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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.




A Place of Execution by Val McDermid

Winter 1963: two children have disappeared off the streets of Manchester; the murderous careers of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady have begun.
On a freezing day in December, another child goes missing: thirteen-year-old Alison Carter vanishes from the isolated Derbyshire hamlet of Scardale, a self-contained, insular community that distrusts the outside world.
Is Alison another victim of the Manchester kidnapper?

For the young George Bennett, a newly promoted inspector, it is the beginning of his most difficult and harrowing case: a murder with no body, for Alison is never found. His commitment to find her convinces his sidekick,an old salt, DS Clough, he's the right sort.
Together they manage to win the coöperation of the people Scardale, a secluded hamlet where all people seem to be related and have long lived in almost a feudal way with the local squire.

The investigation has so many dead ends and community hurdles to take Bennett would have found in the anonymity of an inner city.
The local squire passed on and is replaced by his son, who married a widow named Ruth from the village with a daughter, Alison. He's an oddball, local witnesses see him walking near a place where the police find evidence of a struggle and blood matching that of Alison.
Ruth, protective of her husband, breaks down under the mounting evidence and hands in a gun belonging to him. He's convicted of the death of Alison, inspite of lack of a body, and hanged.

Decades later George Bennet finally tells his story to journalist Catherine Heathcote, but just when the book is poised for publication, Bennett unaccountably tries to pull the plug...
He has new information which he refuses to divulge, and which threatens the very foundations of his existence. George is thrown by the information himself, and suffers a heartattack.
Catherine is forced to reinvestigate the past, with help from retired DS Clough and the results turn the world upside down.

An excellent book though I had trouble to remain motivated during the trickling investigation into the disappearance of Alison. So many dead ends and few results that the narrative dies down too. But glad I finished it!

Val McDermid (b.Jun1955-) is a Scottish crime writer, best known for a series of novels featuring clinical psychologist Dr. Tony Hill in a grim sub-genre that McDermid and others have identified as Tartan Noir.
After graduation she became a journalist and began her literary career as a dramatist. Her first success as a novelist, Report for Murder: The First Lindsay Gordon Mystery occurred in 1987.
McDermid's works fall into four series: Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan, Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, and Inspector Karen Pirie. But 'A Place of Execution' is a stand alone, none of these protagonists feature in this book (1999).




What Remains | tv-series crime fiction drama

What Remains | tv-series crime fiction drama

What Remains is a British television drama series that was first broadcast on BBC One on 25Aug2013.
A body is discovered in the attic of a tenement house in Coulthard Street. The body is the remains of Melissa Young (Jessica Gunning), a young woman who owns the top flat and whose death has been unnoticed for two years.
Detective Len Harper (David Threlfall) investigates. Disturbed by Melissa's unnoticed death and to stave off his own isolation, he unofficially continues the investigation past his retirement, and after his colleagues close the case as a suicide.

The occupants of the house are nominally happy: young couple Michael Jenson (Russell Tovey) and the pregnant Vidya Khan (Amber Rose Revah) have just moved in; couple Elaine Markham (Indira Varma) and Peggy Scott (Victoria Hamilton) are designers; journalists Kieron Moss (Steven Mackintosh) and girlfriend Patricia Keenan (Claudie Blakley) are discussing further commitment. Middle-aged maths teacher Joe Sellers (David Bamber) shares his flat with the far younger Liz Fletcher (Denise Gough), who cooks for him domestically but whose relationship with him is otherwise left vague.

But gradually 'the onion gets peeled'... Everybody has issues, some darker than others. The character of Melissa Young has more depth to it than on first impression and the subject of loneliness among other people gets wonderfully worked out.
Excellent series.




China Dreams, photography by Ruben Terlou, Xiaoxiao Xu, and Ruben Lundgren (2021)

China Dreams, photography by Ruben Terlou, Xiaoxiao Xu, and Ruben Lundgren (2021)

China Dreams, photography by Ruben Terlou, Xiaoxiao Xu, and Ruben Lundgren (2021)

China Dreams, photography by Ruben Terlou, Xiaoxiao Xu, and Ruben Lundgren (2021)

China Dreams, photography by Ruben Terlou, Xiaoxiao Xu, and Ruben Lundgren (2021)

Exhibition at the Hilversum Museum, 'China Dreams', photography by Ruben Terlou, Xiaoxiao Xu, and Ruben Lundgren.

The Silk Road is the ancient network of trade routes between East and West, stretching from China to Africa and Europe. The idea of the Renewed Silk Road, the largest infrastructure project in modern history, was retranslated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and has become a central premise in relations with China and abroad. 'China Dreams' is a trilogy about today's China, a time document through the eyes of contemporary photographers and documentary makers.

I came away with three fantastic photobooks, fantastic visit and equally enjoyable additions to my photobook collection!



Amèricaines Solitudes by Jean-Luc Bertini

Amèricaines Solitudes by Jean-Luc Bertini
Truly inspirational for me

Amèricaines Solitudes by Jean-Luc Bertini
There's a quality in these images that reminds me of Edward Hopper

Amèricaines Solitudes by Jean-Luc Bertini

Amèricaines Solitudes by Jean-Luc Bertini
That could be the Missus & me!

Over the course of over a decade (2007-2019), French photographer Jean-Luc Bertini traveled the length and breadth of the US, Bertini photographed his subjects against the vast backdrops of the country, documenting 'isolation', exploring the scale from solitude to loneliness.
His perspective produces an usual and captivating take on America as a nation. At times, his work reminded me of Stephen Shore, though the non-American eye estalbishes a style of his own.

In the preface of this book, Richard Ford (author of The Sportswriter, Independence Day, The Lay of the Land and Let Me Be Frank With You) delivers an essay on literary terms versus this Américaines Solitudes. He quotes (the book has the essays in both French and English) Marianne Moore " "..the cure for loneliness is solitude", an apt observation browsing Bertini's photographs in this book.

Photographer Jean-Luc Bertini is a member of the Picturetank agency. He spent 10+ years on the American highways and byways (intermittently on various trips), photographing the US in every season.
He travelled 40.000 kms in total, which started in 2007 in a Ford pick up truck.
For 'American Solitudes', he traveled without any preconceived ideas, except working in color and using a medium-sized 6x7 format.
He observes how Americans occupy their space and questions their excess in occupying it, which often produces anonymity and loneliness. And since loneliness favors observation, these images sometimes seem to transcend the ordinary scenes they reveal.

I recall a quote by Peggy Guggenheim how Americans work long days and numb their brains by alcohol in the evening (why she moved to Venice, Italy). There seems to be some of that in these photos.

www.rencontres-arles.com/en/- - -/jean-luc-bertini



Record No.19 Daido Moriyama
Am a huge fan of Mr Moriyama; have to check out how to purchase more 'Records'!

Record No.19 Daido Moriyama

Record No.19 Daido Moriyama
This one fits in nicely with my own project #OnReading (people reading in the public domain)

Record No.19 Daido Moriyama

I bought this Record No.19 at a recent visit to the MEP: Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.

Record no.19 showcases grainy, high-contrast street snapshots of Florence and other Tuscan towns taken by Daido Moriyama during a trip to Italy for his big retrospective show "The World through my Eyes", held at the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena. [Modena is located between Reggio Emilia and Bologna; unfortunately their webpage in English has only the basic info, for details of exhibitions there are only pages in italian - bloody typical].

Moriyama self-published his photography in a journal he labelled 'Record'. Five issues were published before the project was halted in 1972.
In 2006, after encouragement from Akio Nagasawa, Moriyama decided to restart the project as a regular outlet for his photography.
Daido Moriyama's long-running 'Record' series features black-and-white photography capturing his signature portraits, signs, shop windows, details and snaps in a graine B&W detail.
Daido wrote: " As I usually go on my photo shooting sprees while mixing with the crowds in the city, I didn't experience all that without a somewhat unsatisfying sense of bewilderment at first, but soon the photographer in me jumped up and declared that it was fine as it was, and that I should be capturing these things too, so in a way, my mind had flipped over as well. I guess this is how I responded to that glimpse of abnormality that had sneaked into my daily routine." - from Daido Moriyama's afterword (included in Japanese & English translation)


www.shashasha.co/en/- - -/record-no-19


Made in Scotland: Billy Connolly (2018)

“You can either break down and complain about how miserable your life is, or you can have a go at it,” says Billy Connolly
It’s clear the latter has always been the great comedian’s approach – and continues to be so, despite his struggles with Parkinson’s disease.
Now in his mid-70s, he continues to laugh even as he openly talks about facing death.
It's a joy to read this book (I have several by him or about him), one can hear him laughing!

There’s something about the way Connolly calmly discusses his demise, which is rather inspiring. “My life is slipping away,” he says. “I’m a damn sight nearer the end than I am the beginning. But it doesn’t frighten me. It’s an adventure.”

As archive footage reminds us, Connolly in his heyday was a physically energetic performer, all wide gestures, wild eyes, and wilder hairdos. He gives frenetic performances on his beloved banjo and exhibits an equally virtuoso approach to swearing (one highlight of the programme is his unpicking of the “poetry” of Glaswegian profanity, in particular the phrase “Jesus suffering f**k”).
So when Connolly explains how he’s losing his balance, energy, hearing, sight, and memory, it should make for an unbearably sad contrast.

But Connolly has a total lack of self-pity: "It’s as if I’m being prepared for something, some other adventure, which is over the hill,” he says. “I’ve got all this stuff to lose first, and then I’ll be at the shadowy side of the hill, doing the next episode in the spirit world." While the physical limitations of Parksinson’s clearly frustrate him, there’s also a sort of philosophic peace made with the inevitable end.

www.independent.co.uk/- - -/reviews/billy-connolly-made-scotland



YouTube by Torvatten

I stumbled across the YouTube channel of Frederik Trovatten, in particular his inspiring series on How To Photograph Like ... [Henry Cartier-Bresson, Robert Franks, Joel Meyerowitz, Bruze Davids0n].
Not only a source of welcome information How To (not strictly adhered to, but one can be inspired by style and subjects) but also camera equipment and photobooks.
Have a look!

www.youtube.com/ (on Joel Meyerowitz)



From Beijing to Paris, Photography by Ellen Thorbecke (Ruben Lundgren, 2021)
From 'Beijing to Paris, Photography by Ellen Thorbecke' (Ruben Lundgren, 2021)

From Beijing to Paris, Photography by Ellen Thorbecke (Ruben Lundgren, 2021)

From Beijing to Paris, Photography by Ellen Thorbecke (Ruben Lundgren, 2021)
China in the 1930s

From Beijing to Paris, Photography by Ellen Thorbecke (Ruben Lundgren, 2021)
Traditional dress in a Zuiderzee (presently IJsselmeer) coastal village (Netherlands)

From Beijing to Paris, Photography by Ellen Thorbecke (Ruben Lundgren, 2021)
Ellen Thorbecke in Paris, France

From Beijing to Paris, Photography by Ellen Thorbecke (Ruben Lundgren, 2021)
A fine inspiration for my upcoming trip to Paris!

From Beijing to Paris, Photography by Ellen Thorbecke (Ruben Lundgren, 2021)
Hong Kong, city promoting by Ellen Thorbecke

From Beijing to Paris, Photography by Ellen Thorbecke (Ruben Lundgren, 2021)
Shanghai, city promoting by Ellen Thorbecke

From Beijing to Paris, Photography by Ellen Thorbecke (Ruben Lundgren, 2021)
Ellen Thorbecke in Jerusalem / Palestine

The monograph 'From Beijing to Paris' tells the story of Ellen Thorbecke, a free-spirited woman whose photographic work has long been forgotten, but is currently gaining renewed interest. Her photographs give a unique insight into the China under Chiang Kai-shek nationalist government in the 1930s.
Ellen Thorbecke's work has now been brought together in this new 2021 edition.

Ellen Thorbecke (born Ellen Kolban, 1902-1973) worked as a journalist and photographer to provide for herself and that of her daughter after her first marriage broke down.
During a reception at the Dutch embassy in Berlin, she met Willem Thorbecke, grandson of the famous statesman. While Willem Thorbecke was married the spark did strike, and Ellen travels after him in 1931 when he is appointed Dutch envoy to Beijing. She lives there separately from Thorbecke, who came to China with his wife.
After his divorce, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs objected to his intended marriage to Ellen because of its 'sinful' history. As a result Willem Thorbecke resigns in 1935 and the marriage takes place.

Ellen Thorbecke had bought a Rolleiflex camera before leaving for China, but it was only in China that she started to engage seriously in photography. Initially to illustrate the articles she wrote as a correspondent for the Berliner Tageblatt.
She lived in China during the exciting 1930s, a period when the nationalist government was embroiled in a civil war with the communists, and the threat of Japan from the occupied Northeast hung over the country.
Also, the clash between Chinese traditions and Western renewal is central to the China that Ellen Thorbecke captured.
Her publications bring together photography and her journalistic talent. This was complemented by cartoonish illustrations and watercolours by the Austrian Friedrich Schiff.

The two characters drawn by Schiff, the English Mr. Pim and his hospitable guide Mr. Wu., add humour and nuance to Thorbecke's photos. In her 2nd book, 'Peking Studies' (1934) they reappear, to show the viewer around and to get acquainted with the inhabitants of Beijing.

In her 3rd book, 'People in China', Ellen Thorbecke's talent for portraying the people who lived in China at the time comes out equally well.
This publication focuses on portraits of people from all walks of life. From street vendors and soothsayers to a Manchu duke and a factory owner. Children are also discussed in the book. And from a thirteen-year-old groom to a toddler secretly licking a giant New Year's cake – Ellen Thorbecke shows us which people made up the China with a distinct sociological perspective.

The observations she made with her photographs and as a journalist have resulted in important documentation.
For example, we read that the thirteen-year-old groom marries a fifteen-year-old peasant girl because his mother had broken her leg, and the services of a daughter-in-law were desperately needed to keep the household running..
Ellen Thorbecke's unbiased and empathetic style seek out a wide range of people. Whether it's sing-song girls, a young jet-set bridal couple living in mundane Shanghai or a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law; simply beautiful.

The purpose of these publications was to refute the negative image that existed in western China in a period that China was opening up to Western influences.

'From Beijing to Paris' comprises the 6 photo books that Ellen Thorbecke made in China. Photographs of Paris were added, taken when she stayed there for a year after her marriage to Willem Thorbecke.
There are also photos that she took along the Dutch Zuiderzee coast during a visit to the Netherlands, plus photos of the founding of Israel, taken when the Thorbecke family lived in Jerusalem.

Ellen Thorbecke's work was forgotten for years, but was entrusted to the Nederlands Fotomuseum by her family in 2008. Curator and author of the book, Ruben Lundgren, blames the current revaluation of her work on increasing appreciation for photography as an artistic expression in the Netherlands, increased attention for female photographers and above all the position of China in today's world that "has become turned upside down".

Her work will also remain relevant in 2021. This new edition of her combined work thus achieves the goal she had 90 years ago! It shows China detached from politics and prejudice – something that is desperately needed in times of increasing international tensions and polarisation.

'From Beijing to Paris', authors Ruben Lundgren and Rik Suermondt, photography Ellen Thorbecke.
Published: Lecturis June 2021, 288 pages, 230 x 290 mm, hardcover (also available in English edition)
This book was published on the occasion of the exhibition 'Ellen Thorbecke China' (see further down this page), which can be seen in the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam until 03Oct2021.




Sean Lock R.I.P.

I am a fan of British comedy and consequently follow many comedy (panel) shows such as Have I Got New For You, QI-Quite Interesting and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Sean Lock featured many times on these over the years.
Lock frequently appeared on stage, television and radio. His routines were often surreal and delivered in a deadpan style.
After Lock saw comedians like Alexei Sayle and Paul Merton performing in comedy clubs and decided to pursue comedy. Throughout this time, he visited comedy shows in London pubs and started doing open-mic spots as a hobby.
In 1988, Lock had his first official gig at a pub in Stoke Newington, London. After being paid £15 for his 20 minutes, he realised he could pursue being a comedian as a career!

Lock was diagnosed with skin cancer in 1990, attributing the condition to overexposure to the sun while working as a builder in the early 1980s. After seeing his doctor, he was referred to a dermatologist at Guy's Hospital, London, and made a full recovery.
Lock died from cancer at his home on 18Aug 2021, at the age of 58, having been diagnosed with the illness of a few years prior.

A Tribute to Sean Lock @YouTube



Aan Zee, door Martin Hendriksma

From feared to loved: that is the history of the Dutch coast which Martin Hendriksma draws in the sand in his book 'Aan zee' (EN-Along the seaboard). He describes 5 centuries of coastal experience in the Netherlands.

In the 17th century people feared the sea, and rightly so...
She gave birth to monsters with gills, she flooded the lands and drowned the fishermen. People tended to avoid the coast. Yet this changed in the 19th century.
Doctor Anthonij Moll claimed that man could also get something out of this salty body of water: health. A daily glass of seawater, a jump in the surf and the fresh air would do a person good. The first bathhouse in the Netherlands, founded in Scheveningen in 1818, welcomed customers with that claim.

'Aan zee' is a chronicle of the coast, of how the Dutch (and a growing flow of visiting foreigners) discovered the sea and the accompanying coastal strip as a place to relax and to love.

However, the book is not purely a historical argument. Hendriksma is not a historian, but a journalist and writer.
He previously published the novels 'Hunkering' (2010) and 'Familievlees' (2008). The literary slant in 'Aan Zee' is unmistakable. He handles a pleasant prose which is indeed a joy to read.
E.g.: "A village of small houses that enclose the reformed church like suckling piglets a sow."
(Afaik 'Aan zee'  is only available in Dutch).

Hendriksma does not only dwell in the past. The author treats us to a mix of historiography and literary reportage, past and present. He explored the archives in Middelburg, The Hague and Naaldwijk. Hendriksma also wandered through the dunes and seaside resorts.
And he interviewed colourful characters who deepen the disastrous and painful past of coastal towns, or who want to preserve the natural beauty of today for the future, for there is danger dead ahead..

It is only in the last chapter, before the conclusion, that seven pages are devoted to sea level rise. The coastline of the future, Hendriksma also writes, could well be further inland..
'Aan zee' is a pleasure to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the short chapters, beautiful stories and the author's stylistic skills. One question keeps echoing: are we going to fear that sea again?




Le Bureau des Légendes, season 4

Le Bureau des Légendes, season 4

Le Bureau des légendes, or BDL is a French tv-series, broadcast since April 27, 2015 on Canal  and since November 19, 2017 on La Une, in Belgium.
I've seen series 1, but nos.2 and 3 must have escaped my attention.

Within the Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE), a department called the Bureau des légendes (BDL) trains and directs remotely so-called clandestine agents, immersed in foreign countries, who have the task of identifying persons likely to be recruited as sources of information.
Operating in the shadows, 'under legend', that is to say under a fabricated identity, they live for many years in a permanent concealment.

Guillaume Debailly, alias Paul Lefebvre, alias Malotru, has just returned from a six-year clandestine mission in Syria, but in contravention of security rules, he does not seem to have abandoned his 'legend' (alias) and the identity under which he lived in Damascus. His love affair with the Syrian Nadia El Mansour will seriously complicate things and lead him to play a double game between the DGSE and the CIA.

The narrative of series 4:
No.1 is that Malotru being hunted down by the DGSE and the CIA. Spotted in Moscow, he wants to negotiate his return to France. He uses his contact withing the DGSE but his handler is gone and the phone is in the archives.
JJA, the director of the internal security service at the DGSE, launches an audit on the Bureau des Légendes and its new director, Marie-Jeanne, with the firm intention of cutting heads.
No.2 narrative is at headquarters, with JJA Malotru firmly labelled as a traitor and a cancer in the agency for their are those who want to 'rescue' him. The careers of Marie-Jeanne and Raymond Sisteron, loyal to Malotru, are on the line.
No.3 is investigator (forced to go out in 'the field') Jonas who tries to track jihadists coördinating a terrorist attack in France. He has a list, they are code named 'lode' and numbered. With fighting firmly going on in Arab countries and fronts moving, IS leaders gone to ground, Jonas experiences terrifying moments: he is the one to interrogate them where they find them.

Abandoned by the DGSE, Malotru comes out of hiding (found a job as a chef in a foodtruck) and is spotted by the Russian secret services. He gets romantically involved with Samara, a single mother who accepts Paul ('Pascha') as a man without a past to share. A very nice role she has.

Marina Loiseau, another DGSE agent 'des légendes, infirltrates in a Russian research center and she is taking her first steps in the underground computer world. She infiltrates, as a seimologist, the university and gets involved with Mischa who works in (cyber) security of the university.
The French are interested to know how far the Russians are with airtificial intelligence (AI) and maybe copy some of their data. The CIA is interested in the results.

Arrested for espionage by the Russian services, Malotru was thrown among the inmates of a prison to force him to coöperate; he is badly beaten in the crowded cel.
In France, the DGSE tries to understand his intentions before intervening: is Malotru faking working for the FSB, to become a mole withing the DGSE..? The FSB is not convinced either.
In Iraq, Jonah suspects a jihadist arrested of being Iodine 2, no.1 was found dead.

While under pressure from the FSB, Malotru gets an assignment from the DGSE to prove his loyalty: to turn a Russian cyber officer but he finds it impossible as he has no such connections.
Marie-Jeanne at HQ finds out that soon it will be her turn to loose her job.
Marina allows herself to get closer to Misha but feels loyalty problems coming up.
In Paris, Jonas recruits an analyst to infiltrate an Islamist financing network, the answer may well be in France.

Faced with Karlov losing patience, Malotru offered to recruit Ellenstein at DGSE HQ.
At the DGSE, Marie-Jeanne witnesses a computer attack, that may have originated from a hack on Marina's phone.
In Mosul, Jonah and John Paul are looking for a way to cross the ruined city to reach a figure head named The Collector.

Under the control of a suspicious Karlov, Malotru begins recruiting Ellenstein, but his place has been taken by Caesar with a 'légendes'.
At the DGSE, Sisteron believes that Caesar is not ready to go on a mission, too rushed and Caesar has doubts too: he may not know how to hold his legend...
In Rakka, which is still occupied by ISIS, Jonas and Jean-Paul join a battalion of Yézid women to track down Iode 3.

In Moscow, Malotru welcomes Caesar who has taken the identity of Ellenstein. Their encounter is filmed and analyzed by Karlov plus a psychologist; they try to detect the true from the false.
JJA discovers a flaw in Caesar's legend and alerts the Bureau of Legends.
In Damascus, Jonah and John Paul are looking for the body of Iodine 3 in a morgue, in spite of the refusal by Syrian authorities..

Karlov proposes to Malotru to work for the FSB, in Moscow. But it seems Malotry has to commit treason to France yet again.
Sisteron and the entire Bureau of Legends must answer a questionnaire against Marie-Jeanne. JJA wants to use it to make his trial at a meeting of directors.
Marina suffers badly from the fact that the DGSE uses Misha.

Sisteron warns Marina that she is a pawn in a chess game between France and Russia: the DGSE gets closer to Russian's AI research with Caesar's infiltration than hers.
Malotru says goodbye to Samara with a heavy heart and returns to France where he is held incommunicado by the DGSE for an extensive debriefing; he knows he is still part of a intelligence game. He is not allowed to contact his daughter.
Jonas has lost track of Iodine 3 and is using artificial intelligence to try to find it.

In Ukraine, Malotru (deemed expendable by the DGSE) goes to the place of exchange to collect Marina who has been arrested by the FSB.
On the way back, their Ukrainian escort deviates from the route agreed with the DGSE. He alerts Sisteron, the Ukrainians may have been bribed to release Marina but hold Malotru.
In Paris, realizing that Malotru's life is at stake, Marie-Jeanne confronts JJA..
Jonas interrogates Iode 3 to prevent an imminent attack in France.

www.imdb.com/- - -season=4



FFN 2021 Part II
Former garden centre Van Der Roest

FFN 2021 Part II
Sabine van Wechem

FFN 2021 Part II
On the far left is a mirror image in a photo

FFN 2021 Part II

FFN 2021 Part II
Demolition Derby by Cynthia van Elk, magnificent work!

FFN 2021 Part II

FFN 2021 Part II
Tribute to the Dutch Landscape, a theme of FFN 2021, on display at country estate Oud-Bussem

Today I visited 2 remote sites, out of Naarden-Vesting, part of Fotofestival Naarden (FFN) 2021. In a former garden centre (brilliant!) and outside on a country estate.
Both locations are too far out to walk from the exhibition (about to end) in Naarden-Vesting. The exhibition is spread out to thin the crowd for Covid-19 reasons.
A lot of work to be seen, a great many talented photographers have their work here on display here. I noticed Sabine van Wechem with work shot in a Brazilian favela on display here, while I recently saw prize-winning work by her in Hilversum @Zilveren Camera (below)!
Great work all round!

More pix on Flickr.com



Canon Zilveren Camera 2020
I always come away impressed by the high standard of Dutch news photography

Canon Zilveren Camera 2020

Canon Zilveren Camera 2020
On the left work by Guido van der Zwan

Canon Zilveren Camera 2020
Merel Schoneveld @Scheveningen

Canon Zilveren Camera 2020
Public vote through adding a chip. I voted for the first one on the right

The Zilveren Camera awards 2020 could be seen until Sunday 15th of August in Museum Hilversum, in the city centre.
Photographer Kees van de Veen is the winner of this year's Canon Silver Camera.
According to the jury, the photographer made the best journalistic photo series in the past year.Van de Veen gets 'the silver camera' for the report he made in March and April 2020 in the intensive care unit in Assen during the first wave of the coronavirus. He followed 73-year-old Piet Franssen, who was admitted there with an infection and sadly Piet died on April 16th.
Amazingly enough that feeling of 'life and death' for the Covid-19 pandemic and the enormous pressure on the health care had faded a little to the present inconveniences and travel restrictions. But these photos really brought the Corona crisis home again!

There are other winners and runners up in other categories, both in single photography as well as series and videos reporting.
Besides the Zilveren Camera competition, there's also the Paul Peters Fotoprijs on display here.
The public can also vote for their favourite, which will be announced at the conclusion of the exhibition here in Hilversum.
Always a joy to visit this venue!




Proteus / Heart of the Hunter by Deon Meyer

'Proteus' (EN: 'Heart of the Hunter'), which I have just read, dates from 2002 and so it is one of earlier ones by Deon Meyer. Most of the other ones I've read had Benny Griessel as the protagonist, except the brilliant 'Fever'.

The main character of this book is Tobela Mpayipheli, a black, tall and modest man. He lives with his girlfriend Miriam Nzekelwazi and her son Pakamile from a previous relationship.
Tobela works as a general dogsbody at a motorcycle garage. He's earned the bosses trust there by always showing up on time, never sick and doing a reliable job.
He is fond of his girlfriend's son and he wants to introduce him to farming life in their backyard, with future plans to dream about.

One day he is visited by the daughter of one of his old mates. His friend, held hostage in Lusaka, desperately needs help.
In spite of Miriam's misgivings, Tobela decides to help; he faces a deadline of 72 hours. He is handed a computer disk by Monica, which has to be transported to Lusaka in order to get his friend back to freedom.
Tobela's attempt to board a flight is thwarted by the Secret Service, so during the night he enters the motorcycle garage and ' borrows' a mighty BMW R1150 GS from the showroom (he leaves a note) and sets course for Lusaka.

The people in Lusaka are not the only ones who are interested in the information on the hard disk.
Also one of the secret services of the South African government wants to lay hands on this information that should not reach the general public.
During the days of the Struggle this man, Johnny Kleintjes, worked as an ICT specialist to process and combine information from various intelligence services. Allegedly he copied  data and kept confidential digital information at home.

The various police- and intelligence services in South Africa is a complex network; both on the side of the ANC (and others) plus the former Apartheid rulers. Their coöperation is a reluctant game.
Johnny Kleintjes considered his secret data could serve at some point as a much needed insurance. It seems that time has come.

While Tobela struggles to maintain control of the hefty BMW GS (a much bigger and more powerful motorbike than his own decrepid Honda 200 Benly), gradually increasing his speed on his long road north, the Secret Service has intercepted information on the meeting of Kleintjes daughter and Tobela.

The Presidential Information Unit, ran on a daily basis by Janina Mentz, has to prove itself but underestimates Tobela's capacities at first, as they consider him merely as a lowly schooled black worker. He is unknown in all the databases they consult.
But clearly the odds are against Tobela, as the Intel Unit can charter privat jets, command military attack helicopters and dispatch highly-trained militairy special forces.

So this Service is on the move to intercept Tobela during his journey north. The media gets hold of the 'big, bad, black Xhosa-biker'. Allison Healy of the Cape Times digs a little deeper and gets under the skin of the minister responsible of the Secret Services.

Is Tobela a peaceful and quiet man? Yes, but a man with a violent past. Bit by bit we get information on the background of Tobela, trained by the KGB and the Stasi as a hired killer.
An unexplained detail is the involvement of the CIA. And who is the mole in the organization of this Secret Service?
The hunt continues for the man whom once was a hunter himself. He knows the tricks of the game, but he has become a bit rusty and he is opposed by an overwhelming force.

I have to admit that I consider 'Proteus' a less successful book by Deon Meyer, but maybe I should blame myself: too many details and the plot too complicated?
The importance of certain details, such as the role of Johnny Kleintjes, his kidnappers, the CIA, the computer disk, they keep varying in importance. And thus the ending seems cloudy to me or very simple (revenge?) indeed.
A bit unsatisfactory.




Henry Cartier-Bresson (HCB) - Scrapbook

Henry Cartier-Bresson (HCB) - Scrapbook

Henry Cartier-Bresson (HCB) - Scrapbook

Henry Cartier-Bresson (HCB) - Scrapbook

Henry Cartier-Bresson (HCB) - Scrapbook

Henry Cartier-Bresson (HCB) - Scrapbook

Although Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908––2004) is widely considered one of the world's greatest photographers, much about his early work remains unknown. For this reason, Cartier-Bresson's personal scrapbook of his best work from his rich early period (1932––46) provides an extraordinary window onto his process and artistic development, documenting both his travels to Spain and Mexico and his encounters with Surrealism and modern art.

I held this book in my hands, considered its purchase while in the bookstore of Palazzo Grassi in Venice (for HCB's exhibition 'Le Grand Jeu') last year, but I had already selected 2 books and these books don't come cheap and are also quite heavy! So I left it for another day and recently that day had come..

At the beginning of WWII, Cartier-Bresson was captured and held in a German prisoner of war camp for three years before he escaped in 1943.
To the outside world, HCB was presumed dead, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York was preparing a memorial exhibition.
When he emerged alive, he joined the efforts to assemble this retrospective which took place in 1947). He selected and personally printed over 300 examples of his best works —including many that had never printed before.
Upon his arrival in New York in April 1946, he bought a scrapbook into which he meticulously glued all the prints in chronological order. These prints, mostly removed from the scrapbook by Cartier-Bresson himself in the 1990s, have been reassembled for the occasion of the exhibition and publication of 'The Scrapbook, Photographs 1932-1946'.
The book also contains his early correspondence and historical documents.

It is still my fervent wish to visit the museum of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris, a previous attempt a few years ago failed much to my vexation.




Heusden, fortified town in Noord-Brabant (NL)
Heusden, fortified historic town in Noord-Brabant (NL)

Heusden, fortified historic town in Noord-Brabant (NL)
A summer's day in Heusden

Heusden, fortified historic town in Noord-Brabant (NL)

Heusden, fortified historic town in Noord-Brabant (NL)
Outline of the historic fortified walls

Heusden, fortified historic town in Noord-Brabant (NL)
Heusden was a point of defense along the river (Bergsche) Maas

A few days ago I visited Heusden, a restored fortified town in Noord-Brabant, located on the Bergsche Maas (extension of the river the Meuse / Maas.
It has about 1,320 inhabitants (2020).
In 1968 the old style restoration of the fortified city started. This large-scale restoration project ran for forty years and the result is very pleasant. Not unlike Naarden-Vesting, with defense works and cobblestone streets.
Heusden is the capital of the Land of Heusden.

The first mention of Heusden dates from 722, as Hunsata Super fluvium Mosam.
In 839 the place would have been destroyed by the Normans. Presumably this was not the city of Heusden as we know it in 2020, which is from a later date. It could be a place that corresponds to the present-day Oudheusden, which was located on the Meuse (as the course ran then).
The Castle Heusden dates back to the 12th century. Near this castle the present town of Heusden developed. Some of the outlines of the castle have been restored with modern bricks.

There have been several disasters in Heusden.
In 1569 the city was besieged and completely destroyed by the Spanish.
Several times the city was hit by the plague.
During the great fire in 1572, almost the entire city was burned down.There was nothing left of the beautiful town hall.
In 1680, the castle and surrounding houses were destroyed by lightning, hitting the gunpowder tower!
The last tragic event took place towards the end of the World War II. As the Allies advanced, the Germans sought refuge behind a new line, the Bergsche Maas. They had the highest points in the fortress, the town hall and two church towers blown up.

NL.wikipedia.org:_Heusden_(vestingstad) (translated by www.translate.com)
More photos @Flickr.com



Bunker 599: Doorgezaagde Bunker
Adress: Diefdijk 5, 4122 KP, Zijderveld

Bunker 599: Doorgezaagde Bunker

Bunker 599: Doorgezaagde Bunker

Bunker 599: Doorgezaagde Bunker

Yesterday I visited 'the sawn-through bunker', also known as 'Bunker 599' and 'Groepschuilplaats 599'.
It is a public attraction for visitors to the Diefdijklinie (part of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie).
The bunker was built in 1940.
It was divided into two in 2010 by cutting and removing a piece about one meter wide. The sawing (with a diamond saw through reinforced concrete, a meter in width) took 4 weeks.


There is a closed up bunker near to it. Many bunkers dot the landscape along the dyke.

The (Old) Dutch Water Line (NL: (Oude) Hollandse Waterlinie) was a series of water-based defences conceived by Maurice of Nassau in the early 17th century, and realised by his half brother Frederick Henry. Combined with natural bodies of water, the Water Line could be used to transform Holland, the westernmost region of the Netherlands and adjacent to the North Sea, almost into an island.
In the 19th century, the Line was extended to include Utrecht.
On July 26th 2021, the line was added as a UNESCO world heritage site.

The (New) Dutch Water Line (NL: (Nieuwe) Hollandse Waterlinie a.k.a. NHW) is an important line of defence in Dutch history.
The waterline protected a large part of Holland and the city of Utrecht.
The waterline was in use from 1870 to 1945.
De Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie served to replace the (Oude) Hollandse Waterlinie dating from the end of the 17th century and bears this new name from 1871.
An important difference between the old and the new line is that the city of Utrecht is now within the line. The waterline was located east and south of the cities of Holland, 85 kilometers long and 3 to 5 kilometers wide. With 46 forts, the line stretched from the island of Pampus in the Zuiderzee to the Biesbosch. In addition, the line consists of the five fortified cities of Muiden, Weesp, Naarden (see FFN further below), Gorinchem and Woudrichem.
The great historical value led to registration for the UNESCO World Heritage List (1995, honoured in 2021); and the list of National Monuments (2009) as well as to the status of National Landscape (2005).

On 26 July 2021, the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as an extension of the Stelling van Amsterdam.
The Stelling van Amsterdam has had UNESCO status since 1996. Both lines are world-class heritage and are now called the Dutch Water Lines together.
They tell the extraordinary story of the military defense of The Netherlands with water as an ally. They are unique in the world and deserve to continue to exist for future generations.

Nieuwehollandsewaterlinie.nl/UNESCO/ (NL)



New York New York | Richard Koek

New York New York | Richard Koek

New York New York | Richard Koek

New York New York | Richard Koek

New York New York | Richard Koek

New York New York | Richard Koek

New York New York | Richard Koek

Dutch-Argentinean photographer Richard Koek is a visual storyteller. He shares his love of New York City and the anonymous people that live and work there on a day to day base.
In 2018 his book NEW YORK NEW YORK was published by Terralannoo ('Terra'; 256 pages). I bought a copy recently on the FotoFestival Naarden (FFN, see further down), for the style and quality of his work, and for the growing number of photobooks on the subject of New York (City).

Koek decided to give up his profession as a tax lawyer to pursue his passion for photography in New York City. Quite a change in career! I applaud his courage for I stood twice at crossroads in past decades for such a desicion but decided against it (I had and have ample reasons).

His work has featured in renowned titles including Interview Magazine, Stern, The New York Times and The New York Review of Books.
Richard Koek lives in New York and Amsterdam, working for various international publications, companies and non-profit organizations, and his work has been purchased by The National Archives of Holland, The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Royal Tropical Institute of Amsterdam.
He has exhibited work at the Photoville Festival in NYC and FotoFestival Naarden in The Netherlands.




Amsterdam Street Photography | Michael van Oostende


Alas, van Ostende objected to my blog, having not asked permission before publishing (as stipulated in the book, as in most if not all photobooks).
As I consider my work a promotion for the artist, photographer or author, I never ask such a permission.
The photos are purposely too small for reproduction.
Since it is quite a bit of work, done out of enthusiasm, and asking permission seldom reaches the person I seek (but rather end up a a publisher's desk), I will never ask permission for this work. An objection will result of removal of the blog and an embargo by me of his work.
As I could not find van Oostende's book for sale online at various adresses I thought he would be pleased. But he wasn't.
Hence I removed the photos and the text.



FFN 2021 'The Art of Living'

FFN 2021 'The Art of Living'

FFN 2021 'The Art of Living'

FFN 2021 'The Art of Living'

FFN 2021 'The Art of Living'

FFN 2021 'The Art of Living'

FFN 2021 'The Art of Living'

FFN 2021 'The Art of Living'

For many years I came away with enthusiasm for the Foto Festival in Naarden-Vesting. For FFN 2021
it was no different. There's always excellent photography on show and the event is on once every 2 years.
It almost did not happen this year, for the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
The setting and surroundings are magnificent: Naarden-Vesting is a fortress town and photos are on display everywhere: on the ramparts, inside the fortifications (very 'edgy'!), in the big church, inside the town hall, along cobble stone streets, etc.
This is Part One, more to follow (about the FFN 2021 remote sites), probably in august.
Because of the C-19 infections, sites are further apart, with some outside Naarden-Vesting. I did not have time to cover it all. The good news is it last two months, until August 29th.

From the FFN website:
'FOTOFESTIVAL NAARDEN'. ¬Since 1989 the Naarden Photo Festival has been held every two years in the fortress of Naarden.
After 30 years the festival has become one of the most important photo festivals in The Netherlands. Leading, comprehensive, high standard and innovative are key words which characterise the Naarden Photo Festival.
The context of the historical fortified town gives extra meaning to the photos - an element that makes a visit to the festival worthwhile and not easily forgotten.
The FotoFestival Naarden (FFN) celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019.
In 1989 the Festival started under the inspiring leadership of Pim Westerweel who, inspired by the photo festival in Arles, judged the fortress of Naarden to be an excellent setting for the exhibition of contemporary Dutch photography.
The Festival is organised biennially and has become the photo festival of the Netherlands. After the success of the first leading editions of the FotoFestival Naarden, more initiatives were started in The Netherlands in which photography is central for a short period.

More pix on Flickr.com



Ellen Thorbecke, The People in China
Portrait of Ellen Thorbecke, China

Ellen Thorbecke, The People in China

Ellen Thorbecke, The People in China

Ellen Thorbecke, The People in China

Ellen Thorbecke, The People in China

As of June 2021, the Nederlands Fotomuseum presents the exhibition Ellen Thorbecke’s China, showcasing photographs and photo books made in China in the 1930s by collection photographer Ellen Thorbecke.
The exhibition tells the story of a woman who holds a unique position in Dutch photography.
Her small yet extraordinary photo archive, one of the Nederlands Fotomuseum Collection’s true gems, shows rare images of everyday life in China during that era.
She photographed with an open mind and as a result Ellen Thorbecke’s images are still relevant and immensely popular in China today.

In 1931, Ellen Thorbecke (b.1902-d.1973) left Berlin for China to be reunited with her husband Willem Thorbecke, who had been appointed as an envoy in China on behalf of the Netherlands.
Before she left for China, she bought her first camera, as she was planning to work in China as a correspondent for the Berlin newspapers.
To illustrate her articles, she captured a series of portraits and street scenes in the Chinese countryside and in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
This was during the era when the idea of ‘East Meets West’ was gaining ground and a number of Western writers, filmmakers and artists were shining the spotlight on China.

Being a journalist from origin, Thorbecke gradually developed into a compelling photographer.

The exhibition Ellen Thorbecke’s China presents photographs that capture the changing identity of the young Chinese Republic between centuries-old traditions and Western modernisation.
Her images range from those that refer to traditional Chinese role patterns – such as arranged marriages at a young age – to modern portraits showing the desire for freedom and independence.

Ellen Thorbecke (b. Ellen Kolban, in Wilmersdorf, near Berlin), was an interesting artist in many ways.
She was opinionated, had broad cultural and political interests, and was incredibly gifted with artistic talent. During the liberal years of Germany’s Weimar Republic, she sought her own path and pursued a social career.
Her photography is quite unique, as very few images of everyday life in China from that period still exist.

Both the exhibition and the book shows rare images of daily life in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris and the Middle East in the 1930s and 1940s.
These were the places where Thorbecke lived and worked during her lifetime, which form the guiding principle of the publication.

Ellen Thorbecke - From Peking to Paris
From Peking to Paris
The monograph Ellen Thorbecke - From Peking to Paris is compiled by Ruben Lundgren in
collaboration with Rik Suermondt, art historian and discoverer of Thorbecke’s archive.

The exhibition has been curated by Ruben Lundgren.
He has been living in Beijing since 2007 where he is working as a photojournalist for daily newspapers like de Volkskrant, and as an independent curator of Chinese photography.

More photos @Flickr.com



Eregalerij van Nederlandse Fotografie
The development of 180 years of photography.

Eregalerij van Nederlandse Fotografie

Eregalerij van de Nederlandse Fotografie
Women's rights

Eregalerij van de Nederlandse Fotografie

Eregalerij van de Nederlandse Fotografie
'Caught the gaze'

Eregalerij van de Nederlandse Fotografie
Masks are no longer obligatory but many people still wear them, esspecially in public areas / indoors.

Eregalerij van de Nederlandse Fotografie

Eregalerij van de Nederlandse Fotografie
I was amazed to see the roots of streetphotography going back some, to 1888-1899!
And how technology changed the subjects ('..becoming more spontaneous') of photography.

Yesterday visited Nederlands Fotomuseum @Rotterdam, for 2 exhibitions.
The first one is the Gallery of Honour of Dutch Photographers.
It provides a timeline of ninety-nine pix by work of remarkable photographers. And a museum app has the ability to upload the visitor's choice of the missing one, to complete it to a hundred.

The Gallery of Honour starts off by showing the earliest examples of photographs, known as daguerreotypes, and showcases work by dozens of photographers who explored boundaries, developed new techniques, and brought about innovation – from black and white images to colour photography and the digital age.
Through 6 time periods, the visitor is taken through the fascinating development of 180 years of photography.

Excellent series, very well displayed too.
Most certainly worth a visit.




Photo by Neville Webb, 1962 @Hyde Park
Photo by Neville Webb, London 1961

One of the things I enjoy a lot these days is corresponding with a few remaining contributors for my aviation website. One is Neville Webb (his plane pix is on my Aviation Photos & History from Neville Webb gallery), but the subjects we discuss and share photos with have gone beyond aviation.
Neville shared this photo with me, and besides that I think it has everything of a classic masterpiece, there's a nice story to it.
Neville wrote: "A few weeks ago, by pure high odds-against chance, re-united with long lost Sweetheart from Sixty Years ago!"
How we met [this time -RL] was Pure Chance too.
Photo taken in Hyde Park, 1961."

But there's more to Neville's photography, here are some portraits by his hand:
Portraits by Neville Webb

Notes on the above portraits
Top row, from left to right-
¬ Banjo Player on Yacht; aA onetime friend whom I helped over some two or three years while his yacht was at Petty Harbour, Newfoundland.  Do Yachtsmen make good Banjo Players?
Second row, from left to tight-
¬ Harry from Labrador; noticed Harry while walking at Signal Hill years ago. He originates from Labrador but lived in St. John's for some years. A happy person indeed!
¬ Fisherman's Wind Weathered Face; entered a fisher's shed while walking along what is called a Finger Pier at Petty Harbour, NFL. Inside 4 or 5 fishermen were sitting around.
¬ Lady collecting pop-cans; at a gasstation in St. John's noticed a lady carrying a large plastic bag. She had an interesting face, so walked over and asked if I could take her photo.
Third row, from left to right
¬ Street Busker on a sunny morning in Downtown St. John's; he was playing his guitar
 outside a gas station, After finishing my coffee walked across and asked permission to take his photo. 
Fourth row, from left to right-
¬ This is a picture of me, taken one summer afternoon while relaxing with a glass of wine on a small yacht at Petty Harbour.
¬ At Trinity Bay watched a man working on his boat, walked across the wharf and turned out he is a Newfoundland artist. Later went to his studio and viewed some of his paintings. He told me that many people ask permission to take his photograph!
¬ Met this man outside a local library. He told me when summer arrives, he shaves off his beard!

People and photo opportunities are where you find them, often by chance. But one must never pressure folk beyond having 3 or 4 photos of them at the most ...

Girl with Basket
This photo captures a fleeting moment in time. While taking a few photos at a wedding in Petty Harbour, sensed a movement behind me and quickly turned around. Luckily, had my camera at the ready,
quickly pointed the camera and took the photo. No time to set the scene, just pressed the shutter!



World Press Photo 2021
The winner: The First Embrace

World Press Photo 2021
Care worker showing the welts of protective masks after a hard day's work

World Press Photo 2021
Exhibition in De Nieuwe Kerk, @Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

World Press Photo 2021

The annual WPP contests recognize and celebrate the best visual journalism produced over the previous year. On display in 'De Nieuwe Kerk' are the winners of our 64th annual Photo Contest and 11th annual Digital Storytelling Contest!

The jury of the 2021 Photo Contest selected Mads Nissen’s photograph The First Embrace as the World Press Photo of the Year, and Habibi by Antonio Faccilongo as the World Press Photo Story of the Year.

Reconstructing Seven Days of Protests
in Minneapolis After George Floyd’s Death by Holly Bailey/The Washington Post and Matt Daniels, Amelia Wattenberger/The Pudding, was awarded Interactive of the Year and Calling Back From Wuhan by Yang Shenlai/Tang Xiaolan was awarded Online Video of the Year.
Stunning images all around.

More photos on Flickr.com



De Gouden Koets @AMSterdam Museum
The Golden Coach is on display in a glass enclosure in the large courtyard of the Amsterdam Museum.

De Gouden Koets @AMSterdam Museum
The Golden Coach was conceived as a gift for the inauguration of the first woman on the Dutch throne, the then eighteen-year-old Queen Wilhelmina. Ever since its inception, the carriage has known fans and critics. The Golden Coach is therefore much more than just a vehicle.

De Gouden Koets @AMSterdam Museum

The Golden Coach is the subject of a current debate, caused by the painting on the left side of the vehicle: Tribute from the Colonies.
Depicted are people from the colonies paying tribute to a white youthful woman symbolizing the Netherlands. An increasing number of people are finding this depiction of colonialism inappropriate for national celebrations.
Should the carriage continue to be used on Prinsjesdag and during Orange weddings and inaugurations?

De Gouden Koets @AMSterdam Museum

In six galleries inside the museum around the courtyard, with a view of the Golden Coach, various stories are highlighted.
Hundreds of cultural-historical objects, paintings, Orangery, garments, cartoons, photographs and moving images give a multifaceted picture of the history and use of the Golden Coach and the past and present discussions about this iconic vehicle.

De Gouden Koets @AMSterdam Museum

Visit yesterday afternoon to the Amsterdam Museum, for The Golden Coach (Dutch: Gouden Koets).
This is a coach owned and used by the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange.
The Gold(en) Coach was used every year to carry the Dutch monarch from the Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal in order to deliver the Speech from the Throne or weddings, chrsitening, et cetera of the House of Orange.
After an extensive renovation recently it is now on display in the museum.

Queen Wilhelmina received the Gold Coach at her 1898 investiture as a tribute from the citizens of Amsterdam.
It has always been controversial: a display of extravagant richness (protests by socialists) and these days how we look upon our colonial past and inequality, racism.
The future of this coach has not been decided yet. I'd prefer it to remain in a museum.

Photography is difficult: reflection by multi layered glass; a smartphone seems to provide the best results, or perhaps one should screw on a polarizing filter on the cameralens. I made the most of the reflection.

More photos on Flickr.com



The Face of War - Martha Gellhorn

Martha Ellis Gellhorn (b.08Nov1908 - d.15Feb1998) was an American novelist, travel writer, and journalist who is considered one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century.
She reported on virtually every major world conflict that took place during her 60-year career.

Martha Gellhorn was born in St. Louis and attended Bryn Mawr, but left in 1927 to begin a career as a writer. Her first articles appeared in the New Republic, but determined to become a foreign correspondent, she moved to France to work for the United Press bureau in Paris.

While in Europe she became active in the pacifist movement and wrote about her experiences in the book, What Mad Pursuit (1934).
When Gellhorn returned home she was hired by Harry Hopkins as an investigator for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, where she had the task of reporting the impact of the Depression on the United States. Her reports for that agency caught the attention of Eleanor Roosevelt, and the two women became lifelong friends. Her findings were the basis of a novella, The Trouble I've Seen (1936).

In 1937 Gellhorn was employed by Collier's Weekly to report the Spanish Civil War. While there she started an affair with Ernest Hemingwayand the couple married in 1940.
Gellhorn travelled to Germany where she reported the rise of Adolf Hitler and in 1938 was in Czechoslovakia. After the outbreak of the Second World War wrote about these events in the novel, A Stricken Field (1940).

Gellhorn worked for Collier's Weekly throughout World War II and later recalled how she "followed the war wherever I could reach it." This included reporting from Finland, Hong Kong, Burma, Singapore and Britain. She even impersonated a stretcher bearer in order to witness the D-Day landings...

After the war Gellhorn worked for Atlantic Monthly. This included all the major world conflicts, including the Vietnam War, the Six-Day War in the Middle East and the wars in Central America.

Gellhorn published a large number of books including a collection of articles on war, The Face of War (1959), a novel about McCarthyism, The Lowest Trees Have Tops (1967), an account of her life with Ernest Hemingway, Travels With Myself and Another (1978) plus a collection of her peacetime journalism, The View From the Ground (1988).

Gellhorn was also the 3rd wife of American novelist Ernest Hemingway, from 1940 to 1945.
She met Ernest Hemingway during a 1936 Christmas family trip to Key West, Florida. Gellhorn had been hired to report for Collier's Weekly on the Spanish Civil War and the pair decided to travel to Spain together.
They celebrated Christmas of 1937 in Barcelona. In Germany, she reported on the rise of Adolf Hitler and in the spring of 1938, months before the Munich Agreement, she was in Czechoslovakia.
The marriage was difficult.
He wanted her to be a deferential wife; she wanted to live life like he did! She was idealistic, tormented by the slave labor conditions she witnessed in Hong Kong; he stoically accepted the world as it was.
Both had terrible tempers.
They broke up 1945 while they were staying at the Dorchester Hotel in London. Afterward, Gellhorn would call Hemingway a bully, while he called her phony and pretentious.
In later years, she resented having more fame for being Hemingway's ex-wife than for her own work.

After the outbreak of World War II, she described these events in the novel A Stricken Field (1940). She later reported the war from Finland, Hong Kong, Burma, Singapore, and England. Lacking official press credentials to witness the Normandy landings, she hid in a hospital ship bathroom, and upon landing impersonated a stretcher bearer.
She later recalled, "I followed the war wherever I could reach it." She was the only woman to land at Normandy on D-Day on June 6, 1944.
She was also among the first journalists to report from Dachau concentration camp after it was liberated by US troops on April 29, 1945.

She passed her 70th birthday in 1979, but continued working in the following decade, covering the civil wars in Central America.
As she approached 80, Gellhorn began to slow down physically and although she still managed to cover the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989, she finally retired from journalism as the 1990s began. An operation for cataracts was unsuccessful and left her with permanently impaired vision. Gellhorn announced that she was "too old" to cover the Balkan conflicts in the 1990s.
She died in 1998 in an apparent suicide at the age of 89, ill and almost completely blind.
The Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism is named after her.

The Face of War was published in 1959 and was frequently reprinted, while wars kept raging.
The book was editted to make room for other wars she witnessed. So the book went through several versions. 'Introductions' and 'conclusions' of these earlier versions are included in the back as essays.
Here are a few quotes from these¬
Leaders make wars. People cannot and do not rush off in an unruly mob to fight enemies. They must first be inflamed with fear and hate, the usual ingredients, then organized and directed. There are always agressor leaders, even in civil wars. The leaders are recognizable (am,bitious men ruthless with power are nothing new) but their followers are an enigma. Why is it always so easy to rouse men to kill eacht other?

Journalism at its best and most effective is education. Apperently people would not learn for themselves, nor from others. If the agnony of the Second World War did not teach them, whatever would? Surely the post-war world is a mockery of hope and an insult to all those who died so that we would survive.

My articles on the Vietnam War are a model of self-censorship. They were published in The Guardian, London; unsuitable for American readers. In 1966, the official American version of the war was accepted as truth. Opposing views were Communist propaganda and dismissed as such.
After all this time I still cannot think calmly about that war. It was the only war I reported on the wrong side.

We must always remember that we are not the servants of the state. As the British Attorney General said in his final speech at the Neremberg Trial, 'The state and the law are made for man that through themhe may achieve a fuller life, a higher purpose and a greater dignity,' The state has fallen down on its job: instead of a fuller life, the state has led man to a haunted life.
There has to be a better way to run the world and we better see that we get it.

Martha Gellhorn is truly an icon and the book stands in the records of war reporting in all its gruesome aspects.

www.notablebiographies.com/- - -/Gellhorn-Martha



INew York by Thomas Hoepker (TeNeues)
New York by Thomas Hoepker (TeNeues; 2013)

New York by Thomas Hoepker (TeNeues)

New York by Thomas Hoepker (TeNeues)

New York by Thomas Hoepker (TeNeues)

New York by Thomas Hoepker (TeNeues)

New York by Thomas Hoepker (TeNeues)

New York by Thomas Hoepker (TeNeues)

Thomas Hoepker (German: Thomas Höpker; b.10Jun1936) is a German photographer and member of Magnum Photos.
He is known for stylish color photo features. He also documented the 9/11 World Trade Center destruction.
Hoepker originally made a name for himself in the 1960s as a photojournalist with a desire to photograph human conditions.

Hoepker was born in Munich, Germany. He first began taking pictures when he was 16 and received an old 9x12 glass plate camera from his grandfather. He developed his prints in his family's kitchen and bathroom, and began to earn a little money by selling pictures to friends and classmates.
Hoepker studied art history and archaeology from 1956 to 1959. Here he was taught about understanding images and composition.
While in school he continued to photograph and sell images to help finance his education.

From 1960 to 1963 he worked as a photographer for Münchner Illustrierte and Kristall, reporting from around the world. Then in 1964 he began working as a photojournalist for Stern.
In the 1970s he also worked as a cameraman for German TV, making documentary films.
In 1976 he and his wife, journalist Eva Windmoeller, relocated to New York City as correspondents for Stern. From 1978 to 1981 he was director of photography for American Geo.
From 1987 to 1989 Hoepker was based in Hamburg, working as art director for Stern.

For much of his career Hoepker used Leica cameras. In the 1970s he began to also use single-lens reflex cameras alongside his Leica, using Leicas for wide angle shots and Nikon or Canon cameras with zoom lenses. In 2002 he began using digital SLRs.
Today, Hoepker lives in New York City with his 2nd wife Christine Kruchen, with whom he produces TV documentaries.




Magpies love blingbling

In 'Magpies love bling bling', science journalists Koen Moons, Steijn van Schie and Maartje Kouwen debunk numerous well-known misconceptions from natural science in a very light manner.
Always thought magpies like shiny objects? That cats can see in the dark? That there's no gravity in space, and that you eat seven spiders in your sleep every year? It's all bullshit!
With well-backed arguments based on research, you can read everything you need to know to convincingly refute all the nonsense at birthday parties; 117 subjects are adressed here in this nicely produced little book (125 pages including an extensive list of researched sources).

The tone is often very tongue-in-cheek, and indeed very readable.
A book I'll keep in my collection and hope to browse every now and then.




Kasteel Helmond

Kasteel Helmond

Kasteel Helmond

Kasteel Helmond, 4e pest epidemie

In 1636 Helmond suffered the 4th (and last) Plague pandemic. It was the severest, the town was almost totally abandoned, people fled or were killed. Corpses were not interred.
In the streets were fires fuelled by gin and beech wood to fight off the stench.

Kasteel Helmond
Many sorts of display keep children's attention on the history of the castle and the life here by its occupants many centuries ago.

Kasteel Helmond
Maria van Brabant
Maria of Brabant (born ca.1190 – d.May/June 1260), a member of the House of Reginar, was Holy Roman Empress from 1214 until 1215 as the 2nd and last wife of the Welf emperor Otto IV.

Kasteel Helmond

Maria was the eldest daughter of Duke Henry I of Brabant and his consort Maud of Boulogne.
Maria was betrothed to King Otto IV already in 1198, while he fought for the German throne against rivalling Philip of Swabia.
Otto IV came up short in several alliances, pro and contra.

Otto was excommunicated by his former ally Pope Innocent and had to face the election of Frederick as anti-king in September 1211. One year later, he demonstratively married Beatrice of Swabia, daughter of the late King Philip.
But Beatrice died soon after the marriage.
Otto and Maria of Brabant got married on 19May1214 in Maastricht. She was about 24 years old and her husband approximately 39.

In view of the ongoing conflict between Welfs and Hohenstaufens, Maria was Empress of a divided Holy Roman Empire. Her husband's rule came to an end, when Frederick forged an alliance with King Philip II of France and provoked Otto to enter into the Anglo-French War.
On 27 July 1214, the Imperial army was decisively defeated in the Battle of Bouvines.
Otto was forced to withdraw to his Welf estates around Brunswick in Saxony with his wife.
Resigned and seriously ill, Otto died at Harzburg castle on 19 May 1218. There were no children from their marriage.

Maria remained a widow for about two years. In July 1220, she married her second husband Count William I of Holland. Nevertheless, William died just two years later, on 4 February 1222.

Maria survived her 2nd husband by 38 years, but never remarried.
In her later years, she again adopted the title of a Holy Roman Empress, establishing a Cistercian monastery at Binderen, Brabant (today part of Helmond).
She is buried in St. Peter's Church, Leuven.



Claudio Ethos, urban artist

Claudio Ethos is from São Paulo in Brazil, a concrete metropolis of 21.5 million inhabitants.
He has a very detailed style, which derives from his preference for ballpoint drawings, a style that he also applies to murals using a figurative and abstract visual language.
His influences include the work of the Brazilian twins OSGEMEOS.
An important source of inspiration is the daily struggle that people have to endure in the city of his birth.




Tahné Kleijn, photos at Helmond Art Gallery

Tahné Kleijn - Stilte heeft het laatste woord

Tahné Kleijn - Stilte heeft het laatste woord

Tahné Kleijn - Stilte heeft het laatste woord
Tahné Kleijn - 'Stilte heeft het laatste woord' @Helmond Art Gallery (2021)

Corona divides. It divides people between 'debauched young people' and 'selfish elderly', 'nagging entrepreneurs' and 'wage slaves', 'conspiracy theorists' and 'gullible'.
But what all these groups have in common is the silence at the end.
Silence has the last word is a series about the corona crisis, in which everyone involved is recorded.
From care to the hospitality industry and from a wedding to a funeral.
It shows the pandemic in all its facets.

www.tahnekleijn.nl (NL)
YouTube 'Tahne Kleijn Stilte heeft het laatste woord'
nl.linkedin.com - tahnekleijn



Harry Gruyaert - Retrospective exhib (@Helmond)

Harry Gruyaert - Retrospective exhib (@Helmond)
This photo was taken from another exhibition in the art gallery, a video was shown in a booth.
I skipped it of course, totally disgusted.

Unfortunately I cannot promote the Reprospective exhibition of work by Harry Gruyaert, as the jerk had stipulated 'No Photography' of his work. Forbidden. Verboten.
A steward walked with me to enforce the restriction. I was the only visitor, he had to open it up for me, kept a close eye on me when I walked past the photographs, so maybe the lack of promotion is not helping to attract visitors. I hope so, what an asshole.



Het Valkhof, museum and castle remains
The Valkhof castle dominating the skyline at Nijmegen on the river Maas

Het Valkhof, museum and castle remains
Ancient history of Nijmegen

Het Valkhof, museum and castle remains
Roman history related to Nijmegen

Het Valkhof, museum and castle remains

Het Valkhof, museum and castle remains

Het Valkhof, view on the bridge over the river Maas
Het Valkhof, view on the Waalbrug over the river Maas (visible from the nearby park)

Inspired by Edward Hopper
Inside the Valkhof museum, a photo inspired by Edward Hopper

The remains of the Valkenburcht
Remains of the Valkenburcht (Valkenhof park)
Castle walls

Remains of the Valkenburcht (Valkenhof park)

Remains of the Valkenburcht (Valkenhof park)

Remains of the Valkenburcht (Valkenhof park)

Remains of the Valkenburcht (Valkenhof park)
Unfortunately closed, due to renovations

Because Charlemagne is said to have built a palace near Nijmegen, the city of Nijmegen is sometimes referred to as 'the imperial city'. Charlemagne was there on Easter in 777 and several times between 804 and 814. He probably even lived there then.

In 911 the Carolingian family house died out, but the emperors who subsequently ruled the German Empire (Otto I, Otto III, Conrad II, Henry III) continued to visit the Kaiserpfalz repeatedly for acts of government, until in 1047 during a revolt against Emperor Henry III, it was burned down by Godfrey with the Beard.
In the following century, the emperors only briefly visited Nijmegen to continue their journey to Utrecht. Between 1152 and 1155 Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa built ramparts and walls around Nijmegen, and he restored the castle to its former glory.

When Frederick II and his son Conrad were deposed from the throne by Pope Gregory IX, Count Otto II of Guelders ('Gelre', Gelderland) took advantage of this opportunity and took possession of the imperial castle.
Roman King William II of Holland wanted to assert his rights to the castle, but could not repay the expenses that Count Otto had incurred. Thus William II pledged the palace and the city of Nijmegen with its dependencies for '16000 marks in silver' to Count Otto, until this sum had been repaid by the Roman king.
However, the city remained an imperial city and therefore under the protection of the German Empire. In 1254 William II was a guest at the castle and he gave permission to rebuild the Kerspelkerk, which initially stood outside the ramparts, and now placed within the ramparts. This later became the Sint-Stevenskerk.

From the 13th century, the counts of Gelre further expanded the fortification of the Valkhofburcht. This is how the castle complex was created from 1450-1500, as can be seen on many maps and prints.

As late as 1769, new rooms for the Prince-Stadtholder were built on the 2nd floor.
However, due to the civil strife at the end of the 18th century between the prince-minded and patriots, William V in 1786 considered it advisable to stay outside The Hague for a while.
He chose (in addition to Het Loo) Nijmegen, where the viscount was kind to the stadholder's house. On 11Sep1787, a large Prussian army led by the Duke of Brunswijk arrived at the castle, which the next day with troops stationed in Ooij, Persingen and Nijmegen advanced to Holland.

What followed was the road to decline and oblivion.
In 1794 the French penetrated the 'Maas en Waal'-region. In the castle a meeting was held under the leadership of Frederick of York, to see if the city should be defended or not.
On October 27th, the French launched an attack on the outposts near Neerbosch. On November 2nd, the Prince came by with his son. The administrators and magistrates left the city on November 5th, partly for administrative reasons, partly out of cowardice...
The French then fired large artillery, setting fire to the city and causing great damage to the castle.
On November 8th, the garrison left town and the French moved in. The people seemed satisfied because the defenders had misbehaved.
The castle was deemed damaged beyond economic repair.

Thus, on 09Feb1796, the complex was sold for Dutch florins (dfl) 90.400 and traders were able to reuse the precious tuff stone, with which it had been erected, for buildings in Amsterdam and elsewhere in the country.

After the demolition, the vacant site was raised, so that the remaining archaeological treasures were well preserved, and it was converted into a walking place.
The park was designed in English style by J.D. Zocher Sr., ca. 1800.
About 30 years later Hendrik van Lunteren radically adapted that design. After the urban expansion of 1878, the Flemish landscape architect Lieven Rosseels reclassifyed the park in 1886 with a bridge over the Voerweg to the Kelfkensbos.
De Waal could be seen from the Valkhof in 1925 (on a photo by Kees Ivens).
In 1978 the Valkhofvereniging was founded, which aims to protect and make accessible the remains of the Valkhof.
In 1980, a Roman 'pillar of the gods' of Emperor Tiberius was found on the Kelfkensbos.
In 1999 the Museum Het Valkhof was opened, after a design by Ben van Berkel.

nl.wikipedia.org:_Valkhof (NL)



IDe Pest - The Plague (Het Valkhof, exhibition)
De Pest - The Plague (@Het Valkhof, exhibition)

De Pest - The Plague (Het Valkhof, exhibition)

De Pest - The Plague (Het Valkhof, exhibition)

De Pest - The Plague (Het Valkhof, exhibition)

For four centuries, Europe was in the grip of plague.
The Black Death, as the disease is sometimes called, caused tens of millions of victims.
The museum shows in De Pest how one of the most devastating infectious diseases that ever plagued the world has left its mark in art (!) and society.
With more than 200 works by artists such as Gabriel Metsu, Albrecht Dürer, Erwin Olaf and Berlinde De Bruyckere and writers such as Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio and Albert Camus, the museum connects the history of the plague with current events.
Never before has an exhibition of this size been devoted to this subject in the Netherlands.
(Text from the museum's website)

tentoonstellingen.museumhetvalkhof.nl/zien-en-doen/tentoonstellingen/de-pest/ (NL)
More photos on Flickr.com



Photo exposition by PRIDE PHOTO Foundation on int'l LGBTQ+ communities
Public photo exposition by PRIDE PHOTO Foundation on international LGBTQ+ communities

Photo exposition by PRIDE PHOTO Foundation on int'l LGBTQ+ communities

Photo exposition by PRIDE PHOTO Foundation on int'l LGBTQ+ communities

Photo exposition by PRIDE PHOTO Foundation on int'l LGBTQ+ communities

Photo exposition by PRIDE PHOTO Foundation on int'l LGBTQ+ communities

Photo exposition by PRIDE PHOTO Foundation on int'l LGBTQ+ communities

The Pride Photo exhibition shows the winning photos of the 2020 competition, and a selection of other photos specially selected by the foundation's curator.
The images offer a glimpse into lives and worlds familiar to some, and perhaps surprising, new or even a little uncomfortable for others.
These photos hopefully encourage visitors to think about sexual and gender diversity in an accessible and respectful way. It may facilitate a respectful dialogue about prejudice, and the often plight of the LGBTQ community worldwide.
The exhibition travels through the Netherlands to the following locations:

1 Mei – 20 Mei Amsterdam Centrum
22 Mei – 10 Juni Groningen
12 Juni – 1 Juli Amsterdam Noord
3 Juli – 22 Juli Amsterdam Zuidoost
24 Juli – 11 Aug Amsterdam West
13 Aug – 31 Aug Amsterdam Oost
2 Sept – 23 Sept Maastricht
25 Sept – 17 Okt Assen
19 Okt – 14 Nov To be advised




Smother - crime fiction tv-series

Smother is an Irish thriller drama series written by Kate O'Riordan and directed by Dathaí Keane.
The series was produced by BBC Studios and Raidió Teilifís Éireann, and premiered on 07Mar2021 on RTÉ One. It aired in the UK by Alibi in June 2021.

Set in a small town on the wild and rugged coast of County Clare, Val Ahern (Dervla Kirwan) is a devoted mother and is determined to protect her family against suspicion of an accidental (?) death. And particularly her three daughters Jenny, Anna and Grace.

At a wedding anniversary Val's husband Denis (Stuart Graham) announces his agreement to divorce Val and hand her over to her boyfriend, who is also present at the party. Everybody is gobsmacked.
Denis is later found dead at the foot of a cliff near their home the next morning.
Val attempts to investigate the events that unfolded the night before, trying to stay ahead of the police investigation.
Slowly motives for murder (as the postmortem investigation shows) appears with everyone...
It seems that not all the daughters were equal in the eyes of Denis: Jenny is not in his will and is left hanging to dry with a considerable debt for an investment Denis asked her to make.
And unstable Anna finds out Denis was selling her café without her knowing.
Rory, Anna's husband, is terminally ill but hides it from his family, including his kids with his former wife who shows up at the troubled scene. Anna fights for what she considers has become her kids.
Cal, Val's boyfriend, is more and more sidelined by Val for her preoccupation chasing suspects, including Rory's son Calum who is known to have a violent temper.
Frank, the brother of Frank and business associate, is trying to pick up the pieces of the failing investments Denis made, and also finds Denis shafted him..
Denis was a real piece of work and probably deserved to die, but who actually did it..?

A bit too melodramatic at times for my taste, but a well written and well played script.
A 2nd series was announced in April 2021 and is expected to premiere in early 2022.





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Created: 02-JUL-2021