Monday, June 30, 2014

And all that rust

Rust is an endless source for beautiful abstract photographs, and here is one that did particularly well on Flickr. My 66th photograph to reach Flickr Explore, collecting over 50 faves.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Sunday, June 29, 2014


More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member Onanymous for the Cubism 14 contest - ordinary objects depicted in a cubist fashion.


Saturday, June 28, 2014


A combination of creative advertising and art is a shoe-in for this blog obviously. This Magritte recreation is one of a series of paintings made with fruit and vegetables for the kitchen appliance company Magimix. They were designed by Shalmor Avnon Amichay from Y&R Interactive, Tel Aviv.

Creative Ads

Friday, June 27, 2014

Faces of fashion

A few years back I posted three of Philip Scott Johnson's beautiful morphing videos: Women in art, Male self portraits, and Women in film. Here is another one, this time with 25 supermodels from Kate Moss to Adriana Lima. The background music is Gleam by Etherine.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Ladies' Home Journal May 1930

The Ladies' Home Journal is an American magazine that was started in 1883 and is still publishing today. This is a beautiful Art Deco cover, unfortunately without a credit to the illustrator.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The amazing story of Lorrainville

The imaginary album game has been around since early 2008 or so (I posted a few dozen with my own variation on it in my blog here). In 2011, it became really popular on Facebook, and few creations got so many reactions as the one posted by Dutch music producer Guido Aalbers, shown above. Within hours, many musicians contacted him with the suggestion to make this imaginary album for real, and in the end, that is what happened. The band Lorrainville was officially formed, songs were written and recorded, and the first CD was released later that year with exactly the cover that Aalbers had created. The music turned out to be very good, in a melancholy Americana style. The CD made the Dutch top100 albums, and won the special jury prize of the Edison Pop 2013. A modern social media fairy tale come true.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Marilyn got dumped

A huge sculpture of Marilyn Monroe, very similar to the famous one by Steward Johnson in Chicago, was photographed recently, abandoned on a Chinese dump site. The link has the full story, as far as it is known. As always, all rights retained by the photographer (Undisclosed/Reuters).

Unusual concertos [72]: Vuvuzela

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 - realizing 70+ this time.

The seventy second concerto deals with the vuvuzela (image source). This cannot be taken too seriously of course. Inspired by memories of the previous FIFA world championship in South Africa, which was sound-wise dominated by thousands of these 65 cm monotonous plastic horns played in the stands, I googled for a concerto for this abomination - and was astonished to find one on YouTube. The commposer of this delightful monstrosity is Jiri Jakub Zimmerman, and in the clip it is performed by Vojtech Havlik with the Hitmakers Orchestra under Jan Rybar. Go and listen to it - it is a hoot!

Go here

Monday, June 23, 2014

Artistic patterns

This photograph is a close-up of a sculpture displayed at the Kunst aan de Ee exhibition earlier this year. I chose black and white to further emphasize the shapes that make the shot interesting. My 65th photograph to reach Flickr Explore.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 160
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Potpourri: Bloom chairs

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 some time ago. This one was originally posted 30 July 2013.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Vogue December 1925

Another beautiful vintage Vogue cover from the roaring twenties. This one has a distinct painting-like feeling to it - I could well image this on a canvas in a museum. It was created by French Art Deco illustrator, painter, and engraver Pierre Brissaud.


Friday, June 20, 2014

The black marble clock

French (post)impressionist painter Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) is one of those artists that I should love given my tastes, but that I find it difficult to really appreciate. That is also why he has not featured in this blog yet. I quite like this work from 1870 though - I came across it in several articles about the new Tori Amos album, because it inspired her to compose the track 16 shades of blue. More on Cezanne in the linked Wikipedia article.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tori Amos on Unrepentant Geraldines

I have fallen in love with Tori Amos' album Unrepentant Geraldines, which was released last month. Her best since the fabulous Scarlet's Walk, which is in my top5 all-time favourite pop/rock albums, and definitely one of the best albums of the decade so far to my taste, with serious competition limited to Agnes Obel, Steven Wilson, and maybe Fish. The linked article presents an interesting interview with her about this album. Fascinating to read her own thoughts on many of the tracks.

web site

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Abstracting reality part 1: general musings

Of the recurring topics in my photography, abstract images tend to stand out. This has inspired me to write a series of blog posts on  the subject, as seen through my lay-man's eyes (I never received any formal training on photography). In these posts, I will tackle the following six (not mutually exclusive) themes: distorted reflections, architectural abstracts, wear and tear, zooming in, abstracted art, and miscellaneous situations. The present post is a general introduction to the theme.

The Wikipedia entry on Abstract art (link) starts with the sentence: Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. We will see the first part come back in the subsequent themed contributions, but it is also important to pay attention to the second part: the presence of identifiable items do not make an image a non--abstract. I stress this, because I have often encountered comments that assume abstracts by definition cannot have identifiable elements.

Abstract art is mostly encountered in paintings, and less frequently in photography. It is worthwhile pointing out a big distinction between these two abstract art forms. Painters can let their imagination go wild in creating their abstracts, with forms, colours and lines fully unrestricted from  a practical point of view. Photographers are limited to what they encounter (or in rare cases set-up) in real life. It is essential to develop a good eye for possibilities in this respect, keeping in mind that one can select larger scenes as well as small details (without necessarily going into the special field of macro photography).

Let's end this introductory piece with a few general remarks. First, as in all photography, composition plays an important role in determining the quality of an abstract shot. In my experience the natural flow through an image, often enhanced by good choice of using the diagonals, is crucial in this respect. Second, always shoot a series of pictures of one subject, so you can choose the best one. Third, and one that I wished I had known earlier, if your abstract is a detail shot, also take a shot of the overall subject for reference. It is embarrassing to have a successful abstract photograph, and when asked for more information, failing to remember what it actually was.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

I had earmarked the image on the left for use in this blog one day: a beautiful piece of Japanese Art Deco, this OSK Shochiku Grand Revue poster from 1930. A few weeks ago I came across the linked compilation in a Dark Roasted Blend post, and the similarity with the 1927 Vanity Fair cover on the right is too close for comfort. Well, "borrowing" images is something from all times.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Found diptych

I encountered this diptych-like situation during an art exhibition. The left/top part is a rusty table used as part of a sculpture, the right/bottom part is the carpet of the exhibition hall. It became my 64th photograph to reach Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Summer time blues

A recent painting by my wife. The inspiration came partially from a visit to Bordeaux, partially from the works of Edward Hopper. The coming months I will be featuring her work more regularly again.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Harper's Bazar October 1929

It's been a while since this famous magazine featured in my blog. Here we have another great Art Deco cover with more than a hint of Modigliani, unfortunately by an unidentified artist.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Coffee Universe by Flora Borsi

At first glance, the idea behind Hungarian artist's Flora Borsi's Coffee Universe project sounds more like Art's Potpourri material: combining regular photographs and backgrounds made up of creamy coffee swirls. However, the effects are so haunting, apocalyptic even, that I decided to put it here. As always, all rights retained by the artist.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fuxin Tobacco Company

Not your typical vintage Chinese beauty poster, but I quite like this one which depicts a female aviation pioneer. As so often, this was commissioned by a local tobacco company. It was designed in 1935 by Ming Sheng.

Vintage Posters

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The thrill of Brazil

Tomorrow is the long anticipated start of the FIFA 2014 World Championship Football in Brazil. For the occasion, one more Brazil-themed post. This fun poster (with its ingenious use of the actress' leg as a T) is for a 1946 musical directed by S. Sylvan Simon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ford prefect

It is no secret that my Flickr friend jenny downing is one of my favourite photographers on Flickr. I have faved a large number of her shots over the years, and many of these have featured in this blog. Even so, this recent effort is one of her very best. The shapes are beautiful, and the dof is simply exemplary. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Silvestrovs Silent Songs

In Desert Island Discs, I am focusing on albums that I love, with emphasis on the less well-known ones. They can be from all genres, from new age via pop/rock and jazz to classical. Live albums will be rare, compilation albums will be excluded. Images are created with the on-line programme Photoface Fun.

The eighth in the series takes us back to the field of classical music. Even for most lovers of the genre, the name Valentin Silvestrov will not ring a bell. He is a contemporary Ukrainian composer, whose song cycle Silent Songs is a relatively unknown masterpiece - it would make my top10 song cycles, together with e.g. Mahler, Schubert and Strauss. One reviewer hit the nail on the head: "haunting yet disturbingly comforting". Baritone Sergey Yakovenko and pianist Ilya Scheps give what must be the definite performance, in a suitably intimate recording. Absolutely essential.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Take a seat

Like the first one that I have posted (here), this is a close-up of the seats of chairs of an Apeldoorn restaurant. The third in a series of four, this is my personal favourite of the bunch.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Sunday, June 08, 2014

The seven wonders of Dmitri Shostakovich

Especially for those not very familiar with the music of Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), the linked article is a fascinating introduction to this brilliant man. Seven writers tackle seven different categories of his works: symphonies, concertos, operas, chamber music, piano music, ballets and film music, giving a short overview and recommendations. The only category really missing is his songs.

web site