Posts Tagged ‘Europe’
For the past week, I’ve been in Bologna, Italy, for a series of meetings and workshops. It was only on Saturday that I had a free afternoon and used the opportunity to see something of that gorgeous city. The timing was pretty good. There was an exhibit on the work of Hugo Pratt and his famous graphic novel character Corto Maltese; a show featuring over 200 less well known works of Salvador Dalí; and an exhibit of Mexican 20th century art featuring works of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera among others.
The photo above is the scene in front of the Palazzo Albergati. It’s a queue of people waiting to get into the gallery to see the Mexican art exhibit. It would take hours to get in, hours I didn’t have, so I decided to skip it and see as much as I could. I did manage to get into Palazzo Belloni after only about half an hour wait in line with elderly couples, students, families, and even a bunch of sketchy looking skeets all eager to see the Dalí exhibit.
Next time when the government cuts arts funding or removes culture from the name of the department that is supposed to help us create more of it -and it surely will- as we raise hell, we should also ask ourselves why is nobody lining up in front of our galleries. In what ways have we failed and allowed art to become irrelevant to so many outside of the art circle? We need more than just money, we desperately need a public that cares. How we get there is mostly up to us, but it may require a braver, less self-referential and more engaging art.
On a lighter note, you should also know that the Italians line up for ice cream confirming my lifelong belief that good ice cream is indistinguishable from good art.
The doctor’s in the house! It’s been a long and rather treacherous road to the very end – to the very last minute – but my fabulously smart M has successfully defended her PhD. No idea what’s in store for her after this, but I bet it’s going to be interesting.
At first, reading the stories about newly elected (installed? appointed?) Croatian government run by a group of right wing political parties calling themselves the Patriotic Coalition was like watching a Monty Python skit. From a safe distance of some 5,000 km, it was almost funny. It isn’t any more. It is rapidly becoming a horror show.
More that a hundred years ago, speaking in San Francisco, Emma Goldman described what we call patriotism in terms that ring very much true today:
“Patriotism […] is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit. Indeed, conceit, arrogance and egotism are essentials of patriotism.”
The photograph was made in St. John’s, NL.
Miss F. turned thirteen today. So ridiculously proud of the young woman she is becoming.
The photograph above was made on my way to work one day. I have no idea why these old suitcases were left outside by the fence – probably just for garbage pick up.
Time for some geography links. I haven’t done that in a while.
Let’s start with the worst news in a while as far as magazine industry, and to an extend geography goes. In Canada, geography is very poorly taught in primary, elementary, and secondary school system. To make things worse, even our national popular magazine about geography, Canadian Geographic, is so abysmal we actually did not renew our subscription. So the fact that National Geographic has been purchased by Fox is really tragic. National Geographic is not a perfect magazine, but it is the best magazine on the market that promotes geographic knowledge and encourages interest in the world we live in. It has a strong American bias and a share of other issues, but we had subscription for years. I read every issue and the girls are starting to read stories that are of interest to them. I would like to think that editorial independence and high standards, especially when it comes to visuals will remain as they are or get better, but Fox’s track record is not good. Not cancelling my subscription yet, but watching closely.
After you contemplate the terrifying concentration of the global media ownership, head over to the Economist and take a look at a story that claims that the EU will soon have more internal physical barriers to movement of people than it did during the Cold War.
The rest of the links should be a little bit less pessimistic.
Lucas Foglia has been photographing American West and is concerned about what rural America will look like: “What is going to allow people to continue to live in the rural American West and how are we going to preserve or use the wild land we have left?”
Cornell University Library and its Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections has made public an amazing collection of persuasive cartography. Watch out, it’s highly addictive and you may find yourself wasting ridiculous amount of time – although, in my books, that would not be time wasted.
Two somewhat connected and fascinating stories. The first one looks at just how powerful oral traditions are as repositories of community knowledge. University of Sunshine Coast geographer Patrick Dunn’s research demonstrated that some Australian Aboriginal stories preserve environmental and ecological memories and knowledge stretching as far back as 7,000 years. The second story comes from the world of art and focuses on incredible work by an Australian Aboriginal painter Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri. The fascinating thing is that his intricate paintings are not just visually impressive, but also serve as a repository of community stories. The code is incomprehensible to us, but those who understand it have an access to a lot more than a visually arresting work.
Poor Little Miss F had a rough night with a stomach bug. The worst and the messiest of it was over by 3:30 am and she fell asleep on the couch in the living room. By the time noon came about she was almost herself. M asked her if she wanted to go to school after lunch. Thinking about it for a moment, Little Miss F calmly explained that if she goes, she feels like she’ll be tired and if she is asked a question she won’t remember what it was and she’ll just say something random so it’s not a good idea. She stayed home for the day.
Aware just how pointless it is to be irrationally angry at the fact that on one night we could use a good night of sleep, Little Miss F, poor thing, had to come down with a stomach bug, I spent the early hours of the morning watching Interstellar on Netflix. Not a great movie, but it beats laying in bed seething.
After finishing it, I was wondering about the science of the whole thing – in fact, it was a particularly silly scene where the little spacecraft hits an ice cloud and the shards of ice FALL DOWN while the cloud itself defies gravity that lead me down some interesting internet rabbit holes (there was no explanation for that particular silliness, though). Here is an interview with Kip Thorne, scientific advisor on the film (he spends a bit too much time selling his book, but whatever).
The photo is from Vis Island.
Photo links galore:
Apparently, Bruce Gilden has a new book out and it makes Sean O’Hagan uncomfortable. Bruce Gilden makes everybody uncomfortable, but I doubt he cares.
Robert Frank’s series From the Bus is interesting and totally new to me.
Tatiana Plotnikova’s photographs of Russian pagans are beautiful. Really nice work and a fascinating story.
I am not sure what is more odd, the story of photogrpaher Mustafa Abdulaziz and his photographic work or the photographs he made along the Yangtze River in China.
The photograph above was made in Komiža on Vis Island in Croatia.
I once wrote that photographers tend to be collectors. I have that corner store collection and recently a friend pointed out that I should start a public phone photos collection as well. To be honest, I didn’t even realize I had one until I started going through some of my photographs. Apparently I do have one. Weird.
This is a public phone in Dublin, Ireland.
Some Dublin drunks demanding a few euros for making a spectacle of themselves.
The Photographic Journal has a really interesting interview with Alec Soth. The part about narratives and photo book in particular is interesting, but the whole thing is really worth your read.
A review of Eamonn Doyle’s book of Dublin street photographs in the Guardian (I love the fact that they have a section on art and design with a subsection dedicated to photography). Click on the links throughout the text to see the photos.
Head over to burn. and take a look at the work of Argentinian photographer Pablo Piovano documenting the human cost of agrotoxins.
Frederick Lerneryd has a set of photographs on LensCulture looking at a shelter for some 400 people in the heart of Johannesburg.
Stay on LensCulture and take a look at a set of rural portraits by Italian photographer Giancarlo Rado.
[LENS] has a feature story on Belgian photographer Harry Gruyaert whose work Rivages I always liked for its atmosphere, the insignificance and loneliness of human figures, and its exquisite colour palette.
The photo above was made on the streets of Dublin, right next to Trinity College. Funny place, Dublin.
When I see work of people such as Bulgarian Penko Gelev, I wish I had a fraction of their talent. If I did, I think I would do nothing but draw. Here is a lovely and occasionally humorous set of illustrations called “Village.”
The final versions of Nathan Walsh’s urban landscapes are a bit over the top for my taste, but you got to admire the technique and the skill.
Calvin Seibert’s amazing sandcastles are not exactly your typical royal abodes.
Stefan Kuhnigk’s coffee stain monsters are adorable.
There are only 12 Master Penmen (what about women?) in the world. Meet the youngest of them: Jake Weidmann.
Three things you should take a look at on [LENS] (incidentally, see how good and smart a photo section in a newspaper on-line can be when you dedicate resources to it!):
Photography in Cuba: It’s Not Easy. An interesting take on the International Centre of Photography retrospective of Cuban photography by both Cuban and non-Cuban photographers.
Visualizing the Common Core Curriculum. How do you photograph a government policy? Here is one photographer’s take on a new education policy in the USA.
In China, the Photobook as Art and History. I would love to get my hands on this one.
After [LENS], head over to The New Yorker’s Photo Booth and take a look Zoe Leonard’s photos of old neighbourhood shops. As somebody who photographs corner stores, I suspect I find this more interesting than most.
In the photograph is a scene from Vis Island, Croatia.
In the light of yesterday’s referendum in Croatia that made one form of discrimination (agains gay marriage, in this case) a part of the country’s constitution the words of Karima Bennoune yesterday in an interview with Michael Enright ring sadly true:
“Fundamentalisms are the political movements of the extreme right that in the context of globalization manipulate religion to achieve their political aims. They are basically power projects that use religious discourse to justify an extremist agenda.”
Karima Bennoune in an interview with Michael Enright
(You can hear the whole thing on CBC’s Sunday Edition website.)
On the photograph is the Old Bridge in my home town of Sisak.
“You have to be careful with the island. There is a trap here. If you prevent a young person from leaving, the island turns into a curse. They must go and get to know the world and it has to be their own decision to return and to love the island. If you tell them: “Don’t go there. That’s not for you,” then there is going to be resentment. It’s our job to push them out into the world. We have to give them the love for the island, we have to teach them about life here, but it has to be their decision. If you don’t do that, than they have no reason to come back. It’s only love that works… That is what happened to me. I had a grandma who passed that love on to me and I left to see the world, but I also felt that I can affirm myself the best here, that here, I am myself and that here I can make the greatest contribution. But if I didn’t learn that love, if I did not have that contact with the island, I would have left and would be contented somewhere else and I would not feel that I belong to this island. It’s all about where you belong.”
That is a quote from one of my interviews on Vis island, Croatia.
Also in the news today is the inclusion of a particular style of a cappella singing on Croatian coast into the list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. The song bellow is performed by Klapa Otok (Island) and it’s called “Islanders’ Ballad.”
My not so great translation is below:
We live off sea, by nets and lines,
We count the blisters from oars, picks.
Red are our eyes from sleepless nights and tears,
Our callused hands are hard as rocks.
And we are lashed by storms and rains,
And every day we are bent over a bit more,
And yet, more than anything and more than all other beauties
Our entire lives we love sea
Our blue sea, you know all our desires
You are strength, fortune – our life
We count the sails and white ships,
The days are passing with nor’easters and sou’westers.
Miserly land gives all it can,
Life on an island is a joy and sorrow.
Between work, family, finishing off my MA thesis and other assorted academic obligations I barely have time to breathe. The tearsheets are from the latest Newfoundland Quarterly magazine. This is a tiny, little bit of my thesis in a magazine opinion piece form. You can read the whole thing here.
Some time ago I posted a bunch of links on various photo collections here and here. It’s time to add another collection to it. Phil Kneen’s The Old Leather Chair Project is not just a collection but also an exemplary instance of true dedication to his craft. Phil lags his leather chair all over the Isle of Man in the back of his van.
The photograph is of a gas stop (I really can’t call it a station) along a street in Floriana, Malta.
Lerwick, Shetland Mainland.
I am cleaning my blog folder which is bursting with photographs mostly because I’ve been neglecting blogging for some time. I am, obviously, back in the swing of things!
Hmmm… this project I have in mind may not actually be a 6×7 project or just a holga project but an infrared film holga project…
That idea is thoroughly inspired by remarkable work of Wolfgang Moersch.
The photograph is from Split, Croatia.