Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Culture stars who died in 2015

The Daily Telegraph has posted an article with short in memoriams for over one hundred culture stars who passed away this year (albeit with an almost unavoidable bias for English stars). It includes the likes of Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek TV series and movies), Patrick McNee (Avengers and New Avengers TV series) and Terry Pratchett (my favourite author). Rest in peace.

web site

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The most viewed posts of 2015

With the year coming to an end, I thought it might be fun to look once more at the statistics of this blog and see which are the most viewed posts per category over the past 12 months (provided that they had more than five posts in the year). I realize that most viewed does not equal most popular, as other factors (such as showing up in Google searches) definitely play a role here. Still, here they are (image sourced from here).

Anything goes: Celanese Fabrics.
Architectural aspects: Louis Vuitton Foundation Paris.
Beautiful album covers: Schoolyard ghosts (No-Man).
Beautiful single covers: Shesmovedon (Porcupine Tree).
En Vogue: Cover April 1934.
Flickr favourites: Galapagos.
Movie posters Khamoshiyan.
My digital art: Legs.
My photography: Breakthrough.
Photographers: Erwin Blumenfeld.
Photojournalism: Commencement ceremony.
The art of Lu Schaper: Dynamics.
The best of Potpourri: Journey into microworld.
Unusual concertos: Celesta.
Vintage posters: Lido Luzern.
Web sites: Shanghailus.
Worth1000: Baby dragon.
YouTube: Wedding day.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Keepers Zero

This is the time of year that I usually select my Keeper Dozen, the 12 best photographs I took during the year. There have been years where it has been a real struggle to eliminate many shots I liked to get down to the 12. This year, I found it impossible to select even 6 that I was really satisfied with - honestly I would probably pick just one as a real keeper. It is symptomatic for a lack of inspiration that has troubled me all year, and that spoiled the fun of photography as a hobby. Oh well, maybe next year will be better. The photograph above is by myself, taken in a more inspired time.

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: Bonus. Lonely this Christmas (Mud)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I have posted my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits, reaching #1 last Saturday. As a bonus, and to conclude this year-long exercise, here we have the best Dutch #1 Christmas hit to my taste: Mud's Lonely this Christmas. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).

YouTube

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Driving home for Christmas

This seasonal Chris Rea hit is not a personal favourite, but it is not bad either. The cover for the single is far better than most holiday hits. More about Chris Rea on the linked Wikipedia page.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Luminous

Another example of my digital art, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my laptop. This suitably seasonal showpiece is based on a picture I took seven years ago of a large Christmas ornament at my brother's home. The treatment used is called "Colored metal". The link leads to the original photograph.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 1. Private investigations (Dire Straits)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #1, we find Dire Straits with Private investigations (#1 in 1982). Close to seven minutes of gloomy chords, with guitars and marimba dominating, and an almost mumbled text. The whole thing perfectly evokes an old black and white detective movie, with Humphrey Bogart in the leading role, disillusioned and disgusted by the lives and the lies of the people he is paid to watch: "What have you got at the end of the day? What have you got to take away? A bottle of whiskey, and a new set of lies, blinds on the windows and a pain behind the eyes." Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Moving waves

One of the few shots I have uploaded to Flickr in recent weeks - and with rather positive reactions. This fuzzy abstract shot was created by shooting a detail of one of my wife's painting through the bottom of a drinking glass.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.0 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Verde

A fairly recent painting by my wife - and one of the few that is so dominated by various shades of green.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 2. The winner takes it all (ABBA)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #2, we find ABBA with The winner takes it all (#1 in 1980). Partially inspired by the real-life divorce of members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Faltskog, this great song presents a first-person account of the inevitable, painful feelings of loss that follow the end of a romance. The lyrics have a no-nonsense tone of dark emotion, which is further enhanced by an almost gothic melody. The recording pushes it into the realm of the truly unforgettable thanks to a heartrending lead vocal from Agnetha and an arrangement that builds from soft piano lines and background vocals to a grand operatic coda. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dream chaser

Dream chaser is the latest album by Clemens Krijger. The cover is special, not least because my Flickr friend Carmen Gonsalez (Solea) was very much involved in its creation. It is a combination of a stock photograph of an old Dutch town (probably Haarlem) and a model, shot by Carmen. The combined effect is excellent, helped by the selective colouring obtained this way.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Bathing beauty in Cassis

I had not encountered this painter before, but I quite like what I saw of his work yesterday. Henri Manguin (1874-1949) was a French artist associated with the Fauvist movement. I selected this beautiful portrait of his wife Jeanne, created in 1912. More about Manguin in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 3. Vienna (Ultravox)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #3, we find Ultravox with Vienna (#1 in 1981). This was a prime example of a new kind of pop music burst on the scene as reaction on the seemingly unstoppable rise of punk in the late seventies: the New Romantics, often with special videos as well. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, December 04, 2015

Behind those awful album covers

There are plenty of internet posts on awful album covers (they are a regular feature in the mixed nuts topic of my parallel blog Art's Potpourri as well). The linked article goes a step further and tries to find the background of the records inside those covers, tackling some of the most frequently cited examples. I found it an interesting read.

web site

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Winter in Almere

Another example of my digital art, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my laptop. This winter wonderland is based on a picture I took eight years ago in Almere. Quite suitable for the first day of the first month of winter. The link leads to the original photograph.