Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Words and music

This shot was taken in 2007, one of the earliest shots I faved on Flickr. It was created by fellow Flickrite Mohsan at the Igor Stravinsky Square near the Centre de Pompidou. I love the cinematographic quality of this image, enhanced by the black and white treatment.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Absolutely charming......

Another famous Paris landmark, the Notre Dame. I love how my Flickr friend Nicolas Valentin has reduced this to such a small and still significant part of the overall shot, with much emphasis on the quay and the Seine, and helped by that dramatic sky.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Under The Old Lady's Skirt

To round off March, three of my Flickr favourites from the past, all shot in Paris. This is a highly original take on the Eiffel tower by my Flickr friend LilFr38. Awesome symmetry, enhanced by the unusual viewpoint and brilliant title to boot.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Les jambes

One of those great Paris shop decorations - I spotted this one in the Montparnasse Monoprix. The female leg, whether real or artificial, is one of the most beautiful shapes in the world.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/7.1
Focal Length: 28 mm
ISO speed 800
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Train accident at the Gare Montparnasse

Sometimes you come across really great images on the web, but without information attached to them. I decided to start a new subject for these, titled A is for anonymous. I will include the link where I found the shot, and anybody who can provide more information on these pictures, please leave a comment or mail me. This is of course an iconic photograph and I am sure you have seen it already - but I can't find anywhere who actually took the shot. I post it because we stayed within a few minutes walking of the Montparnasse station during our Paris trip.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Sous le ciel de Paris

A logical conclusion of the two previous posts - featuring on the soundtrack of the movie An education, one of the quintessential Parisian songs in the version by la Greco. Wonderful.


No. 7

In the aforementioned movie, the main character listens to this 1960 album by Juliette Greco, and my wife whispered to me that she used to listen to that album as well. It features an iconic cover, credited to Aubert and Farabola, and I was surprised that I could not find good images on the internet. This poster essentially shows the same photograph though.

All Music

An education

Maybe not a brilliant poster (although in itself quite effective), but with nice memories for us: the wife and I watched this movie about a young English girl growing up in the early sixties in a little cinema during our stay in Paris - and we liked it a lot. I have obviously opted for the French version of the poster. More on this movie in the IMDB article linked to below.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tour Eiffel

Well, we are back from our Paris holiday, which was marvellous - and as usual I came back with lots of new inspiration for my blog as well. After seeing the original during a visit to the Pompidou Museum, here is the first time that French orphic cubist painter Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) features in the blog. And after all, what could be more suitable under the circumstances than one of his takes on the Eiffel tower, dating back to 1926? More on Robert Delaunay in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Preparing for the Shanghai Expo (2)

The linked web site gives another fascinating set of photographs as Shanghai's prestiguous 2010 Expo is nearing its opening date for May 1st. This particular shot is of the UK pavillion.

All rights retained by the photographer (AP Photo).

web site


A deceivingly simple study, but so many details to take in, and the total image switches from abstract to nature shot and back continuously. A lovely piece of work by my Flickr friend jenny downing.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

The last two chapters

The mind boggles, but at 24, Montreal's trip hop queen Hurricane Nicole has decided to withdraw from the scene altogether - after three consecutive million selling albums world wide. She goes out with a bang, not with a whisper, with her latest (and presumably last) album, The last two chapters. A double CD, with the main disc containing all new material - and the irony of it all is that it is probably the best she has released so far. Songs like Flight209, Spring in Winter, and Head over heels are destined to become absolute classics. In her typical independent way, she has forced the record company to include the second CD for free, rather than releasing the combination at a premium price. This bonus contains twelve tracks, combining some of her better B-sides, as well as 4 delightful live versions of her main hits. Please Nicole, change your mind, and make a come back after a time out. We will miss you.

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 Hurricane Nicole_.
[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 Nora Ephron: If pregnancy were a book, they would cut the last two chapters.
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, La autre Rouennaise, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were Colonna MT 60 White and FoxJump 85 Black, 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.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fibich, the German Czech

Many people will be hard pressed to name a Czech composer beyond Dvorak, Smetana, Janacek, and possibly Suk and Martinu. Enter Zdenek Fibich (1850-1900), a contemporary of Dvorak who is far less heard than the quality of his works warrants. Being of mixed Czech/German descent, the nationalism of his more famous colleagues never dominated his output, which perhaps contributed to his neglect. His three symphonies in the German late romantic idiom are amongst his best works, highly melodic and emotional. This Naxos disc collects the first two (dating from 1883 and 1893) in great performances by the Razumovsky Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Mogrelia. Well worth investigating.


Thursday, March 25, 2010


For me the most underrated (progressive) rock band in the world: Holland's Kayak. I'd put them in my top 10 bands, and their album Merlin - Bard of the unseen in my Album top 10 of all time. Their logo is great as well, making optimum use of the palindrome name in its mirrored styling. This suggests a rip-off of the famous ABBA logo with the mirrored B, but actually, Kayak and their logo date back to early 1973, whereas ABBA as a band name was only introduced in late 1973, and their logo dates back to 1976.

web site

Ten years .....

Today marks our 10th wedding anniversary, amazing how time flies (to use an overused expression). Anyway, here's to the two of us laopo! I sourced this image with some personalification from here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lo Res shoes

Applied cubism in modern design - courtecy of United Nude company. Their procedure, demonstrated here on shoes, is as simple as it is effective: they take existing common objects, scan them digitially into a 3-D computer model and re-generate the scan into various lower resolutions.

web site

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Isca taps

So simple and yet so effective. Just turn the tap 180 degrees towards the mirror, and bingo - but what genius to some up with this. Brilliant advertisement for Isca taps.

Creative Ads

Monday, March 22, 2010

Evolution of logos

An interesting site, that gives an overview of the development over time of some of the most recognizable corporate logos in the world, including Apple, Pepsi, Kodak and Shell.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Light and shadows by Kuma Yamashita

Thanks once more to Jenny Downing for alerting me to this one, some time ago. Japanese artist Kuma Yamashita constructs multiple sculptures on the wall that with the right lighting cast the shadows that really makes them interesting. A more structured version of the similar art by Noble and Webster that I posted before.

All rights retained by the artist.

web site

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dream or nightmare?

Once more a suggestion by Jenny Downing, who sent me the link to this fascinating artist some time ago. British artist Darren Hopes creates worlds that are sometimes enchanting, sometimes disturbing, sometimes both at the same time, but always intriguing. Worth clicking the link to get an overview.

All rights retained by the creator.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Fade to grey

Any Eighties' hit compilation should include this 1980 one-hit wonder from British New Romantics icons Visage, which included Midge Ure of Ultravox fame. Backed by a wall of synthesizer sounds, lead singer Strange whispers his sketchy lyrics, whilst an unidentified girl murmurs lines in French. Fade to grey is at the same time bizarre and catching, and can be enjoyed both as great music to listen to and as a fantastic dance record.
Art Rock score: 9/10 (very strong song, one of 650 best songs of all time)


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Photographing the photographer

One of the rare shots I took of my wife that she approved for release on the internet. This is on the inside square of Blois Castle near the Loire in France.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.002 sec (1/640)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 7.2 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0, Photoshop


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wiesinger Music

This fascinating company logo fits so well, that you almost suspect that the logo was there before the company name: the WM initials portrayed as keyboards is simply magic.

web site

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


"Facebook" was the alternative I could have posted as the title. Great piece of photo manipulation by Paris-based photographer Waldo Lee.

All rights retained by the creator.


Monday, March 15, 2010


Maybe not the most newsworthy item I have seen in recent weeks in the various photojournalism sites, but one of the best photographs: an ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy walking down a ramp in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish settlement in northern Jerusalem.

All rights retained by the photographer (Baz Ratner/Reuters).

web site

Composition part 10: create depth

The tenth (and probably last) in a series on basic composition rules to further enhance the quality of your photographs if you are not aware of them yet - the first one, dealing with the rule of thirds, can be found here, the second one, dealing with the background choice, can be found here, the third one, dealing with framing within the frame, can be found here, the fourth one, dealing with leading lines, can be found here, the fifth one, dealing with viewpoint can be found here, the sixth one, dealing with cropping, can be found here, the seventh one, dealing with especially shaped crops, can be found here, the eighth one, dealing with balancing elements, can be found here, the ninth one, dealing with symmetry and patterns, can be found here. I am using an article on the site Amateur Snapper as a guideline here, but providing examples from my own stream. This shot (Off the top of my head) illustrates the idea behind the compositional tool of creating depth - I had problems finding a suitable example in my stream, clearly, this is a tool I need to work on more. Transforming the 2D image of a photograph into a 3D scene in our mind can be helped by including objects in the foreground, middle ground and background. Here, the sculpture upfront and the painting in the back create a sense of depth that a shot of just one of these would not have had - whilst the open door in the back helps as well . Note also that the lines of thirds are applied for the positioning of the two art pieces, and that the sculptures legs double up as leading lines.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Origami coffee set

A creation of Polish designer Zwierzynski, this coffee set is inspired by origami paper models with hard edges and dynamic interesting forms, like a modern sculpture. In addition, there is a colour juxtaposition, with the white cup for the coffee and the black jug for the milk.

web site