Although recent years has seen some improvement, classical music CD's and albums tend not to have very exciting covers - usually straightforward shots of the performer(s) or a painting as decoration. I was pleasantly surprised when I bought this CD of Kurt Weill songs back in the nineties, because singer Anne-Sofie von Otter is depicted in a very apt and artistic way, keeping in setting with the atmosphere of the songs. One of the best covers in the genre.
One of my favourite photographs in one of my favourite Flickr streams by one of my favourite Flickr friends: sannesu. I love how this dew shot evokes pearls more than anything else, due to the shape of the surrounding leaves. A well deserved appearance in Explore.
Canadian photographer Todd McLellan is not exactly a household name yet, but I have seen his name come up on several internet sites (and a Jenny Downing buzz) in relation to his latest project. Still life photography of another kind: he disassembles products like clocks, lawn mowers, type writers and cameras into their smallest parts and then photographs the results arranged in an orderly fashion. It is a fascinating idea, well executed.
Another stunning model (Liana), another stunning shoot by my Flickr friend andy_57. Beautiful composition, with the cascading hair standing out, and classic pose. That the lighting is perfect goes without saying with this great photographer and friend.
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 taken from an uncredited Visboo post, intriguing artistic interpretations of world famous land marks, created by simply digitally merging hundreds of tourist pictures. The resulting pieces remind me of the art of Gerhard Richter.
UPDATE: posted this subject later under miscellaneous art after finding out the artist, Corinne Vionnet. Link.
There is something very subtle and effective about the photo art of German photographer Dominic Kamp, who takes beautiful shots of landscapes and digitally enhances them to look absolutely stunning, with dramatic bright, bold colours.
British classical music in general does not have a good reputation outside its own borders. Many classical music lovers will only have a few British composers in their collection, such as Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten, and maybe Walton. Yet, there is so much great music to discover here, such as Alwyn, Arnold, Bantock, Bax, Bliss, Bridge, Delius, Finzi, Harty, Ireland, Moeran, Rawsthorne, Parry and Stanford, to name but a few. I was glad to come across the blog "British Classical Music: The Land of Lost Content" - a great collection of articles and reviews on this specialized topic.
The tragic earthquake in Christchurch (New Zealand) this week affected me more than the even more severe ones in Chile, Haiti and China of recent years - for the simple reason that I visited Christchurch twice, and even considered settling down there in the past. Of all the shots circulating on the internet, I think this one best depicts both the damage and the human factor.
All rights retained by the photographer (Mark Baker/AP Photo).
Stark minimalism of the best kind in this recent shot by my dear Flickr friend jenny downing. The title is both appropriate given the subject and wholly inappropriate given the sheer class of this shot.
And during my absence, another legend has bitten the dust. Rest in Peace, Gary Moore (1952-2011), former guitar player of Thin Lizzy. In his memory, that brilliant song Still got the blues, in a great live rendition.
Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player)
Whereas Shanghai is slowly moving into spring, winter is pretty much still here in Holland. A shot from earlier this year, the artificial lake adjacent to the park where I come several times a day with the dog, frozen over at sunset time. Pushed it a bit (a lot) in the post-processing, but I like the end result.
Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
Focal Length: 35 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0
The photojournalism topic has been at a stand still due to my stay in Shanghai, where I could not access this site. The recently concluded Chinese New Year celebrations (3-17 February) do warrant attention though, and as so often the Boston Globe site has a great overview. I picked the one above, depicting a festively decorated street in Shanghai because we actually walked there one evening during the celebrations.
All rights retained by the photographer (Lopez/AFP/Getty Images).
Peruvian painter Alberto Vargas (1896 - 1982) is often considered the most famous of the pin-up artists, especially for his iconic World War II era pin-ups for Esquire magazine. I was surprised to encounter the above gorgeous art deco painting by him in a blog, unfortunately without further information (even the title is just something I made up). It shows that as good as his pin-ups are, he also had some extra quality talent in painting non pin-up subjects. More on Vargas in the wikipedia article linked to below.
A composer I had never even heard of until December last year, when fellow Talk Classical bulletin board member Aramis heartily recommended him. Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (1876 - 1909) was a Polish composer and conductor. He died far too young in an avalanche in his beloved Tatra mountains, leaving behind a limited number of compositions, but of astonishing quality. His most outstanding work is the set of symphonic poems (op.9-14, 1904-1909), late romantic masterpieces which evoke the world of Wagner, Mahler and Strauss in their imaginative colourful orchestration. Naxos have released all six of them on two CD's. I link to the first, but really, both are essential. Excellent playing by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Zealand Philharmonic Orchestra under Antoni Wit. For me the main musical discovery of the year 2010.
It's been a while, but if everything goes as planned, my wife and I will be spending Valentine's day together this year. For the occasion, a beautiful art deco Valentine card, which I found in the Art Deco blog.
Another brilliant Vanity Fair cover, designed by William Bolin. The spotlight shine on two high-kicking dancers onstage who are intriguingly seen from the perspective of the orchestra, which plays in semi-darkness below.
Russian illustrator Alexey Kurbatov has published a series of drawings, demonstrating a unique style, influenced by the Soviet Union’s propaganda posters as well as cubism and exoticism. I love his take on Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
Yesterday's post had tilt-shift photography as its theme, so it seems appropriate to follow this up with a recent example of this technique from my own stream. I shot this tourist boat scene from a Paris bridge last August. First-off, I opted for a rather unusual but I think quite effective trapezoid crop. Secondly, I applied a tilt-shift effect, not in camera (because I do not have such a lens) but in post-processing via the tiltshiftmaker site. I quite like the outcome.
Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Focal Length: 78 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0, Photoshop 7.0 (crop), Tiltshiftmaker
Tilt-shift photography refers to the use of tilt for selective focus, often for simulating a miniature scene, frequently in combination with a shallow depth of field. It is a very special effect, which can have a great result, either by the use of a special lens, or by special post-processing techniques. The linked web site gives 35 interesting examples of tilt-shift photography, indeed giving the observer the feeling that he or she has suddenly entered a toy world.
World famous photographer Annie Leibovitz embarked on a campaign for Disney Parks that lasted 3 years, visualizing famous Disney scenes with celebrities playing the main parts. I intend to show a few of these in the course of the year. The second one is on the theme "Where Dreams Run Free", with a stunning Jessica Biel as Pocahontas.
A bridge of refined classical elegance: Finland's 1997 Replot Bridge, connecting the island of Replot with the mainland in Korsholm, near Vaasa. Nothing spectacular about it with a length of just over 1 km and a pylon height of about 80 m, but still great to look at. More on this bridge in the wikipedia article linked to below.
About me: Dutchman, married to a beautiful and highly talented artist from Shanghai. Although my education (PhD chemistry) is very much associated with the left side of the brain, I like to use my right side for my hobbies: music, art, photography.
About this blog: I started this blog in August 2006, just wanting to share what I considered interesting pieces of visual art and music. I suffered from blogging blues for most of 2008, but making a fresh start in October of that year has done wonders for my inspiration. In case you did not notice, most posts end with a small symbol... just click that for the relevant link. All pictures in my blog are hosted on blogger - if some do not show up (the red cross syndrome) it is a blogger hiccup. Right click and selecting "show picture" should do the trick.
My other main blog: In December 2009 I started a parallel blog, Art's Potpourri, for subjects that I think are interesting, but not fitting for my main blog. A few other blogs have come and gone - I list them here for reference.
Most of the images used in this blog are either mine, or they are used with explicit permission of the creators. Some of the images are sourced on the internet and I consider them common use for a non-profit blog (such as album covers), or I use them with a link to the site of the creator/owner.
If you find a picture on this blog that you are the copyright owner of, and object against the use, please drop me an email and I will remove it.