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Welcome to my Blog!
Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to
talk about himself. -
Not even I understand everything I am ¬Aurelius Augustinus of Hippo
In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.).
BEST WISHES FOR 2021, STAY SAFE
CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS IN CORONA LOCKDOWN
IL ROMANZO DEL COMMISSARIO MALTESE | CRIME FICTION DRAMA TV
This tv crime series was a no brainer for me! In my opinion the Italian language is the most beautiful language ones ears can receive and I love the Italian villages with the small streets and particular architecture.
So I set myself to watch Il Romanza del Commissario Maltese, 10 episodes. Excellent script, there is a murder mystery (with the mafia never far off), fraud, murder and romance!
From various sources we learn that Trapani is firmly in the grasp of organised crime and he is fighting a loosing battle.
Maltese met a woman, Elisa Ripstein (Rike Schmid), on the train to Trapani. She's a photographer returning to Trapani.
The narrative sees drugs being smuggled, money being laundered, but also a confrontation between criminals. There are snitches, fake trails and witnesses being silenced.
BUREAUCRATICS by JAN BANNING | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOBOOK
'Bureaucratics' is a project consisting of a book and exhibition containing 50 photographs, the product of an anarchist’s heart, a historian’s mind and an artist’s eye.
Jan Banning was born in The Netherlands in 1954, from Dutch-East-Indies immigrant parents. He studied social and economic history at the University of Nijmegen and has been working as a photographer since 1981. The central concern in his work is the theme of state power (and its abuse).
DE VAL VAN AMERIKA door MICHAEL PERSSON
Messages from a broken land
What does the future of the US look like?
When the Volkskrant journalist Michael Persson moved to the US in August 2015, Donald Trump had come down from an escalator just a month earlier. He said what no presidential candidate would have dared say before him: America, the chosen country, has become a 3rd world country.
Trump promised to make the US great again ('MAGA'), but instead fuelled a firestorm which enlarged
Persson traveled across the country to investigate.
RED UTOPIA by JAN BANNING | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOBOOK
Like the book discussed below, this is another exception of my desinterest in portrait photography: Jan Banning's work and here 'Red Utopia' in particular.
I admire photographers who go through such length to complete a project based on a theme or some kind of inspiration.
Jan Banning is a Dutch autonomous artist/photographer, based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He was born in Almelo (Netherlands) on 04May1954, from Dutch East Indies parents, and he studied social and economic history at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. Both of these facts have had a strong influence on his photographic works.
No two modern communist parties are the same.
Banning's photo series have been published in print media such as Days Japan, GEO (France, Germany, and International), l’Espresso, Newsweek (US and Japan), One World, Sunday Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Guardian Weekend, Time, Vrij Nederland and many others.
MOOD/MODE (MOØDs) | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOBOOK
Portrait photos are generally speaking not my thing, esspecially the head shots. But Corbijn has his distinct style in making them exceptional and powerful.
In MOOD/MODE, international photographer (and filmmaker) Anton Corbijn presents images from his extensive body of work in which he explores the crossover between photography and the world of fashion - in the broadest sense of the word.
Anton wrote the introductory, about his roots, his upbringing, his way into photography. He speaks of his admiration for fashion photographers such as Irving Penn, Nick Knight, Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roversi and Helmut Newton. But he emphasizes he is a portrait photographer who occasionally visit the fashion world.
Generally my focus has been on people who make things, whether it's writers or directors or painters or musicians. ¬Anton Corbijn
Anton Johannes Gerrit Corbijn van Willenswaard was born on 20May55 in Strijen in the Netherlands, where his father had been appointed as parson to the Dutch Reformed Church the previous year.
From then on it was upward and onward, photographing 'all the greats', made his name in film & video, including the character-based thriller 'The American', starring George Clooney and the film 'A Most Wanted Man', the John le Carré novel of the same name.
From Godtsenhoven's essay: 'For someone who only switched to digital photography in 2018, always preferring the magic of the dark room above digital settings, the new medium is almost too perfect. Corbijn likes ímperfection, spontaneity, simplicity and aesthetics', but it's that same simplicity that
Superb photography, a wonderful photobook!
ICARUS by DEON MEYER | BOOKS CRIME FICTION
'Icarus' features one of Deon Meyer's regulars, Captain Benny Griessel of the Hawks (as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations is widely known as).
Benny's colleague Vaughn Cupido is made the leading investigator (JOC) in the murder inquiry regarding the young entrepreneur Ernst Richter, found wrapped in plastics in a shallow grave.
Ernst Richter ran a company called Alibi, an apparently successful internet-start-up membership service that provided 'alibis' for clients when, for example, they wanted to cheat on their spouses: from fake restaurant and hotel bills to more elaborate ones.
The timelines of the narratives are not concurrent, the Richter-story taking a while to catch up with Du Toit’s consult with lawyer Peires. He thinks he needs a lawyer, as “.. it's connected to the murder of Ernst Richter."
Particularly compelling is the slow discovery of who Richter really was, as the police put together the pieces and follow the leads, as well as the clearer picture that emerges of Alibi: Richter had been cooking the books and the investors have threatened to walk out on him.
Icarus is yet again a very satisfying Meyer novel, the 5th Benny Griessel novel.
HAS CHINA WON? by KISHORE MAHBUBANI | WORLD
Behind “Has China Won?” (which it hasn’t) lurks a more important question: “Can America lose?”
While we are nearing the end of the Donald Trump Admistration in the US, we find that a long-term strategy, such as against the once-mighty Soviet Union, is missing for China. Which is one of the mistakes the US is making.
Mahbubani offers an excellent insight into the declining well-being of the economy and society in the United States. While in China we see growth and increasing well-being..
Mahbubani (a.o.) tackles a few myths, as misconceptions effecting strategies and international relations.
The book serves as a great insight into ways of thinking on both sides as well as their role and relations in the world.
Kishore Mahbubani (b.24Oct1948) is a Singaporean civil servant, a career diplomat and an academic.
'Has China Won?' is one of those 5-star books one reads once a year at most.
THE DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, DURING CORONA LOCKDOWN
WILLIAM EGGLESTON 414 | PHOTOBOOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
After the purchase I found out I was wrong about the title as wells as the photographer(s).
William Eggleston (b.27Jul1939) is an American photographer. He is widely credited with increasing recognition for color photography as a legitimate artistic medium.
His interest in photography took root when a friend at Vanderbilt University gave Eggleston a Leica camera. He was introduced to abstract expressionism at Ole Miss by visiting painter Tom Young.
Eggleston began experimenting with color in 1965 and 1966 after being introduced to the format by William Christenberry. Color transparency film became his dominant medium in the later 1960s. Eggleston's development as a photographer seems to have taken place in relative isolation from other artists. In an interview, John Szarkowski describes his first encounter with the young Eggleston in 1969 as being "absolutely out of the blue".
Eggleston taught at Harvard in 1973 and 1974, and it was during these years that he discovered dye-transfer printing.
Eggleston's published books and portfolios include Los Alamos (completed in 1974, but published much later), William Eggleston's Guide (the catalog of the 1976 MoMa exhibit), the massive Election Eve (1977; a portfolio of photographs taken around Plains, Georgia, the rural seat of Jimmy Carter before the 1976 presidential election), The Morals of Vision (1978), Flowers (1978), Wedgwood Blue (1979), Seven (1979), Troubled Waters (1980), The Louisiana Project (1980), William Eggleston's Graceland (1984; a series of commissioned photographs of Elvis Presley's Graceland, depicting the singer's home as an airless, windowless tomb in custom-made bad taste), The Democratic Forest (1989), Faulkner's Mississippi (1990), and Ancient and Modern (1992).
Eggleston's mature work is characterized by its ordinary subject-matter.
Korine is a filmmaker (behind some controversial films, allegedly) and Teller is a photographer whose high-key snapshot aesthetic has helped define fashion advertising over the same period.
The frontcover of 'William Eggleston 414' is a room door. A closed door. We learn very little of Eggleston nor of the friendship of the three though the book shows a warm camaraderie shared on a roadtrip 'to nothing'.
NEDERLAND ONDER HET SYSTEEMPLAFOND by MARCEL VAN ROOSMALEN | BOOKS
No writer knows how to report so well on what is going on in the depths of Dutch society. Marcel van Roosmalen knows in a very observant tone what touches and moves the Dutchman in his columns on radio and television, as well as his stories and reports published in newspapers, magazines and books.
This has been the 3rd book I've read by Van Roosmalen, another compilation of his columns (he has also written biographies, has done theatre performances), all noteworthy for his dry wit. Too funny.
Victor isn't allowed to work as a surgeon anymore, but does his good deeds in an abandoned building and in a Roma community; we learn a little about him, but he wears the same dead stare through all 6 episodes.
PIER TO PIER by GIEDO VAN DER ZWAN | STREETPHOTOGRAPHY
Pier to Pier is a photobook for Scheveningers and for everyone who loves who loves this seaside resort Scheveningen. But also for anyone who enjoys beautiful photography.
Giedo van der Zwan is from Schevening himself. He heard the stories of the former fishing village from his grandfather, who once had a fish shop there. And from his father who grew up there.
SCHEVENINGEN - BADPLAATS IN BEELD, SANDRA UITTENBOGAART
Harmonious & Still.
The book is dedicated to a Dutch seaside resort, Scheveningen, which celebrated its 200 anniversary in 2018.
NATURALIS BIODIVERSITY CENTER | SPECIES PRESERVATION
Naturalis is the Dutch national research institute for biodiversity. It is located in Leiden.
The beginnings of Naturalis go back to the creation of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie (abbreviated RMNH, National Museum of Natural History) by Dutch King William I on 09Aug1820.
In 1986, it was decided that the institution should become a public museum, and a new building was designed by the Dutch architect Fons Verheijen.
In 2010 the National Museum of Natural History (Naturalis) further combined with the Zoological Museum Amsterdam (ZMA) of the University of Amsterdam, and the Dutch National Herbaria at the universities of Leiden, Amsterdam and Wageningen, to form the Nederlands Centrum voor Biodiversiteit (NCB Naturalis).
We visited this museum a little while back, before the 'smart lockdown' got tightened further and a.o. museums had to close in an attempt to stem the Covid-19 pandemic.
THIN ICE | TV-SERIES ECOTHRILLER CRIME DRAMA
A Swedish research vessel disappears in the waters off Greenland. Members of the Arctic Circle meet in Tasiilaq, a town in southeastern Greenland, to sign an environmentally important treaty.
The research vessel is found but the crew is gone, abducted by a commando unit of unknown origin.
In Tasiilaq the hijacking of the ship starts an investigation, headed by Katarina (Iben Dorner) who is flown in for the international implications. This sits not well with the head of police there, Enok (Angunnguaq Larsen) and his deputy.
It is soon found that the Swedish research vessel had stumbled on another research party (Russians?), both without proper permits for the particular area and deemed to be the largest remaining oil reserve on the planet.
Russia blackmails the chairman Martin with information of his extramarital affair, to cease the signing of the treaty and send everybody home for lack of safety and developments.
The backdrop of snowy Greenland is amazing, actors of Greenland speaking their own language ads to the realistic feel, the problems global warming are made crystal clear, the crime plot entertaing and well developed, there's plenty of drama but with refreshing twists and a good, realistic ending.
't HUYS TE WARMONT | WALKABOUT
PANORAMA VAN MESDAG | PAINTING ART HISTORY
I visited the Museum Panorama Mesdag for a photo exhibition but could not ignore the name giving painting of this museum: panorama on the city and beach of Scheveningen by the painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag (and his wife Sientje Mesdag-van Houten).
Housed in a purpose-built museum in The Hague, the panorama is a cylindrical painting (also known as a Cyclorama) more than 14 metres high and about 40 metres in diameter (120 metres in circumference). From an observation gallery in the centre of the room the cylindrical perspective creates the illusion that the viewer is on a high sand dune overlooking the sea, beaches and village of Scheveningen in the late 19th century. A foreground of fake terrain around the viewing gallery hides the base of the painting and makes the illusion more convincing.
My photos date from over a week ago, and a word of warning as the museums are about to close in a tightening of the 'light lockdown', so make sure the museum is open before you travel to The Hague. A
CANDID - STREETPHOTOGRAPHY | PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
Museum Panorama Mesdag presents a selection of over 70 photos of contemporary beach life from a
The photography of Giedo van der Zwan reminded me of Martin Parr's photography. Excellent work.
The CANDID collective-
My photos date from a while ago, I could not find the time to publish the photos closer to the date. Museums will close tomorrow or soon after for a more severe lockdown, but when they reopen I recommend a visit here in The Hague.
SAM HASKINS, PHOTOGRAPHER | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOBOOK
Samuel Joseph Haskins (b.11Nov1926 – d.26Nov2009), was a British photographer, born Kroonstad (Orange Freestate) and raised in South Africa.
My photography started as a plane spotter, during my schooldays. Gradually my interest expanded during the 1970s beyond military aeroplanes, by work of David Bailey, Bob Carlos Clarke, Ansel Adams, Uwe Ommer and Sam Haskins.
Haskins' early creative influences were fueled by an interest in magic tricks, kite making, drawing and the circus.
Haskins started his career as an advertising photographer in Johannesburg in 1953.
Haskins suffered a stroke on 19Sep2009, the opening day of his exhibition to launch Fashion Etcetera at Milk Gallery in New York; he died at home in Bowral, Australia, 9 weeks later.
THE ICE CHILD by CAMILLA LACKBERG | BOOKS CRIME FICTION
A partially dressed teenage girl wanders blindly through the snowy January woods, observed by a woman on horseback. When she finally reaches the road, a car coming from nowhere has no time to stop.
Lackberg weaves many plotlines to a surprising ending. The narrative proceeds step by step, developments we follow by the considerations of many: Patrik muses about his wife's intrusions in the investigation, about his superior's idleness, the stress for handling this emotional laden investigation, his feelings for his family.
I thought there were too many narratives, too ambitious in making things vague and complicated. The plot is excellent though.
Publication Order of Fjällbacka Books
BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES, SEASON 2 | CRIME FICTION TV-SERIES
The Brokenwood Mysteries is a New Zealand detective, drama television series that premiered on Prime in 2014. The programme is set in the fictitious New Zealand town of Brokenwood and was filmed in the greater Auckland region. Tim Balme conceived the series and is lead writer with Philip Dalkin, James Griffin and Greg McGee.
This 2nd series I recently watched was as good as the first series: a good plotline and fast & funny interchanges between the main characters.
The first episode has a remarkable start: The coach of the rugby team is found dead, strapped naked to a goal post.
The series is a pleasure to watch.
NATIONAAL BOMENMUSEUM GIMBORN | BOTANICAL GARDEN
The National Tree Museum Gimborn in Doorn has a world-famous collection of trees and shrubs from all parts of the world.
Max von Gimborn liked conifers and evergreen shrubs (e.g. Rhododendron). Thus he laid the foundation of the current collection between 1924 and his death in 1964.
From 1966, under the banner of Utrecht University (the new owner), the collection was transformed for more scientific purposes, whereby wild collected plants (or from seed) became more important.
For the 4th time, the Dutch Department of Ceramics (NVK) and the Tree Museum are organizing a ceramic exhibition outside in the arboretum.
MUSEUM MILITAIRE TRADITIE (MMT) | MILITAIRY HISTORY MUSEUM
The development of military clothing and accessories is shown.
I was quite surprised to see how extensive this museum of Dutch militairy tradition is: memorabilia dating back to Napoleon dates and Battle at Waterloo, a huge collection of uniforms, decorations, badges, newspaper clippings, WWII memorabilia, several tv screens for documentaries, et cetera.
We had the pleasure of donating a few Dutch Navy uniforms.
SUSAN SONTAG, HER LIFE AND WORK by B. MOSER | BOOKS BIOGRAPHY
Susan Sontag (b. 16Jan1933 – d.28Dec2004) was an American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher and political activist.
Sontag was active in writing and speaking about, or travelling to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War and the Siege of Sarajevo.
No writer negotiated as many worlds; no serious writer had as many glamorous lovers. 'Sontag' tells these stories and examines the work upon which her reputation was based. It explores the agonizing insecurity behind the formidable public face: the broken relationships, the struggles with her sexuality, that animated—and undermined—her writing.
A thorough portrait of one of the American Century’s most towering intellectuals: her writing and her radical thought, her public activism and her hidden private face.
I find good biographies a bit daunting and disheartening: the 'likeability' by superficial admiration is stripped away to lay the subject bare. I experienced this with the biographies of Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, and it was no different with Moser's 'Susan Sontag, her life and work'.
Sontag lived very much inside her own brain, other persons were either a subject of analytical consideration or a lover or fan. She could turn hot and cold to people surrounding her with their love and support. She was a kept woman for much of her lifetime, but showed little appreciation. I got the impression she thought of herself as a sort of high priest of art and culture, all that flowed her way, fame and funding, seemed something that was part of her rightful role in life.
Her biographer takes her measure with unfailing intelligence, honesty, and sympathy. Moser doesn’t
She had three bouts of cancer and did not survive the 3rd time. Her relationship with Annie Leibowitz, until her death and burial, I found fascinating. As an avid hobby photographer I followed her work for decades, through this book on Susan Sontag I also learned a lot about Annie Leibowitz.
Even after Sontag's death she remains admired or at least a fascination (warts and all) for many. I visited her grave a few years ago in Montpernasse and while reading this book I visited Venice so I made a point of visiting the graves of Joseph Brodski (whom she admired) and Ezra Pound at the Cimitero.
Moser has written a masterpiece, deservedly winner of the Pulitzer Price in Biography.
BLINDED / FARTBLINDA | TV-SERIES CRIME FICTION DRAMA
Louis Matias Karl Padin Varela (b.23Jun1980, Södermalm/Stockholm.) is a Swedish actor of Spanish descent.
BRUCE DAVIDSON, AN ILLUSTRATED BIOGRAPHY | PHOTOGRAPHER PHOTOGRAPHY
Davidson was in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, to a Jewish family of Polish origins.
At 19, Davidson won his first national recognition for his photography, the 1952 'Kodak National High School Photographic Award'.
Davidson received an Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship in 1998, to return to East 100th
JONATHAN CREEK, SERIES 5 | CRIME FICTION TV-SERIES
At the start of the series, Jonathan Creek worked from his home in a converted windmill, he worked as a creative consultant to a stage magician while also solving seemingly supernatural mysteries through his talent for logical deduction and his understanding of illusions.
FROZEN OUT by QUENTIN BATES | BOOKS CRIME FICTION
The discovery of a corpse washed up on a beach in an Icelandic backwater sparks a series of events that takes police sergeant Gunnhildur, 'Gunna', into a police inquiry much beyond her usual police activities of directing heavy industrial traffic and local disturbance in the small village of Hvalvik.
I like the Gunnhildur character, finding her to be a very realistic protagonist who is likeable and has a past. One gets a taste of what happened to her in her past, without revealing a whole lot about it.
MYBREXIT 52/48 by MERLIN DALEMAN | PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
Today I visited the exhibition ‘My Brexit 52/48’ by the British-Dutch photo journalist Merlin Daleman in De Kunsthal Rotterdam.
Most of the people Daleman has captured were never able to profit from the prosperity brought on by a united Europe.
Hidden beneath these often everyday scenes lie high unemployment figures, a growing number of homeless people, health issues and a great deal of division. A rain-drenched high street in Stratford-upon-Avon. The fences and gates that people seem to be defending their territory with in Belfast. As a documentary photographer, Daleman knows how to capture significant details.
Merlin Daleman (1977) has a Dutch mother and a British father. He grew up in the Black Country, the former mining district west of Birmingham. Daleman left England to study at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, the Netherlands. Having specialised in documentary photography, he now regularly travels between his place of residence in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant and his native country.
Note 1: I regretted that there was no catalogue available of this work
HASSEL | CRIME FICTION DRAMA DVD-BOX
Detective Roland 'Rolle' Hassel's father figure and mentor, Yngve Ruda, is brutally murdered late at night in his car at a remote location, while waiting for someone to meet him.
Devastated, Hassel (Ola Rapace) decides to undertake his own covert investigation to find Ruda's killer and avenge him with the support of 'Triton', a special task force consisting of Hassel's most devoted co-workers: Meyer (Shanti Roney), Palm (Thomas Holwin), Frank (David Nzinga) and Lindhe (Nanna Blodell).
Triton was led by Ruda and his motto to the team was always to be honest to each other, only to find out now that Ruda kept secrets from them.
The team operates beyond the bounderies of what is legal, kidnapping and torturing suspects. They are caught in a spiral of violence. Someone of Internal Affairs is assigned to scrutinize and evaluate their investigations, including the one into the murder of Ruda. The investigation is led by Fatima Nidal (Ana Gil de Melo Nascimento).
Hassel's obsession with the case bitterly affects his family.
I have to admit I did not much care for this series, though I kept watching all 10 episodes. There's plenty of action. But in spite of 10 episodes there is hardly any character building, nothing much becomes known of Daniela's background nor that of the team (except Frank, who suffers from PTSD from his days as a sniper in Afghanistan).
PAINTER JOHN CONSTABLE in TEYLER'S MUSEUM | PAINTINGS ART
John Constable (b.11Jun1776 – d.31Mar1837) was an English landscape painter in the Romantic tradition.
Constable's favourite subject was the landscape of his youth on the east coast of England near Harwich.
Enjoyed this splendid exhibition immensely, and it may well be when the Covid-19 pandemic is over and we can visit England again, we'll tour 'Constable Country'!
(SAND)SCULPTURES @GARDEREN (GLD) | ART HISTORY
A visit to the sandsculptures of Garderen (GLD), what a magnificent job these artists have achieved!
With the nostalgic showroom village, the Sculpture Garden is the place to get ideas to dress up your home and garden. A wide range of garden statues and other decorations for the garden. There are two restaurants and is well suited for people in wheelchairs.