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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.