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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 my 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.




The Cruel Radiance by Susie Linfiield

Susie Linfield is a director of the cultural reporting and criticism programme at New York University. She has been an editor at the 'Village Voice', 'American Film' and 'The Washington Post' and has written for a wide range of publications. She is associate professor of journalism at New York University, where she directs the Cultural Reporting and Criticism Program.
The Cruel Radiance was published in 2010 by The University of Chicago Press; its subtitle is 'photography and political violence'.
The cover photo is of an unidentified child prisoner of the Khmer Rouge, photographed before execution at the Tuol Sleng torture center. Date and identity of the photographer are unknown.

This is only the second book I have read which has a philosophical bearing on photography, the other one was Susan Sontag's On Photography. Although I also enjoyed Lynsey Addario's book 'It's What I Do', as it also offers insights into professional war photography and is very informative.

Susie Linfield states modern writers dismiss images of suffering. But photojournalism forms a basis for our human rights debates.
Sontag's 'On Photography' (published in 1977) remains one of the cornerstones of photography criticism, as does Roland Barthes' more theoretically mischievous 'Camera Lucida' (1980). Both books, along with Sontag's later work 'Regarding the Pain of Others', question the idea that graphic photographs of horror, atrocity or suffering can provoke the viewer into political action.
Linfield realised at some point how different photography criticism can be in tone and approach from criticism of film, or music, or other cultural forms. Some are very immersed in their subjects, they write analytically and critically but with love. By contrast, Susan Sontag and her postmodern heirs in the realm of photography criticism were very removed from, even hostile to, the subjects they discuss; according to Linfield.

Contemporary photojournalism is problematic, both in the increasingly explicit nature of its images of suffering and degradation and its uncertain role in a world where, as Linfield puts it, "we no longer have the same kind of moral and political framework" that governed our responses to the war photography of the past.
Having visited the Tuol Sleng camp a few years ago, Linfield adressing it in 'Photojournalism and Human Rights' really hit home with me.

I had difficulty in following her reasoning sometimes (the shortcoming is all mine!), but for me her book really came alive when she abandons her theoretical criticism and tackles the photography itself – specifically where she puts the spotlight on the map in 'Places': 'Warsaw, Lodz, Auschwitz; In the Waiting Room of Death', 'China: From Malraux's Dignity to the Red Guards' Shame', 'Sierra Leone: Beyond the Sorrow and the Pity' and 'Abu Ghraib and the Jihad: The Dance of Civilizations'.

Robert Capa photography
Robert Capa

James Nachtwey photography
James Nachtwey

Gilles Perres photography
Gilles Perres

'The Cruel Radiance' is divided into three sections: Polemics, Places and People. The 3rd part is dedicated to 3 famous photographers Robert Capa ('The Optimist'), James Nachtwey ('The Catastrophist') and Gilles Peress ('The Skeptic'). The latter was a new name to me (goes to show!).
The essay on Robert Capa I enjoyed most.

While I sometimes struggled with this book, much more than I remembered doing while reading Sontag's 'On Photography', I found it highly informative and splendid food for thought.
And that bibbliography in the back of this book is a mine for future shopping!

theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/nov/16/ by Sean O'Hagan, a much better critic than I'll ever be!
Robert Capa on Wikipedia
James Nachtwey on Wikipedia
Gilles Perres on Wikipedia



William Eggleston - Los Alamos (FOAM 2017)

William Eggleston - Los Alamos (FOAM 2017)
The uneven light is entirely the fault of this photographer! Unknowingly, I had messed up
my camera settings and when I thought I was taking a photo I actually made a (very) short
video... So for this report I had to resort to screendumps from these video clips...
What they call 'a senior moment'..

William Eggleston - Los Alamos (FOAM 2017)
Blindness of youth..

William Eggleston - Los Alamos
Screendumps from Google

William Eggleston - Los Alamos

William Eggleston - 'Los Alamos' (exhibition in FOAM / 17Mar-07Jun2017)

The American photographer William Eggleston (b.1939; Memphis, Tennessee) is widely considered one of the leading photographers of the past decades.
He has been a pioneer of colour photography from the mid-1960s onwards, and transformed everyday America into a photogenic subject.
In William Eggleston – 'Los Alamos', Foam displays his portfolio of photographs that were taken on various road trips through the southern states of America between 1966 and 1974.
The exhibition includes a number of iconic images, amongst which Eggleston’s first colour photograph.

Eggleston's early photographic efforts were inspired by the work of Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank, and by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's book, 'The Decisive Moment'.
Eggleston later recalled that the book was "the first serious book I found, from many awful books...I didn't understand it a bit, and then it sank in, and I realized, my God, this is a great one.

First photographing in black-and-white, Eggleston began experimenting with color in 1965 and 1966.

Eggleston taught at Harvard in 1973 and 1974, and it was during these years that he discovered dye-transfer printing; he was examining the price list of a photographic lab in Chicago when he read about the process.
As Eggleston later recalled: "It advertised 'from the cheapest to the ultimate print.' The ultimate print was a dye-transfer.
I went straight up there to look and everything I saw was commercial work like pictures of cigarette packs or perfume bottles, but the colour saturation and the quality of the ink was overwhelming.
I couldn't wait to see what a plain Eggleston picture would look like with the same process.!
Every photograph I subsequently printed with the process seemed fantastic and each one seemed better than the previous one."
The dye-transfer process resulted in some of Eggleston's most striking and famous work, such as his 1973 photograph entitled 'The Red Ceiling', of which Eggleston said, "The Red Ceiling is so powerful, that in fact I've never seen it reproduced on the page to my satisfaction. When you look at the dye it is like red blood that's wet on the wall.... A little red is usually enough, but to work with an entire red surface was a challenge."

Eggleston's published books and portfolios, include Los Alamos (actually completed in 1974, before the publication of 'the Guide') the massive 'Election Eve' (1976; a portfolio of photographs taken around Plains, Georgia before that year's presidential election); 'The Morals of Vision' (1978); and 'Flowers' (1978); 'Wedgwood Blue' (1979); 'Seven' (1979); 'Troubled Waters' (1980); 'The Louisiana Project' (1980).
William Eggleston's 'Graceland' (1984) is 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.
Other series include 'The Democratic Forest' (1989), 'Faulkner's Mississippi' (1990), and 'Ancient and Modern' (1992).
Some of his early series have not been shown until the late 2000s.




Ed van der Elsken - De Verliefde Camera

Ed van der Elsken - De Verliefde Camera

Ed van der Elsken - De Verliefde Camera

Ed van der Elsken - De Verliefde Camera

Yesterday I visited this exhibition 'Ed van der Elsken - Camera in Love' (NL=De Verliefde Camera / 04Feb-21May2017).
The 'Stedelijk Museum' in Amsterdam presented the largest retrospective of the photographic and filmic work of Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990) in 25 years. Over 200 images, both in b&w
as well as colour, were put on display. And a great many publications, magazines and books.
A unique figure, Van der Elsken was renowned as a street photographer, and is recognised as the most important Dutch photographer of the 20th century.

I also wrote about Ed van der Elsken in 2014Q2 and 2014Q3, but this exhibition has the largest amount of photographs by van der Elsken I've ever seen put together, while his filming is also extensively illuminated.

Ed van der Elsken was a unique figure. The first true Dutch street photographer, he roamed cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Tokyo seeking out colourful personalities, head-turning young women and wayward youth. Ed van der Elsken both chronicled, and influenced, the Zeitgeist. In his work, he developed a bold, unconventional and personal style. Van der Elsken’s presence resonates throughout his work: he cared about making a personal connection with the people he photographed and, like a playful art director, often staged situations, too.

The oeuvre of Ed van der Elsken is mentioned in the same breath as those of legendary international photographers Robert Frank (1924, CH) and William Klein (1928, VS) and his legacy inspires contemporary artists such as Nan Goldin (1953, US) and Paulien Oltheten (1982, NL).

In 1956, the young Van der Elsken became an international sensation with Love on the Left Bank, a photographic novel inspired by his own life about a group of young bohemians leading an aimless life in post-war Paris. Van der Elsken recognised himself in their nihilistic view of the world but also maintained the detachment needed to capture them in pictures. The filmic structure of the book, with flashbacks and ever-changing viewpoints, hints at the filmmaker Van der Elsken would become.

His work was also discussed on my blog 2014Q2 and 2019Q2.

More of my photos on www.flickr.com



Elliott Erwitt | SNAPS

Elliott Erwitt - photography | SNAPS

Elliott Erwitt - photography | SNAPS

Elliott Erwitt - photography | SNAPS

Elliott Erwitt - photographer

Elliott Erwitt, really Elio Romano Erwitt, (b.26Jul1928) is an American advertising and documentary photographer known for his black and white candid shots of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings— a master of Henri Cartier-Bresson's 'decisive moment'.
Henri Cartier-Bresson is in one of the photos, did you see him?

The humor of Elliott Erwitt is in a photo taken from a surprising perspective, such as the humon/dog photo almost at the top here. But also in positioning a nude performer and the pope on the picture next to it seems to be glancing in her way...

At 88, an age when most Americans are happily retired and enjoying dinner specials at 4 in the afternoon, Elliott Erwitt is still working as hard as ever these days — and that’s pretty hard. The photographer has traveled to Scotland and Cuba for upcoming books, in recent years, and is enjoying a slew of exhibitions, too. He has had a recent retrospective at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin, as well as shows in Genoa, Tokyo, Paris, and a current exhibition at the Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco.

Mr. Erwitt made it clear that he works out of a necessity that is less artistic than it is economic. He has had four ex-wives and six children...
'Snaps' offers 500+ photographs of famous people (Nikita Khrushchev and Nixon arguing in Moscow, Marilyn Monroe on the set of 'Misfits') as well as fabulous street photos from places all over the world. A one or two page essay start the different chapters: Read, Rest, Touch, Stand, Tell, Point, Look, Move, Play.
Raw grief is also the subject of his dramatic portrait of a woman bent double over her son's gravestone in May 1954, not long after his death in Vietnam. She is the mother of Robert Capa, Magnum's other co-founder and celebrated war photographer...
Sean O'Hagan of the Guardian wrote in 2013 a review of this excellent photobook, see link below.

Elliott Erwitt has inspired countless photographers over his career of 60-plus years.
While traveling the world many times doing commercial and editorial photography as a member of Magnum, Mr. Erwitt always made time to shoot for himself. No matter if the professional work was in color, his personal work was in black and white, and always on film. These days he’ll shoot digitally for clients, but not for himself.

www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/apr/01/elliott erwitt:snaps



When I bought Steve McCurry's photobook 'On Reading' ('Lezen') I read his note that he lived in the
same building in New York as André Kertész and he became inspired by his photography, in particular
by Kertész' book 'On Reading' (published 1971 by Pinguin). So I had to have that book..
My search led to a website with a marvellous collection of photobooks: www.bijtijenontij.nl
Besides 'On Reading' I bought a few more, even though I already had his 'Paris, Autumn 1963'.

André Kertész, iconic photographer
A very small book with small prints: contact prints of the early years: 'the Hungarian Contacts'.
The images were created during a 13-year period in Hungary, 1912-1925. Kértész was clearly
experimenting with his camera, learing how to use film, light and lens. Kértész seems to have been
a bit of a hoarder and these early photos were considered lost until rediscovered after his death.

André Kertész, iconic photographer

André Kertész, iconic photographer

André Kertész, iconic photographer
A pocket book in a series dedicated to 'the best work of the world's greatest photographers'.
Published (1989) by Thames and Hudson, it is of modest size (12.5x19cm), but the 58 plates
come out well. Several of the photographs are published in the other books mentioned here.
The book also offers an excellent biography, bibliography as well as a list of exhibitions.

This publication offers a quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson (Jan.1985):
"When Kértész's camera clicks, I feel his heart beat;
when he blinks, it's a spark of Euclid,
and all in an admirable span of curiosity".

André Kertész, iconic photographer

André Kertész, iconic photographer
A modest book (15.5x20cm), but powerful! And it should be to inspire talented
photographers such as Steve McCurry all those years ago. And it continues to inspire!

André Kertész, iconic photographer

André Kertész, iconic photographer
Nice to see that 1928 photo (top, down right) taken in the Luxembourg Garden in Paris, of people
reading in the park, is still current because I saw similar scenes upon my Paris visit in 2016!

André Kertész, iconic photographer
'André Kertész: Sixty Years of Photography': 250 inspiring photographs!
Paperback (27x24cm), 224 pages, published in 1972 by Thames and Hudson.
"If ever a photographer deserved to be called a genius, that photographer is Kértész"-Le Figaro

André Kertész, iconic photographer

André Kertész, iconic photographer

André Kertész (b.02Jul1894–d.28Sep1985; born Kertész Andor) from Hungary was self-taught and ignorant of photographic fashions in the rest of the world, he became the unintentional inventor of what is now called 'candid' manner and went on to produce his greatest masterpieces.

Kertész never felt that he had gained the worldwide recognition he deserved, but these days he is considered one of the seminal figures of photojournalism.
The Estate of André Kertész is represented by Bruce Silverstein Gallery New York,NY.

Expected by his family to work as a stockbroker, Kertész pursued photography independently as an autodidact, and his early work was published primarily in magazines, a major market in those years.
He served briefly in World War I and moved to Paris in 1925, then the artistic capital of the world, against the wishes of his family.
In Paris he worked for France's first illustrated magazine called VU.
Due to German persecution of the Jews and the threat of World War II, Kertész decided to emigrate to the United States in 1936, where he had to rebuild his reputation through commissioned work.
In the 1940s and 1950s, he stopped working for magazines and began to achieve greater international success.
His career is generally divided into four periods, based on where he was working and his work was most prominently known. They are called the Hungarian period, the French period, the American period and, toward the end of his life, the International period.


MyBlog 2017Q4 has an account on an exhibition visited Nov.2017



Steve McCurry: Lezen - fotoboek

Steve McCurry: On Reading

Quite recently I came across this book in my local bookstore and because a Steve McCurry photobook is always worthy of browsing I picked it up and was surprised it was in Dutch. While I have several photobooks of Mr McCurry in my collection I don't think I have seen a copy in Dutch sofar.
I noticed its original title On Reading was published by Phaidon Press (London) in 2016 and this Dutch version Fontaine Uitgevers ('under license') with support of Oxfam Novib.

This book quite hit the spot, being an avid reader and photographer myself and I particularly liked this compilation of a celebration of the timeless act of reading!
I found it quite moving to see this people, young or old, rich or poor, engaged in the privat moment of reading, obtaining information or seeking a moment in a different world.
Steve McCurry picked images of his nearly 4 decades of travelling around the world and worthy of mention is the introduction famous author Paul Theroux.
A very pleasant addition to my slowly growing collection of photobooks. But this one will be easily picked up from the shelf every now and then for a gentle browse.

webwinkel.oxfamnovib.nl/boeken/fotoboeken (NL)



These cartoons may well fit as an illustration to below item on Luyendijk's book.
These were published in De Groene Amsterdammer of 02Mar2017 (#141 year / issue #9), a weekly magazine I subscribe to and always find critical & informative.




Joeris Luyendijk: Kunnen we parten? (2017)

This 92-pages, pocket-sized book is in the same market as the recently read and discussed book by Bas Heijne. The subject is our age of discontent and personal bubbles, the occasion is the upcoming political election in the Netherlands.

The book is in Dutch, I don't know if it was or will be published in any other language.

The narrative starts with claiming that this little bok=ok is meant for everybody who has lost faith in the traditional political parties, in part or in full.
The book is meant to share frustrations, views and possible solutions, and see if common grounds can be found and reinstate communications. Perhaps instill solidarity again.

Comparing Luyendijk's book and the recently published book by Bas Heijne, I found this book more connecting to my own feeling. Luyendijk manages to explain where his distrust in political leaders stems from, he has seen the immorality of the finance industry up close and expresses rightfully so his anger concerning the lack of criminal investigation by our leaders into the deeds of the culprits of the Golbal Economic crisis.
And why governments haven't taken any conclusive measures to make the financial business more secure for citizensand taxpayers, to prevent the massive breakdown from ever happening again, instead are considering relaxing the few measures that have been imposed in recent years...

Why sat the government on its hands when the massive influx of immigrants from the Arab world and Africa started rolling in? Nobody wants to be called a racist, expressing distrust of the motivation of these immigrants and their lack of democratic, human rights background; their willingness to adapt to our customs, instead only seek financial rewards and security.
But not allowing free expression in our society of such commentary will put such criticism into the realm of racists and thus create further discourse in our society.

Why do our political leaders finance dictators (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, many African nations) for the sake of business deals, knowing full well that repression and corruption by dictators create unrest, revolt and instill in the hearts of those repressed a burning desire to seek a better future in the Western world..?
Is it strange we distrust our political leaders when they lie to us and go to war? I recall the lies from the G.W. Bush Adminstration about 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' in Iraq and the European leaders running with him, as yelping lapdogs! Our leaders created Islamic State (IS, ISIL, ISIS, Daish, Daesh - Wikipedia).

This book really hit the spot with my own emotions regarding the present political establishment, be it national, the EU or the entire Western world.

Is it strange we look away from the established political system and put persons like Donald J. Trump in power? Our political leaders have abandoned us, have put their business relations and friends in the world of finance before the interest of people. Business and banks would create jobs from growth, but they didn't, instead banks will continue to take our money but will outsource jobs to countries like India.

Populist leaders have identified the call from citizens for taking back control much better than the established political leaders; the latter were too busy listening to their business friends during dinner parties or backslapping at exclusive meet & greets.
With their neoliberal thinking and adjustments to working society over recent years they have destroyed the fabric of a functioning social society. Politics has destroyed solidarity.
People are left to their own devices, they fight their corner and dangers to their well being & security, they want back the control of their lives and will vote for the strong person who promises, as their leader, he/she will do so.
The present political system can't be trusted, they let us down.

Voting for a populist is against the grain of any conscious reasoning, but what choice is there.
Take back control: I haven't decided yet how to do that.

www.atlascontact.nl/boek/kunnen-we-praten/ (NL)



Fargo tv-series (1)

Fargo tv-series (1)

While I am not too keen on American series, I had liked the film Fargo by the Coen brothers (in 1996), starring William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi and Marge Gunderson.
So I taped this Season 1 (2014) when it was recently broadcasted on telly, unfortunately Veronica switched it halfway to another channel, SBS 9, so I did not see all episodes entirely. Best to avoid these channels Veronica and SBS, I can't stomach the large blocks of advertisements (that's why I record it and zip past the adds).

Anyway, Fargo is an American black comedy–crime drama anthology television series created and primarily written by Noah Hawley. The show is inspired by the 1996 film of the same name written and directed by the Coen brothers, who serve as executive producers on the series alongside Hawley.
Being a black comedy it is quite different from the usual 'run-off-the-mill' US crap we get on tv and I liked it.
For Billy Bob Thornton I have a weakness and he did not disappoint here either.

Besides Billy Bob's role we have Allison Tolman (as the pregnant cop), Colin Hanks and Martin Freeman (as Lester Nygaard) and all were met with critical acclaim.
While this series is set in 2016, the second series of Fargo has been set in 1979 (starring Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Jesse Plemons, Jean Smart and Ted Danson). It received 3 Golden Globe nominations, along with several Emmy nominations, so something to look forward to!
A third series seems to be in the pipeline.

As with the original film, each episode begins with the superimposed text: "This is a true story. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in [year]. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.
As with the film, this claim is completely untrue!




Amsterdam, stad in oorlog 1940-1945
An exquite 25x31cm edition, almost 300 pages; published by'WBooks' / NIOD

Amsterdam, stad in oorlog 1940-1945

Amsterdam, stad in oorlog 1940-1945

Amsterdam, stad in oorlog 1940-1945

Amsterdam, stad in oorlog 1940-1945

Amsterdam, stad in oorlog 1940-1945

Amsterdam, stad in oorlog 1940-1945

This impressive book was published early last month and it was love on first sight! The salesperson in my bookshop commented, when I picked up their last copy, their stock had sold in just a few days.

Stad in Oorlog, Amsterdam 1940-1945 in foto’s (EN: City in wartime, Amsterdam 1940-1945 in photos) offers new images of Amsterdam in World War Two.
Many photographs and negatives from that wartime were preserved by 'Instituut voor Oorlogs-, Holocaust- en Genocidestudies - NIOD' and the cityarchive 'Stadsarchief Amsterdam'.
Intensive research brought many previously unpublished images to light and they provide a pervasive insight of Amsterdam and its inhabitants in the years of war and occupation.
Photographs by German and Dutch press photographers as well as amateur (including those taken illegally) photos bring to life a.o. the daily (street)life, deportations, collaboration, resistance, hardship, destruction, liberation and the aftermath.

While our schoolbooks simplify themselves to a 'good guys versus bad guys' scenario plus the deportation and holocaust of the Jews, we also learn that many worked or aided the resistance.
The truth is also that many collaborated with the Germans, just by doing their job. Such as the civil servants who were overzealous in compiling maps for the Germans detailing where and how many Jews lived in Amsterdam.
While the NSB'ers made no bones about their sympathy for the Nazi's, there were also many who merely looked away when the Jews were rounded up and deported, as well as many who were quick to plunder the houses of people who had fled or had been deported.
The persecution of some 80.000 Jews has scarred Amsterdam for ever.

This book is an excellent objective account of Amsterdam 1940-1945, it documents in a most visual way a jarring memory.

www.amsterdam.nl/stadsarchief/agenda/stad-oorlog/ (NL)



Amsterdam 1900, foto's van Olie, Breitner, Eiler en tijdgenoten

Amsterdam 1900, foto's van Olie, Breitner, Eiler en tijdgenoten

Amsterdam 1900, foto's van Olie, Breitner, Eiler en tijdgenoten

Amsterdam 1900, foto's van Olie, Breitner, Eiler en tijdgenoten

Amsterdam 1900, foto's van Olie, Breitner, Eiler en tijdgenoten

Around the year 1900 Amsterdam became a bustling, expanding and dynamic town.
At the same time photography developed rapidly to a modern medium.
In 'Amsterdam 1900 – Foto’s van Olie, Breitner, Eilers en tijdgenoten', the catalogue of the exhibition I attended in 2016Q4, both developments come together.

In the centre of town buildings were raised that determined the skyline and surrounding area, such as the Central Railway Station and 'Beurs van Berlage'. The industry and harbours grew rapidly, but at the same time the old town, its infrastructure, houses and living conditions deteriotated.
For the first time it was technically possible to document this adverse development and the photos of around 1900 show the old and the new.
Earlier on photography was limited to an architectural role, showing building and canals. The photo equipment was big and the exposure times lengthy. Around 1900 photo cameras were manufactured by e.g. Leica which were easy to carry around.

Research in photo collections of museums and archives brought about a wealth of unknown and surprising images of Amsterdam and of the lifes of people of this town.
Photographs of well known artists such as George Hendrik Breitner, Jacob Olie and Bernard Eilers are showcased in 'Amsterdam 1900', but also surprising images of unknown or forgotten people, illustrating also the area when photography became a hobby. At the time there were still many ways to print photographs and this is also illuminated in the book.
The photos include a wealth of streetphotos with markets and people going past, royalty visiting Amsterdam (photo journalism!), well known building built, but also house interiors, people in the poor house, World War I fugitives from Belgium receiving relief, factory workers, etc.
A wonderful book with a wealth of historic images.



Woman with Birthmark by Hakan Nesser

Håkan Nesser (b. 21Feb1950) is a Swedish author and teacher who has written a number of successful novels, mostly but not only, crime fiction.
He has won Best Swedish Crime Novel Award three times, and his novel Carambole won the prestigious Glass Key award in 2000. His books have been translated from Swedish into 20+ languages.

I first came across the Inspector Van Veeteren series on tv and only after that I started reading the novels. This book was among the films, as well as plus another 8 films of 90 minutes (I have 2 dvd boxsets). Sven Wollter played the role of Inspector Van Vleeteren (Wikipedia, he is 87 now).
Van Vleeteren

I probably bought this paperback in 2010 while travelling in Sweden and Norway (the sticker says 138 - Swedish Krona or Norwegian Krone, not sure), so it is obvious that the Håkan Nesser novels are not on the very top of my list. While very well written in my  opinion, quite entertaining, they lack pace and a certain amount of suspense.
Actually, they seem to define the frustrating slow progress of police investigation and the need for a chance opportunity to get to the closing stages.

Last year I read  'Borkmann's Point' and this time I pulled 'Woman with Birthmark', Nesser's 4th Van Veeteren novel (first published 1996), from the bookshelf.

The book opens with the funeral of a woman at which there is a lone mourner - her daughter. The daughter regards her own life as over (although she is only 29); she vows terminal revenge on those she considers responsible for her mother's sad life and lonely death, and sets out on her grim purpose.
Her trauma is her birthmark, as in ' marked for life' .

After this brief mysterious opening, the story shifts to one Ryszard Malik, who finds himself at the receiving end of unsettling phone calls which only feature some music, each time the same song. Then one night he is killed in his house, shot with two shots in the chest and two more in the crotch.
Van Veeteren and his team are mystified for clues and a motive: Malik was a grey mouse, modestly successful in his business and with a rather uneventful life.
Then, a second man is killed in a similar way: two killing shots and two more in the crotch.
They find that these very different men share a history in the distant past, 30 years prior to the events, when they were in the same military unit doing their National Service.
But Van Veeteren is unable to prevent a 3rd victim and find the crimes very well planned and meticulously executed. Finally, with the story detailing a lot of fruitless research and interviews, the police team gets a clue on the murderess and the race starts to prevent a 4th victim. 

While, as stated, I find the book lacking suspense, I am not keen on the imaginative place names. E.g. the police unit is based in Maardam; other place names are Styckergränd, Deijkstraa, Zwille. These names are obviously derived from Scandinavian, Dutch and German origin, but I would rather see them in the same country even if they are fake names. This is of course very subjective.

Håkan Nesser has written 10 Van Veeteren novels and I think I have a few still waiting to be read and in due course I will, for in spite of my somewhat unspirited account the books are easy to read and quite entertaining.

He has also written at least 5 Inspector Barbarotti novels, of which I am not sure if any of these were translated into English or Dutch, I haven't yet come across them. Mr Nesser has also written a considerable number of other novels see for a list the Wikipedia link below).




Bas Heijne: Staat van Nederland

Bastiaan Johan 'Bas' Heijne (b. 09Jan1960) is a Dutch writer, journalist and columnist. He has a valued critical eye on Dutch society, even moved to Paris (France) to create distance and enhance his view on the going ons in the Dutch Lowlands.
Last year I read 'Discontent' (NL:Onbehagen) and greatly enjoyed it.
This book was published this year, The State of the Netherlands, which had a little less impact on me.

Developments in Dutch society is not much different from international changes in society: the populist vote seems to be winning terrain and brought Donald J. Trump to surpreme power. We have to fear a similar result in the Netherlands and other European countries, e.g. France.
The general message in this book seems to be that while there is a lot of exchanging of ideas, opinions, it proceeds no further than shouting rather than a meaningful discussion. A restored sensible debate is what we need, with a fair exchange and a willing ear, that is what can be concluded from this essay.
But the book does not provide a roadmap how we, the Western world, proceed from 'discontent' to a sensible debate.




Zilveren Camera 2016
Cigdem Yuksel won first prize in 'Zilveren Camera 2016', for best international photojournalism

Zilveren Camera 2016

Zilveren Camera 2016
Eddy van Wessel was again among the prize winners

Zilveren Camera 2016

Zilveren Camera 2016
Jeroen Oerlemans, in remembrance (1976 - 2016); killed by a sniper while doing his work.

Today I visited the Fotomuseum in Hilversum, for the prize winners of the Canon Zilveren Camera competition, a photography competition for news photography in various categories.
Always a very high standard to be enjoyed here.

The #1 Silver Camera prize went to Cigdem Yuksel, for her series of Syrian refugee kids who cannot go to school in Turkey for they have to make money to help their families and these kids are forced to work 12-hour shifts six days a week. Dickensian days have returned in Turkey...

Also a fine tribute here, in a seperate exhibition, to Jeroen Oerlemans (1976-2016) who was killed by a sniper while doing his work.

More of my images on Flickr.com



New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series)

New Deal Photography - USA 1935 - 1943, by Taschen (Bibliotheca Unversalis series). With an essay by Peter Walther on the Farm Security Administration.
Captions and text in this book is in 3 languages: English, German and French.

I came recently upon this delightful publication by Taschen. It is modest in size, only 15x20cm, but not in number of pages (600) and the wealth of images published in it.
Ever since I 'discovered' the photography of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, I have been fascinated by the documentary photography in general and the period 1930s - 1940s in the United States in particular.

Initially created as the Resettlement Administration (RA) in 1935 as part of 'the New Deal' in the United States, the Farm Security Administration (FSA) was an effort during the Depression to combat American rural poverty.
The FSA stressed 'rural rehabilitation' efforts to improve the lifestyle of sharecroppers, tenants, very poor landowning farmers, and a program to purchase submarginal land owned by poor farmers and resettle them in group farms on land more suitable for efficient farming.
The FSA is famous for its small but highly influential photography program, 1935–44, that portrayed the challenges of rural poverty.

The photography in this book is simply fabulous and at the back of the book is a brief biography of the photographers depicted.
These photographers are: Esther Bubley - Paul Carter - John Collier - Marjorie Collins - Jack Delano - Walker Evans - Charles Fenno Jacobs - Theodor Jung - Dorothea Lange - Russel Lee - Carl Mydans - Alfred T. Palmer - Gordon Parks - Louise & Edwin Rosskam - Arthur Rothstein - Ben Shahn - Roy Emerson Stryker - John Vachon - Marion Post Wolcott.




Rowan Atkinson at Inspector Maigret

Rowan Atkinson at Inspector Maigret

I stumbled, while channel zapping, on this series, Maigret, and since it had just started I stayed on that channel. It took me a few minutes to recognize Rowan Atkinson as Inspector Maigret and he quite won me over!
While I found that I had watched episode 2 in this first series, this was not a problem to understand the story. About a month later I was able to watch the first episode (90 minutes); the entire first series consists of these two films and I am glad a 2nd series of apparently 2 episodes seem to be in the making.

Pipe clamped in his jaws, raincoat draped nonchalantly over his shoulders, Rowan Atkinson takes to cleaning up the infested streets of Paris. He does so in a stirling performance and so much different than his Mr Bean chracater (of whom I soon tired).
Allegedly Atkinson shied away from Maigret when the part was first offered... Only when ITV came back to him many months later did he relent; he did find it hard to play such an ordinary man (doing an extraordinary job!), a man without strange quirks or interests; his role does not even require a French accent!
He does, however, have a pipe which proved a godsend. In the studio Atkinson wasn't allowed to smoke a real pipe, but outside he was determined to smoke real tobacco.

The opening frame of Maigret Sets a Trap is filled by one of the Notre Dame's gargoyles gazing over panoramic Paris from its lofty position. In fact, the action was shot entirely in Budapest!
Since Paris resembles so little of the 1950s, it was found that Budapest made for a remarkable and suitable double.
The winding lanes of Buda, with tufts of grass poking between cobbles, stand in for Montmartre and the grand boulevards of Pest for the formal beat of the prefecture and the judiciary.
The period interiors are beautifully realised, too. The British know how to set up a film décor, every shot is like a painting!

More Maigret films are in the pipeline and Atkinson seems keen continuing in the role.Which is an excellent outlook!

www.stuff.co.nz/.../Rowan-Atkinson---detective Maigret
www.manners.nl/jaren-50-detective-maigret-met-rowan-atkinson:_must see/ (NL)



Norskov, crime drama series

Norskov, crime drama series

Norskov, crime drama series

Police investigator Tom Noack returns home, after 20 years, to Norskov; his task is to clean up the town's drug crime, but quickly becomes personally involved. He reunites with his buddies Martin (also his brother-in-law) and Casper.
Martin has become the mayor of Norskov and Casper ('Bondy') is owner of a building firm.

When Tom happens on the trail of a major smuggling operation, Tom is torn between his professional and his personal commitments.
Tom's sister Jackie is the director of a family business and a childhood friend Bondy.
Bondy is the brother of Tom's teenage sweetheart, Diana.
Diana is killed in a drugs related car accident.
The mayor is ambitious in redeveloping the harbor including a futuristic schoolproject, but needs all his dealmaking skills to set up a budget and establish political support from Copenhagen.
Bondy is also involved in dealmaking, but Tom finds evidence Bondy may be involved in drug trafficking.

In the middle of the intrigues is Diana's young son, Oliver, who is a talented ice hockey player trying to find a foothold and both Tom, Martin and Bondy offer support to him, each in different ways.
Ice hockey is off great imprtance to small town Norskov and the storyline of Oliver, as talented ice hockey player but also as a victim of his mother's reputation in Norskov and the region, is powerful stuff.

Tom Noack is a somewhat different leading character in Norskov, compared to other crime drama series. He isn't arrogant, agressive nor is he a loner. He is introvert, honest and studious.
Tom does struggle with his feelings for Diana, is he still in love or does he feel guilty about leaving her 20 years ago? Tom also feels himself not quite at home, his roots tie him to Norskov but he remains a bit of an outsider.

Everything was filmed on location, as the budget would not allow to build a policestation, ice hockey stadium, city hall nor of course an entire industrial harbor with cranes and other huge installations.

Ten episodes of 45 minutes with plenty of drama and evolving storylines, written by Dunja Gry Jensen with roles by Thomas Levin (Tom), Claus Riis Østergaard (Martin), Jacob Ulrik Lohmann (Bondy) and Anne Sofie Espersen (Jackie; she also had a role in Borgen and The Killing 2) and Mathias Käki Jørgensen (Oliver).

www.vpro.nl/.../Norskov (NL)



Tell nu One, by Harlan Coben (personal review)

This book sat in my backlog for quite a while, because it was bought new with Borders and for years I haven't bought crime novels of American authors new.
Anyway, I came to the same conclusion as with previous books by Harlan Coben: they are not for me.

This is not a Myron Bolitar novel.
Will Klein saw his childhood sweetheart murdered years ago and since his older brother Ken, whom he worshipped, fled the scene Ken is thought to be her murderer. Will believes in his innocence, but Ken has disappeared.
The whole affair still weighs heavily on his mind but since about a year Will is very much in love with Sheila and they live together.
Then Sheila disappears for no apparent reason, except that she seems to have gone voluntarily. Then the police visits Will Klein for the fingerprints of Sheila have been found on a murder scene in New Mexico..
On top of it all, Will is informed that Sheila has been found killed and dumped on a roadside; he attends the funeral but it isn't his Sheila who is in the coffin.
This leaves Will toen and bewildered.

Will lives and works in New Jersey, but his job with a firm giving shelter to streetkids does not seem to take much of his time for there is not a singele reference of him doing a working day.
Squares, a well-known yoga master, is also very much involved in providing help to the streetkids; he comes from a troubled background and the 'squares' nickname is derived from a tattoo on his forehead: a swastika was made into squares instead of trying to remove it.
Another person of Will's youth appears on the scene: the Ghost.

The Ghost has made a career as a hired killer and he seems implicated in the killing of Will's sweetheart, Julie Miller. Actually Will had stopped seeing Julie when she was murdered but as the story develops Julie, John 'the Ghost' Asselta and Ken seems to have been involved in crime.

I have several objections to this novel. First Coben takes great pain in making Will a moaning cry-baby: he is sooooo in love with Sheila, then heart broken, easily afraid of threats made to him and without the help of Squares wouldn't know where to start looking for Sheila.
Then there is the American way: making things larger than life (e.g. the character of the Ghost, the attitude by Pistillo the police chief, the local crime lord Philip McGuane).
But I can see the attraction of of Coben's writing too (I did finish reading it), with a moving plot with unexpected changes in the end game.
But I have to conclude that the 'larger than life' aspects in Coben's writing (and many American crime authors) throws me off.



Soviet Ghosts by Rebecca Litchfield, urbex photography photobook

Soviet Ghosts by Rebecca Litchfield, urbex photography photobook

Soviet Ghosts by Rebecca Litchfield, urbex photography photobook

Soviet Ghosts by Rebecca Litchfield, urbex photography photobook

Soviet Ghosts by Rebecca Litchfield, urbex photography photobook

Soviet Ghosts by Rebecca Litchfield, urbex photography photobook

I like 'Urbex Photography' a lot, alas my age and lack of adventurism does not allow 'reckless abandon', exloring derelict structures and such like. This book Soviet Ghosts, published in 2013, certainly hits the spot with me.

Photographer Rebecca Litchfield captures many abandoned location's, which were either part of the Soviet Union or occupied satellite states during this period of history, including forgotten towns, factories, prisons, schools, monuments, hospitals, theatres, military complexes, asylums & death camps across the former communist states.
These photographs document in a fascinating way moral bankruptcy and flawed ideology.
She explored with help of friends and contacts during a road-trip through the old USSR, renewing objects, buildings of post-apocalyptic decay into art.
I value the eExtended essays by Tristi Brownett, Neill Cockwill and Professor Owen Evans, they offer considerable insight in the background of these photographs which otherwise would have remained mere objects of wonder.
One day I hope to visit Chernobyl as she did. An essay in the books he book explains while the photos explores how and why once thriving communities became abandoned, whether by natural disaster, man-made catastrophe or simply through the march of time.
A marvellous photobook which I value in my book collection.

I gather Rebecca Litchfield has become Rebecca Bathory since publishing this book.

www.rebeccabathoryblog.com with links to her stunning Urbex photos; check it out!



Met de Fotograaf op Reis - NA

Met de Fotograaf op Reis - NA
Alexandrine Petronella Francina Tinne (alternative spellings: Pieternella, Françoise, Tinné;
17Oct1835 – 01Aug1869) was a Dutch explorer in Africa and the first European woman to
attempt to cross the Sahara. She often went by the first name Alexine.

During her years of exploring in Africa she lost her mother and aunt as well as a servant.
The hardship must have been hardly bearable. In the early morning of 01Aug1869,
on the route from Murzuk to Ghat, she was murdered. Murdered, allegedly, by Tuareg
people in league with her escort; together with two Dutch sailors in her party. According to
the statements at the trial in Tripoli in Dec.1869/Jan.1870, two blows of a sword (one in her
neck, one on one of her hands) made her collapse. They left her to bleed to death.
Her body was never found... [Wikipedia]

Met de Fotograaf op Reis - NA

Met de Fotograaf op Reis - NA

Met de Fotograaf op Reis - NA

Met de Fotograaf op Reis - NA

Met de Fotograaf op Reis - NA

Met de Fotograaf op Reis - NA
Eduard 'Ed' van der Elsken (b.10Mar1925 – d.28Dec1990) was a Dutch photographer and filmmaker.
More on him can be found on my Blog 4014Q3

Met de Fotograaf op Reis - NA
Photoreport by Henri Cartier-Bresson from Moscow, Russia (1955) in a Dutch publication

Met de Fotograaf op Reis - NA
Henri Cartier-Bresson again, this time from Ulan Bator (1958).

The title of this translates to something such as 'On the Road - Photographer travelling'.
I must have missed the exhibition 'Onderweg - Met de fotograaf op reis' in the National Archive during 2016 , but am glad I came across the catalogue recently.
The exhibition & book is looking back on how travel and photography went hand in hand since the 19th century.
Photographers were part of the explorers who went the world over, documenting a changing world and recording exotic communities and lifestyles.

The turbulent times in Sudetenland shortly before the Second World War, the unknow China and Russia in the 1950s as well as many locations in mysterious Latin-America.
The 'Nationaal Archief' shows photos by (a.o.) Ed van der Elsken, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Luc Timmers, Herbert Ponting, Cas Oorthuys, Sem Presser and Willem van de Poll.

From a collection totalling millions of photographs, a selection of 235 original prints of famous but also unknown photographers were selecting covering the past 125 years!
The majority concern B&W images.

The Nationaal Archief (Dutch National Archives) is the ‘national memory’ of the Netherlands. The Archive holds 125 kilometres of documents, photos and maps both from the central government, as well as from organizations and persons of national importance (past and present).




Cartoon by Collignon, Volkskrant 21Jan2017

Cartoon by Joep Bertram,  DeGroeneAmsterdamm #141 2017

I suspect many will follow, but fear there is a dark side here..


The Sandhamn Murders (2)

Sanhamn Murders - series 2

Sanhamn Murders - series 2

Sanhamn Murders - series 2

Sanhamn Murders - series 2


Sandhamn (EN= 'Sand Harbour') is a small settlement in the central-peripheral part of the Stockholm Archipelago in central-eastern Sweden, approximately 50 km (30 mi) east of Stockholm.
It has been popular for pleasure boating since the late 19th century. It is known for its tavern, its clubhouse, and its harbour.
While the settlement only has a hundred permanent inhabitants, the number of residents increases to 2-3,000 during the summer. Sandhamn receives an additional 100,000 visitors annually.
Mikael Blomkvist, a central character in the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson has a cabin in Sandhamn. In the books comprising the Millennium Trilogy, he uses the cabin as a place to relax and write.
This crime drama series The Sandhamn Murders are shot on location and based on books by Viveca Sten.

This Series 2 comprise 6 episodes of 45 minutes, 2 murder mysteries.
Like in Series 1 the main roles are by Jakob Cedergren (as police detective Thomas) and Alexandra Rapaport (as Sandhamn resident Nora).
Thomas is assisted by Mia,a role by Sandra Andreiss, a character of whom we learn more in these series.

The 2 stories in this Series 2 are about a serial killer targeting a military group and a murder victim on the island during Midsummer night.
Thomas has struck up a relation with Pernilla again, after their relation had run aground in the sad aftermath of their young child death. In the 2nd story Pernilla and Thomas have become parents again.
So anyone who had hoped or thought that Thomas and the delightful Nora would become an item: nothing had sparked to take it further.
But not everything is fine between Thomas and Pernilla, as the latter is bored on Thomas' isolated island and moves back, with their child, to the city while Thomas is reluctant to follow there...
Meanwhile Nora becomes involved with a summer tenant, Jonas, but he is not yet separated from his wife and has a daughter with him in a difficult age (15 or so). She sees Nora as another factor why her parents would separate.

So again plenty of drama and crime solving, but on a very humane scale and not so black ('Scandi Noir') as many other Scandinavian thrillers (e.g. The Killing or The Bridge), so very pleasant to watch.
Superb entertainment. It also makes you want to visit Sandhamn some day!




Greg Trooper died 15JAN2017 - rip
Greg Trooper performing in Aalsmeer, in 2012

Greg Trooper (b.13Jan1956 – d.15Jan2017) was an American singer-songwriter, whose songs have been recorded by many artists, including Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, and Vince Gill.
Liked his music, liked his humor.
Saw him perform in 2012, in Aalsmeer, Netherlands. His music is a fine legacy, but he left way too early.




Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017
Please note that my flatbed scanner could not cover the entire pages and this effected the reproduction.
However, the above illustrations are merely meant as examples of the range of subjects and high quality!

Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017

Snoecks 2017

I thought the 2017 edition of Snoecks of excellent value, with a wide range of subjects, very well balanced selection of photography and other articles, short stories, recommended literature published in 2016 and of course, the closing pages, authors who passed away in 2016.

Besides two short stories (by Helen Simpson and Thomas Pierce) there are articles on a variety of subjects: Albino's (in Africa a particular hardship), painted pigeons in Spain, the legacy of Mammoths in Siberia, high sensitivity for chemicals (above photo of a man who worked with chemicals and over the years his nose 'disappeared', his employer withheld health warnings), a report from Xinjiang, the river Rhine and about the Global Seed Vault on Svalbard / Spitsbergen).

Art by Mu Pan and archtecture by Kengo Kuma. Humor by Clo'e Floirat.

Photography by Jenny Boot, Henk van Renbergen, Tomas Dezso, Ben Skinner, Bruno Barbey, Thierry Bouët, Oliver Rath, Søren Rønholt, Alain Laboile, Sol Neelman, Kirill Golovchenko, Katarina Belkina, Christian Saint, Marie Cécile Thijs, Lois Greenfield, Richard Egli, Marco Grob and George Pitts.

Illustrated reports of the Everglades, using robots on safari and scenes from the deep sea.

Thoroughly enjoyed browing this edition over the past few weeks!



The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell

Through Ruth Rendell's books I feel I visit and enjoy England again. Over the past 40+ years I have visited Great-Britain frequently and thoroughly enjoyed it (though the last 2 times I became frustrated by the British idiosyncrasies and cut my visit short by a few days).
I am sure this novel is very likely not for every one because all the major characters are elderly people.

Shortly before WWII, a young man murders his wife and his wife's lover; he cuts off the couple's hands and buries them, in a cookie jar, in tunnels that the local children play in. The story is about those kids, 70 years later, when those hands are discovered and brought to the police.
Due to the age of the crime and likelyhood the murder(s) being dead by now, the investigation comes to a virtual standstill.
The disappearance of a man and a woman at the time had been not much of an issue, lost in the general confusion of the war. The police office which started initial inquiries, without immediate suspect of foul play, was bombed.

But those hands bring that group of people together again that once played in the tunnels, which they had dubbed 'qanats'. Memories are shared, friendships renewed and there is even a new love affair when a man leaves his wife and falls in love al over with his first love. With the girl that lived next door to the murderer.
Then we find that the murderer is not dead at all, though fast approaching his 100th birthday anniversary.

In all her golden career as a crime writer, Ruth Rendell has always produced solid, well-crafted narratives of suburban life. I particularly liked those 'her' Inspector Wexford whodunnits.
Apperently a search for a darker world has been evident in her work under the pseudonym of Barbara Vine, of which I have yet to read a book, where studies of apparently normal suburban inhabitants were probed to reveal frightening glimpses of psychopaths.
In this book 'A Girl Next Door' the story is not about psychopath 'Woody', but rather on a group of elderly people and their attitudes towards changes in fashion, food, as well as to relations, sex and family.

"The Girl" of the title is Daphne, also once a member of an Essex children's gang that played in tunnels which actually were digs for foundations of a disrupted building project, stopped because of the onslaught of the Second World War.
Daphne is a key figure and the author brings some very dark issues in her character.

I had to get used to this novel but soon started to enjoy it. That book published after this one (published in 2014), 'Dark Corners', is I believe her last one; she died in 2015.




Watercolours canalcruise Amsterdam, jan.2017

Watercolours canalcruise Amsterdam, jan.2017

Watercolours canalcruise Amsterdam, jan.2017

During the period 01Dec2016 - 22Jan2017 the 5th edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival was held.
Over 35 art creations and installations of international artists, designers and architects light up the center of Amsterdam.
Mind the installations for the walking tour expire earlier, this time on Jan.8th.
With family I enjoyed a canalboat cruise on Sunday 8th, after I had walked the other part of the Lightfestival earlier that week.




The Great Plague by Evelyn Lord
The Great Plague - a people's history (Yale University Press, 2014)

During Medieval times, the Black Death wiped out one-fifth of the world’s population. Four centuries later, in 1665, the plague returned with a vengeance.
This book zooms in on Cambridge, not London (with 100.000 casualties during that same period) or Colchester (2.000 dead by the plague), but rather this university town with only 920 burials. However,
in those two years, 1665 - 1666, that meant a decimation of 12% of this town's population. And it meant that almost everyone knew some who had died or lived nearby a house visited by the plague.

Lord’s fascinating reconstruction of life during plague times presents the personal experiences of a wide range of individuals, from historical notables Samuel Pepys and Isaac Newton to common folk who tilled the land and ran the shops.

The Black Death as it later became known was first seen in England in July 1348, when a ship carrying infected sailors docked at Melcombe Regis in Dorset. By April 1349 the plague was in Cambridge. But by 1350 plague deaths ceased, and the country breathed a collective sigh of relief.

In Cambridge work started on three new colleges to train men for priesthood and replace those who had died in the plague. Bishop Bateman of Norwich founded Trinity Hall and completed Gonville Hall, and in 1352 Corpus Christi College was founded by the town’s gilds and their patron John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.
For a time there was full employment in the town, more scholars arrived at the university, there was prosperity to be enjoyed.
But the plague returned to the town in 1361. It was to reappear in every century of the millennium.

The Great Plague

When plague appeared in the town, the university suspended lectures and sent the students away. Stourbridge Fair, held on the outskirts of Cambridge and vital for the town's businesses, was cancelled by royal proclamation; also all entertainment was banned and the social and economic life of the town was severely disrupted.
In the 17th century if rumours of plague in London reached Cambridge, the town tried to isolated itself and forbade all contact with the capital. But those efforts were in vain.
People did not know what caused the epidemic, wild theories and potions went around but the massive amount of dead rats in stinking canals and ditches were not identified as the cause.
Medical diagnosis was still in its infancy.

By researching records of deaths in the parish registers, baptisms and burials, records on trade, books available from the Colleges and corporation on leases and taxes, etc the raw data became available to the author. Diaries of people such as Samuel Pepys and Isaac Newton were consulted too, of course.

Evelyn Lord provides a fascinating read by painting the full picture of life in Cambridge and surrounding communities. I found it shocking to read that families, when a death-by plague was found in the house, they were locked inside their house with guards on 12 hour shifts put in front of the house.
I always thought they were put outside the town's gates, in pest houses.
Trade and life came to a standstill and people became isolated and business ran aground because money ran out to buy materials or the provider died.
Familiar faces were found missing when people left their houses, thinking prematurely there was hope the sickness has passed.
Thousands of the survivors survived on poor relief, which was a heavy burden on the town's finances, already struggling with its loss of income.
The only relief was that pressgangs to man the naval fleet at war with the Dutch (the noise of cannon fire reached as far inland as Cambridge!) avoided towns isolated because of the plague, for obvious reasons.

The Great Plague of 1665

Evelyn Lord is Emeritus Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge. Her previous books include The Hellfire Clubs (Yale, 2008), The Knights Templar in Britain (2001) and The Stuart Secret Army (2004).
She lives in Cambridge.




Les Halles by Robert Doisneau, photography

Les Halles by Robert Doisneau, photography

Les Halles by Robert Doisneau, photography

Les Halles by Robert Doisneau, photography

Les Halles by Robert Doisneau, photography

While in Paris,France a few months ago I was impressed by the photography of Robert Doisneau. And more recently I stumbled upon this book in a sale, discounted probably because the essay by Vladimir Vased is in French.
But I thought the images speak for themselves.

Les Halles de Paris, usually simply Les Halles (The Halls), was Paris's central fresh food market.
Located in the heart of the city, it was demolished in 1971 and replaced with the Forum des Halles, a modern shopping mall built largely underground and directly connected to the massive RER and métro transit hub of Châtelet-Les-Halles.

Les Halles was the traditional central market of Paris. In 1183, King Philippe II Auguste enlarged the marketplace in Paris and built a shelter for the merchants, who came from all over to sell their wares.
The circular Halle aux Blés ('Corn Exchange') was built between 1763 and 1769 at the west end of Les Halles. Its circular central court was later covered with a dome, and it was converted into the Bourse de Commerce in 1889.
In the 1850s, Victor Baltard designed the famous glass and iron buildings, Les Halles, which would last until the 1970s.

Robert Doisneau (b.14April1912 – d.01Apr1994) was a French photographer.
In the 1930s he used a Leica on the streets of Paris. He was a champion of humanist photography and with Henri Cartier-Bresson a pioneer of photojournalism.




Sebastiao Salgado, The Scent of a Dream - photography

Sebastiao Salgado, The Scent of a Dream - photography

Sebastiao Salgado, The Scent of a Dream - photography

Sebastiao Salgado, The Scent of a Dream - photography

Sebastiao Salgado, The Scent of a Dream - photography

Sebastiao Salgado, The Scent of a Dream - photography

Sebastiao Salgado, The Scent of a Dream - photography

Sebastiao Salgado, The Scent of a Dream - photography

Salgado was born on 08Feb1944 in Aimorés, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
He initially trained as an economist, earning a master’s degree in economics from the University of São Paulo in Brazil.
He began work as an economist for the International Coffee Organization, often traveling to Africa on missions for the World Bank, when he first started seriously taking photographs.
He chose to abandon a career as an economist and switched to photography in 1973, at first focussing on news assignments before veering more towards documentary-type work.
After having worked for the photo agency Sygma and the Paris-based Gamma, he joined in 1979 Magnum Photos.
He left Magnum in 1994 and with his wife Lélia Wanick Salgado formed his own agency, Amazonas Images, to represent his work.
Salgado is particularly noted for his social documentary photography of workers in less developed nations.

I came across the exhibition a few years ago in Venice,Italy and bought the book; unfortunately they only had the edition in Italian but the images speak for themselves and the index in the back of the book are not hard to understand when one is looking for the location.
The book is produced for the famous coffee company, Illy.

Started in 2002, when Sebastião Salgado and Illy met, Scent of a dream (subtitled Travels in the World of Coffee) is a photographic journey through coffee growing countries: the greatest  artistic reference ever produced on the coffee world.
It is of course a matter of taste, but I liked it more than the book produced by Steve McCurry. The books are very different: McCurry shoots in colour, while Sebastião Salgado shoots in Black & White; the books differ in size, the Salgado book is massive (truly a coffee table book - pun intended) and has a great many more images.

Salgado celebrates the daily lives of those on the plantations and the beauty of the terroir from which the precious bean is grown and harvested.
The images stem from ten of the countries from which illy buys coffee: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Colombia, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Tanzania.

Very, very impressive.




iLLUMINADE Amsterdam 2016/2017

iLLUMINADE Amsterdam 2016/2017

iLLUMINADE Amsterdam 2016/2017

The Amsterdam Light Festival has a (free) walking tour ('Illuminade') as well as a tour through the canals. The walking tour ends Jan. 8th this year (the canal tours last 2 more weeks) and I had to do the Illuminade before it would end.
A good opportunity to try my new Canon 24-105/f4 L IS USM lens...
Yesterday evening was a cold one; stupidly I did not bring gloves nor wore any warm headgear, which soon brought on various inconveniences.
Also, I had trouble getting my bearings, as I found the walking by smartphone not much of an option, had to warm my hands between photography. So I followed the flow of people and think I saw most.
I did not bring a tripod, that was intentional, am too lazy in general to use a tripod and was too rushed this evening for the cold.

More imagese on flickr.com



Klaas Salverda - Testament van de Pers

Klaas Salverda - Testament van de Pers

Klaas Salverda - Testament van de Pers

'Testament of the (printed) Press' would be the translation of the Dutch title, Testament van de Pers, by Klaas Salverda.

Klaas Salverda (b.1960) started on his 16th with the regional press in Friesland and completed studies at the University of Amsterdam, on politics and mass communications. Hij also completed studies on professional journalistic ethics.
He worked for a number of publications: De Journalist (publication of 'Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten - NVJ), het Noordhollands Dagblad and Gemeenschappelijke Pers Dienst (later de Geassocieerde Pers Diensten - GPD).
In 1998 he started out as an independent journalist and copywriter.

As a matter of routine he started collecting relevant and/or remarkable newspaper clippings and other articles. A selection of his archive, spanning some 40 years, have found a way by selection and subject into this book (published in 2016 with funding from Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten).
While a testament may be as yet a bit premature for the printed press, it is certainly a valuable historic document providing fascinating insights in recent world- and national affairs.

Chapters include The Manufacturers of the News, Countries & States: Europe, Countries & States: Outside Europe, Politics & Government, The Old Netherlands, The New Century, The Demise of Religion, Upon Conclusion & Epilogue.
The book is published in Dutch, by Eburon (Delft), and a hefty volume it is: 596 pages.
A wonderful read and a fine addition for the bookcase, to browse upon occasion.

www.testamentvandepers.nl (Dutch)




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Created: 04-Jan-2017