Tuesday, March 31, 2009

They hit the town

One of the most fascinating shots I have encountered on Flickr in recent weeks. The silhouettes themselves are great, the reflections make it even better and those fabulous colours make it into a masterpiece - courtecy of fellow flickrite TJ Scott.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wild boys

And a logical follow-up of that post.... One of the best tracks of the eighties' chart huggers, a world-wide top five hit in 1984. Wild Boys is based on a book by William S. Burroughs about renegade homosexual boys. Director Russel Mulcahy wanted to make a film based on the book, and Duran Duran was going to do the music (or at least the title song). The movie fell through, so Russel decided to direct the video for the song they had made - and produced one of the most notorious and artistic videos of the decade! The song is heavier than most from this band, and has been highlighted as one of the main inspirations of the heavy metal movement that originated shortly thereafter. The video is the extra long version. Enjoy!
Art Rock score: 9/10 (very strong song, one of 650 best songs of all time)

YouTube

Rio

And as a follow-up of the previous post, here is Patrick Nagel's art in its probably best known form: the cover of the 1982 Duran Duran abum Rio. Quintessential eighties' music and art.

All Music

Mad about Nagel

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is an original shot created by their member SkunkDuster for the Modern modren 2 contest. This theme asks for contemporary celebrities set in modern art - in this case actress Helen Hunt in the style of Patrick Nagel, known for his Playboy illustrations and Duran Duran album cover designs in a modern Art Deco style. An exquisite result.

All rights retained by the creator.

Worth1000

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Theatre Agora Lelystad

We stay in this part of the Netherlands for the next entry - moving to Lelystad, about 20 minutes by car from Almere. This new theater building was constructed in 2005 after a design by the UN Studio under Ben van Berkel. The building does not feature yet in wikipedia, but more information can be found on the site linked to below.

The wave

One of my own favourite architecture shots. This intriguing building, The Wave, is in the Dutch city of Almere, 15 minutes walking from our home. I caught it one early morning with really great light.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/1250)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 10.6 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Through the sorrow ...

Self portraits constitute an intriguing photographic theme, and this is one of the best I have ever seen. My Flickr friend The0d0ra has not featured yet in my blog, because she had taken an extended time-out from Flickr. Glad to see her back, and certainly with stunning shots like this one.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Friday, March 27, 2009

Aurillac

Another great vintage poster, this one dating back to some time in the thirties I guess. An attempt to get tourists on the Paris-Orleans railway connection and then visit this idyllic town in the Auvergne.

Vintage Posters

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chain reaction

More fractal art by nomm de photo - to me this suggest science fiction movies or indeed at the other end of the scale molecular reactions.

All rights retained by the creator.

Flickr

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Three white tulips

Today nine years ago we got married - and our marriage is still going strong. To celebrate, I post this painting especially for my laopo - white tulips, just like in her bridal bouquet. This 1912 painting is an early work by American photographer and painter Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), whose style later helped defined the precisionism genre. More on Sheeler in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So far away from L.A.

The French singer Nicolas Peyrac, born in Brittany as Jean-Jacques Tazartez, is one of the greatest singers of all time from his country. His strength lay in subtle ballads, which he could deliver in an honest style reminiscent at times of Jim Croce. By far his best song is So far away from L.A., which in spite of the title is mainly sung in French - only the short refrain is in English. He reminisces about a girl he met in the USA and fell in love with, interspersed with images of California.
Art Rock score: 9/10 (very strong song, one of 650 best songs of all time)

YouTube

First place

Small things like this still delight me. My shot Winter wonderland 2 got the first place in the very first themed composition competition of the Flickr site Learn composition by example (the theme being winter).

Leran composition by example

Monday, March 23, 2009

Scary monsters

David Bowie has always been an artistic artist, and his covers more often than not reflect this attitude as well. One of the best is the cover of the 1980 album Scary monsters (also one of his best albums by the way), designed by Brian Duffy.

All Music

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Steven Meisel

American photographer Steven Meisel (born 1954) obtained popular acclaim with his work for Vogue and his photographs of Madonna in the 1992 book Sex. He is now widely considered one of the most successful fashion photographers in the industry. An example is the above retro style shot of pop music queen and fashion idol Gwen Stefani. More on him in the wikipedia article linked to below.

My gear

Since my photographs (either as such or as imagined album covers) feature frequently in my blog, I thought it might be interesting to say a bit more about my gear.

Until early 2008, most of my shots have been with our simple but great Konica Minolta Digital Revio KD-400Z, a 4 MPx camera we bought in 2003. For years, this has mainly been my wife's camera, and I just took holiday snapshots. When she upgraded to a Canon Powershot Pro1 8 MPx early 2007, I took over the Konica, and quickly I got interested in photography outside holidays. Flickr soon followed.

Early 2008, my wife upgraded to a Canon 400D 10 MPx mirror reflex camera, and I took over her Canon Powershot Pro1. Although I still used the smaller Konica once in a while, the Canon Powershot Pro1 became my main camera, and has been reluctant to yield that position.

The Samsung NV10 is a 10 MPx camera we bought in the summer of 2007 because we wanted to have a handy point and shoot camera that had a higher pixel content, mainly for my wife. Once in a while I took that along as well.

When my wife moved to Shanghai (temporarily) end 2008, I took over her Canon 400D 10 MPx mirror reflex camera, which came with an additional lens that we bought, the Sigma DC 18-200mm. Unfortunately, this coincided with a reduced inspiration, so I have not explored the possibilities of this camera as much as I would have liked.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The soul of pleasure

When communism ruled in Czechoslovakia, rock groups were forced to please the party with their albums - or face obstruction - or worse. One of the more artistically successful bands of that time was Skupina pro Dustojny Zivot, a quintet from Presov, who have now reformed under the translated English name Party for Dignified Life, aiming at an international career. They have re-recorded their greatest Czech hits of the eighties in English versions, and although some couleur locale is lost this way, the results are still very interesting. Their sound is perhaps best characterized as new wave with plenty of synthesizers, rocking guitars and a drum machine that sounds terribly dated, but in a cute way. The songs deal with typical themes of the life in communist times, and one cannot help but feel that there is more than a bit of tongue-in-cheek in these reissued versions. An interesting addition to any collection, if not essential.

The idea of this little game is to create an album cover for an imaginary artist/group, as well as an imaginary review, following these instructions:

[1] The artist/group: go to the wiki random page generator. The first random Wikipedia article obtained this way is the name of the band or performer. In this case, I ended up with Party for Dignified Life.
[2] The title: go to the random quotations site. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of the album. The random quote that came up was by Aphra Behn: Variety is the soul of pleasure.
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, Communism in Presov, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were Monotype Corsiva 85 Gold Metallic and Rebecca 60 Silver, respectively.

Note: this is a variation on the "Debut album game" that has been making its rounds around bulletin boards and blogs for some time now - the original version called for a random Flickr Explore photograph to be used as the cover. I have been trying to find out who had the original idea, but so far no success.

Grofe, American tone painter

Perhaps the quintessential American composer of light classical music: Ferde Grofe (1892-1972). When he was not busy playing jazz, arranging Gershwin's Rhapsody in blue for orchestra, or composing movie scores, he found inspiration in typical American landscapes and themes for a series of concert suites that are well worth exploring. By far the most famous is the 1931 Grand Canyon suite, which has been recorded by most major labels - and Naxos is doing a fine job here as well. Less famous, but interesting as well, are the Huckleberry Finn inspired 1925 Mississippi suite and the 1961 Niagara Falls suite. The nickname he gave to the Mississippi suite (Tone journey) fits all three compositions like a glove. Excellent performances by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under William Stromberg. A highly enjoyable disc of an underrated composer.

Amazon

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Dancer Anita Berber

Otto Dix (1891-1969) was one of many German expressionists who fought at the front in the Great War, but in spite of a series of serious injuries he managed to survive. Later his style developed further and he became one of the leading exponents of the Neue Sachlichkeit (new business-like approach) movement. This elegant 1925 portrait of Anita Berber is my favourite in his repertoire. More on Dix in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vampiric rain

The third time that my Flickr friend Il malmostoso features in the blog, and it will not be the last. In all its apparent yet deceiving simplicity, this is such a strong and emotional shot.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Longing for the other side

One bird deserves another. This shot of mine dates back to January 2008. On a short bicycle trip we encountered a flock of geese, and fortunately I had a camera at hand. The trick here is to shoot from a really low angle. Birds, and inparticular water fowl, occur frequently in my photo stream, but this is one of my own favourites.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 15.4 mm
ISO speed: 50
Post-processing: Picasa 2.0

Flickr

Bird of fire

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is an original shot created by their member rasiresi for the Fire! 5 contest. An image worthy to be used at a poster for Stravinsky's ballet.

All rights retained by the creator.

Worth1000

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Banpo Bridge Seoul

What do you do to beef up a rather dull bridge? Well, just create massive waterfalls on both sides. That's what the city of Seoul in South Korea did with the Banpo bridge in 2008. They installed a 10,000-nozzle fountain that runs all the way on both sides, pumping out 190 tons of water per minute using the water from the river below. I can't find information on wikipedia, but below is a link to a web site that also includes a video.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It was 99 years ago today

Another great vintage poster, this one dating back to 1910. Amazing to realize that at that time flight was already sufficiently advanced to organize meetings of pilots.

Vintage Posters

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Torre Mare Nostrum Barcelona

One of the most spectacular designs I have come across recently. This is the Gas Natural headquarters building, designed by architects Enric Miralles (1955-2000) and Benedetta Tagliabue, and completed in 2005. Its full name is Torre Mare Nostrum - torre is Spanish for tower and Mare Nostrum is the latin name for the mediterranean sea. Its height (86 m) is not that impressive but the design surely is. The building does not feature yet in wikipedia, but more information can be found on the site linked to below.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Seeing red

The second of two of the best portrait photographs I have seen on Flickr. This one is by my Flickr friend macaz1977. A self portrait, with added effects created by means of a laser pen. Highly creative and a great result.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr

Yikes!

The first of two of the best portrait photographs I have seen on Flickr. This one is by my Flickr friend andy_57. Perhaps the more conventional one of the two, this packs a punch of emotion. Marvellous composition and a very powerful shot.

All rights retained by the photographer.

Flickr