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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

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




The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Essay by David Campany, 'A Short History of the Long Road'.

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Ed Ruscha: Texaco, Vega,TX 1962 + Standard Station, Amarillo,TX 1962

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Inge Morath: Goldfield,NV 1960

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Jacob Holdt: Sharecropper in Georgia + Hunger in America 1975, Bethel,NC

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Bernard Plossu: Cochise,AZ 1979

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Victor Burgin: Patriarchitecture 1977 + Omnimpotence 1977 + False Perspective 1977
Note tthe texts added inside the photographs

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Joel Sternfeld: Domestic workers waiting for the bus, Atlanta,GA april 1983

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Shinya Fujiwara: both untitled, from the series American Roulette 1988

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Alec Soth: Charles, Vasa, MN 2002 + Peter's Houseboat, Winona, MN 2002

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Justine Kurland: Watermelon Still Life 2012 + New Family, Black Bear Ranch 2011
That left caption is a typo in the book, it should read Finding Grace in the Garage

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs: Broken Street, 2008

The Open Road, by David Campany (Aperture)
All the photographers' photos are tracked on a map. Nice feature!

The road trip is an enduring symbol in American culture.
Ever since cars became widely available, the road stretching over the horizon has represented a sense of possibility and freedom, discovery and escape-a place to get lost and find yourself in the process.
The American road trip has appeared prominently in literature, music, and movies, but it has had an especially powerful influence on photography. As photographers have embarked on trips across the United States with the express purpose of making work, they have created some of the most important photographs in the history of the medium: from images by Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Berenice Abbott to Robert Frank's seminal 1950s odyssey, The Americans. From Stephen Shore to Ryan McGinley, hundreds of other photographers have continued the tradition.
And so have I tried to raise that very same feeling from time to time, during my own vacation travels in North America.

The Open Road opens with a comprehensive introduction, which traces the rise of road culture in America and considers photographers on the move across the country and across the century, from the early 1900s to present day.
Each chapter explores one body of work in depth through informative texts and a portfolio of images, beginning with Robert Frank, and including such renowned work as Garry Winogrand's 1964, Joel Sternfeld's American Prospects, William Eggleston's Los Alamos, and Alec Soth's Sleeping by the Mississippi.

In the photos above I have depicted mostly those whom I liked and was less familiar with, for now ignoring great names such as Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, Joel Meyerowitz, Stephen Shore - but only because I had to make a choice here.

I love everything about this book: the photography, the subject, learning to know new names and it is wonderfully produced by Aperture.
David Campany is a writer, curator of exhibitions and an artist. He has published several books on photography, cinema and art, and over a hundred essays.




Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson
Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson
Paris, France

Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson
I have ignored the more iconic by HCB in this book and opted for other wonderful material

Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson
An eye for the absurd

Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson
Following the glances

Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson
Tug-boat pilots on the Rhine, near Bingen (Federal Rep. of Germany, 1956)

Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson
Germany - after WWII (resp 1960s and 1950s)

Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson
Russia (USSR and Siberia)

Europeans - Henri Cartier-Bresson

In 1955, Henri Cartier-Bresson published 'The Europeans', a collection of photographs taken over a period of five years. His portrait of the continent documented a landscape shadowed by war, where people lived among ruins and still bore the mark of hunger.

For this book, first published forty-five years later (1999), the celebrated photographer brought together a far broader range of images, spanning the years 1929 - 1991.
Cartier-Bresson travelled across Europe, from the Scandinavian shield to the Balkan karst, from the Breton granites to the Irish bogs, in order to capture what it means to be European. Beyond nationalism and the particular characteristics of each culture and nation, he found evidence of a greater identity, a family likeness shared by the people and the landscape.

The Europeans recorded here inhabit both city and countryside, where we see them at work, in the streets, travelling and gossiping. Sometimes they are lone figures; a photograph may show only a single gaze, a glimpse
of a face.
Often, however, Cartier-Bresson turns his camera to couples, twin figures, mirrored individuals, linked solitudes. He captures crowds, gathering both to celebrate and to protest.
Besides the masterful photography it is also a unique historic document of the ordinary man and woman in the street in times, for most very different from now but not even so long ago, many today may still have relatives alive who lived though those days.

The pictures portray Europe, its landscape, and people, in various situations and at different stages of history, providing viewers a window into the continent over six decades.

thamesandhudson.com/cartier-bresson + europeans



Maurizio de Giovanni, crime novels

Naples,Italy 1931. A cold wind blows through the streets of the old city when a murder is being committed in the city's theatre.
The respectable and famous San Carlo Theatre is about to start its production of the Cavalleria Rusticana, featuring the world's most respectable tenor Arnaldo Vezzi in the leading role.
A few minutes before Vezzi is expected to appear on stage he is found dead in his dressing room. His throat was cut and he blead to his death.
While the small dressing room has blood everywhere, his coat and shawl do not even have the tiniest drop of blood. The window is open, not something that is logical with its occupant's fear for catching a cold.

Commissario Ricciardi is a tormented soul: he sees victims of a violent death in a last ghostly appearance delivering a last statement: victims of road accidents, a fall from a window, murders. And he sees them repeatedly at that same location until they fade away over time.
He also sees Vezzi in his final moment in his dressing room, but what his last statement does not seem to help solve the murder.

Ricciardi is put on the case for his extraordinary ablities to solve complicated deaths. The backdrop in time is the popularity of Il Duce, Benito Mussolini. Ricciardi's superior is rather more concerned with his own reputation and relations than in justice being served; Ricciardi withstands the political pressure. In fact he is a person of wealth and has no need for a paying job, but seeing all the hunger and suffering he feels obliged to be a servant of justice (even if it means the law is not strictly applied to the letter by him).
Ricciardi's character and abilities are an obstacle for him to enjoy relations in a common sense.
'The Death sings in Naples', is a refreshing crime novel, mixing history and human relations, though the details on opera went much beyond any interest of mine.

Maurizio de Giovanni was born in Naples in 1958; he spent the majority of his life living and working there. In 2005 he decided to join a contest for upcoming novelists and that is where he came up with the character of Commissario Ricciardi, the main protagonist of his first short story.
This became the start of his career as a writer.
In 2011 he had his first book published, 'By my hand - A commissario Ricciardi mystery'.
Since then he has been a prolific producer of books (Commissario Ricciardi's- and Ispettore Lojacono's series), articles & short stories as well as an adaptation for a theatre play.




Jordskott, 2nd season

When I'd seen the first series of Jordskott, I was convinced I had no interest in a second series, such a bizar series!
But inspite of the macabre and surrealistic plot, the supernatural playing an imported part, I sat through the second series and wouldn't be suprised that if and when a third series will be produced I will watch it again!

Two years have passed since Silverhojd was rocked by harrowing events, and Eva Thörnblad (a role by Moa Gammel) has since returned to her job with Stockholm's city police.
Eva is trying to move on, but struggles with her grief over her daughter Josefin and the pain that the Jordskott causes her. Eva soon finds herself being drawn into a mysterious case with a connection to her own past, and is forced to confront the mystical world she decided to put behind her.

Eva meets again with Wass (agent for EN, a secret society which puts Nature over Human laws and morals). Silverhojd's police inspector Tom and his daughter Ida move down to Stockholm too, as Tom seeks the next step in his career and has feeling for Eva. Tom is approached to enlist with EN, but Wass advises him against it).
Agneta, Eva's mother, has been put in a carehome and gradually Eva unravels why her mother hated her so much.
Agneta worked as a journalist and writer; it seems EN had much to do with her mental problems, to stop her from publishing certain facts. Agneta's memory is jogged when photos appear in the media, of a wasted man washed up under a bridge in ice covered waters. This man she recognises as her photographer Leif when compiling the special report decades ago.

A crime fiction series different from most!




Death in a Strange Country | Donna Leon novel

When reading 'Death in a Strange' country it is good to bear in mind that this novel by Donna Leon dates from 1993. This is the time when there were no mobile phones, when the USofA played a leading role in the world in a moral sense. But we also see how far back Donna Leon's frustration with Italy's widespread corruption goes.
In all other senses the date of publication plays no mayor role, though it is funny to read how police inspector Guido Brunetti is amazed by a bubble of imported American society at the Army base he visits a few times in light of his inquiry; while so much he saw now plays a prominent role in European societies.

Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti, whose first case (Death at La Fenice, 1992) so expertly resurrected the closed-circle 'whodunnit', takes on the murder investigation of Sgt. Michael Foster, public health inspector at the American military hospital at Vicenza; it is significant to see how many people want this case closed as a simple robbery gone wrong.
Brunetti's officious boss Patti insists it be written off as a mugging; somebody plants cocaine in Foster's quarters in the hope of heading off further questions; even Foster's lover and commanding officer insists she has no idea why he's been killed, but her fear of speaking out is obvious to Brunetti.
Patti pulls Brunetti off the case to work a burglary from a Grand Canal palazzo, but that - and more sinister high-level skullduggery - are predictably tied in too. The ties that bind go so far high up that even Brunetti's father-in-law, who is very much part of that world, has limited influence to apply justice.

While Donna Leon sees to it that not all criminals go scot-free, instilling a little sense with the reader of wrongdoing being punished, there remains a dark sense of untouchable corruption in Italy's governing bodies.

Donna Leon (b.1942- in Montclair, New Jersey) is the American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice and featuring the fictional hero Commissario Guido Brunetti.
Leon has lived in Venice for over 25 years. She was a lecturer in English literature for the University of Maryland University College - Europe (UMUC-Europe) in Italy.
She stopped teaching and concentrated on writing and other cultural activities in the field of music (especially baroque music).

The Commissario Brunetti novels are all situated in or around Venice. They are written in English and translated into many foreign languages, but not into Italian, at Leon's request.

www.boekbeschrijvingen.nl/leon-donna/leon (title list / titel lijst)




William of Orange, 2018 exhibition
William of Nassau, Prince of Orange

William of Orange, 2018 exhibition

Willem van Orange, 2018 exhibition

Willem van Orange, 2018 exhibition

Visited a very interesting exhibition on 'Willem' (William of Orange) yesterday in the National Military Museum (Soesterberg).
A look into the times of the 16th century, about the upbringing of young noblemen, tournaments, their military training, of battles and politics.

William got on well with Emperor Charles V (Holy Roman Empire), but less with his son Philip II. The Roman-Catholic repression led to a revolt in the Dutch Lowlands (the northen provinces mainly Protestant), William led the revolt; war led to higher taxes by the Spanish to pay for its soldiers, fuelling the revolt.
William led 3 major uprisings (financed mostly by private fortune sometimes) until he was murdered.

This exhibition sets off a series of exhibitions remembering the '80 Years War' (or 'Dutch War of Independence'), which started in 1568 and ended in 1648 with the Treaty of Münster.

More photos on Flickr.com



Botanical Garden, Uni of Utrecht (Uithof)

Botanical Garden, Uni of Utrecht (Uithof)

Botanical Garden, Uni of Utrecht (Uithof)

Botanical Garden, Uni of Utrecht (Uithof)

Brilliant visit to this Botanical Garden today!
Beautiful landscaping, trees, a zillion plants, plus birds & insects...

The Utrecht University Botanic Gardens have consisted of two locations since 1987: the main garden at Fort Hoofddijk in 'de Uithof' and the 'Von Gimborn Arboretum' in Doorn.
However, the history of living plant collections of Utrecht University dates back to the 17th century.
The first botanical garden of the university was founded in Utrecht in 1639, three years after the establishment of the university itself. Around 1723 the collection moved to another location within the old city, which still exists as the museum garden of the University Museum, known as Oude Hortus (old garden).
It is the place where around 1730 Ginkgo biloba was planted for the first time in Europe.
In 1920 Cantonspark in Baarn became another part of the university gardens, with a rock garden and thematic beds.
In 1963 Utrecht University acquired the land at Fort Hoofddijk, one of the forts of the New Dutch Waterline, situated in the Uithof, the modern campus of the university on the eastern outskirts of the city of Utrecht.
In 1964 the university bought the Sandwijck buitenplaats in De Bilt, where greenhouses and a nursery were organized, and in 1966 it acquired Von Gimborn Arboretum in Doorn.
In 1964-1974 the rocks from the old rock garden in Cantonspark and additional 2100 tons of rocks from Ardennes were laid on the top of Fort Hoofddijk (this point of defense was built in 1877-1879) in order to build the new rock garden, which has become one of the largest in Europe!
In the 1970s systematic beds were laid down there as well, and in the 1980s the new complex of greenhouses was constructed.
In 1987 the collections of Oude Hortus, Cantonspark and Sandwijck were transferred to Fort Hoofddijk, which thus became the main location of the botanical gardens.

en.wikipedia.org:_Utrecht_University_Botanic_Gardensnl.wikipedia.org:_Botanische_Tuin_Fort_Hoofddijk (NL)
Photoreport on www.flickr.com



Moments in History - by Margaret Bourke-White

Moments in History - by Margaret Bourke-White

Moments in History - by Margaret Bourke-White

Moments in History - by Margaret Bourke-White

Moments in History - by Margaret Bourke-White

Moments in History - by Margaret Bourke-White

Moments in History - by Margaret Bourke-White

America's first female war correspondent, Margaret Bourke-White (b.14Jun1904 - d.Aug1971), was also something of a media star, with the portrait of her decked out in flying gear, camera in hand, about to
set off on a WW2 bombing raid... It seems to me she made a calculated and successful effort to reach to 'celebrity status' to get where she wanted to be as a photographer.

From her naturalist father, an engineer and inventor, she claimed to have learned perfectionism; from her 'resourceful homemaker' mother, she claimed to have developed an unapologetic desire for self-improvement.
Margaret's interest in photography began as a young woman's hobby, supported by her father's enthusiasm for cameras.
Bourke-White graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1927.
A year later, she moved from Ithaca,NY, to Cleveland,OH, where she started a commercial photography studio and began concentrating on architectural and industrial photography.

In 1924, during her studies, she married Everett Chapman, but the couple divorced 2 years later. Margaret White added her mother's surname, 'Bourke' to her name in 1927 and hyphenated it. Perhaps to honour her mother, but I suspect it could have been to appear married and avoid unwelcome questions about her status in life.
In 1929, Bourke-White accepted a job as associate editor and staff photographer of Fortune magazine, a position she held until 1935.

Black-and-white film in that era was sensitive to blue light, not the reds and oranges of hot steel. The photographs at the Otis Steel Company were coming out all black. She solved this problem by bringing along a new style of magnesium flare, which produces white light, and having assistants hold them to light her scenes.
Her abilities resulted in some of the best steel factory photographs of that era, which earned her national attention.

Bourke-White traveled to the USSR when the first Five-Year Plan was being implemented! She photographed Stalin's great aunt, Dido Lilo (1932) and Stalin's mother, Tiflis (also 1932). Later she photographed Stalin himself. And Churchill. And Roosevelt.
She documented the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, and the Allied bombing of Germany. Bourke-White was the first female war correspondent and the first woman to be allowed to work in combat zones during World War II. In 1941, she traveled again to the Soviet Union, just as Germany broke its pact of non-aggression. She was the only foreign photographer in Moscow when German forces invaded... Note the bottom photo of the selection above, with the skyline of the Kremlin.

In the summer of 1945 she was commissioned by Life magazine to make a photographic record of the destroyed German cities. She was present at the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp and also witnessed how thousands of German civilians from Weimar were being marched through the camp at gun point, by orders of General Walker.

In 1953, she developed her first symptoms of Parkinson's disease. She was forced to slow her career to fight encroaching paralysis. In 1959 and 1961, she underwent several brain surgeries to treat her condition, which effectively ended her tremors but affected her speech.
In 1971, she died at Stamford Hospital in Stamford,CT, aged 67, from Parkinson's disease.

Focusing on the work Bourke-White made in the 1930s and 40s in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union and the U.K., this book 'Moments in History' presents 150 classic photographs.
A striking document of excellent photography by a remarkable woman.





Modern Color by Fred Herzog

Modern Color by Fred Herzog

Modern Color by Fred Herzog

Modern Color by Fred Herzog

Modern Color by Fred Herzog

Fred Herzog's Modern Color: The New York Times lists this publication in the top 10 photo books of 2016. A comprehensive monograph featuring 230 colour and black & white images, many never before reproduced.

Fred Herzog (b.21Sep1930 ) is a photographer known primarily for his photographs of life in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada.
He worked professionally as a medical photographer.
He was the associate director of the UBC Department of Biomedical Communication, and also taught at Simon Fraser University.

Herzog was born and grew up in Stuttgart, Germany, but was evacuated from the city during the aerial bombardment of the Second World War. His parents died during the war (of typhoid and cancer), after which he dropped out of school and found work as a seaman on ships.
He emigrated to Canada in 1952, living briefly in Toronto and Montreal before moving to Vancouver in 1953. He had taken casual photos since childhood, and began to take photography seriously after moving to Canada.

His work focuses primarily on working class people, and their connections to the city around them. He worked with slide film (mostly Kodachrome), which limited his ability to exhibit, and also marginalized him somewhat as an artist in the 1950s and 1960s when most work was in black and white. However, he has been increasingly recognized in recent decades.
His work has appeared in numerous books, and various galleries, including the Vancouver Art Gallery.

This is the first book I have acquired of his work. It is the sort of casual (colour) street photography I like very much and reminds me of photographers such as Stephen Shore and Joel Meyerowitz. Wonderful work.



Photos by Alphons Hustinx

Photos by Alphons Hustinx
1930s trip by Alphons Hustinx (photos) and Theo Regout

Photos by Alphons Hustinx
Rare colour photos during WW2

Post-war colour photography by Alphons Hustinx


On 23Mar1932 two wealthy young men from Limburg (Netherlands) climb into a Model A Ford and
embark on an adventurous trip of a lifetime.
Photographer Alphons Hustinx (1900-1972) and his friend Theo Regout (1901-1988) drive from Scharnerweg in Maastricht o Genua, embark on a boat for Port Said with their car, and drive from Egypt via the Middle East to Herat in Afghanistan!

During their eight-week trip, Hustinx takes some 250 photographs and makes dozens of films. His townscapes, landscapes and portraits present a unique and personal picture of countries like Syria, Iraq and Persia in the early 1930s.
From 1938, and even during the war, Hustinx frequently travelled around the Netherlands showing his documentary films and giving lectures.
Wherever he went he took colour pictures, one of the first photographers to fully master this new technique. During the dark days of the World War Two – and later during the post-war reconstruction – he photographed daily life in colour.

The exhibition curated by The Hague Museum of Photography in collaboration with photo agency Hollandse Hoogte features around a 100 photographs taken by Alphons Hustinx between 1932 and 1965. The exhibition included an original Model A Ford convertible, the same type that the 2 friends used
on their trip!

More photos of this exhibition: www.flickr.com



Jan Banning | Photo Retrospective

Jan Banning | Photo Retrospective

Jan Banning | Photo Retrospective

Jan Banning | Photo Retrospective

Jan Banning | Photo Retrospective
Jan Banning's father, photographed as 'dressed' when doing slave labour in WW2

Jan Banning | Photo Retrospective
Victims in Vietnam of Americans deploying 'Agent Orange' during the war
The Americans never paid any compensation to the victims of the toxic chemicals they dropped

Today visited in The Hague the Museum of Photography for the first retrospective exhibition of work by Dutch photographer Jan Banning (b.1954).
While portrait photography has no overwhelming interest to me, Jan Banning's work is not to be missed.

For 'Bureaucratics' (2003-2007) he photographed public officials in 8 countries. I liked this series very much and bought the book at the time.
One of his most well known series is 'Comfort Women' (2010), portraits of Indonesian women forced to work as sex slaves for the Japanese army during the Second World War.
In the 'Law & Order' series (2015) Banning compares the criminal justice systems of 4 countries on 4 continents: Colombia (South America), France (Europe), Uganda (Africa) and the United States (North America). He focuses on the main institutions in each system: the police, the courts and the prison system.

His work on Red Utopia (2017) also took Banning to several different continents. A hundred years after the Russian Revolution he travelled to India, Italy, Nepal, Portugal and Russia to visit the few places where the spirit of Communism lives on.
The B&W series 'Traces of War', of survivors of the WW2 prisoners of war working on Burma & Sumatra railroads (incl his father) is significant. A poignant reminder.

I won't go in all the series displayed here, but also presented were 2 series never shown before: 'The Sweating Subject' (2016), in which Jan Banning photographs himself – bathed in sweat – at royal courts in Ghana, and 'The Green Zone', a fascinating series about the demilitarised zone in Cyprus, abandoned for over 40 years.
Great photography, professionally displayed here at the museum and they do an excellent lunch too.

See my 'Red Utopia' review on MyBlog 2020Q4.

More photos of this exhibition: www.flickr.com



Collateral tv-miniseries

London detectives investigating the seemingly random murder of a pizza delivery man follow a trail to illegal immigrants but have difficulty establishing a motive, so the net widens and widens.

The pizza deliveries play a role in illegal (drugs) activities. But is it connected to the murder? Is it a case of mistaken identity?
Abdullah Asif who was shot dead delivering a pizza has family hiding in a garage; when they are found they refuse to tell what probably caused the death of Abdullah. They claim to be from Syria, but are found to be from Iraq (thus labelled economic immigrants instead of refugees from a country at war - and thus prone to be deported).

DI Kip Glaspie (a role by Carey Mulligan) is determined to bring her first big case to a success and oversteps her bounderies. She is 6 months pregnant.
MI5 becomes involved because of the human trafficking angle plus a possibility of  terrorism. They look down on the investigation by the local detectives adn the relations are strained to say the least.

A side plot involves Nicola Walker as Jane Oliver, as a lesbian priest cohabitating with a woman from Vietnam with an expired permit to stay in the UK. And who is the sole witness to the murder...
There is also a side plot on a political level, on the issue of immigration policies.
Plenty of drama and intrigue!




Unreasonable Behaviour by Don McCullin

Unreasonable Behaviour by Don McCullin

The documentary 'The Road to Palmyra' on the BBC4 television, following Don McCullin (82) and historian Dan Cruickshank, instigated picking up this book which I had acquired a year ago.

Sir Donald McCullin, CBE, Hon. FRPS (b.09Oct1935), is a British photojournalist, particularly recognized for his war photography and images of urban strife. To many, Don McCullin is the greatest living war photographer, often cited as an inspiration for today's photojournalists.
His career, which began in 1959, has specialised in examining the underside of society, and his photographs have depicted the unemployed, downtrodden and the impoverished.

McCullin grew up in Finsbury Park, North London, but he was evacuated to a farm in Somerset during the Blitz. No warm memories there because he was an unwelcome guest and made to work. It gave him the experience of living rough at a very young age.
He is slightly dyslexic. Funny thing: while reading McCullin's autobiography I was also reading John LeCarré's autobiography as well and at some point they meet, LeCarré writing the forword in one of McCullin's photobooks and after their meeting McCullin attempts to read one of LeCarré's literary novels but soon had to give up on it and the book lands in the mud on his farm, trampled by cattle; which LeCarré observes at a subsequent visit but gracefully does not comment on it.

Don displayed a talent for drawing at the Secondary Modern School he attended. He won a scholarship
to Hammersmith School of Arts & Crafts but, following the death of his father, he left school at the age
of 15, without qualifications, for a catering job on the railways.
He was then called up for National Service with the Royal Air Force (RAF). He was posted to the Canal Zone during the 1956 Suez Crisis, where he worked as a photographer's assistant.

In 1959, a photograph he took of a local London gang was published in The Observer and started a
career in photography.
From 1969 to 1984, he was the Sunday Times of London's star photographer, where he covered stories from the civil war in Cyprus to the war in Vietnam, from the man-made famine in Biafra to the plight of the homeless in the London of the swinging sixties.
But he found the impressions had an increasing and traumatic impact on him plus there were the narrow escapes he had with death that took its toll. In Cambodia he was seriously wounded.
He took on a number of assignments, trying to steer clear of wars but the attraction remained until he was physically unfit.
His various marriages found prolonged  stays abroad damaging to his relationships, especially when he arrived home as damaged goods.

Even at a late age he sometimes was painfully aware of his lack of education or his poor background
when moving in upper stratospheres of society (in part due to the women he married). He often felt as a displaced person either at home or abroad, or in society. He kept in touch with the Finchley Gang, but
did no longer belong there.

Of great interest I also found the changes in society and ownership of the Sunday Times changing to Ruper Murdoch's empire, changing what was deemed of interest to the reading public and influencing the assignments McCullin was given.
At his farmhouse in Somerset he found reprieve between marriages and assignments, but at home he was craving for doing photography at the frontlines and abroad. In less than primitive circumstances and even imprisonment, he longed for home.

In 'Unreasonable Behaviour', McCullin speaks candidly about his three-decade career covering wars and humanitarian disasters on virtually every continent and the photographs that often defined historic moments. And coping with the changes afterwards.
I have read crime fiction books that covered (much) less action than this one. Immensely good read.

He is the author of a number of books, including The Palestinians (with Jonathan Dimbleby, 1980), Beirut: A City in Crisis (1983) and Don McCullin in Africa (2005).
His book, Shaped by War (2010) was published to accompany a retrospective exhibition at the Imperial War Museum North, Salford, England in 2010 and then at the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath and the Imperial War Museum, London.
His most recent publication is Southern Frontiers: A Journey Across the Roman Empire, a poetic and contemplative study of selected Roman and pre-Roman ruins in North Africa and the Middle East.

I'll be on the lookout for his photobooks!

www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2018-05-07/...-the-road-to-palmyra/ (May 2018)
MyBlog2019Q2 for a review on photobook 'Don McCullin' (a retrospective) by Tate (2019)
MyBlog2019Q3 for a review on photobook 'In England' by Random House UK (2009)



The Pigeon Tunnel by John LeCarré

Can't say I have read many literary novels by David Cornwell, better known as John Le Carré, but I was interested in the life and motivations of an MI5 and MI6 spy-turned-novelist.
An interesting book indeed, about a person used to move in a parallel universe from a young age, used to smoke and mirrors, reinventing lives.

The stories are not chronological ordered, but that did not bother me much.

With both his parents he had complicated relations. With his mother (Olive) for her walking (sneaking) out in the middle of the night on her husband and two sons (David aged 5 at the time), without any notice or explanation, leaving (abandoning!) him and his older brother in the care of their father.
And with his father Ronnie, who was an irresponsible scoundrel, who could to be admired (indeed, was held in respect by many) for his joi-de-vivre, had his egotistical lifestyle and deceit not had  the ruthless effects on so many people.
In later years Cornwell a.k.a. Le Carré never succeeded in establishing an emotionally warm relationship with either one of them: his mother seemed incapable of maternal feelings towards David and his father asked too many times for money abusing LeCarré's increasing success as an author.
Having said that, Cornwell quotes Graham Greene's line about childhood being the writer's credit balance and David could consider himself ".. born a millionaire".
People who have had unhappy childhoods learn to reinvent themselves and that is what he did, many times over and he preferred an unobtrusive life as an author. Many times, even for long periods of time, LeCarré refused interviews as a matter of principle.

Many chapters deal with Le Carré's hesitation of stepping out of the shadows into limelight, which often had to do with his books being a possible subject for a film (I never realized the BBC series 'The Night Manager' was based on a 1997 book by LeCarré) as well as the inevitable international book promotions.
Of course there were chapters in this book which illustrate 'back-in-the-days' subjects, but I found them of less interest as they did not bring much to the surface, nor did I know any of the people mentioned (except Don McCullin).
But nice to read that how some parts of those existing persons worked themselves into a book character.

I had trouble explaining the title until I read a remark which can easily be missed, when he mentions somewhere how pigeons were bred in the casinos of Monte Carlo to fly out upon the chance to escape captivity, to find themselves targets for sporting gun shooters; the tragic thing is that those that escape inevitably return to their roost until another occasion would set them free and death; there's no escaping the fateful 'guns' of a merciless reality. A very unsettling look on life.

A very enjoyable book: sometimes funny and charming, sometimes very sombre and brimming with a dark melancholy.




William Eggleston | the Democratic Forest - Selected Works

William Eggleston | the Democratic Forest - Selected Works

William Eggleston | the Democratic Forest - Selected Works

William Eggleston (b.27Jul1939 - ) is an American photographer. He is widely credited with increasing recognition for color photography as a legitimate artistic medium to display in art galleries.

Published on the occasion of David Zwirner's New York exhibition of selections from 'The Democratic Forest' in the fall of 2016, this catalogue highlights over 60 images from Eggleston's epic project.
His photography is a statement that "no particular subject is more or less important than another".
Eggleston's mature work is characterized by its ordinary subject-matter.
This book offers newcomers, such as me, a foothold in Eggleston's photographic practice. Also, I found most of
his other work I've come across, much too expensive to acquire.

Eggleston has said, "I am at war with the obvious."
His photographs transform the ordinary into distinctive, poetic images that eschew fixed meaning. Though criticized at the time, his now legendary 1976 solo exhibition, organized by the visionary curator John Szarkowski at The Museum of Modern Art, New York-the first presentation of color photography at the museum-heralded an important moment in the medium's acceptance within the art-historical canon and solidified Eggleston's position in the pantheon of the greats alongside Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans.

Like Stephen Shore (another pioneer of colour photography), Eggleston's photographic interpretation of the American vernacular-gas stations, diners, parking lots- lifts the complexity and beauty out of the ordinary to a presentation of art.


Stella Blomkvist | tv-series

Stella Blomkvist | tv-series

Stella Blómkvist is an Icelandic, sexy, hard-nosed and quick-witted lawyer with a dark past, fluid sexuality and a taste for whiskey and easy money.
Her cases always lead to danger and here she is drawn into a violent political conspiracy. She has a relative good working relationship with Police Inspector Raggi and she leans heavily for support on her friend (and landlord) Gunna for her hacking- and electronics skills.
Her provocative enthusiasme as well as her stunning good looks get her in too deep water sometimes, the political powers that be sometimes saving her and alternatively seek her arrest or worse.
Each 2 episodes deal with one plot while main story lines continue through the series. Filming is dynamic, plots make unexpected turns.
The series is never meant to become gritty or 'noir', the main persona is too unreal but remains captivating, energetic and entertaining.

This crime fiction drama sees  Heiða Rún Sigurðardóttir (b.22May1988)  in her first leading role. She is best known under her stage name Heida Reed and has acted in films, on stage and for television.
She had roles in 2 (2012) episodes of DCI Banks, 2 episodes in Silent Witness (2014), in a 2016 episode of Death in Paradise plus a few films or series which don't mean much to me (e.g. Poldark).

She played Gréta in the Icelandic series The Lava Field: Hraunið, which I liked very much.
This first series, 6 episodes, of 'Stella Blómkvist' is also an Icelandic production and I hope there will be a follow up. They come up with excellent tv drama there in Iceland!

www.mijnserie.nl/stella-blmkvist/recensie/../ (NL)


Endeavour (Morse) season 2018 - series 6

Endeavour (Morse) season 5 (2018)
Another fine season consisting of 6 episodes, against the backdrop of the Oxford City Police (Cowley Station) to be merged into newly formed Thames Valley Police and other themes of  changes in society.
Because Morse has become a DI, the Cowley policestation gets a new Detective Constable, 23 year old George Fancy. Who soon has eyes for WPC  Trewlove. Morse has trouble with his role as coach here.

First we see past and present collide in Oxford, as the auction of a priceless Faberge Egg gets underway
at Lonsdale College.
Then we have the unexplained poisoning of a former detective-sergeant leads Endeavour and Thursday
to a local cinema. And again we see the future presenting itself with a classic movie theatre up for demolishment, for a new building project.
Episode 'Passenger'  has the railway taking center stage as Endeavour investigates the disappearance of a local woman - with initial fears linking it to the unsolved murder of a teenager, killed several years earlier. More than once we see people such as Fred Thursday's wife Win and Chief Superintendent Bright wondering about what the world is coming to.
A photo-shoot on an army base turns sinister when one of the models is found dead. But the investigation is complicated when Sam Thursday, Fred's son, is revealed to be involved.
An assassination attempt at an international sporting event opens a new case for Endeavour and Thursday, but their investigation is quickly brought to an unexpected end when Special Branch appears on the scene.
The 6th and last episode sees a mysterious disappearance of a teacher. Endeavour finds himself investigating the dark and secret world of a public school in an undercover role as teacher.

Fred Thursday is preparing for early retirement because he has no stomach for the transit to the newly formed  Thames Valley Police Force; too set in his ways, he says. His daughter Joan makes regular appearances, she is developing a taste for activism and Fred, who was hoping to see her life develop in a more traditional manner with husband and kids, has trouble to reestablish relations with her.
Between Morse and Joan the magnetism remains, attraction and distancing. Joan hooks Morse up with a French photographer.
Local criminal Nero sees his turf being threatened by a new kid on the block, ruthless Cromwell Ames. A final showdown brings a tragic ending.
Closing scenes sees the cast clearing out their desks, Cowley Police Station is being closed down and an uncertain future awaits them while they await reassignments. We will have to wait until 2019 to see who will reappear in Season 6 of the Endeavour series.

Each episode is of exceptional high quality in terms of plot, cast and locations.

Shaun Evans --- DC Endeavour Morse
Roger Allam --- DI Fred Thursday
James Bradshaw --- Dr. Max DeBryn
Sean Rigby --- DC Jim Strange
Anton Lesser --- Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright
Caroline O'Neill --- Win Thursday
Sara Vickers --- Joan Thursday
Abigail Thaw --- Dorothea Frazil
Dakota Blue Richards  --- WPC Shirley Trewlove
Lewis Peek --- DC George Fancy



Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators

Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators

Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators

'Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators' is a comedy mystery tv-series, produced by the BBC, set in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Former DI Frank Hathaway, now a debt-laden private investigator, meets Luella Shakespeare when she employs him to investigate the fiancé she met online. Hathaway and his assistant, RADA-trained struggling actor Sebastian Brudenell, discover that her fiancé is a con-man, and report back to Luella ('Lu'), but she is reassured by her fiancé and the wedding goes ahead.
When her new husband is killed at the reception, Luella is suspected of murder by local DI Christina Marlowe who had been Frank's junior. Luella is thrown together with Frank and Sebastian to crack the mystery of what has happened, and after her name is cleared she uses her recovered savings to buy into Frank's business.
Frank's only employee is Sebastian; a young aspiring RADA trained actor who uses his acting skills when undercover investigations are required.

I would rate this series in the same category as Midsomer Murders: more comedy and quaint English customs set in typical English countryside or manor houses than thrilling whodunnit.
Entertaining though, esspecially to anglophiles such as myself.

Mark Benton as Frank Hathaway
Jo Joyner as Luella Shakespeare
Patrick Walshe McBride as Sebastian Brudenell

en.wikipedia.org:_Shakespeare & Hathaway_-_Private_Investigators


Robert Doisneau - Retrospective

Robert Doisneau - Retrospective

Robert Doisneau - Retrospective

Robert Doisneau - Retrospective

Robert Doisneau - Retrospective

Robert Doisneau - Retrospective

Robert Doisneau was previously discussed on my blog 2017Q1, about his book 'Les Halles' and me being generally impressed by his work.
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. At the end of his career he also produced colour photoghraphy.

This photobook is a selection of the most well-known photos by Robert Doisneau, spanning his career while it also has several essays on Doisneau's work.
The exposition of this selection started in Musée d'Ixelles, 19Oct17 -- 04Feb18.

Likening himself to 'a fisherman of images' during his prolific career, Robert Doisneau did not limit just himself to capturing, revealing and printing certain aspects of an era or society or the people in it on photo paper. Instead he created his own poetic and generous, timeless and universal image of it, inspired by his profound tenderness and empathy for others.
Combining a wonderful selection of photos with original essays by specialists, this book highlights
the rich and varied aspects of a body of work that all too often has been reduced to a few photos that are engrained in our collective memory.

Looking back on 164 of Doisneau's photos collected in this beautiful book, some of these have rarely been displayed previously, such as the shots of his summer holiday in Palm Springs in 1960 (in colour!).

Product details:
Paperback, 272 pages (24x25cm)
Publication date: 24Oct2017
Publisher: RACINE




Modus, 2nd season

Modus is a Swedish television psychological thriller, a  2nd season, with Kim Cattrall and Greg Wise; started on TV4 on 02Nov2017 and was taken up by BBC Four for broadcast in February 2018. Where I watched it on recently.
I enjoyed it, as I did the first series.

In this second season, US President Helen Tyler goes missing during a state visit to Sweden.
Inger Johanne Vik, Swedish criminal psychologist and profiler, is partnered with police detective Nyman and detailed to work with one Warren Schifford, an FBI agent and Special Adviser to the president, to investigate. Vik and Schifford have an unpleasant history, dating from her time with the FBI.

We see Scandinavian actors here such as Melinda Kinnaman, Henrik Norlén, Annika Hallin, while Britain is represented by Greg Wise and the US by Kim Catrall and Billy Campbell (whose performance I enjoyed earlier this year in 'Cardinal' - a Canadian crime drama tv series). Truly an international cast.




Streets of New York 70s 80s 90 - Carrie Boretz

Streets of New York 70s 80s 90 - Carrie Boretz

Streets of New York 70s 80s 90 - Carrie Boretz

Streets of New York 70s 80s 90 - Carrie Boretz

After graduating in 1975 from Washington University in St. Louis, Carrie Boretz began her life as a New York City photographer a week later, landing an internship at the Village Voice.
Over the next decade she photographed for The New York Times Magazine, New York, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune, and Life.
By the 1990s she was shooting almost daily for the New York Times's 'Day' beat, one picture that revealed a slice of the city on that particular day. The streets were her 'office'-life, but after 25 years of shooting, she traded it in to start life in an actual office and became a photo editor at S.I.'s Golf, (2003-2013) where she was the only one on staff who didn't play the game. Street is her first book of photographs.

PowerHouse Books released this book STREET by Carrie Boretz, a coverage of almost 30 years of streetlife in New York, seen through the eyes (and photographs) of Carrie Boretz. 
The full title is STREET: New York City - 70s, 80s, 90s.
The photographs reflects a city in flux, her focus with the simple gestures of everyday life in neighborhoods and communities that were familiar.

I had not yet come across her name since my interest in streetphotography started a few years ago, but am glad I intercepted it with Skylight Books in LA recently.
Inspiring work!

http://lenscratch.com/2017/10/carrie-boretz-street/ - by Aline Smithson (01Oct2017)



Park Frankendael

Park Frankendael

Park Frankendael

As Amsterdam rapidly grew in the 16th- and the beginning of 18th, the real estate in the city became so expensive, that rich people --who wanted to enjoy a bigger property-- had to move further away from the town centre here in Amsterdam.
The Park Frankendael (7 acres) in East Amsterdam, was originally one of these wealthy estates.

The entrance to the park with an old ornamented gate is at the Middenweg, less than one mile (1300m) from the famous Tropenmuseum.
The beautiful old land house Frankendael (built in 1659) is visible from the street – it is one of the few of these estates remaining in Amsterdam.
Today was my first visit and could trigger another project: the parks of the city of Amsterdam!

More on www.flickr.com



Kasteel Sypesteyn

Kasteel Sypesteyn

Kasteel Sypesteyn
Davidia involucrata, NL: Vaantjesboom
EN: the dove-tree, handkerchief tree, pocket handkerchief tree, or ghost tree...

Just 40 minutes from bustling Amsterdam a hidden gem awaits the visitor: Castle-Museum Sypesteyn.

Set amidst 12 acres of formal gardens and parkland, the apparently mediaeval castle is the charming result of a young nobleman's dream.
Jonkheer Henri van Sypesteyn believed that his ancestral seat had stood on this spot and it was his overriding wish, at the beginning of the last century, to rebuild the castle to honour his family and house and exhibit his impressive collections.
Eastern and rare Dutch porcelain, clocks, weapons, and paintings by artists from Holland's Golden Age are among the items on display.
He put his expert knowledge of historical gardens into the creation of an estate which seems to step right out of the 16th century; a garden complete with exotic trees, orchard, topiary, maze and small wood, an unexpected oasis.
Sypesteyn, Holland's youngest castle, warmly welcomes its visitors to share in Jonkheer Henri's vision.
A visit made complete with a tasty snack or meal in the café-restaurant.

We limited ourselves to a visit to the grounds, seeing it was such a beautiful day. The castle can be visited through a guided tour.
We enjoyed the stroll and treated ourselves to refreshments and apple pie, in celebration of this fine day in april.

More photo on Flickr.com



Walker Evans - SIGNS | Photography

Walker Evans - SIGNS | Photography

Walker Evans - SIGNS | Photography

Walker Evans (b.03Nov1903 – 10Apr1975) was an American photographer and photojournalist best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) documenting the effects of the Great Depression.
I already have two books of his work: Decade by Decade and Lyric Documentary', but I could not resist picking up this book 'Signs' when I visited the Getty Center (the book is produced by the Getty Center).

Walker Evans photographed signs throughout every phase of his career.
From the 1920s to the time of his death in 1975, Evans was obsessed with the signage he found in modern America--from billboards to gas station pumps to street graffiti to handmade announcements of a Saturday-night dance.
This book features photographs of signs from the Getty Museum's collection, presented with an essay by Andrei Codrescu.
Some of the images included come from the place and era most closely associated with Evans: the rural South of the 1930s. But also included are photographs that are less familiar, such as his images of New York City street scenes and advertising signs, or pictures he took in Havana and in Sarasota, Florida.




FARGO, tv-series - season 3

Fargo, series 3

Fargo, series 3

Fargo is an American black comedy–crime drama anthology television series created and primarily written by Noah Hawley. The show is inspired by the eponymous 1996 film written and directed by the Coen brothers, who serve as executive producers on the series alongside Hawley.
Each season shares a common chronology with the original film.
The first season, set in 2006 and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks, and Martin Freeman, was met with critical acclaim.
The second season, set in 1979 and starring Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Jesse Plemons, Jean Smart, and Ted Danson, was also met with critical acclaim.
The third season, set in 2010 and starring Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Goran Bogdan, and David Thewlis, premiered on April 19, 2017.[4] It was met with similar reception, and received Emmy nominations including Outstanding Miniseries and three Golden Globe nominations.

Personnally I liked Season 1 best, esspecially the role by Billy Bob Thornton. The 2nd series came close.
The third I found the sought after absurdity damaging the storylines. Still a great series, but I am not sure what to think of the intention to produce a 4th series.
Except, "OK then.."




Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson in Aperture Books

Henri Cartier-Bresson in Aperture Books

This is the 2nd Aperture edition I bought at the Getty Center. I had been previously shopping at Barnes & Noble and at LA bookstores such as Skylight Books and the Last Bookstore, with little success. So I was
glad I was able to make some nice purchases at the wonderful Getty Center!

I wasn't familiar with aperture.org, obviously less well known in Europe. Pity Aperture magazine is not featured on our newsstands. I suspect a subscription is too expensive, with overseas postage. Anyway,
the boxes for a subscription can't completed for lack of US State or Canadian province...

Anyway, I am glad I came across these publications 'Aperture - Masters of Photography' and will keep
my eyes peeled for others while travelling.
I have have several books on Henri Cartier-Bresson, some heft ones. But this publication is very readable and includes a very nice introduction and photo comments by Clément Chéroux.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (b.22Aug1908 – d.03Aug2004) was a French humanist photographer, considered a master of candid photography and an early user of 35 mm film.
He pioneered the genre of street photography and viewed photography as capturing a decisive moment. His work has influenced, and continues to do so, many photographers.

Cartier-Bresson and photo agency Magnum has been discussed on my blog before, e.g. 2012Q4 and 2017Q2.




Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange - photography

Dorothea Lange - photography

Upon a visit to the Getty Center in Los Angeles Center recently, I acquired these two monographs in a series of famous photographers. Such fine publications by Aperture, I could not resist buying them.

Dorothea Lange (b.26May1895 – d.11Oct1965) was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography.

The book includes an introduction and commentary by Linda Gordon.
It had been a while since I've read of this fine photographer, good to revive the biography in this handsome edition; how Lange suffered from polio aged 7, emerging with a wizened lower leg and cramped foot - it certainly did not slow her down. Her parents' seperation made her so angry, aged 13
she was, she adopted her mother's maiden name, Lange.
Lange made a career for herself in photography and married a popular artist, Maynard Dixon. She workied diligently in her studio and developed herf own style in portraiture.
When theDepression hot in the 1930s and the streets were teeming with the hungry, the homeless, the destitute and the angry, she found her studio stifling and suffocating; she had to go out into the streets and became fascinated with photo documentary. She became a streetphotographer.
By a turn of events, she accepted a job for the government and a profesor of economics, Paul Schuster Taylor, became fascinated by her photography, they met and fell in love. Lange divorced her arty and unfaithful husband and married Taylor.

Taylor landed her a job with a new project for the Farm Security Administration, a chapter in her life that is well documented.
One of the two photos I have included is a less famous photo by her, but the look of desperate craziness
of the husband behind the wheel and the tearful eyes of his wife, beyond hope, is so striking to me.
The other photo I included is because of Lange's anti-racism photography. I very much liked this photo
of a black woman, because of the strength against all odds this woman shows.

Her anti-racism particularly showed when, in 1942, the US War Relocation Authority hired the wartime internment of Japanese Americans. Influenced by Taylor's conviction that the internment was unnecessary and unconstitutional, she made very critical photographs.When the US Army brass saw her photographs, they fired her and impounded the photos for the durations of the war. It is small wonder why Americans have an inbred distrust against her federal government, it continues to repress, lie and falsify facts.
The photos Lange made of the Japanese internment in the USA did not get published until 2006 in Imponded, Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment.

She produced An American Exodus in a collaboration project with her husband Paul Taylor (the publication was lost in the outbreak of WW2), Lange also worked with Ansel Adams, she focussed on documentary series rather than single photos, continued her work for Life magazine (a strained relation) and travelled extensively in the late-1950s and early-1960s. This last chapter is less known, she visited South Korea, Vietnam, Palestine and Egypt.
Her work and travel, long roadtrips in the US and her foreign exploits, was complicated because of bouts with illness such as ulcers, post-polio syndrome and, finally, esophageal cancer. Her drive and productivity is nothing short of admirable.

Dorothea Lange steeled herself in her final years with designing in every detail her exhibition, with help of curator John Szarkowski, in the MoMA; she lived long enough to prepare the exhibit, but died before the opening.




VERLIES - Nicci French

I like to visit fairs and fund-raising events for secondhand books and this is one I picked up not long ago, a fundraiser for restoration work on a church.
This little book has two short stories, about 'Loss' and 'People that left'.
This small (truly pocket-sized!) but very nice hardcover edition was published in 2002 as part of a promotion for thrillers and detective novels.

The story about loss, is a fascinating account of how a family (father, mother, 10 year old child) deal with the drowning of their 5 year old, in a swimming pool.
The 2nd story I liked even more, told from the perspective of an 8 year old child; she muses about the family in her innocence, about her father being often on the road in his truck, her sick mother, the way her siblings treat her, the safety she finds in her room and her secret hiding places, her kitten. There are unexplained disappearances and people visiting asking questions.

Both stories were a joy to read and I am glad I picked this dimunitive book, for I don't expect to ever come across it again. I will bring it in circulation, however, so others can enjoy it too.

Nicci French is the pseudonym of English husband-and-wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, who write psychological thrillers together.




Beneath the Bleeding - Val McDermid

During my vacation earlier this month I had the pleasure of reading this crime fiction novel. I've read two novels by McDermid before, but this was the first connected to the tv-series 'Wire In The Blood', which I so much enjoyed.
Wire in the Blood was a British crime drama television series, created and produced by Coastal Productions for Tyne Tees Television and broadcast on ITV from 14 Nov2002 to 31Oct2008.
I so much enjoyed Robson Green in the role of Dr. Tony Hill.
And with this book I saw with my mind's eye Robson Green argueing with DCI Carol Jordan.

The residents of Bradfield are devastated when Robbie Bishop, star midfielder for the Bradfield Vics, dies; he seems to be the victim of a bizarre, seemingly motiveless murder.
In hospital, recovering from injuries, criminal profiler and psychologist Dr. Tony Hill struggles to make sense of the fragments of information he can gather in order to help his ally, Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan, bring a killer to justice.
Then an explosion rips through a soccer stadium, leaving dozens dead and many more injured. DCI Jordan, ambitious, resists her team being removed from this inquiry, moved aside by the national terrorist squad. Scretly she persues her own line of inquiries, circumnavigating the heavy handed methods by the 'special forces'. But DCI Jordan can't find herself in the conclusions Tony draws from the bomb attack.
Meanwhile the murder investigation into the cause of death of Robbie Bishop, brings to light a serial killer is on the prowl.

Tony is visited in hospital by his mother, someone he had taken great distance mentally. In the fumes of medication he does not see the dark motives of his mother.

Tony and Carol have an akward relationship, but share a strong ambition to find the truth about these unspeakable crimes.
This is the 5th book in the Tony Hill / Carol Jordan series by Val McDermid, the first I've read and I will certainly endeavour to read more of this enjoyable series.




C'est La Vie - Martin Bril

In a recent sale I came across this book by Martin Bril. I don't share his enthousiasme for France but I have read and enjoyed a number of his books. Brill passed away in 2009, the year this book was compiled and published.

Marten W. (Martin) Bril (b.21Oct1959 – d.22Apr2009) was a Dutch columnist, author and poet. He had a keen skill of observation, of people and situations, mixing it with his dry humor and style for "Laissez faire'...

When Bril sits behind his desk, he writes in the introduction, he notes he establishes he does not have a photo of his wife & kids on his desk, but he does have a postcard there of a small French village: it shows
a church spire, some houses with trees and bushes, a meadow with some French cows in the shadow of a mighty oak; all covered by powerful blue sky.
Bril always carried in him a longing for France.

This book bundles previously published columns, but a number were re-editted by Brill shortly before
his death.
It was indeed again a pleasure to read and enjoy the peculiar style of Martin Bril. Even while I abhore
the French in general.

nl.wikipedia.org"_Martin_Bril (NL)



Somberman's Actie - Remco Campert

Remco Campert (b.29Jul1929) is a Dutch author, poet and columnist. He recently announced he would
stop writing due to his advanced age. And I had to admit I had never read something by him, except his colums (as CaMu) in De Volkskrant (which I enjoyed).
Soon after I came across this little book, Somberman's Actie, which he had written for the Book Week ('Boekenweek') in 1985.

By the end of the 1970s, Campert had written very little. He explained to journalist Jan Brokken of the Dutch newspaper Haagse Post: "I couldn't write for years on end. I didn't feel like it. I felt a physical repulsion towards it. I thought about it, but I was paralysed by doubts."
He resumed writing in 1979. He wrote Somberman's actie in 1985. From 1989 until 1995, Campert starred in theaters throughout the nation and beyond in a play he had created together with Jan Mulder (author and ex-football player). Their shows were based on both their literary works.

The book features some 4 or 5 persons, with funny names, going about their business in life.
Somberman (Gloomyman) is 'in between jobs', having been laid off when a major store went out of business - of which he is resentful. His wife Bezig ('Busy') does have a job and they grow apart.
Somberman's only friend is Domoor ('Fool'), a dreamer and resented by Bezig. Somberman finally decides on a course of action and joins an initiative to occupy the abandoned warehouse with a few anarchists and when the police enters the building, Somberman lamely sets fire to some papers in the office he worked in for many years. This became known as Somberman's action.




Koningsdag 2018APR27

Koningsdag 2018APR27

Koningsdag 2018APR27

Koningsdag 2018APR27

Caught a glimpse of 'Koningsdag' this morning.
Koningsdag, or King's Day, is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 27 April (26 April if the 27th is a Sunday), the date marks the birth of our monarch.
Koningsdag is known for its nationwide vrijmarkt ("free market"), at which the Dutch sell their used items. It is also an opportunity for "orange madness" or oranjegekte, a kind of frenzy named for the national colour ('House of Orange').
I noticed an overwhelming amount of languages on the street, a wide range of (original) nationalities
both among buyers as well as sellers.
Today it seemed busier to me than last year, both in sellers as well as browsers; this in spite of the chilly, grey weather.

More on MyFlickr.com




All Along the Control Tower, Volume Three (Barten & Barten)

All Along the Control Tower, Volume Three (Barten & Barten)

All Along the Control Tower, Volume Three (Barten & Barten)

All Along the Control Tower, Volume Three (Barten & Barten)

All Along the Control Tower, Volume Three (Barten & Barten)

All Along the Control Tower, Volume Three (Barten & Barten)

In 2015 Frans and Theo Barten, professional Dutch photographers, published two photobooks on a wonderful project: dealing with their visits to 52 control towers in the UK, their 'All Along the Control Tower' Volume I provides 218 pages of hi-quality photos and stories how Frans & Theo found them.
The volumes One and Two are discussed on my blog 2017Q2.

The book depicts their history (e.g. open: 1942 - closed: 1946), aircraft based and possible present use.
The structure is most often depicted in two photos plus a satellite image (with coördinates) and, something I really like, crosshairs to find the location on the sat image.

The objective of the Barten Bros. is only to show them in the state as they are today in the surrounding landscape, with no military purposes (though some of them still see military use).

Almost all airfields themselves have gone (mostly agricultural today) but many towers (sturdy, austere) still remain. It is wonderful to see vague traces of runways on the sat. images or see hardstands remaining.
Some of the Control Towers are still in use as such (quite rarely, I must add!), often they are in a derelict state, left to its dismal fate or in some use at a farm, some are turned in a museum and some are (oh joy!) renovated to a house people live in!
One was turned in a B&B! Check out: www.controltowerstays.com
Frans & Theo Barten often found their way blocked by barricades of industrial estates and had to proceed on foot along pathways and fences, some people were quite unwelcoming while others invited them in and many a muddy trek had to be made to document the Contol Tower...
The Goshill Tower was even exported and reassembled for Virgina for the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia, USA! The project is documented on the last pages of Volume II.

Volume III was published in 2017.
It has 230 pages in full colour, hardcover (ISBN 978-90-817110-9-8) and its dimensions (the same as the two previous editions): 22 x 25 cm.
And the text is again in English, because on the British Isles is where by far the most interest in their histories is shared.
I applaud their effort!




De Romatiek in het Noorden - van Friedrich tot Turner

De Romatiek in het Noorden - van Friedrich tot Turner

De Romatiek in het Noorden - van Friedrich tot Turner

De Romatiek in het Noorden - van Friedrich tot Turner

De Romatiek in het Noorden - van Friedrich tot Turner

De Romatiek in het Noorden - van Friedrich tot Turner

De Romatiek in het Noorden - van Friedrich tot Turner

Waarom maakt het werk van nog steeds zoveel indruk? Omdat we niet alleen het landschap zien maar ook een gemoedstoestand voelen. De romantiek in optima forma!
Why do the paintings by J.M.W. Turner, Caspar David Friedrich, Johan Christian, Barend Koekkoek en Andreas Schelfhout still make such a forceful impression? Because it is as much about a mood, a longing, than the illustraion of (e.g.) a landscape.

Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. In most areas it was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850.
Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical.

The book has too many names to list here, I illustrated some closest to my heart, though I enjoy Constable and Turner too!
This catalogue was published in light of the exhibition in the Groninger Museum, an exhibition I, alas, did not attend.

This exhibition (09Dec2017 - 06May2018) presented Dutch Romanticism for the first time in an international context and shows how important Dutch artists such as Barend Koekkoek, Wijnand Nuijen and Andreas Schelfhout relate to their famous foreign contemporaries.

Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (b.11Oct1803 – d.05Apr1862) was a Dutch landscape artist. He came to be known during his lifetime as the 'Prince of Landscape Painting' and was by far the most applauded landscapist of his time and regarded as the founding father of Dutch romantic landscape painting.

Andreas Schelfhout (b.1787–d.1870) was a Dutch painter, etcher and lithographer, known for his landscape paintings. He belongs to the Romantic movement.
His Dutch winter scenes and frozen canals with skaters were already famous during his lifetime. He became one of the most influential Dutch landscape artists of his century.




Schuld en Boete (Ian Rankin)

Small but nice: 11.5x17.5cm, 91 pages. Published (2006) in Holland to advance reading of crime fiction books.

DI John Rebus is upfront, stubborn, curious, emotional and tenacious as a pitbull. His many failings get him into trouble but he is good at what he does, bringing criminals to justice and 'failure is not an option' for Rebus.
Here we have a dead person with two mobile phones, a stalker of a radio presenter, family secrets, fraud, adultery, abuse of elderly in home care centres, and historic detective work in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes...
Rebus' job does not merely evolve around murder cases!

The booklet contains short stories published under the following English titles: Atonement, The Acid Test, Tell Me Who To Kill and Talk Show.

Books by Ian Rankin are frequently discussed on my blog:
blog-2011q1.htm, blog-2014q2.htm, blog-2015q1.htm, blog-2015q3.htm, to mention but a few!




Bruce Davidson, photographer

Bruce Davidson, photographer

Bruce Davidson, photographer

Bruce Davidson, photographer

Bruce Davidson, photographer

Bruce Davidson, photographer

Bruce Davidson, photographer

'Bruce Davidson | American photographer', was a retrospective exhibition I visited last year. And where
I bought this fantastic book, a retrospective account of Mr Davidson's photography.

Since the 1950s, Davidson (b.1933) has devoted his time and energy to photographing those for whom
the ‘American Dream’ has turned out to be unattainable and who have attempted to hold their own in society.

Davidson depicts major themes as civil rights, violence, poverty, racism and immigration, all from a personal perspective.
For many years, for instance, he tagged along with a street gang in Brooklyn and travelled with civil rights activities to the South to take part in The Selma March. This approach has given him first-hand experience with the subjects of his work and enabled him to poignantly show what the ‘American Dream’ has meant for them.

The exhibition features almost 200 photographs, including work from his famous series 'The Dwarf', 'East 100th Street' and 'Subway'.

Profile at Magnum Photos



Snoecks 2018

Snoecks 2018

Snoecks 2018

Snoecks 2018
Shinya Arimoto - Overleven in Tokyo (EN: Surviving in Tokyo)

Snoecks 2018

Snoecks 2018

Snoecks 2018

Snoecks 2018

Snoecks 2018

In November or December each year I buy the new edition of Snoecks, a yearly publication. And again Snoecks managed to deliver a new edition of inspiring photography and an international selection of art, architecture, literature and fascinating articles.
There is new and first published work in th 2018 edition (by e.g. Jan Fabre), as well as weird and wonderful work by Levon Biss, who managed to photograph insects in extreme detail.
There are photo documents on the French Manouche and Lagos Island, embedded in Mongolia and
places like Tunesia and Haïti (beyong the earthquake).
What about poverty in... the USA?
Next to work by established names (Eamonn Doyle, Zanele Muholi, Holly Andres and Rodney Graham), Snoecks introduces younger talents with photography by (o.a.) Olivia Locher, Kim De Molenaer and Chad Moore. There is an essay by Rebecca Schiff, first published in a Dutch translation.

Work I particularly liked:
Yann Gross - The Jungle Book
Rune Guneriussen - Postkaarten uit de wildernis (EN: Postcards from the wilderness)
Hamid Sardar - Eén met de nomaden (EN: One with the nomads)
Shinya Arimoto - Overleven in Tokyo (EN: Surviving in Tokyo)
Matt Black - Geografie van de armoede (EN: Geography of poverty)
Dougie Wallace - Sympathieke taxikitsch (EN: Road Wallah)
Brent Stirton - Witgoud is bloedgeld (EN: Whitegold is blood money)
Mark Neville - documentairemaker vol empathie (cover) (EN: documentary photography w/ empathy)
Margi Rotiers / Corentin Fohlen - Haiti de beving voorbij (Haiti beyond the earthquake)
Henk van Cauwenbergh - Durbuy, een jongensdroom Marc Coucke (EN: A boy's dream)
Kim de Molenaer - Enkele reis Athene (portretten) (EN: Singe trip Athens)
Rodney Graham - Humor, ironie en melancholie

Snoecks seems to get better with age!





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Created: 02-Apr-2018