From Steve Simonsen’s striking cover image of a scuba diver peering from behind a vibrant coral reef, the newest issue of St. John Magazine is again a show stopper.
This is the fifth edition of the oversized, glossy, luxury magazine published by MaLinda Nelson of MaLinda Media, who also publishes St. John Tradewinds newspaper.
While the magazine is chock full of stunning photographs showcasing the island’s beautiful scenery and amazing underwater life — which have become the hallmark of the annual publication — it is the contributions from professional writers inside the thick-stock covers which makes St. John Magazine so special.
“The current issue of the St. John Magazine carries on the best examination of St. John culture and history that is so important to our distinction and survival,” said Love City history buff Chuck Pishko. “We have to continue to build our knowledge base of our most recent history.”
Mr. Herman Prince’s basket weaving skills are displayed in this issue of St. John Magazine.
Local history jumps off the page in articles like “Traveling Backtime with Kendel Anthony,” by Carol Beckowitz, in which the life-long East End resident talks about a time in the not too distant past, when things were much different on St. John.
The past comes alive in late Ruth “Sis” Frank’s last piece for St. John Magazine, “The Duke of Gallows Point” in which she remembers the inimitable Richard “Duke” Ellington who bought and built Gallows Point in the early 1950s. Frank’s story is not a second- or third-hand account of Ellington’s time, but culled straight from the memories of her astounding experiences on St. John.
History and breathtaking photography combine in the issue’s featured house story, “Back to Basics: At the End of the Road is Newfound Cottage, East End.” Written by Amy Roberts, the piece relates the unique history of Newfound Cottage while Tristan Ewald’s photographs showcase the quaint beach house’s present serenity.
The definitive history of island basket making is told in “St. John Baskets” by Nancy Edwards, who moved to St. John in 1958 and took classes from the renowned basket weaver Herman Prince.
James Penn shares first-hand accounts of St. John in the 1960s in “Childhood Memories and Lessons to Learn,” which is highlighted with Penn’s personal photographs.
Going back a little further than Penn’s memory stretches is Andrea Milam’s “Digging Up Discoveries at Cinnamon Bay,” about the Classic Taino people, island residents around 1000 A.D.
“The recollections of senior citizens of their parents and grandparents is necessary for our full understanding,” said Pishko. “Sometimes we need to balance this with what’s happened in the distant past that is covered in the archeology article. There always has been a disconnect between our pre-Colombian and colonial history and our history after Emancipation.”
“While it’s interesting to scholars to know who begat who and their plantation inventories, it’s most important for all to know our recent history because it is the basis of where we are today,” said Pishko.
In addition to the historical accounts, the new issue also showcases the proud local sailing community in “Spirited Regatta,” enticing meals at Morgan’s Mango in “Passion for Food,” and the last word in beach ware in “Ranifly A Teeny Bikini Company.” The features are rounded out with profiles of artist Lisa Etre and hot-sauce mogul “Trinidad Charlie” Deyalsingh.
St. John Magazine celebrates the rich and distinct St. John history while also wowing readers with simply beautiful photography. As professional writers ensure the content is accurate and engaging, renowned photographers make sure the island impresses the eyes as well.
Simonsen views his work for St. John Magazine as some of his greatest accomplishments, he explained.
“First of all when I began working with CT&L [Caribbean Travel and Life] back in 1995 I felt strongly confident that I had struck up such a symbiotic relationship with a magazine in need of exactly the type of photography that I specialized in,” said the photographer. “That partnership continues to this day.”
“When MaLinda came to me years ago when the St. John Magazine was just an idea, I was thrilled that she came to me and that feeling about a similar relationship with another magazine was heightened due to the specific subject matter that I had based my livelihood on over the last two decades — which is specifically St. John from the air, land and sea,” Simonsen said. “To be awarded the first cover of the first publication of the St. John Magazine was one of my most meaningful accomplishments and credits.”
The latest installment of St. John Magazine continues Nelson’s collaboration with Simonsen, whose images have graced each issue of St. John Magazine.
“To continue five issues later and still be the only photographer that has contributed a cover image for each issue and a pictorial feature, it inspires a unique motivation annually to come up with the next enticing imagery for such a classy publication such as MaLinda and her staff have put together,” said Simonsen.
With the newest issue of St. John Magazine, Nelson has managed to achieve the very high bar she set when publishing the first issue back in 2007. How the publisher keeps impressing readers is what makes the magazine stand out, according to Papaya Cafe owner John Dickson.
“People are just thrilled with the magazine,” said Dickson. “I told MaLinda after I picked up the first box, ‘I don’t know how you can keep making it better every time.’ The reaction from people who buy the magazine is just incredible.”
While being greeted with alabaster shorelines is a thrill, arriving Caneel Bay Resort guests are also treated to their own copies of St. John Magazine, which is a part of the resort’s welcome amenity.
“As I have come to expect, this latest issue of St. John Magazine is a true gem,” said Patrick Kidd, Caneel’s director of sales and marketing. “I am delighted that we are offering it as a welcome amenity to all our Caneel Bay guests, as it not only shows the beauty of our island, but also perhaps even more importantly, it provides substantive features which will undoubtedly appeal to our discerning readers.”
While the guests devour the magazine, Kidd himself had a few favorite pieces in the new issue as well.
“I personally like to learn of the history of St. John and for that reason I enjoyed the article about the original Gallows Point and I also love to see how creative St. Johnians are, so for that reason I enjoyed reading about basket-making,” said Kidd.
St. John Magazine is available at retail outlets across the island from Deli Grotto in Mongoose Junction to Keep Me Posted in Coral Bay. Subscriptions, $15 per issue for stateside and $30 for international, are available by sending check or money order to 5000 Estate Enighed, PMB 55, St. John, VI. 00830.