Thursday, July 31, 2014


This is one of the most intense portraits I have seen on Flickr, enhanced further by the magnificent (yet not dominating) backdrop of the Mexican volcano. A masterpiece by my Flickr friend (Rodolfo Anzaldua) and a well-deserved hit on Flickr Explore. As always, all rights reserved by the original photographer.

As time goes by by Bryan Ferry

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 ninth in the series is Bryan Ferry's 1999 masterpiece As time goes by, a beautiful piece of nostalgia. Well-known for a long career (first as lead singer of Roxy Music, later as solo artist), he takes well-known songs from the thirties and forties, and gives them a treatment that is at the same time unashamed nostalgic in instrumentation and pure Ferry in singing. One of the best crossover albums I know.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mahler's Ninth Symhony

Mahler's ninth symphony is one of my favourites (it would make my top10 symphonies), and the linked article by Tom Service for The Guardian is an insightful piece about it, taking into account both the symphony itself and the various interpretations over the years.

web site

Unusual concertos [74]: Sheng

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 fourth concerto deals with the sheng (image source). This is one of the oldest Chinese instruments, dating back over 3000 years. It consists of a series of pipes played via a mouthpiece, hence the alternative name of Chinese mouth organ. Not surprisingly, it does not make a frequent appearance in classical music, but famous contemporary South Korean composer Unsuk Chin composed a concerto for it, titled Su. I don't think it has been released on CD yet, but the linked site gives an option to download a performance by Wu Wei with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Ilan Volkov.

Go here

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vogue April 1929

Even among such stiff competition as the back-catalogue of Vogue covers from the Jazz Age, this cover stands out as one of the best. Unfortunately, I could not retrieve information about the illustrator.


Monday, July 28, 2014

World War I in photos

One century ago today, one of the worst wars in human history started: the ill-named Great War. Ultimately the lives of more than 16 million people were lost. The Atlantic has posted a ten part series of photographs from this conflict, ranging from the well-known western front trenches, to aerial warfare and war at sea, concluding with a series of present day shots on this theme. Disturbing images, but essential to get a better view of what happened back then.

web site

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jean-Marie Perier

Not exactly a house-hold name world-wide, but famous in France: Jean-Marie Perier (born 1940). He is one of the country's foremost photographers of pop and rock stars, and I love this portrait of Francoise Hardy by him. More about Perier in the Wikipedia entry linked to below.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Daughter of the jazz age

This lovely postcard dates back to the late twenties, from a series based on paintings or water colours by contemporary artists. I could not find more information, but it is a great image.


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Ultimate Banksy Gallery

Prolific street artist Banksy could well be regarded in times to come as one of the more important artists of this century. Whatever you think of the intrinsic quality of his art (I am still on the fence myself), his imagination is exemplary and many of his works have a considerable impact. The linked recent post in Twisted Sifter brings together 127 of his creations. The collage above is by myself, using the mosaic tool at BigHugeLabs.

web site

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Exploding fireworks

Another beautiful shot by my Flickr friend peggyhr. In her portfolio, several types of shots really stand out for me, and her take on goatsbeard seedheads is one of them. This is surely one of the very best in that category, with a fantastic point of view. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Potpourri: Octopus survey team

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 9 June 2013.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Flight MH17

Last week's drama of the shooting down of flight MH17 by [most likely] East Ukranian terrorists, which resulted in 298 people dying, including 193 Dutch, has made an impact in the Netherlands unlike almost any other event I can remember. This photograph of items found on the ground after the crash is a perfect way of representing the horror of complete families, including many children, who were wiped out while on their way to a holiday. I came across it in a newspaper article about children books writer Gerard van Gemert, who recognized one of his own works in the debris shown above, and wrote a touching column about it. As always, all rights retained by the photographer (Undisclosed/TLG).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Another green world

One of my own favourites of the year, and although it was never close to Explore, it has steadily gathered a respectable amount of views and faves. Reactions on it have varied quite a bit. Two of my long-term Flickr friends, both very accomplished photographers, posted "Another brilliant abstract" and "The image feels unbalanced with all the structural interest in the lower right quarter", respectively. I love it, and had it printed large on canvas for display in our gallery. It is actually a green plastic cover, shot through the window.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.0062 sec (1/160)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Firn ice cream

Summer has well and truly arrived in the Netherlands, with tropical temperatures for the second day in a row. A suitable early Art Deco poster for Firn ice cream, designed by Carl Moos in 1922.

Vintage Posters

Friday, July 18, 2014

Microscopic landscapes by Rebecca Clews

The landscapes created by American artist Rebecca Clews are among the most beautiful pieces of art I have come across in recent months. She creates them from hundreds of microscopic images stacked on top of each other, to stunning results. Do click the link to the MyModernMet post where I came across these gems, and then proceed from there to her web site. As always, all rights retained by the artist.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Love before breakfast

From the days that several countries commissioned their own movie posters for Hollywood's products. This is the Swedish version of the 1936 Walter Lang movie Love before breakfast, starring Carole Lombard.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

La Silhouette

Once more one of my attempts at digital art based on my own photographs, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my new laptop. This is a photograph taken in Paris a few years ago, given a stained glass like treatment to a rather striking effect. The link leads to the original photograph.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Motion Picture Classic January 1920

The magazine Motion Picture Classic has featured on a number of occasions in my blog already. Here is a rather early issue, featuring a drawing of movie star Marion Davies, perhaps best remembered as newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst' mistress.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Abstracting reality part 2: distorted reflections

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. A general introduction was posted here.

Distorted reflections (the first of the themes) are a great way to create abstract photographs. In my experience, reflections on water surfaces are by far the most useful for this type of abstractions, and we will mainly deal with them in this contribution. There are a few things one needs to take into account. First of all, one has to encounter the right conditions. The water surface should not be too calm (which leads to insufficient distortion of the primary image), nor too wild (which leads to insufficient reflection). Secondly, there should be something of interest to reflect, sometimes shapes, but mostly colours. This can range from buildings, to sunscreens, to parked cars, to graffiti, and so on. Thirdly, unlike any other type of abstract photography, you will be dealing with an ever changing subject. The movement of the water, whether it is caused by the wind or ducks swimming by, makes for a different scene every single moment. It is crucial to take a series of shots of a promising situation, to be able to pick the best one at home behind the computer. In terms of final processing, be bold in pushing the natural colours, and don't forget to try different orientation (flipping upside down is an obvious one, but also 90 degrees rotations can be quite effective). Please click here to see 12 selected examples from my Flickr photostream with some background information.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tage wie diese

Tonight is the first time in my life that I will be a supporter of the German national football team in a major final. They have played the best football by far in this fascinating world cup, and they deserve the ultimate reward. For the occasion, the greatest hit scored by my favourite German band, Die Toten Hosen. Tage wie diese (Days like these) made it to #1 in 2012. Enjoy. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).


Unusual concertos [73]: Flute

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 third concerto deals with the flute (image source). This is one of the last regular orchestra instruments to feature in this series, and ceratinly one of the top10 most popular concertante instruments of all time. Some of the more famous concertos are those by Vivaldi, CPE Bach, Mozart, Nielsen, and Ibert. I have selected the flute concerto by Lowell Liebermann. It is played by Katherine Bryan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Paul Daniel, available on a Linn CD.

Go here

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Stunning digital creations by Spanish artist Antonio Mora. He merges portraits and images like waterfalls, cityscapes, desert rocks, and bridges, to form surreal images. More examples in the link. All rights retained by the artist, as usual.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Tour de France

With the Dutch team out of the FIFA world championship at the semi-finals stage, let's switch to another sporting event. The Tour de France is slowly but surely recovering from the doping scandals of the past decade(s), and is taking its right place once more as one of the most important sport events of the summer. Its logo combines instant recognition with a healthy dose of creativity. The O and the sun symbol, bridged by the letters u and r, form a cyclist, while there is a nice echo of the leader's yellow jersey in the spot of colour of the yellow sun. Unfortunately, I cannot find any information on its designer.

web site

Thursday, July 10, 2014


A gorgeous album cover for the 2011 album by Celtic fusion band Ion. The photograph that it is based on is by my long-time Flickr friend Carmen Gonzalez (Solea).