Sunday, July 31, 2011

Links [8]

Once more an overview of interesting links on topics related to the blog, that I encountered recently (some undoubtedly via a Jenny Downing buzz), but that will probably not make the blog as separate entries. The picture above is by myself.

The National Countryside Photography Competition 2011.
25 Abandoned Yugoslav Communist Monuments.
Could Art Vandalism Become the New Terrorism?
Like-for-like Photos of Life in Mumbai and NYC.
Photographs of Animals in Motion.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reporters without borders

An advertisement campaign that is both funny and creative. Agency Ogilvy & Mather created a series of shots for Reporters without borders to illustrate the theme "censorship tells the wrong story" by taking well-known political figures and pixelating out part of the shot to create the impression that things are going on which should not be seen.

Creative Ads

Friday, July 29, 2011

Up up and away in my beautiful balloon

There is something about balloons that is immensely photogenic - and certainly when there are 343 of them taking off at once. This happened last week at the Chambley-Bussieres Aerodrome in Eastern France during the Lorraine Mondial international hot air balloon festival - a new world record.

All rights retained by the photographer (Sipa Press/Rex Features).

web site

Thursday, July 28, 2011


A new name for me: Chilean painter Roberto Matta (1911-2002) - encountered in a thread on favourite paintings in the Talking Classical discussion board. His work ranges from abstract expressionism to surrealism. I quite like this painting from 1943, with its bold shapes and colours. More on Roberto Matta in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Learn composition by example: Negative space

If you have been following this blog, you may remember a series of short posts about basic composition techniques in the Art-iculations category. These were written for beginners by a beginner (moi). My Flickr friend Rick (word artist), a very accomplished photographer with a brilliant sense of composition, has embarked upon a similar series for the Flickr group Learn Composition by Example, providing far more information and examples than I did. His first five posts, on leading lines, on layers, on borders, on framing, on triangles, and on anchoring were blogged earlier herehere, here, herehere and here. His seventh post appeared last weekend, tackling the subject of negative space as a compositional technique, with 19 photographs as illustration of his points (also to be found in his blog), ranging as usual from the most basic to the advanced very subtle uses. For this topic I have picked a shot by my Flickr friend aftab (You walk with me), which Rick commented on as follows: "An intriguing double instance of negative space here. The obvious one is the space in the top portion of the image, where emptiness provides a vertical balance to the action and truncated foreground. The second instance of negative space is the rock-strewn emptiness the man and boy are moving towards - the space for direction. This double space, with the subjects, create quite a serene image." Like the others in this series, highly recommended to expand your compositional horizon.

web site

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Light paintings by Trevor Williams

I have posted about light painting before here, and will copy/paste that introduction: Light painting is an art technique that combines conceptual thinking and long exposure photography, usually at night or in a darkened room. It is created by moving a hand-held light source or by moving the camera. More often than not the person carrying the light source will not appear in the final photograph. It can quickly become crude or banal, but in the hands of an expert, real art can be generated. An excellent example is the work of Trevor Williams, especially where he combines his ultra-modern, almost sci-fi geometric lightscapes with classic oriental buildings.

All rights retained by the artist.

web site

Monday, July 25, 2011

Norway - we will never forget

Words are superfluous. Image sourced from here.

Press Photographer's awards 2011

The web site below (The Telegraph) gives an overview of all winners of the 2011 Press Photographer's awards. Well worth clicking through. I have picked one that directly appealed to me for its photographic qualities: an excellent portrait of Giorgio Armani by Harry Borden.

web site

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Unusual concertos [3]: Viola

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - aiming for 50+ this time.

The third post deals with the viola. This is the first concerto in the series that features a regular instrument from the classical symphony orchestra. However, as popular as its siblings, the violin and more recently the cello, have become as concertante instruments, the poor viola has always lagged behind. It had some exposure in the baroqie area (Telemann, Stamitz), faired very poorly in the classical and romantic periods, and only gained more ground in the 20th century, when composers like Hindemith, Bartok, Arnold, Walton, Milhaud, Nystroem and Penderecki composed concertos for this ugly duckling. I have opted for a relatively unknown masterpiece by the Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz. Her 1968 concerto in three movements highlights all the strong points of this instrument. The recording is by Stefan Kamasa with the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra under Stanisław Wisłocki (from an Olympia CD).

All Music

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rehab (IM Amy Winehouse)

Can't say I was a big fan of Amy Winehouse, but I thought her music represented a fresh breath in a stale pop music climate. Can't say that I was surprised of the news of her death today at 27, but still I am sad to see someone die this young. She joins the famous club of 27 - after Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain. Rest in peace. The song I selected is the obvious choice for today.
Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player)


Reflection 2002 (IM Lucian Freud)

This week one of the world's greatest contemporary artists passed away. Rest in peace, Lucian Freud. When we visited an extensive exhibition of his works at the Pompidou in the spring of last year, I was impressed by his marvellous technique and the strong expressiveness of his work, even though his style in general does not appeal that much to me. More on Lucian Freud in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fire up, Alex!

Another abstract masterpiece by my Flickr friend caeciliametella: a fascinating study of peeling paint. It shows once more that mundane subjects come to life once they are spotted and digitized by a great photographer.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jack the ripper

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member L0b0t0mized for the Silhouettes 3 contest - shapes of things to come in silhouette form. This one is a fantastically atmospheric rendition of the Jack the Ripper story.

All rights retained by the creator.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cedric Pollet

One of the most fascinating collections of photographs I have seen for a while: French photographer Cedric Pollet's take on bark, "an intimate look at the world's trees". Beautiful natural abstracts and the corresponding book goes on my wishlist. I am linking to the site where I encountered these beauties (via Dark roasted blend).

All rights retained by the artist.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tour de France

News photography does not come much better than this for me: combining one of my favourite yearly sport events (the Tour de France) and one of my favourite building complexes (Mont St Michel) in a beautiful image. A more fun Tour de France image appears in Art's Potpourri today.

All rights retained by the photographer (Bonaventure/AFP/Getty).

web site

Monday, July 18, 2011

Volkswagen Touareg

Found thanks to a Jenny Downing buzz. Volkswagen tend to have some of the most creative ads in the car industry, and this one is brilliant in its sheer simplicity. You can just imagine the ad team brainstorming what image they can use to promote their all-terrain model touareg, when someone turns the VW symbol upside down....

Creative Ads

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Unusual concertos [2]: Vibraphone

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - aiming for 50+ this time.

The second post deals with the vibraphone. This is one of the tuneful members of the percussion group, similar to marimba and xylophone, but with aluminium bars instead of wooden bars. Dating back to the nineteen twenties, this is a relatively new addition to the family of musical instruments. It is mainly associated with jazz music, where it plays a prominent role, and indeed is rarely seen in classical music. I have selected as example the only concerto of this type in my collection. It is by Siegfried Fink and dates back to the second half of the 20th century. The recording is by Peter Sadlo with the Munich Chamber Orchestra under Gilbert Varga (from a Koch Schwann CD).

All Music

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Speedline yacht

I am not into boats at all, and even my mouth starts to water when I see this slick modern design of a yacht by Italian designer Pietro Russomanno. Elegant minimalism at its best.

web site

Friday, July 15, 2011

Crusell, champion of the clarinet

Twenty years ago, Emma Johnson's recording of the three Crusell clarinet concertos caused quite a stir. Who was this composer, who had written some of the most beautiful concertos of all time for the instrument? Bernhard Henrik Crusell (1775-1838) is now recognized as Finland's most important composer before Sibelius. A master clarinet player himself (he introduced the Mozart concerto to the Scandinavian audiences), his best works are for that instrument: three gorgeous clarinet quartets and three beautiful concertos - in both cases, they would qualify for my top 10 in that genre, outranking the works by the likes of von Weber and Spohr. Style-wise, these are firmly rooted in Mozart's classicism, but still with their own sound. The Naxos CD I selected brings together the three clarinet concertos in excellent performances by Per Billman and the Uppsala University Chamber Orchestra under Gerard Korsten. A real treasure troves of hauntingly beautiful melodies. Perfect to listen to with all attention, but perfect as background music as well. Most warmly recommended.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bastille day again

Continuing the Bastille day theme, here is a photograph of the celebrations in Paris today, which included a formation of jets flying low over the famous Paris landmarks, including the modern district of La Defence.

All rights retained by the photographer (Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty).

web site

Bon Quatorze Juillet!

Happy Bastille day to all French readers of this blog. For the occasion, a suitable vintage poster by Leonetto Cappiello, dating back to 1937.

Vintage Posters

Lakes and Reservoirs by Matthew Brandt

An intriguing art project by American photographer Matthew Brandt - I came across this on the bumbumbum site. For this project, he took pictures of lakes and reservoirs, printed them and - wait for it - soaked the prints in the water of the respective subjects. The result is a series of intriguing artistic images, giving more the feeling of paintings than photographs.

All rights retained by the artist.

web site

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


One of my more recent faves at Flickr, a shot that combines a wonderful playfulness with expert photographing technique. It was taken near Montmartre, and if you cannot figure out how it was done (no photoshop, no mirrors), the original post reveals the trick. A masterpiece by my Flickr friend Philipp Klinger.

All rights retained by the photographer.


The most popular post - a new one

Blogger is providing detailed statistics for my blogs since July 2010. These data show that the post above (see here for original) on Liszt' s symphonic poems is now the most frequently seen, having taking over the previous one (photographer Kate Barry) yesterday - even though it was posted as late as March this year. I must admit that I am very glad with this, as posts like the Liszt one in the Classics revisited series take a lot of time to prepare.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Unusual concertos [1]: Harmonica

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - aiming for 50+ this time.

The first post deals with the harmonica or mouth organ. Hardly an instrument that evokes the classical concert halls, but still several composers of note have written concertos for it, more often than not inspired by harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler. The first one I could trace back is a piece I have not been able to get hold off, the 1940 Caribbean Concerto by Jean Berger. Better known names that have ventured into this rare type of concerto include Malcom Arnold, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Arthur Benjamin. I have selected as example the 1951 concerto by Michael Spivakovsky, composed for Tommy Reilly. The recording is by Reilly himself with the Munich Radio Orchestra under Charles Gerhardt on a Chandos CD.

All Music

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dr. Macro's High quality movie scans

As cheesy as the name of the site is, I love its content. Thousands of high quality images of famous screen stars, mostly from the 1940's and earlier, taken from movie stills. I have picked (of course) Audrey Hepburn as the illustration for this post, a fabulous still from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's.

web site

Sunday, July 10, 2011

World body painting festival 2011

A marvelous subject for news photographers: the 2011 World Bodypainting Festival which commenced in Poertschach (Austria) last week. It is the largest of its kind, and it has been held annually for over 10 years, this year gathering artists from forty different countries. More photographs of this event in the link (some nudity though, you have been warned).

All rights retained by the photographer (Undisclosed/Reuters).

web site