Friday, August 31, 2012

Get a grip

When we visited the little Hanseatic city of Hattem near Kampen recently, my wife left her bag for a while with me, while we were sitting on the main square. I decided to take out the camera and snap one, focusing on the grip - a little study on diagonal composition and use of depth of field. I was surprised that it ended up in Flickr explore, the third shot of mine to do so within a few weeks, and the 55th of all time.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cobra Towers Kuwait

Some sites even post this shot while claiming the building exists and is used by the company Infosys. It does not, and it is actually not much more than a computer generated concept at the moment, without any plans to actually go for a detailed design, let alone construction. But it would make a fascinating building! No reasonable site to link to, so I picked a blog post where I got it from.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Not quite decent (Farligt Sallskap)

One of the most beautiful Art Deco movie posters I have ever seen. This one is for the rather unknown 1929 movie Not quite decent, in a version for the Swedish market. I sourced the poster image form here - the original American version is not bad but lacks the beauty of this one (for comparison, see here). More on this movie in the IMDB article linked to below.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A moment dangling in time

My Flickr friend andy_57 excels in model photography, especially when he is creating a series of shots around a certain theme. One of the best recent examples is his Red nails and an old microphone series, once more with his Michele as his model. The whole set is well worth exploring - I faved a number of them. For this blog post I selected my personal favourite. Wonderfully atmospheric, and a textbook example of selective colouring done right. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Spoon chair

Simply beautiful, this spoon-inspired chair by young Austrian designer Philipp Aduatz. It is also fully functional: the long back provides sufficient strength to carry the weight of a grown person on the seat.

web site

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Vogue June 1921

Another beautiful vintage Vogue cover, this one dating back to the time between Art Nouveau and Art Deco. No information could be found on the designer.


Saturday, August 25, 2012


Photo art of a type I have not seen before. Jesus Gonzalez Rodriguez, a student from Venezuela, came up with this series of self portraits that are post-treated with a surreal geometric twist. A dash of cubism, a hint of movement, but above all, a fascinating result. All rights retained by the artist, as usual.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Set the controls for the heart of the sun

I still cannot believe this one. Flower macros do not feature in my portfolio a lot - in fact, it is only this year that I am embarking on them a bit more seriously. This extreme close-up of a sunflower had been on my list of shots I might upload to Flickr for a while - I was really not sure it was good enough. In the end, I gave it the benefit of the doubt, mainly because liked the title (which of course refers to a Pink Floyd song). After an hour I changed my mind, and was going to delete it from Flickr. Only the fact that it already had a comment stopped me from doing so. Then things got out of control: fave upon fave followed, and it became the 54th shot of mine to reach Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day, eventually topping out at #80, the second-best performance of any of my photographs.... Weird.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.002 sec (1/500)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Unusual concertos [34]: Birds

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 thirty-fourth concerto deals with the pre-recorded birdsong (image source) as a concertante "instrument". In a way this goes back to Respighi, who used a turntable with recorded nightingale sounds in his symphonic poem Pini di Roma. Contemporary Finnish grandmaster Einojuhani Rautavaara composed his Cantus Articus, subtitled Concerto for Birds and Orchestra, in 1972. The three movements feature tape recordings of birdsong collected near the Arctic Circle and on the bogs of Liminka in Finland. It is played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Lintu, taken from a Naxos CD.

Go here

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


One of the more recent works of my wife, actually painted after our arrival in our new home town of Kampen. I love the happy feeling in this one, expressed in the dancing couple's stance and the colours.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cover of....

The exploration of the subject of model photography has really paid off for my Flickr friend Rick (word artist), who a few weeks ago posted this gorgeous portrait of the Polish beauty Natalia. I could not improve on the comment of another Flickr friend (Andy Poupart), himself an absolute expert in this field: "An absolute delight. Beautiful color and focus on the model and the background just acts as a setting with no distracting elements. Superb, one of your best.". As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Potpourri: Ordered

From time to time I will be highlighting some of my own favourite posts in my parallel blog, Art's Potpourri. These can be recent or from years ago. This one was posted 2 September 2011 (re-posted 14 January 2013 after the purge).

Monday, August 20, 2012

San Francisco (RIP Scott McKenzie)

The Grim Reaper strikes again: Scott McKenzie has passed away this weekend at the age of 73. He will always be remembered for his only huge hit, that anthem of the flower power generation: San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), a worldwide number one in 1967, which sold over 7 million copies. RIP Scott. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I would put it on my MP3 player).


Los Angeles Zoo

One of a series of advertisements for the Los Angeles Zoo by RLR Advertising. This one displays a gorilla sculpture constructed from coloring pencils to support the slogan about a colorful visit to the zoo. Others in the series, displayed in the link, include an elephant made from memory devices, and an owl constructed from reading material.

Creative Ads

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Repost: Summer (the first time)

A re-post from the artchives (original posting date 26 July 2009) - with the blog in its current form over three years old, I intend to dig up some of the older posts once in a while. This one is appropriate today as temperatures have finally soared to tropical levels this year here in Holland.

American singer-song writer Bobby Goldsboro will forever be linked to the 1968 chart topper Honey, an oversweet tear jerker, which incidentally did feature in my top 10 songs when I first made a list in 1973 - and one of the few where my opinion has changed radically. Far superior to that song is one of his last hit singles, the self-penned Summer (the first time) from 1973, an evocative depiction of the deflowering of a 16 year old boy by an experienced woman on a hot summer night. Art Rock score: 9/10 (very strong song, one of 650 best songs of all time).


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Another reflected abstract

Abstract art images created by colourful water reflections feature frequently in my photographic output - but this is one of my personal favourites so far. I shot it just a few minutes walking from our home, at Kampen's beautiful canal. My trademark 90 degrees flip creates an unusual pattern.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/5.9
Focal Length: 20 mm
ISO Speed: 160
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Friday, August 17, 2012

Today’s Housewife July 1923

A new magazine for this category, with a title that would not gain them many support in the present. It appeared from 1905 to 1928 in various variations of title and quality. This beautiful nostalgic cover, designed by Ruth Eastman, dates back to the early twenties.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kampen Houtzagersteeg

For the Anything Goes category today a lovely sketch by Dutch master Anton Pieck (1895-1987) of a little street in Kampen, almost next to our home. The best photograph I have seen of this lovely spot, one of my favourites in our new home town, can be found in the stream of my Flickr friend Rick (word artist) here. More about Pieck in the linked wikipedia article.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Loneliness is a recurring theme in the paintings of American realist Edward Hopper (1882-1967). One of the best examples is the 1927 painting Automat, which depicts a lone woman staring into a cup of coffee in an Automat at night (an Automat is a fast food restaurant where simple foods and drink are served by coin-operated and bill-operated vending machines). A rather extensive and informative analysis of this work is given here. More on Hopper in the linked wikipedia article.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

George Brassai

George Brassai, a pseudonym of Gyula Halasz (1899 - 1984), is one of the most famous Hungarian photographers of all time. Especially his Paris street scenes, shot between the world wars, have a timeless quality. I like the photograph above very much - it is a shot of the staircase in the rue Rollin around 1933. More on Brassai in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The dark side of photojournalism

Fair warning upfront: the linked Guardian article is not a light read, but I found it very worthwhile. It collects interviews with eight photojournalists who got caught up in situations where they could (and perhaps should) have helped people in trouble, but instead limited themselves to taking the shots. The above example is by Graeme Robertson (Getty Images).

web site

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olympic Cauldron 2012

As the Olympics draw to a close today, it is time to feature one of the non-sports highlights: the Olympic cauldron, constructed during the opening ceremony. I thought that ceremony was fun and interesting, if a bit long-winded. The way this cauldron was put together from 204 copper petals, one for each competing nation, was a stroke of genius. The end result is impressive as well (image credit), kudos to Heatherwick Studio. The linked site has more detailed information and close-up photographs.

web site

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Photojournalists have shot millions of photographs during the Olympics, documenting triumph, defeat and all kinds of small details. This shot stands out for me for its unusual, almost abstract qualities. We see April Ross of the United States spinning the ball during a beach volleyball match against Spain. As always, all rights retained by the photographer (Dave Martin/AP).

Friday, August 10, 2012


The reunion disc (after 16 years!) of one of my favourite pop/rock bands, Dead can dance, comes with a fabulous cover design. In their own words: "a field of sunflowers, ripened, and then blackened, by the sun, standing with sad, slightly crowned heads. Less dead than dormant, the heads and stems will one day be chopped, but then via the roots, will return. For Anastasis is the Greek word for ‘resurrection’ and the seemingly dead will dance again." No information about design or photographer yet.