Friday, November 30, 2012

Goodness gracious

Great balls of fire! That Jerry Lee Lewis song immediately comes to mind when one sees this terrific action photograph. It was taken during a procession in Amritsar, India earlier this week, on the eve of the 543rd birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the religion of Sikhism. Definitely worth viewing large at the link - the details are amazing. As always, all rights retained by the photographer (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images).

The greatest art thief of the past decades

Forget all the art robberies that have made the headlines in recent years - the linked article points to the late former president-dictator of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, as the greatest art thief of recent times. He used government funds to buy over a hundred masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir, Rembrandt and Cezanne - which have all gone missing after his removal from power. Well worth reading.

web site

Thursday, November 29, 2012

La dama del abrigo

I could not find much information about this art deco image. It is obviously a fashion illustration, and according to the few words in the linked tumblr blog where I found it, it appears to be from 1927 in Mexico by an artist named Cabral (probably Ernesto Garcia Cabral). I love it!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Say a prayer

Here is a Flickr friend who has not featured yet in my blog: fellow Kampen citizen Gert2010. This is his take on a local monument to remember the soldiers who fell in the post-WW2 conflict between the Netherlands and Indonesia. Compared to my own effort (here on Flickr), his take is far more dramatic and of superior photographic quality. A gripping shot. As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Suk, a Czech worth checking out

Condemned to a life as a footnote in musical dictionaries for decades, Josef Suk (1874-1935) finally gets the attention he deserves in recent years. He was Dvorak's son-in-law, and grandfather of the famous violin player of the same name. His music is late-romantic with a dash of impressionism, which particularly shines through in his long symphonic poems. His second symphony, titled Asrael, is his masterpiece, one of my all-time favourites in the genre, but unfortunately not available on Naxos. I have chosen the disc which contains one of his best symphonic poems (Pohadka or Fairy Tale), coupled with two other substantial works (the Fantasy for violin and orchestra, and the Fantastic Scherzo). Excellent performances by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta, with Michael Ludwig as the soloist. Suk is a composer that has never disappointed me, and that should be represented in any decent classical music collection.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The Chevin are an indie band from Leeds who released their first album earlier this year. I have no clue what they sound like, but I like the cover design in its colourful collage-style very much. I could not find any information on the designer unfortunately.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Abstracts figures art by Shinichi Maruyama

This art project is so much more than photography, even though the artist who conceived it is a photographer. New York-based Japanese artist Shinichi Maruyama came up with the idea to capture nude models, moving their bodies, in long exposure photographs. The result is fascinating, not a hint of nudity, but instead beautiful abstract shapes being formed. As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Modern Mechanix and Inventions August 1934

This is the first time that this magazine appears in my blog. From its debut in 1928 until its final issue in 2001, it went through a number of permutations over the years, its name having changed from Home Mechanix to Modern Mechanics and Inventions, to Modern Mechanix and Inventions, to Modern Mechanix and finally to Mechanix Illustrated. This is a late Art Deco style cover, of an imaginary radio tube train.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Everything must change

My musical discovery of the year in the jazz genre: Karrin Allyson's rendition of Everything must change. The original version is by Quincy Jones from his 1974 Body Heat album, but this cover version is mindblowingly beautiful to throw out a cliche. Karrin Allyson is an American jazz singer who has released 13 albums so far, including Daydream from 1996, which includes this song. The video is just a (good) picture, but if you do not know this version, treat yourself to it by clicking the link.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Buttermere green velvet

She has been absent from Flickr for a while, and therefore also from my blog. But I was glad to see her return a few weeks ago, once more posting minimalist abstracts of superior quality. I am of course talking about one of my favourite Flickr friends, Lorraine Kerr (caeciliametella). She added a footnote about the subject, which I never would have guessed: we are looking at an antique lampshade.... As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Star Wars Identities

Two of the best examples from a series of advertisements for the Star Wars Identities exhibition earlier this year. Brilliant art work by the advertising agency responsible: Bleublancrouge from Montreal, Canada.

Creative Ads

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Macduff Everton

A few years ago, we bought a great book on panorama photography. One of the outstanding artists featured in this book is the American photographer Macduff Everton, of whom Andy Grundberg wrote, "Macduff Everton updates travel photography in the same way that Ansel Adams updated 19th century photography of the West. He captures strange and eloquent moments in which time, and the world, seem to stand still." The picture above is a great example - it was shot on the Fiji islands on the dawn of the new century. More on this fascinating artist on his linked home page.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

God put a smile upon your face

The much maligned popular rock band Coldplay actually produced a number of great records at the start of their career, and one of the best is the album A rush of blood to the head, which included the excellent single God put a smile upon your face. The original and stunning art work for the album and the subsequent singles covers was all done by photographer Sølve Sundsbø, utilizing a new technique of taking shots of band members using a three-dimensional scanning machine (details here). More about Coldplay on the linked wikipedia page.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

October water reflections 4

The fourth in a series of autumnal water reflections, captured in the canal near our home. The first was posted in the blog here, you can find the others at my Flickr site. This one did not make Explore, but has turned out to be quite popular as well. Intriguing how the distortions caused by the water movement seem to created repeating patterns.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 17.3 mm
ISO Speed: 640
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Monday, November 19, 2012

Absolut Duchamp

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member ThreeProngs for the Arts Ads 5 contest - artistic advertising with a twist. This image is a wonderful variation on the famous Absolut Vodka advertisements, throwing in one of the (in)famous Duchamp sculptures of course. All rights retained by the creator.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

The bewitched mill

It has been far too long since I last featured one of the expressionist masterpieces of my favourite painter, Franz Marc (1880-1916). This is a less known painting of his, dating back to 1913. He painted it after a visit to the city of Merano in southern Tirol. The work's title reflects the magical harmony he sensed there between human life, represented by the houses and mill on the left, and nature, embodied by the trees and animals on the right. More on Marc in the linked wikipedia article.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vogue November 1927

It never ceases to amaze me how many beautiful Art Deco covers one can find for Vogue throughout the twenties. Here we have another gem, as so often created by William Bolin.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Broken China

A beautiful album cover for the second solo album of the late Rick Wright, mainly known of course for his Pink Floyd years. The use of the double diagonal is a great compositional tool, and it is no surprise that the design is by one of the grandmasters, Hipgnosis' Storm Thorgerson.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


A fascinating photograph: if I would have been shown this with the question who is the photographer at Flickr, I would have immediately said: my Flickr friend jenny downing. And yet, it is unlike any other shot of hers that I remember. The minimalist approach and the fantastic choice of focal point and dof are echt Jenny though. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Unusual concertos [39]: Koto

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-ninth concerto deals with the koto (image source). This is the national instrument of Japan, akin to the Chinese zheng. A koto usually has 13 strings that are strung over 13 movable bridges, but versions with 20 strings are used as well. I recently came across one of the rare concertos for this instrument, by Daron Hagen. His 2011 composition Genji is a 28 minutes concerto for 20-string koto and orchestra in five parts. My version is by Yumi Kurosawa and the Orchestra of the Swan under David Curtis, taken from an MSR CD.

Go here

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fractal flowers by Silvia Cordedda

Amazing full-digital art by Italian artist Silvia Cordedda. She has been working with fractal art programmes since early this year, and her three dimensional floweresque creations are absolutely stunning. These flower figures with their deviating colours and translucent petals look like they come straight from another planet. As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Sometimes you come across really great images on the web, but without information attached to them. I decided to start a 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 on facebook or mail me. This set-up is such a fascinating idea, and it is excellently executed. I would love to give credit to the one who came up with this. The linked post at 9gag did not give any further information though.


Monday, November 12, 2012

King David the Builder Airport Control Tower

This beautiful 55m high traffic control tower is part of the overall design for the future King David the Builder Airport in Kutaisi, Georgia. The plans were created by UN Studio, but actual constructions appear to have been put on hold for the moment. Image sourced from here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Artists who fell in the "Great" War

Today marks the 94th anniversary of the end of World War One, the so-called Great War, one of the most futile and cruel conflicts in human history. In the span of four years, sixteen million people died from the conflict, of which the ever stagnant western front has become the most notorious. From an art point of view, the losses were considerable as well. Some of the best and/or most promising painters in the world fell in the conflict, such as Franz Marc (fell in 1916, aged 36), August Macke (fell in 1914, aged 27), Umberto Boccioni (fell in 1916, aged 33), and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (fell in 1915, aged 23). The classical music suffered great losses as well, with Alberic Magnard (died defending his home, aged 49), George Butterworth (fell in 1916, aged 31), Ernest Farrar (fell in 1918, aged 33), Rudi Stephan (fell in 1915, aged 28), Cecil Coles (fell in 1918, aged 29), and Enrique Granados (died as civilian in a torpedo attack in 1916, aged 48). And who knows what famous buildings would have materialized from the brain of architect Antonio Sant'Elia (fell in 1916, aged 28)? Given the young age of many of the casualties, the actual loss is probably much higher - many talents that never even got the chance to shine. A terrible waste. A terrible war. Image sourced from here.


Lest we forget (links)

Over the past few years, I have made many posts inspired by the so-called Great War (1914-1918), on the occasion of Armistice Day (11 November). Here I collect links to all of them rather than re-post one or two. If you want to click just one, I suggest the first one, which has some astonishing background information. The image above is by myself (Les poppies, enhanced by the on-line tilt-shift programme).

11-11-08 Poem: In Flanders' fields.
11-11-08 YouTube: Documentary on Britten's War Requiem.
11-11-08 Paintings: Returning to the trenches (Nevinson).
11-11-08 Flickr favourites: Lest we forget.
11-11-09 Vintage posters: In Flanders' fields.
11-11-09 Paintings: La guerre (Gromaire).
11-11-09 Photojournalism: Remembrance.
11-11-10 Paintings: Over the top (Nash).
11-11-10 En Vogue: Vogue May 1914.
11-11-10 Poem: Suicide in the trenches.
11-11-10 Photojounalism: The fallen.
11-11-11 Under cover: Motion Picture May 1918.
12-11-11 Photojournalism: Armistice day in London.
12-11-11 Photojournalism: Armistice day in Minsk.