The unknown beckons.

Read narratives from journalists driven by the search for something deeper.

Explore.
Winter 2022

Layered Exposures

A Note From the Editors

What does home mean to the displaced? How can the lens of history bring our present into focus? Every encounter and experience we face holds the power to shift our vision, reorienting us to bask in the radiance of insight. In the winter 2022 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you layered exposures — stories...

Read More
Photo: Les Films du Tambour/Album/Alamy.
Photo: Les Films du Tambour/Album/Alamy.
Winter 2022

Layered Exposures

A Note from the Editors

What does home mean to the displaced? How can the lens of history bring our present into focus? Every encounter and experience we face holds the power to shift our vision, reorienting us to bask in the radiance of insight.

In the winter 2022 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you layered exposures — stories that cast new light on familiar narratives.

Our journey begins in Musella, Georgia, where documentarian Eric Dusenbery happens upon the backdrop for a series of Depression-era portraits by iconic photographer Dorothea Lange. Equipped with a large format camera — and aided by uncommon reserves of patience — he sets off on a Time Travel project to capture modern agrarian life “Through the Lens of Our Forebears.”

Worlds away, but also guided by the unparalleled power of images, writer and filmmaker Paul Fischer sends a beam of light into the darkness of Gaza City. His Chasing Demons feature, “Gazawood Dreams,” follows a pair of prolific twins, known as Tarzan and Arab, who are obsessed with the transportive promise of the movies — a fixation that ultimately proves prescient.

Determination in the face of occupation and violence also lays the foundation for Joshua Zukas’s intimate Portrait of Hue, Vietnam, a city often defined by the legacy of its imperial days — and the devastation it endured during the Tet Offensive of 1968. Peeling back several tumultuous decades of postcolonial Vietnam, “A House of Many Hues” zeroes in on one family, split into factions — and its matriarch’s conviction to hold on to her home amid seemingly insurmountable odds.

Stolen heritage, recovered artifacts, and sacred rituals from antiquity — an improbable amalgam of forces meld together in “The Crucible of Patrimony.” Meenakshi J’s Quest to understand the multifaceted secrets embedded in Chola bronze idols, still cast by hand in her native Tamil Nadu, extends from village foundries and temples in southern India to prestigious galleries in Manhattan to networks of thieves and vigilantes around the globe.

Finally, sometimes we all need a jolt of uncertainty to get our bearings — and to light up our worlds with wonder. On a darkened beach in California, the phenomenon known as a red tide triggers waves of perception, dopamine, and, ultimately, “Flickering Imprints” of cognition. Guided by lab work on learning, writer and scientist Dr. Rachel Blaser takes us from microscopic algae to neural networks on a luminous circuit through the Human & Nature interplay.

As always, we extend our deepest gratitude to our readers, who share our vision of powerful storytelling, and to our contributors, who bring us stories from the frontiers of exploration.

Until the next voyage,

Katie Knorovsky, Managing Editor

Sabine K. Bergmann and Sivani Babu, Hidden Compass Co-Founders

Autumn 2021

Riddles of Devotion

A Note From the Editors

Every journey begins with a puzzle. Some quandaries captivate the mind, coaxing us into labyrinths of introspection. Other inquiries launch far-reaching missions. What compels us forward can prove as perplexing as the terrain we encounter. In the autumn 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you riddles of devotion — stories that delve into...

Read More
Painting by Scott Denholm.
Painting by Scott Denholm.
Painting by Scott Denholm.
Painting by Scott Denholm.
Autumn 2021

Riddles of Devotion

A Note from the Editors

Every journey begins with a puzzle. Some quandaries captivate the mind, coaxing us into labyrinths of introspection. Other inquiries launch far-reaching missions. What compels us forward can prove as perplexing as the terrain we encounter.

In the autumn 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you riddles of devotion — stories that delve into curiosity and seek to decipher meaning.

The River Has No Hair — koan, or cautionary tale? That’s the enigma at the heart of J.R. Patterson’s Time Travel exploits along Brazil’s snaking São Francisco River. In pursuit of 19th-century explorer Richard Francis Burton’s legacy, Patterson probes the waterway’s past and present while navigating perceptions and reality, obstructions and guidance.

Thousands of miles to the north, Lauren Napier faces fenced-off histories in her Quest to access the truth of Camp Naco and the Buffalo Soldiers stationed there during the Mexican Revolution. From this crumbling adobe outpost, she traces sometimes overlapping Lines of Duty along the desert roads of Arizona and the fertile byways of Virginia, encountering variations on enslavement and the promise of presence.

Also searching for understanding, semi-professional dancer Megan Taylor Morrison follows her passion for Lindy Hop and jazz dance to the West African country of Guinea, where lessons in doundounba, the dance of the strong man, await. Her Portrait of Africa’s first national dance company, Les Ballets Africains, moves to the beat of the djembe drum and balafon, revealing a call and response pulsing with cultural resilience and adaptation. From the stage to the streets, she depicts a tireless tradition of Roots in Motion.

Balancing risk and impulse, Cherene Sherrard carries The Weight of Paradise into the surf. Her Chasing Demons feature rides a wave of racially informed limitations and historic precedent, buoyed by the spirit of Mami Wata and the literary voices of Jesmyn Ward and Toni Morrison. The peril and possibility of boundless freedom saturates the accompanying paintings by Scott Denholm.

In his Human & Nature photo feature, Olivier Guiberteau documents his shifting perception of shinrin-yoku, the Japanese practice of forest-bathing. After more than a year of edification — both inadvertent and intentional, anecdotal and academic — he arrives at A Clearing in the Forest.

As always, we extend our deepest gratitude to our readers, who share our vision of powerful storytelling, and to our contributors, who bring us stories from the frontiers of exploration.

Until the next voyage,

Katie Knorovsky, Managing Editor

Sabine K. Bergmann and Sivani Babu, Hidden Compass Co-Founders

Summer 2021

Out of the Ashes

A Note From the Editors

Good and bad, life and death — now especially, polar extremes threaten to set our world ablaze. But even when surrounded by charred ruins, discovery beckons. Because where others might find an elegy, we see the potential to nourish the ground beneath our feet. In the summer 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring...

Read More
A bicycle and palm tree burn in Napa, California, during the LNU Lightning Complex fire, part of a "lightning siege" that struck California in August 2020 and ignited hundreds of wildfires. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP.
A bicycle and palm tree burn in Napa, California, during the LNU Lightning Complex fire, part of a "lightning siege" that struck California in August 2020 and ignited hundreds of wildfires. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP.
Summer 2021

Out of the Ashes

A Note from the Editors

Good and bad, life and death — now especially, polar extremes threaten to set our world ablaze. But even when surrounded by charred ruins, discovery beckons. Because where others might find an elegy, we see the potential to nourish the ground beneath our feet.

In the summer 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you stories of hope emerging out of the ashes.

Engulfed in uncertainty about her family’s safety in California’s ongoing wildfire crisis, Michele Bigley pursues a Quest tracking the trajectory of the cultural burn, and the promise and peril of fire. Encountering wisdom from Western and Indigenous ecologists, she unearths the regenerative power of tending the land with the thing she fears most — and finds A Spark of Hope for the future.

As a conflict journalist in the Middle East, Edmée van Rijn often sifts through the burnt remains of tragedy in search of glimmers of humanity. In her Human & Nature photo feature, she documents how dogsledding set her on a path out of devastation and Into the Whirlwind — where she is pulled energetically to unexpected peace.

Where there was once scorched earth, Jennifer Billock encounters abundant life in Cinquera forest, El Salvador. Her Time Travel feature journeys into a realm of guerrilla tactics and grassroots advances, where protection is as tenuous as it is hard-fought. Amid scars and setbacks, Wartime in the Woods clears a path for resilience.

Sugato Mukherjee takes us to a sacred grove illuminated by burning embers and oil lamps, on the southwest coast of his native India. His intimate Portrait of Theyyam channels a vibrant folk tradition more than a millennium in the making. From the depths of caste oppression rises The God in the Mirror — and a metamorphosis that makes a lasting impression.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Dakota badlands set a profound backdrop for Robert Annis’s Chasing Demons feature. As he grieves the conflicted legacies of dual larger-than-life forces on his identity — his father and Theodore Roosevelt — he comes to terms with the Eroded Myths of his upbringing as well as the evolving story of the United States.

As always, we extend our deepest gratitude to our readers, who share our vision of powerful storytelling, and to our contributors, who bring us stories from the frontiers of exploration.

Until the next voyage,

Katie Knorovsky, Managing Editor

Sabine K. Bergmann and Sivani Babu, Hidden Compass Co-Founders

Sorry, there are no issues available