Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill

Earlier this month, BBC4 broadcast a beautiful documentary about Kate Bush, one of my all-time favourite pop/rock artists. I was glad to see it being posted on YouTube as well, in four parts (links to part 1, 2, 3, 4). Warmly recommended.


Saturday, August 30, 2014


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. Blokzijl is a nearby town with beautiful views, rivalling the more famous Giethoorn. This is one of the outstanding spots, photographed by myself and then converted to digital art by the painting module of the mentioned software. The link leads to the original photograph.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Elite Styles February 1929

Another beautiful Art Deco cover of Elite Styles, with a clear summer feeling in spite of its month of publication. This magazine is at least 100 years old and is still published today.


Thursday, August 28, 2014


The "Reality sucks" campaign by the Utopolis group of cinemas is both creative and funny. Their realistic versions of iconic scenes from popular movies remind us why these  movies are not realistic, but a perfect escape from reality.

Creative Ads

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Join the ATS

A late Art Deco masterpiece by Abram Games, this recruitment poster for the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War. Great image, great font, even though the reception in 1941 was mixed, with official reactions like "Women should be attracted into the army by patriotism, not glamour!"

Vintage Posters

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Impressionism was born 7.35am on 13 November 1872

The linked article really appeals to the scientist in me... Monet's painting Impression, Rising Sun is widely seen as the moment impressionism was created. Donald Olson, a professor of astrophysics at Texas State University, has done a tremendous bit of research to discover the exact location, and from that, the exact time, that Monet has created this masterpiece: 7.35am on 13 November 1872. The details in the link.

web site

Monday, August 25, 2014


How many people have had the chance to come across this beauty (unless they follow the same music blogs that I do of course)? Infibeat is a funk rock band from Costa Rica, and this is the cover of their 2013 album Aguacero (Downpour). Love the image, as well as the cunning way the album title and the band name have been used in an infinity symbol.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Self portraits are not very common in my wife's repertoire, but here is a fairly recent one. And I love it. So do many others, given the comments we get when we put it in the window of our gallery.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games

Taken from a post at The Big Picture featuring a series of photographs shot during the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. This is from the opening ceremony, and I like how it combines news with really great photography. As always, all rights retained by the photographer (Donald Chan/Reuters).

Friday, August 22, 2014


We encountered this window decoration last month in the nearby city of Genemuiden. Shooting through the glass was a challenge, but I like how this turned out. So did others: it became my 69th photograph to appear in Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 10.9 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Unusual concertos [75]: Jazz band

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 fifth concerto deals with the jazz band (image source). This is the first of a few concertos written for special groups of instruments. A concerto for jazz band and orchestra was composed by Rolf Liebermann. I have selected this concerto in the version with the NDR big band and the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra under Guenter Neuhold, available on a Naxos CD.

Go here

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vogue July 1950

When we think of vintage Vogue covers, we usually have the gems of the twenties and thirties in mind. Well, here is a beauty from a few decades later. A nice combination of fifties' illustration style and a subject which could have been used the same way much earlier. Once again, I could not retrieve information about the illustrator.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The dark tower

After another prolonged absence, my Flickr friend Philipp Klinger has returned once more to share his photographs with us. This is one of the best in his impressive portfolio: the DC tower in Vienna captured against an ominous sky. Perfection. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Alfabeto Pittorico

This beautiful architectural alphabet in classical style was created by Antonio Basoli around 1800. A native of Bologna, he used the Italian alphabet, which explains the absence of j and w. I created the mosaic above with the tools at BigHugeLabs, but do click the link to sample each letter in stunning detail.

web site

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rock Stadium Al Ain

No, this is not scheduled for the controversial FIFA football world championships in Qatar 2020, although it is not that far off geographically. The Rock Stadium, designed by MZ Architects, is scheduled to be built in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. A beautiful example of embedding a building in its environment. More on this building can be found in the link below.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Abstracting reality part 3: architectural abstracts

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; the first contribution (on distorted reflections) was posted here.

Architectural abstracts (the second of the themes) are usually based on line play, rather than the sometimes extravagant colours that we encountered in the previous contribution (distorted reflections). As always, there are a few things one should keep in mind when approaching this subject. First, to create abstract images from architectural structures, modern buildings and bridges tend to be far more suitable than older ones, but as always there are exceptions to this rule. Second, perhaps more than for any other theme in this series, perspective is a key parameter and can create an abstract feeling where one would not expect it in the first place - do play around with an unusual point of view, and/or rotations in post-processing. Third, in terms of composition, our old friend the diagonal will often play a paramount role. Fourth, where lines and shapes are dominant, conversion to black and white should always be considered (even if it is not by definition the best choice) - and keep in mind that good black and white photographs usually have a high degree of contrast. Please click here to see 12 selected examples from my Flickr photostream with some background information.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

The way life's meant to be

This 1982 single by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is not the most successful in their discography, but it does sport a beautiful cover, cashing in on the popularity of science fiction of those years, and featuring the iconic ELO spaceship that appeared in several of their album covers. More about ELO on the linked Wikipedia page.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Aborigines of Australia (RIP Peter Sculthorpe et al)

This week, movie lovers lamented the passing of Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall. The world of classical music was even dealt a triple blow, with the passing of soprano Christina Deutekom, conductor Frans Bruggen, and composer Peter Sculthorpe. Especially the death of Australia's Sculthorpe, one of my favourite contemporary composers, made me sad. In his memory, his eighth string quartet Aborigines of Australia, played by the Kronos Quartet. Rest in peace, all.


Alzheimer and art

Heartbreaking. The linked blog post at Bored Panda presents the story of UK artist William Utermohlen, who was diagnosed with the mentally debilitating Alzheimer's disease in 1995 at age 62. He decided to document his deterioration by a series of self portraits over the years that show an artist watching his mind slip away from him bit by bit. Utermohlen passed away in 2007.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Photoplay June 1945 (RIP Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall)

Earlier this week, we lost two Hollywood greats, Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall. For Williams, I could not find an image suitable for the blog, but of course, the beautiful Lauren Bacall has graced many vintage magazine covers. I picked this one from Photoplay. Rest in peace.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Philip-Lorca diCorcia

Philip-Lorca diCorcia (born 1951) is an American photographer, who specializes in carefully planned street shots. The one above is perhaps his best known image, also because it was the subject of a high-profile court case. It depicts Ermo Nussenzweig, an Orthodox Jew, one of diCorcia's New York random subjects. Nussenzweig objected on religious grounds to the publication of this photograph, but lost the court case. More about diCorcia (and the court case) in the Wikipedia entry linked to below.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bitter lessons from the past

I have decided to revive the Imaginary Albums category, with one small change in the rules (see below). First the usual imaginary review:

It took the French neo-prog band Authon three years to come up with a follow-up album of their highly acclaimed debut, Parisian Affairs. Their sophomore release's title hints at the underlying causes, which were explained in detail in a recent interview at Innervisions with their lead singer Daniel Dagorn. To make a long story short, the unexpected success went to the heads of several band members, resulting in endless discussions on what direction to take and little or no actual music. On several occasions, the temptation to pull the plug on the band was difficult to overcome, and only the departure of two of the five original members last year made it possible to have a fresh start. Bitter lessons from the past is a strong second album, in a similar new-prog style as their debut, but with longer and better developed songs, and a further improvement in melodic quality. The French accent of Dagorn is still clear, and may or may not work for you. But do give them a try if you like bands such as IQ, Arena and Quidam.

The idea of this little game is to create an album cover for an imaginary artist/group, as well as an imaginary review, following these instructions:

[1] The artist/group: go to the wiki random page generator. The first random Wikipedia article obtained this way is the name of the band or performer. In this case, I ended up with Authon.
[2] The title: go to the random quotations site. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of the album (from 2014 onward: any part of a random quotation will do). The random quote that came up was by Sidney J. Harris: A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future..
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, The cannons of Paris, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were Algerian 100 Black and Chiller 65 Black, respectively.

Note: this is a variation on the "Debut album game" that has been making its rounds around bulletin boards and blogs for some time now - the original version called for a random Flickr Explore photograph to be used as the cover. I have been trying to find out who had the original idea, but so far no success.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gorilla Gladiator

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced Photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member bajazet for the Armored Animals 9 contest. Granted, it is a stunning piece of Photoshop, but it also makes you think. The way we treat these intelligent animals, locking them in zoos, is bad enough, but I am sure that there would be people who would actually pay to see them fight (and be killed) as gladiators. As always, all rights retained by the creator.


Saturday, August 09, 2014

An arm and a leg (and then some)

I was glad to have my compact camera with me when we came across this scene in the window of a local shop. Conditions were not ideal (flare from the shop lights, photographing through the window), but the result is still fun. And it became my 68th photograph to appear in Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 8 mm
ISO Speed: 320
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0