptions are vivid, the conversation realistic, never to wordy, hinting at so much, alluding to even more.

Although a wonderful short story writer, Ian is best known for his travel writing, he literally wanders the world and writes about it. His first book is`Indian Summers: Mumbai and Beyond’ . I will simply quote what he says about his book because I can’t top it.

“`Indian Summers : Mumbai and Beyond’ is a collection of nostalgic memories commingled with the 1967 `Summer of Love’ – gurus, tie-dye and cheesecloth-clad women with flowers in their hair; youthful bearded men in patched jeans and psychedelic headbands.”

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t It ? This book is available on Ian’s website

This bookreceived rave reviews,

The style is observational and anecdotal, his vignettes illuminated by the assorted zany characters he meets. Anyone who has ventured alone around India, with an open mind and a sense of humour, will find resonance in Cochrane’s adventures.’
– Susan Kurosawa, travel editor, the Australian

‘Ian Cochrane took me on an evocative journey as rewarding as the real thing – more so, since no tourist in India could gain the kind of personal insight intimately portrayed within these covers.’
Robert Hollingworth, author,Smythe’s Theory of Everything and They Called Me the Wildman

The photographs that go with his travel writing are telling, ranging from sweeping panoramic scenes to close-ups of vegetation or chicken coops and other commonplace objects or situations. There is always the inclusion of the historic with the immediate, often mundane details anchoring and connecting the reader to Ian even in exotic locals. His photography is brilliant, sometimes breath-taking.

Ian is working on a second book, Shadowland: a NZ Odyssey, a collection of stories planned to be published in 2014, and Man of Cards: a novel centred on a wandering soul with each foot in disconnected worlds. I have a feeling that I am privileged to be writing about an author who is on the brink of many more books, an author who will soon be known to many more readers. His short, stooped, Scottish grandmother, who inspired young Ian with her story telling in her Scottish brogue would have been proud of him.

Find Ian at:

writtend for BlogCatalog Blog

About the Writer

My husband and I raised 9 children on a hobby farm and discovered fulfilment and joy.The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. My writing is humourous and heart warming/ thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it.
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2 comments on Ian Cochrane: Observing With a Lens and a Pen

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By iancochrane on September 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Hullo Melanie.

What a pleasant surprise on a dark Johannesburg morning! You are kind indeed.

Your compliments are very humbling. (I have however, given your article a high rating.)

Cheers, ic

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By melanie jean juneau on September 24, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I only speak the truth

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