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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.
www.blurb.com/user/ruudleeuw

CURRENT BLOG

 

 
IS CHINA NOG TE STOPPEN? - HENK SCHULTE NORDHOLT | WORLD AFFAIRS

Is China nog te stoppen? door Henk Schulte Nordholt
'Hoe een virus de wereldorde verandert'
(EN=How a virus changes the world order)


In books providing insights into China, CCP's way of thinking, the Chinese perspective Henk Schulte Nordholt is my favourite author and authority ('sinologist') on all things Chinese.
He should not be confused by others of that same name: Henk Schulte Nordholt (Dutch art historian & professor, 1909-1998) and Henk Schulte Nordholt (Dutch professor on orientalism specializing on former Dutch colony Indonesia, 1953).
I treasure Schulte Nordholt's book 'China & the barbarians', subtitles 'the resistance against western world order' (2015).

In 'Can China still be stopped?' Henk Schulte Nordholt outlines the current state of China, and he paints a not very cheerful picture in global relations.
The sinologist was associated with the Ministry of Economic Affairs for several years, where he was engaged in promoting the economic relationship with China. In 1985 he was appointed as the first director of the AMRO bank in the then still closed Chinese empire and in 1990 he started the trading company 'Hofung Technology'.

Schulte Nordholt knows the country inside out and understands the Chinese mindset, in which speaking the truth is not always necessary and putting the opponent on the wrong foot is a standard operating procedure.

Initially, China was the center of the corona crisis, but not for long. The country was soon corona-free and the economy is now growing strongly again. The Communist Party (CCP) seized on the crisis to accelerate the 'Great Rebirth of the Chinese Nation.'
By mid-21st century, China aims to be a perfectly functioning one-party state that has no equal in the world economically, militarily and above all technologically.
This fundamental threat to the democratic world is not well recognised – especially not by Europe, Schulte Nordholt warns.
The recent anti-democratic development in Hong Kong is discussed, as well as reuniting Taiwan with mainland China: it could be imminent.

Esspecially Europe, the fragmented EU to be precise, should step up its efforts to face the reality of China's ambitions.
The author frequently refers to Sun Tzu, the Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China (he died 496 BC while aged 47–48) and whose strategic thinking is still very much present in our days.
Schulte Nordholt describes the differences in identity of both the USA and China in their goal for world domination. Esspecially in recent years China failed in its efforts to apply soft powers (instead its economic net stretches around world, its claws deep in those countries who can't repay their loans) and while the USA have Europe as an ally, China has only North Korea..

The book concludes hopefully, explaining the pitfalls for the CCP in its aim to remain the single governing party and how Xi Jinping will fail in permanently bending the country to his will.

Greatly recommended reading!

NL.wikipedia.org:_Henk_Schulte_Nordholt_(sinoloog)


[15JAN2022]

 
OUR STREETS DURING LOCKDOWN DUE COVID PANDEMIC | STREETPHOTOGRAPHY

Streetphotography during Covid lockdown
See also my galleries on STREETPHOTOGRAPHY: BLACK & WHITE | COLOUR


[13JAN2022]

 
WINTER IN AMSTERDAM by MARIE-JEANNE VAN HÖVELL TOT WESTERFLIER

Winter in Amsterdam, photography by Marie-Jeanne van Hövell tot Westerflier
Winter in Amsterdam, photography by Marie-Jeanne van Hövell tot Westerflier

Winter in Amsterdam, photography by Marie-Jeanne van Hövell tot Westerflier

Winter in Amsterdam, photography by Marie-Jeanne van Hövell tot Westerflier

Winter in Amsterdam, photography by Marie-Jeanne van Hövell tot Westerflier

Winter in Amsterdam, photography by Marie-Jeanne van Hövell tot Westerflier

Marie-Jeanne van Hövell tot Westerflier was born in 1953 and lives in Amsterdam. With many exhibitions at galleries and art fairs, she specialises in city views in winter, portraits and interiors.

Winter in Amsterdam: in over 90 black-and-white images, photographer Marie-Jeanne has portrayed Amsterdam over the years frozen by cold, snow, fog and ice.
A unique and long-term photo project that stretched over the years 1991-2021 with the highlight being the harsh winter of 2021.
The winter scenes captured with an analogue Hasselblad camera give a surprising and new look at the cityscapes of Amsterdam that are so familiar to us.

The book is introduced by novelist Oek de Jong who places the photography of Marie-Jeanne from Hövell to Westerflier in the tradition of the painter and photographer George Hendrik Breitner.
In addition, he discusses her photography, which occupies a striking and distinctive place in contemporary Dutch photography.

Due to the virtual absence of people and traffic, Van Hövell's cityscapes have an atmosphere of timelessness. The houses with their history will therefore speak to the reader more strongly: the individuality of each house, the many architectural styles, details of the facades, the arches of the bridges over the Amsterdam canals.
Her photography oozes a contemplative atmosphere.

Marie-Jeanne van Hövell tot Westerflier (b. 26Jul1953- ) is a Dutch photographer.
After years of working as a medical social worker in (a.o.) an academic hospital (1992-2011), she followed her real passion from 2006: art photography; in that year she had her first exhibition in Museum van Loon in Amsterdam. In 2019 she had a much-visited exhibition 'The White Blouse' in the Singer Museum in Laren.
She photographs with both an analogue and digital back Hasselblad camera and creates series with tranquil cityscapes of Amsterdam in the winter, portraits, interiors and still lifes with titles such as 'The White Blouse', 'Contemplation Still Life' and 'At the Window'.
Her work, in b&w and colour, refers to 19th-century photographers such as George Hendrik Breitner and Bernard F. Eilers, but also to the old masters in painting.

Essay in NL + EN
144 pages, size 24 x 29 cm
ISBN 9789462623651

www.waanders.nl/nl/winter-in-amsterdam
NL.wikipedia.org:_Marie-Jeanne_van_Hövell_tot_Westerflier

[13JAN2022]

 
DE BOEKHANDELAAR VAN FLORENCE - ROSS KING | BOOKS HISTORY
The Bookseller of Florence, a nonfiction book about Vespasiano da Bisticci
'The Bookseller of Florence' by Ross King


Ross King (b.16Jul1962- ) is a Canadian novelist and non-fiction writer. He began his career by writing two works of historical fiction in the 1990s, later turning to non-fiction, and has since written several critically acclaimed and best-selling historical works.

In 2021 Ross King had 'The Bookseller of Florence' published, a nonfiction book about Vespasiano da Bisticci. For my interest in books and history, little could come closer to my interest!
It's about the Renaisance, distribution and appreciation of manuscripts, recognition of philosophers, developement ofmaterial used for manuscripts and books, how books were produced, from writings on animal skins and pressed papyrus material leading up to the printing of books on paper, the role Florence, Italy and Vespasiano played in all of this.

The author does not come down to 'streetlevel' of the Vespasiano, the protagonist, as in a biography. Which is understandable, because in spite of the astounding amount of research for this book, there is no information on the very details of his day-to-day life.
It does describe his love for producing high quality books, the growth of his bookshop, the rise of his status in society, his network including the influential people who appreciated his work (e.g. Cosimo and Lorenzo d'Medici, esspecially among the rulers in 15th century Italy.

The renaissance produced a massive amount of new thoughts and discussion, development of manuscripts, books and printed material played a role in the distribution of this.
I loved details as how a nunnery in Florence (Firenze) played an important role in producing a massive amount of printed books, how influential people differed in their liking for libraries and collecting books, how raging battles destroyed collections while others taken away.

'The Bookseller of Florence' is a torch shining into the 15th century, illuminating the vital role writing and books played as a starting role to 'The Age of Enlightenment'.
A.k.a. 'the Age of Reason' or simply 'the Enlightenment', it was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries...
The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on the value of human happiness, the pursuit of knowledge obtained by means of reason and the evidence of the senses, and ideals such as liberty, progress, toleration, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state.
In other words the Renaissance and its development of books, led to modern society in a straight line!
As a sobering thought one must consider the lack of faith in science, division in society, lack of toleration, often inward attitude of socalled millennials, in current day and age: the end of Enlightenment?

Anyway, for me this is one of those 5-star books I only come across once or twice a year!

en.wikipedia.org:_Ross_King_(author)
ww.kirkusreviews.com/- - -/bookseller-of-florence
en.wikipedia.org:_Renaissance
en.wikipedia.org:_Age_of_Enlightenment

[08JAN2022]

 
LEICAFLEX SL

Leicaflex SL (1970s)


While doing some 'attic cleaning' I came across this photo of the Leicaflex SL, which I used during my service time as a photographer with the Dutch Air Force (1975-1977).
I probably printed it at the time, and after c.44 years I scanned and shared it here.
My service time lasted 16 months and gradually I gained trust and was allowed to use it occasionally for privat use as well.
Only a few years ago I could afford myself a Leica camera, a secondhand Leica Q.

In 1964 Leitz introduced its first single-lens reflex camera, the Leicaflex also known as the Leicaflex Standard. This was a response, albeit reluctantly, to the rising popularity of the SLR format. Ludwig Leitz, head of the company was urged to begin development by photographer Walther Benser back in 1955.

Beginning with the introduction of the Asahi Pentax in 1957, the Nikon F and the Canonflex in 1959, all from Japan. However Leitz did not have the expertise the Japanese had in this format. To that date its leading product; was the Leica M mount series, a rangefinder camera; a format long abandoned by its competitors in the Far East.

The Leicaflex series of single-lens reflex 35 mm format film cameras were introduced by Leitz Camera in 1964. The first camera body was paired with the new R bayonet series of lenses.
Three model of the cameras were sold by Leitz; the Leicaflex Standard, the Leicaflex SL and the Leicaflex SL2.

Late into the market with high prices and limited range of lenses and accessories, Leicaflex sales were below expectations and production ended in 1976. However the production of the R mount lenses continued and were paired with the new Leica R3 that was developed in cooperation with Minolta, together with the Minolta XE bodies.

As a photographer I was also allowed to wander in most areas of Soesterberg AB, which was exceptional for me for in the school days leading up to my service I was a 'Soesterg plane spotter'!
Check my Remember Soesterberg AB on this website.

en.wikipedia.org:_Leicaflex

[08JAN2022]

 
MARTINE FRACK | PHOTOGRAPHER PHOTOGRAPHY

Martine Franck, photographer

Martine Franck, photographer

Martine Franck, photographer

Martine Franck, photographer

Martine Franck, photographer
She was into my 'Look'-series long before I took it on!

Martine Franck, photographer

Martine Franck, photographer

Martine Franck, photographer
Landscapes

Martine Franck, photographer

Martine Franck, photographer
HCB

Martine Franck, photographer

Martine Franck, photographer

While visiting the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris last year I acquired some truly excellent photobooks, including this wonderful 'retrospective' of Martine Franck. I am a great fan of her 'friendly gaze'.

Martine Franck (b.02Apr1938 – d.16Aug2012) was a British-Belgian documentary and portrait photographer. She was a member of Magnum Photos for over 32 years. Franck was the second wife of Henri Cartier-Bresson and co-founder and president of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation.

Franck was born in Antwerp to the Belgian banker Louis Franck and his British wife, Evelyn. After her birth the family moved almost immediately to London. A year later, her father joined the British army, and the rest of the family were evacuated to the United States.
Franck's father was an amateur art collector who often took his daughter to galleries and museums. Franck was in boarding school from the age of six onwards.

Franck studied art history at the University of Madrid and at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris, but turned at some point to photography instead.
In 1963, Franck's photography career started following trips to the Far East, having taken pictures with her cousin’s Leica camera.
Returning to France in 1964, now possessing a camera of her own), Franck became an assistant to photographers Eliot Elisofon and Gjon Mili at Time-Life.
Franck was often described as elegant, dignified and shy.

In 1966, she met Henri Cartier-Bresson, 30 years her senior, when she was photographing Paris fashion shows for The New York Times.
In 2010, she was quoted "..his opening line was, "Martine, I want to come and see your contact sheets".'
HCB encouraged Martine to develop her own style of photography.
They married in 1970, had one child, and remained together until his death in 2004.

By 1969 she was a busy freelance photographer for magazines such as Vogue, Life and Sports Illustrated, and the official photographer of the Théâtre du Soleil (a position she held for 48 years).

In 1980, Franck joined the Magnum Photos cooperative agency as a 'nominee', and in 1983 she became a full member. She was one of a very small number of women to be accepted into the agency.

In 1993, she first traveled to the Irish island of Tory where she documented the tiny Gaelic community living there. She also traveled to Tibet and Nepal, and with the help of Marilyn Silverstone photographed the education system of the Tibetan Tulkus monks.

Franck was well known for her documentary-style photographs of important cultural figures such as the painter Marc Chagall, philosopher Michel Foucault and poet Seamus Heaney, and of remote or marginalized communities such as Tibetan Buddhist monks, elderly French people, et cetera.
Her images were always empathetic with her subject.
She cited as influences the portraits of British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, the work of American photojournalist Dorothea Lange and American documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White.
She worked outside the studio, using a 35 mm Leica camera (a Leica M3, as I understand from the book), and preferred B&W film.

Nine books of Franck's photographs have been published.
Franck continued working even after she was diagnosed with bone cancer (leukemia) in 2010 and died in 2012, aged 74. Her last exhibition was in October 2011 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP, Paris).

She must have been a warm, wonderful person and she left a great legacy in photography!

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martine_Franck
www.henricartierbresson.org/martine-franck/

[07JAN2022]

 
RETIREMENT!

Retirement
Colleagues had spread this photo for my last shift (nightshift, Dec.30/31st).
Not many, if any, could make themselves comfortable like this for a brief moment of rest.
'The hazards of lost sleep can range from on-the-job errors to chronic disease.
People all around the world experience disruptions in circadian rhythm, or the body’s natural regulator for sleep and wake cycles based on a 24-hour schedule, every day.
This instinctual process can be disrupted by abnormal work schedules, extensive traveling, et cetera.' [¬www.nasa.gov]

After having worked 45 years at Schiphol IAP, always in rotating shifts, I am glad to embrace retirement.
Esspecially in later years it was a hard grind, but I was never 9-5 material and rather stayed working in the frontline of airline operations.
Working for Martinair (since 1977), both at Schiphol-Centre and -East, Martinair was taken over by Airfrance-KLM and in due course I ended up in KLM's Operational Control Centre (seen above).

Martinair's MD11s stored
Photo from: www.upinthesky.nl/2022/01/08/vliegtuigstalplaats-victorville/

Effective 01Jan14 I was among the staff integrated into KLM, but I never warmed to KLM. Martinair Cargo was reduced to 4 747s, when 7 MD-11Fs were done away with by KLM - inspite initial promises the 11 cargo planes (socalled 'full freighters') would remain a valuable service tool besides the cargo transported in the bellies through the passenger network.
Don't trust politicians, don't trust higher management of large coöperations.

The 'power snooze' captured above should not be misunderstood for lack of motivation, but MP's
reduced relevance did not enhance my motivation, also because the charter spirit of Martinair had totally evaporated. I had witnessed 20 years of growth, then followed 20 years of decline.
I left the company noting it had very little perpective (by KLM) on its future, a continued status of the last 2-3 years at least.

With Martinair (de facto KLM, Martinair management was often a delaying factor for the decisions had to come from KLM) everything went through process and protocol common to KLM's procedural molasses (only one of my gripes with KLM).
For those working in a control center of any sort, the regularly occurring crisis in schedules and production are what it's all about. E.g. disruptions by tropical storms, strikes, terrorism, volcanoes, floods, and (if referring to airline ops) airport operations & facilities, air traffic control malfunctions, diversions, the Covid-19 pandemic, crew sickness and the ever present technical issues of aircraft) became far and few between in my work.
Boredom loomed.
After 2.000+ (aprox. 50 a year) nighshifts I have no trouble to close this chapter and open another.

I thank those with whom I coöperated in crisis, I value those more than 'Management' (there were a few exceptions, those who could be contacted) and nine-to-fivers who had little appreciation for the people working 24/7 shifts, often overloaded in crisis, with deadlines looming made decisions when they had to based on what they gathered data on and bypassed those who felt they needed to be informed purely for their status in the company.

en.wikipedia.org:_Martinair

[01JAN2022]

 

 

 
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Created: 02-JUL-2021