Friday, December 31, 2010

A whisper to the living

The last day of the year is traditionally one for musing and looking back. In my case, it will not surprise you that my heart attack of end November dominates in this respect. Therefore I want to close the year with a suitably titled masterpiece of one of the dearest friends I have made at Flickr, and a steady contributor of ideas for my two main blogs: jenny downing. I love everything about this shot - upto and including the title.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Keeper Dozen 2010

Picking my 12 favourite photographs of the year has become a yearly custom. It was triggered by a group at Flickr (Keeper Dozen), which was inspired by an Ansel Adams quote: "Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." Last year trimming it down to 12 was a nightmare (I actually created a second set in my Flickr stream for 13-24 end 2009), this year there are quite a few in the top 12 that last year would not have made the top 24. Never mind, here they are:

12. Still climbing
Still climbing
This candid was taken in the castle of the Portuguese city of Braganca. A lovely moment, with lots of potential philosophical interpretations. One of the few candids of this year that I am satisfied with. Of my 12 selected shots this one was the least popular at Flickr. Faved 2 times at Flickr.

11. Hustle
Part of a whole series of shots of Paris street life, taken from the third floor of the Lafayette or Printemps department store in Paris (Boulevard Hausmann area), whilst my wife was shopping there. The rain had just stopped, making for a wonderful atmosphere. This one I gave an aftertreatment (focal zoom) with the on-line editing programme Picnik. I quite like the outcome. Not everyone agrees - this was not one of the most popular shots in my stream this year. Faved 3 times at Flickr.

10. The swan
The Swan
I know it has been done before, but still. This is a detail shot of the beautiful Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam, which the locals have nicknamed "The swan". Special point of view and line play, and achieving a good response. Faved 6 times at Flickr.

9. Nightmare
Taking photographs of paintings is in my opinion only valid if you add some ingredient. Here I think the inclusion of a spectator (my wife) facing the full angriness of the depicted figures works rather well. The painting is by Luo Jie, it is titled Angry young men, and was created in 2007. We saw this as part of the Red Storm exhibition in the Rijksmuseum Twenthe. Faved 5 times at Flickr.

8. Paris Patterns
Paris patterns
This was my 50th shot in total to reach Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day. It is an architectural detail of a Paris apartment complex near the Champs Elysees, converted to black and white for higher impact. The increased exposure of Explore helped to get it to a large number of faves. Faved 18 times at Flickr.

7. Flight of fantasy
Flight of fantasy
My favourite shot from this year's holiday to Spain and Portugal. Architectural details on a wall of a Barcelona building, resembling toy airplanes thanks to their shadows. Minimalist and special - certainly when viewed on the white Flickr background. Faved 5 times at Flickr.

6. Almere tower abstraction
Almere tower abstraction
My favourite from a series of shots of a new high-rise office building in my home town, where the slant and zoom creates an abstract feeling. Selected for a local exhibition this year, and very popular. Faved 26 times at Flickr.

5. Hand
This one was taken whilst waiting for my wife and her business associate outside the Louis Vuitton shop near the Champs Elysees in Paris. I had time, a camera, and a mood to experiment with depth of field. Faved 11 times at Flickr.

4. Abstraction in yellow black and blue
Abstraction in yellow black and blue
This photograph is a detail of a bridge I drive over every day near the office. One day I walked there with the dog during lunch break. The combination of the bold lines and the primary colours makes for a compelling abstract. Faved 6 times at Flickr.

3. Cubism
This creation started life in May of this year as a straightforward very early morning shot of the buildings I see every day across the lake whilst walking our dog in the park (they have featured often in my stream). I mixed it up digitally with a painting like texture and in the end flipped and cropped to focus on the reflections as a very special abstract. Faved 6 times at Flickr.

2. Dragon's nest
Dragon's nest (Happy Easter!)
A shot I took the Friday before Easter in my brother's home - zooming into a bag of chocolate Easter eggs. My second favourite shot of the year, although it received relatively little response. Faved 3 times at Flickr.

1. Morning mood in the park
Morning mood in the park
My pick of the year. I shot this during an early morning walk with the dog in the park near our home, when the morning fog and the first rays of the sun combined for a perfect moment. It makes a great wallpaper as well. One of the most popular shot in terms of faves, and it won the "something magical" competition at the Flickr group Learn Composition by Example. Faved 24 times at Flickr.

(All fave counts as per 24 December)


Yesterday Bobby Farrell, the lead "singer" of that German disco sensation Boney M, died aged 61 in Saint Petersburg. Although most of their music really was not my style, their persistent presence in the Dutch charts in the second half of the seventies makes them an important part of my years at university. To commemorate him, I picked my favourite song by far of them: Ra-Ra-Rasputin. Cheesy but fun.
Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player)


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Horst P. Horst

German-American Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann (1906 – 1999), who chose Horst P. Horst as his artist name, was one of the outstanding fashion photographers of the 20th century. Particularly outstanding is his use of lighting. I love the example given above, classic and erotic.

More on Horst in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Living wallpaper art by Emma Hack

Another example where the art of body painting is done in such a special way that it lands here rather than in Art's Potpourri. Australian artist Emma Hack places her nude models against luscious wallpaper background and then body paints them in the same style, resulting in spectacular results. Thanks to Jenny Downing for alerting me to this one. And although the nudity is mostly hidden by paint, I put it under the self-censorship "one click away" gimmick, just in case.

All rights retained by the creator.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Scala Dei turchi III

Continuing an absolutely stunning series of monochrome masterpieces of Sicilian landscapes, my Flickr friend Philipp Klinger produced an absolutely fantastic image here. Bleak and stark in its post-treatment with the silhouetted figure providing a sense of scale. One of the best in an outstanding stream.

All rights retained by the photographer.



With its name taken from the German word for ice wine, this recent creation by my Flickr friend auribins is a great study of patterns - and in addition I can't help but seeing an army ready to march (ents from the Lord of the Rings, anyone?).

All rights retained by the photographer.


Sometimes it just feels like this

I was surprised to see that the last time my Flickr friend Ernesto Ortega featured in my blog was one and a half years ago. High time to make amends with this moody and thought provoking atmospheric study.

All rights retained by the photographer.



It's been a while, but here we have the welcome return ot my blog of my Flickr friend LilFr38. Fantastic view point, with the eye spiralling down into the deep. In case you wondered, it is an underground parking garage in the French city of Lyon.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Owl butterfly

It's been a while since we had a dedicated Flickr favourites day. Let's change that with five fairly recent and very different favourites, which share the theme of monochrome tones. First off, my Flickr friend knips2007(Rainer) with an unusual butterfly shot. The original was rather drab in its colours, so he changed it into a black and white version which looks far superior.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Paris versus New York

Thanks to Jenny Downing for drawing my attention to this blog: a visual minimalistic and often humorous match between those two cities seen by a lover of Paris wandering through New York. I have a weak spot for minimalism and these are done so well that I had to put in Art for Art's sake, rather than in Art's Potpourri.

web site

Monday, December 27, 2010


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 a beautiful shot, thoughtfully composed and highly effective. If I encountered it on Flickr, it would be an instant fave.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry i-Christmas

The second of two very creative advertisements on the Christmas theme that I saw earlier this week on the linked site - the first one was posted yesterday. I am not an Apple addict (OK, I want an iPad), but this iPod ad is very creative indeed.

Creative Ads

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

This 1983 Oshima movie is one of the most impressive world war two movies I have ever seen, helped of course by the fabulous music, including one of my all-time favourite songs, Forbidden colours by David Sylvian. The lead role is played astonishingly well by David Bowie. The poster is worthwhile as well, in its almost cartoon like minimalism. And of course, a suitable title for today.

More on this movie in the IMDB article linked to below.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas at McDonalds

The first of two very creative advertisements on the Christmas theme that I saw earlier this week on the linked site - the next one will be posted tomorrow. I do not care for McDonalds as a fast food chain, but their ads or more often than not brilliant. This one as well.

Creative Ads

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Our own Christmas card features a shot of mine that I already posted here earlier this month, so here is the most beautiful art deco Christmas card that I could find with google. Sourced from here. Merry Christmas to all the readers of this blog!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Flowers for Hennie

Today marks another step on my way to full recovery: it is four weeks ago since the doctors told me I had suffered a heart attack, which means I am finally allowed to drive again. In the aftermath of the attack, I received a lot of positive and encouraging comments on Flickr, but I found this one particularly touching. My Flickr friend sannesu dedicated a shot to me, title and all. And the photograph is beautiful as well - the droplets make a wonderful pattern, and the back-lighting on the left side is exquisite.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Zemlinsky, an overlooked Austrian

The Austrian composer Alexander (von) Zemlinsky (1871-1942) has long been just a footnote in history, more known for his personal relationship to other composers than for his music: he courted Alma Schindler, the later wife of Mahler, and Schoenberg was his brother in law. In the past two decades, his sumptuous mildly dissonant music, with its rich orchestral palette, has finally gained interest and dozens of CD's with his compositions have been released. Most of his work can be classified as post-romantic, although later works show neo-classical tendencies. Surprisingly, he never experimented with the 12-tone technique invented by his brother in law. I have selected a CD with his (in my opinion) best composition, the 1904 extended symphonic fantasy Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid), coupled with the 1934 Sinfonietta, a stunning piece that recalls Stravinsky and Hindemith. The performances by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra under James Judd leave nothing to be desired. A composer that should be represented in any serious classical music collection - and this is a CD suitable for that purpose.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Purano shei diner kotha

My Flickr friend aftab is fortunately back from leave, and shared another string of masterpieces with us the last few days. This is one of the most compelling portraits I have ever seen. The Bengali title translates as Memories of the Good Old Days, extremely fitting for this image.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Poster design by Olly Moss

Olly Moss is a young British designer who amongst other projects excels at creating new versions of movie posters. His take on the classical Star Wars trilogy shown above is brilliant, but his other work is well worth checking too.

All rights retained by the artist.

web site