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Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!

I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues which I feel have no place on my website (which focusses on aviation history and travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself. - Charles Baudelaire
Esse est percipi (To be is to be perceived) - Bishop George Berkeley

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.). The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website.




From These Hands by Steve McCurry

From These Hands by Steve McCurry

This latest photobook by Steve McCurry tells the stories of the people living in different coffee-producing communities around the world, through McCurry’s beautifully arcolour photography.
From the foothills of the Andes to the slopes of Kilimanjaro, vibrant full-colour images document the realities of life for the people working at the source of this familiar commodity.
McCurry's travels brought him to Colombia and other coffee-producing countries such as Honduras, Peru, Brazil, Ethiopia, Tanzania, India and Vietnam.
'From These Hands', subtitled 'A Journey Along The Coffee Trail', includes portraits of children, workers and everyday community life, alongside stunning natural landscapes. The images speak of dignity and beauty rather than hardship and exploitation.




Untold by Steve McCurry

Untold by Steve McCurry

Untold by Steve McCurry

Untold by Steve McCurry

As described further down this page I went to a book signing session by Steve McCurry recently and I bought two books on that occasion, the one he was promoting and this one: Untold.
In photography there is this 'when & where'-question that always pops in my mind. And where there is drama I wonder what the story is, seeking answers. The one question I wanted to ask Mr McCurry was whether he ever came to harm or felt threatened while doing his photography, but there was quite a queue and no time to ask for his life story.
But this book 'Untold' certainly answers my question; besides the excellent portraits Steve McCurry is famous for, this book also depicts adventures and misfortunes.
While I am a mere holiday traveller I also collect stubs, notes , etc and work them in my travel photobooks much like has been done in'Untold'.
While interesting for the photography, this book is indeed also a thrilling read.




Corbijn in Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Anton Corbijn if Fotomuseum Den Haag

Over the years I have found that I am not a great fan of portraiture and certainly not of celebrities; I see their faces only too often in the media. But Anton Corbijn steers quite a different course in his photography and his work should rather be considered as belonging to art than a mere form of registering.
So I went to see Corbijn's retrospective exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. Because of the other art exhibitions there, Corbijn decided that was the place his work was to be seen. He'd never been enthusiastic about such a retrospective exhibition of his work, but since he was turning 60 in 2015 he decided the timing was right.
I am glad he did, as I became increasingly enthusiastic about his work. Esspecially his daring in steering away from 'nice faces' is truly to be admired. "I did it my way" certainly applies to the Anton Corbijn photography.
Right next door to the Gemeentemuseum is the Photomuseum in The Hague and they have a supplemental exhibition of Corbijn's work. Which I of course visited too. And where bought the book that has been published in the light of this retrospective exhibition.

en.wikipedia.org _ Anton_Corbijn

Anton Corbijn - Retrospective

Anton Corbijn - Retrospective

Anton Corbijn - Retrospective



Behind the Great Wall by Willem Wernsen

Behind the Great Wall by Willem Wernsen

Behind the Great Wall by Willem Wernsen

At the Naarden fotofestival I came across this photobook and decided that this was the book I was going to buy that day. There was a large selection of books to choose from, but I knew right away that this was the book for me.
I have been to China a few times, but not in recent years. And in recent years I have become interested in streetphotography. I would like to see myself become as good in this style of photography as Willem Wernsen shows himself to be in this book, 'Behind the Great Wall', but fear that the quality portrayed here may remain a distant dream for me.
Meanwhile, I am glad to have this book in my collection, no doubt it will give me great pleasure in future browsing but may also serve as a target for possible future achievements, in or out of China.




Fotofestival Naarden 2015

Fotofestival Naarden 2015

Fotofestival Naarden 2015

The Naarden Fotofestival 2015 (May 14th - June 21st) was yet another edition to show some of the DNA of the people in The Netherlands.
These creations all deal with the theme 'Water, Water" which is so much a part of our being.
the photographers are all Dutch or have some connection siuch as been living and working from The Netherlands (e.g. Jimmy Nelson).
As is the tradition, during the festival there are also exhibitions in Naarden-Vesting by more local photographers, the socalled Naarden OFF display (albeit their contributions not all adhering to the theme of 'Water, water').
Anyway, all very inspiring for those who enjoy photography and there was a lot.
Gideon Mendel ('Drowning World') and Kadir van Lohuizen (Rising Sea Levels') made the biggest impression on me, their work showed enormous strength.
I applaud the commitment of all photographers!!!

See my 2015 report on 2 albums on Flickr.come: HERE & HERE



De Eeuw Van Mijn Vader door Geert Mak

The title would translate to 'The Century of My Father', being the 20th century described by Dutch journalist and writer Geert Mak.
Not sure if there is an English translation, probably not, for the history is mainly about The Netherlands in the 20th century.

Using interviews, old newspaper clippings and hundreds of letters that survived the times, Geert Mak describes the Netherlands at the start of the early-1900s.
He describes the rise of Catholicism, Protestantism (religion becoming quite literally pillars of society, towers of strength but also of division), and the rise of ant-semitisme in the jaren 1930s, the other world in teh Dutch Indies, the war in Europe and Asia, de mentality of rebuilding after WWII, ideals & dreams of the 1960s and business taking over.

It is a history through the backdoor, told from a member of an average Dutch family, that of Geert Mak himself.
How one dealt with sickness, sex and death in 1920? The complex relations and emancipation of The Reformed.
I was particularly surpised to find a name of a distant relation in my family mentioned...

The book had a great impact on me, while had it for quite some time I now made myself read it during holidays. A very transparent document of recent times.
And I found of particular interest the detailed description of the Dutch inhumanities on Sumatra before the war. A part of history left out the schoolbooks and very much ignored these days in Holland.
History teaches us to be humble and Geert Mak does an excellent job here.




Jackson Brodie - Case Histories 2

The Scottish series 'Case Histories' are located in Edinburgh. The stories are based on the novels by Kate Atkinson and Jackson Brodie is the central, but rather complex main character.

I have read all the 'Case Histories' by Kate Atkinson (Case Histories (2004) - One Good Turn (2006) - When Will There Be Good News? (2008) - Started Early, Took My Dog (2010) - see my blogs 2012Q2, 2012Q4 and 2013Q2) , in the wrong order, and found they did nothing to spoil these tv series for me.
The filming is excellent (that cartoon-like intro is a pleasure to start with!), the soundtrack shows every detail has been attended to.

Jackson is a former military and policeman. Contrary to his appearance (well played by Jason Isaacs) he is driven by empathy; the Champion for Lost Causes.
The women around him feel attracted to him, but find out the hard way that he is impossible to live with. These women being his ex, Julia. There is DCI Louise Munroe, a delightful role by Amanda Abbington and Jackson's secretary Deborah Arnold, an equally delightful role.

The Jackson Brodie series were produced in 2011 and 2013 and I would very much like to see a completed trilogy, but Ms Atkinson seems to have gone off Jackson Brodie, for 2013 and 2014 saw other novels published rather than a Case Histories novel.
We'll have to wait and see, I cannot imagine it stops here.

ImDb - Case Histories / Jackson Brodie



Steve McCurry booksigning Haarlem

Steve McCurry booksigning Haarlem

Steve McCurry booksigning Haarlem

Steve McCurry did us the honour of booksigning in De Vries Bookstore (Haarlem,NL) today.
Here is a photo impression.
I am definitely in awe of this man's career and photography!

I bought his latest, 'From These Hands'.



Mary Ellen Mark - RIP

Mary Ellen Mark, photographer, died a few days ago. The above photo by her made a lasting impression on me. May she rest in peace.

Mary Ellen Mark (20Mar1940 – 25May2015), she was famed for her documentary work and intimate portraits, always regarding herself as a street photographer.




Operation Napoleon by Arnaldur Indridason

I thought I had read all of Indridason's books by now, at least those that were translated into English, but I came across this title while travelling, 'Operation Napoleon', in Powell's Books in Portland,OR the other day and grabbed it as I had not come across it earlier.

'Napóleonsskjölin' was written and published in 1999, a year before 'Jar City' was published.
The paperback I read was translated (by Indridason's regular translator, Victoria Cribb; found she also translated The Undesired by Yrsa Sigudardottir) and published by Harvill Secker as recent as 2010.
It is not an Erlendur title, which I found both good and bad, because while I love the Erlendur stories I was less impressed with the last two titles, which feature not Erlendur but his co-workers - which are far less complex and interesting.
'Operation Napoleon' is straightforward adventure fiction with roots in the final days of WWII.

The book opens with a plane crash on the Vatnajökull Glacier during a blizzard, by the end of WWII.
The plane is not found by US military search teams on previous efforts, but 54 years later, the movement of the glacier brings it back to the surface of the snow. A US satellite spots the plane and a covert team is sent to retrieve it and bring it back to the States.

Enter the young Icelandic lawyer Kristín. She has a reckless younger brother who is out testing his snowmobile when he stumbles on the plane wreck. He manages to get a garbled message through to his sister before he is apprehended by American troops.
Kristín is unable to re-establish contact and starts making inquiries. For reasons unknown to her she becomes a target for two US assassins. While trying to save her life, she is also desperately seeking the secret of what is happening on Vatnajökull. And what happened to her brother, of which she has reason to fear the worst.

Indridason also tackles the subject of the US military presence at Keflavík. This is an economically, politically and socially difficult and complex relationship.

The book is a thriller, but lacks the complex character of Erlendur. I hope he will return soon.





Last week, 23Apr15, I visited the recently openend 'World Press Photo 15', hosted in 'De Nieuwe Kerk' (Amsterdam 18 April 2015 - 5 July 2015). Amsterdam is the place where the world tour of this exhibition always starts.
Sad to note that many 2014 headlining issues remain unsolved: Illegal migrants (many drowning in the Med), Ukraine, democracy issues in Turkey.
As always very powerful photography on this display.




ARMER & RIJKER door Roel Visser (essay Ewald Engelen)

ARMER & RIJKER, by Roel Visser (photography) & Ewald Engelen (essay).

I had learned of Roel Visser's work (e.g. 'Platter & Dikker') before, but had not yet purchased a book by him. What made me go out and look for this particular and recently published book was the essay by Ewald Engelen (whose column in De Groene Amsterdammer I very much enjoy too) on 'Corpocratia'.

In this essay Ewald Engelen describes how financial insitutions and corperate interests have taken over the social structure of society in The Netherlands. How the rich became richer and the poor even poorer and the latter grew in numbers.
Like a pet dog the Dutch government follows the demands of corporate interest, to lower corporate taxes, nibble at the rights of employees while making it easier for employers to get rid of their workforce whenever they want, destroy social wellfare, raise costs for legal action so people on average pay get discouraged to take legal action against unjust actions by their employers.
The government services corporations and has altered the conditions of the people to serve the interest of corporations. Corpocratia.
People who cannot join the workforce because of illness, handicaps or otherwise find themselves fallen by the wayside, end up with little or no support by the government. Smiling politely the ministers and burocrats will tell them, before turning away, that the government has no money left (it had to bail out the banks) and 'Society' should reach out and take care of each other.
Mr Engelen writes a justifiable angry essay and in my opinion found the right words to describe the present social climate. Democracy has died, Corpocratia has been founded instead.

Roel Visser won various international photography awards and was three times awarded 'de Zilveren Camera'. Previous publications by him were: 'Zorg in Nederland', 'Hier in Holland', 'Platter & dikker' en 'Van rechtswege'. His 'social documentary photography' is outstanding.

www.lubberhuizen.nl/armer-rijker (NL)
nl.wikipedia.org - Ewald_Engelen (NL)



The Spiral - tv crime series

With feelings of sadness we concluded the final episode on boxset 4 of The Spiral, we had so much pleasure watching these series the past few months (started with stumbling on Series 5 being broadcasted on BBC4 and liked it so much I purchased series #1 - #4 immediately).

Spiral (French: 'Engrenages') is a French television police and legal drama series set in Paris.
The show follows the lives and work of Paris police officers and the lawyers and judges who work at the Palais de Justice.
It was created by the TV production company Son et Lumière.
The first eight-episodes series started on Canal+ in France on 13Dec2005. The series was first shown in the UK on BBC4 during the summer of 2006.
Spiral has been a great export success, with sales to broadcasters in some 70 countries, among them Australia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

In series 3 a serial killer is the focus of Berthaud's team. But while the killer is hunted, each episode we also see different storylines develop, around Lawyer Joséphine Karlsson who is willing to go near the edge of what is morally justifiable, about Judge Roban and Magistrate Clément who both struggle with the integrity of the Justice office and Laure's relationship with Commissionner Vincent Brémont. Gilou struggles with a drug habit and seems on a road to destruction and Roban meets Isabelle Ledoré, ex-lover of him who he still deeply cares about.

In series 4 Police Captain Laure Berthaud and her lieutenants, Gilou and Tintin, investigate when a student is abandoned by his accomplices in a forest near Paris after being blown asunder by their homemade bomb.
Lawyer Joséphine Karlsson is getting herself into dangerous waters once more defending undocumented immigrants; her colleague, Pierre Clément, surprisingly finds himself representing crime boss, Johnny Jorkal; while Judge Roban returns to the Palais de Justice, sidelined and on the warpath.
Sami returns, whom we haven't seen in Series 3, and shows he has feelings for Laure but she has established a relationship with Brémont.
Tintin is wounded during a raid, gets a decoration but hides his symptoms of posttraumatic stress. And Gilou has to bypass procedures again to steer clear of criminals who managed to get a hold on him.
At the end there is great drama.

I cannot wait for Series 6 to be broadcasted!

The following characters play in most series:
Caroline Proust ... Laure Berthaud, capitaine de police(2005-2014)
Grégory Fitoussi ... Pierre Clément, avocate (47 episodes, 2005-2014)
Audrey Fleurot ... Joséphine Karlsson, avocate (51 episodes, 2005-2014)
Philippe Duclos ... François Roban, juge (50 episodes, 2005-2014)
Fred Bianconi ... Luc 'Tintin' Fromentin, lieutenant (2005-2014)
Thierry Godard ... Gilles 'Gilou' Escoffier, lieutenant (2005-2014)
Samir Boitard ... Samy, officier de police du SIAT (2008-2012)
Bruno Debrandt ... Commissaire Vincent Brémont (2010-2014)

en.wikipedia.org - Spiral_TV_series




Carl Hiaasen: Star Island

Carl Hiaasen is definitely in my top 3 of favourite novelists and he is certainly the funniest crime writer!
'Star Island' was published in 2010 but it escaped my attention as in Europe I don't come across his books very much. But I am once more 'star struck'!

As a columnist for the Miami Herald, Hiaasen has spent years railing at political railroading in Florida. While the subject is mentioned, real estate fraud at the cost of protected nature reserves and species, it is less the focus here. One can lament on it, but I rather applaud the writer who avoids embracing the same subjects in each book.
Perhaps it may serve as some solace that a real estate agent who intends to make a lot of money speculating on a condominium project on North Key Largo meets his destiny in an unpleasant manner!
We see Skink reappearing, the Vietnam Vet and former Florida Governor Clint Tyree, temporarily abandoning his mangrove hideout for protection detail.

Hiaasen satirises young pop stars in the Lindsay Lohan/Britney Spears category, with the story revolving around Cherry Pye, a drugged-up sex addict, and a paparazzo photographer Bang Abbott. And Ann, an out-of-work actrice, working as a double for Cherry's parents and -producer when Cherry is 'recovering' from her abusing lifestyle.

But the real fun is in the pace of Hiaasen's writing and the crazy but (almost) believable characters who interact in this novel. It may not be his best, as some write, but I am a fan!

www.independent.co.uk - reviews - star island by carl hiaasen

en.wikipedia.org - Star_Island



Curtailing public opposition in Turkey

Joep Bertrams' excellent cartoon on the sad state of affairs in Turkey, where President Erdogan is wielding the powers of his growing dictatorship, fighting public discontent with such poor initiatives as 'silencing' Facebook and Twitter.
The cartoon was published in De Groene Amsterdammer, no. 15 / 2015 (published since 1877).




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Created: 11-Apr-2015