These are just some snapshots of Dubai International Airport. Couple of days back I spent almost twelve hours there. Huge and beautiful airport with everything your heart desires readily and easily available for decent prices. Luxury brands available at every turn of the head, luxurious hotels here and there, restaurants and bars that serve all the food and drinks you ever want. People , like ants, going by their business, running to catch a flight or spending some money from the budget they have for their vacation on things they don’t really need , or looking for that place where they can enjoy the difficult to understand pleasure of inhaling the smoke out of a fine cigarette while gently sipping some caffeine.
And yet, you start getting a quite uneasy feeling when you know that , despite having all the life’s small pleasures there, at your wallet’s desire and possibility, you are stuck in a bubble, you don’t smell the wind and you don’t really feel the sun burning your skin. You can not go anywhere until it is facilitated to you.
Probably, seeing the speed of evolution in technology and in peoples dreams, during our lifetime , we will get closer to having colonies, trying to continue life in the vast universe our planet is a grain of. Would I be able to adapt to such a life? Would I ever want to live such a life? Not sure…and I am glad that I might actually not need to find out (or at least I can hope I don’t need to find that out) .
Here I struggle to find the key,
To the passage that locks the inside of me.
Neither paint, nor music, nor poetry,
No art or act to show what’s lies in me…
My hidden identity…
The invisible reality.
*Dayna Elizabeth Lunstrum*
“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams”
I wouldn’t say that I am an atheist as this word and it’s meaning has been often misunderstood and the Christian dogma had often implied trough their use of the word that atheism itself is a religion…and a very bad one. So I say about me that I choose to weigh facts and evidence before choosing to believe in something. I am not an atheist , I am ME! That is all! I have my own thoughts, my rational thinking !
Isn’t god a bit of a dictator or a tyrant? Let’s think about it ..!Generally we associate these two terms with cruelty and oppression, with rulers that have total power. But isn’t god pretty close to this as well? I am guessing he is for he also has total power, he is proven to be cruel and he is not hiding it (sending people to hell, killing all but Noe etc), you have 10 rules you have to strictly abide by that you are not allowed to question, you are also not allowed to question his leadership and you have to take his word for everything else, you are encouraged not to think for if you try, you can not help it but question his rule and therefore his cruelty will come into play. You have to always pay him for nothing, just because he asks. He generally rules by fear, the fear of what will happen if you don’t listen and strictly follow his set of laws. So I am guessing that god might just be the longest ruling Tyrant ever, he’s got the World Record for sure…!
So I choose freedom and all the advantages that come along with it. I choose to enjoy life and it’s “sinful” pleasures. I want to think and have my own opinions. I believe and have faith in me as I start to slowly lose my faith in human kind. I have nothing against religious people as long as they have nothing against me, I don’t hate them, despise them or judge them . For me religion is arguably “The Greatest Story ever told…” and nothing more.
At the beginning of 2011 I started working on a project to support a campaign initiated on the local web media and forums against the inhuman conditions exiting at that time in some of the biggest pet shops in Doha, Qatar. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to finish it as I left the country . As per what information i managed to gather after that, it seems that the local authorities did a very good job addressing the issue and there have been radical improvements . I can just hope they continue … I inserted in this post just a very few of the images I have managed to capture for the project)
Probably the most important question of the human kind, the one thing that we all strive to discover, to understand is the purpose of us living. Do we have a purpose other than creating fossil fuel for the next generations? Is there any other greater , higher , more “divine” meaning ?
I find it very hard to believe that we live this earthly life just so we go to haven, stay there for eternity, maybe have a conversation of a thousand years on a white fluffy cloud with an angel called Gheorghe, who’s only reason for being in haven is that he was born in a forgotten village , far away from civilization, and he never had the chance to indulge with an amazing bottle of wine, or enjoy the sight of a gorgeous woman, smoke a fine cigar and play poker with his friends, or discover that first teenager kiss that sends chills down your body and makes you realize what comes with being a man ,so therefore he had a pure soul. Or maybe go to hell, meet Copernicus boiling there in a huge incandescent iron pot just because he had this crazy revelation that beyond that beautiful evening sky, there might just be more than some tiny lights that entertained him with their flickering . (mmm…not bad, at least I would have some decent conversation with this Copernicus…).
Heaven and Hell sound very poetic and spiritual, but to me it doesn’t sound much more than those amazing fairy tales that grandma used to make me fall asleep when I was a little boy and made me wish that one day I could become the bravest knight the world has ever seen, and I would defeat the evil once and for all, I will marry the princess and live happily ever after in my castle (with couple of PlayStations around and my most beloved remote control car of course ). Now here I don’t want to mock the believers , it is just my opinion and that’s all so don’t jump at my neck.
There might just not be other purpose for us living than for our bodies to become maggot’s food, fertilize some tiny piece of land and contribute to the creation of some fine Brent or West Texas Intermediate crude for the future generations.
Maybe the desire of finding , learning and understanding our purpose , the purpose of us living, comes solely from the humans desire for greatness. If we are the supreme species we really must be “supreme beings” and it has to be a higher purpose for us, we can not be like those dears in the forest, just a small part in the ecosystem and on the food chain.
I do incline to believe that the soul purpose for us is what we make it to be because we are rational , emotional and incurable dreamers. Very complex mixture that shouldn’t work together for when you are emotional and a dreamer, you often are not rational. If we find, as individuals, that thing that makes us feel truly happy and fulfilled , then we find that purpose. That higher meaning of life can only be individual. It really is what we make it to be.
As for the purpose of our species…I say “Heil Oil, Coal and LNG” for this three will probably still rule for a long time to come and , ironically , we will probably contribute to the chemical process used by the forces of nature to produce them for eternity.
If all I wrote makes sense…it is just my humble opinion, and if it doesn’t just take it as a crazy idea so you don’t feel offended by some of my insinuations.
I often think of what would I change in my life if I had one single chance to go back in time ? And that is a tricky one…because we are human beings and we all share “devilish” human traits like pride, greed, insecurity etc (or so some people would argue…). I is a bit of a moral philosophy question. Maybe I would want to become smarter, richer, maybe just fix mistakes I’ve done so I can live happily ever after with my childhood first love and so on. I can find hundreds of tempting tweaks that I could play with surfing on the insane idea that I would change my present for better. And then I stop and wonder if all that would change it for better? would it change it at all? That Is the big mystery for me and I hope many others. ( I hope it is a mystery for many others just not to be labeled as crazy for writing this thought on my blog for the world to see…!!!)
The thing is…I don’t think I would want to change something! I don’t think I would want things to have been different because I wouldn’t be anymore my present self, would I? All I have been trough in my relative short,at times miserable, but mostly mediocre life, made me the person I am today, and I am a bit afraid of whom I would be if my past would be tempered with. And even if, trough some obscene absurdity, I could go back in time and I would decide to change something, I really doubt something would change because the universe has a wired way in finding the symmetry and the order that is deeply embedded in the physics of its existence and all will result in the same present I live today.
So probably it is better to let my mental self follow my physical self forward trough the fabric of space and time; A unidirectional and inevitable way of life, not dwelling on the past, just learning my lessons and moving on with my insignificant existence, being aware that the only arguable certainty that I have is that “I AM NOW”.
I took these shots about a week back. It started with just fooling around with my camera, playing with the settings and just trying to keep entertained in some way. I was thinking for a while now about a photo about money,and I even tried a few in the past, but I was calmed down a bit in my enthusiasm because of the stereotype of it all. You can see almost at every corner a money shot (literally). But my sarcastic imagination didn’t allowed me to remove from my memory the “philosophical” questions : “are money the root of all evil?” and “can money bring happiness?”.
So i started analyzing yet again this trough my brain and almost caused my glial cells to fail but at the end, after managing to cool off all that electrical activity with couple of glasses with icy cold tap water,I have succeeded in coming up with couple of conclusions. The first question I found it to be a bit moronic ; why? because people are the root of all evil, with absolutely no exceptions. It is that simple that whom ever came up with this and realized for the first time that nothing but us, the “supreme race”, are the root of all evil, didn’t actually needed to be some sort of genius, he just needed to use his mental capacity to a bare minimum required from a human being.
Second question is a bit more complex and can draw more answers. But in my humble opinion, money can certainly be an added bonus to happiness, but it can never bring it, at least not on their own. They can just help a bit to kick start this feeling we are all hoping to understand.
Now the image bellow is probably very far away from the though I tried to put on a short and very modest text above, having in common just the money, but yet this was my wired and meaningless photographic conclusion. Also helps to keep the Black & White continuity of my posts.
I have decided today to listen to the advise of 2 Rivers Photos on a comment he made on my Black & White post I’ve pressed couple of days ago and give this image its own post.
Since I started to post my images online on WordPress, Flikr and other sites, this image received today one of the best compliments that a photo can receive. A mid 50′s lady, *rosearodoe*, herself an excellent photographer and one of my Flikr contacts, was genuine in letting me know that this made her smile.
Like I always said, it is great to know that people appreciate your photographing technique, composition or other such qualities, and it is always appreciated when comments in that direction are received, but when you get a smile out of somebody, when you get some sort of feeling out of somebody regardless of what you felt when you took that shot…then is when you know that you might just be one small step closer to calling your self an artist and your work ART…
My passion for photography is refueled by the feelings I manage to bring out of those few ones that still look at my photos. Is is wonderful to know that this simple black & white moment, immortalized as seen trough my lens, had a meaning to a complete stranger. Thank you *rosearodoe*.
Tell me, if I caught you one day
and kissed the sole of your foot,
wouldn’t you limp a little then,
afraid to crush my kiss?
***poem by Nichita Stanescu***
This child was mesmerized by the music played on an iPod that my friend had given to her while on a long train ride. I don’t believe she has seen one before or ever listed to any music on such a small and “wired” device. She was motionless for more than an hour, watching the little colored screen as the magic tunes played. I had to pull my camera out and capture that unique first in the little girl’s young life.
I have recently watched a documentary were Roger Scruton (writer and philosopher) raises the issue of the importance of beauty an the lack of it in modern arts. That made my mind wonder a bit around the obvious questions… How far can we push ART?(in my case photography)… Can any image be called art…?…there is really no more beauty in modern art (or at least in most of it…)? It might just be that our perception of beauty changed a bit mostly due to the lives we are more or less forced to surrender to by the society of today! With those thoughts disturbing my winter frozen neurons I wanted to force a bit the limit and create some sort of “modern art”. Starting from this idea and with inspiration from the quote “eyes are the window to the soul” (or “…the mirror of the soul”, there are more variations to this quote) my intellect and imagination quietly baked for a couple of days, I have taken countless photos and managed to come up with the image bellow.This is no special image, no special techniques were used other than some Photoshop tweaking; nothing really amazing.Is just something that makes me think about the existence and the mystery of my own soul.
So my question is: ***IS THIS IMAGE ART…?*** and ***WHY?***
I would be quite honored if you would give it a few minute and write down a comment with your opinion and help me find an answer…!!!
I wish I could say that the poem that I have chosen to share it along with this images bellow was mine. Unfortunately it isn’t…!!! I couldn’t find the author – it was actually published on an online forum with unknown author. Hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.
What would I like to know?
Nothing less than the proportions of flesh between your thoughts.
When time equals our beliefs both time and belief will evaporate
and space will be measured in terms of your eyes in mine.
I have no idea where space finds you tonight.
I haven’t the time to believe in our wishes
but we are one as organs of God and obviously in love with
the ephemeral positions of our bodies within bliss.
No doubt we will meet again when bliss can no longer be mistaken for a
We must not take the world very seriously since we both seem to enjoy a
romance without kisses
and can laugh at the poets when they charm us.
You make me remember that life is hollow within us and without us
yet solid in the space inbetween.
I’ve made of you a picture of caring,
that was easy,
I would like to step closer to grief
and know that you’re watching.
As it stands, ours is a relationship between fantasy and Truth.
Regardless of our wishes,
it wills us to be so much more and much less.
But where are you tonight?
We have entrusted locks and keys to one another
and Christmas is looming…
our presents are panting,
the trees are bending with the weight of our ornaments.
I am yours.
You have everything.
All is peace.
As the outside weather managed to keep me again inside and like that wasn’t enough, my TV set decided that was time to finally rest and refused to give any signs of life, I again got “creative” in my little makeshift studio (one dinner table, one tripod, one flash and some white sheets of paper) and with a minimum of a glass with water and some ink I started shooting. I gave myself some work to do with creating the splashes and cleaning all the water spilled all over the place but at the end these images were the outcome. I know these are not the best photos out there and I don’t know how well they project the lightly melancholic state I experienced at that moment in their artificial setting but I believe that my modest Sony A550 and an old but always dependable Minolta 50mm 1:1.7 lens did a pretty decent job. Decent enough to share it.
I will appreciate your effort to comment and critique.
I shot these images in Doha, Qatar. The country is to be applauded for their bold move in doing everything possible to try to keep a bit of their tradition alive while the development and modernism takes over every little corner of the country. They completely rebuild with traditional building materials (using rough lime stone, mud and wood..) an old market (or maybe is better called a souq or bazaar) were the old merchants who couldn’t fit in the new world can still sell their hard worked products, handcrafts and antiques… It is called “Souq Waqif” .
In the early days of photography, photographers had no choice but to shoot in black and white, as it was the only available medium. Then, in 1936, the invention of kodachrome gave colour photography to the world. But black and white photography didn’t die off, instead it flourished. Modern black and white photography at it’s best is art, and many photographers regard it as the purest form of photography.
So why does black and white photography command such acclaim? One reason is that colour is a distraction. It takes attention away from the visual building blocks of a great photo; texture, tonal contrast, shape, form and lighting. A photographer shooting in black and white has to learn how to use all these elements to create a memorable image.
Another reason is that color photography, much of it mediocre, is so abundant that black and white makes a refreshing change.
From an artistic viewpoint; color depicts reality. Black and white is an interpretation of reality.
*** read more about B&W photography at http://photo.tutsplus.com ***
Finally the weather and the cold I was fighting gave me a brake. After couple of days of polar temperatures and almost continuous snowfall, a clear and sunny beautiful winter day gave me the chance to walk around and capture some images. So to not be boring and post just few winter photos taken around my little home town, I remembered a poem that I read couple of days back , which I found that projects very well into the readers mind what I have experience today. I hope you enjoy the images and the poem !!!
Winter uses all the blues there are.
One shade of blue for water, one for ice,
Another blue for shadows over snow.
The clear or cloudy sky uses blue twice-
Both different blues. And hills row after row
Are colored blue according to how for.
You know the bluejay’s double-blur device
Shows best when there are no green leaves to show.
And Sirius is a winterbluegreen star.
***Poem by Robert Francis***
When you are describing,
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don’t state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things,
With a sort of mental squint.
My very first attempt to photograph smoke.
I was reading an article on photography and I’ve seen some interesting smoke images. As i have never tried to shoot images of smoke , i have decided to give it a go. I set up a makeshift studio on my coffee table , and with the help of my only flash i have, i started lighting stuff up to get the smoke that i so much needed. The images bellow are the result of my experiment. Got some pretty interesting shapes. I was very surprised with the outcome.For sure I need to try again so i can get better quality images, but for this being a first, i think they are decent enough.
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up a whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ or ‘how very perceptive’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love.”
-”The Sandman”, Neil Gaiman http://princessmg.multiply.com
I was chasing for a good shot of this magnificent Osprey for quite a while now. Got this shot after waiting for more than 20 min looking trough my viewfinder…my neck was cramping and i was starting to loose hope…when he decide to give me this great pose. The weather was not on my side to give me better lighting but still satisfied with the image i got.
Browsing trough my images, i have came across one images i took last year during a trip to Sri Lanka (one of the most beautiful places on earth …). This image represents one of those magical moments that make photography special, that keeps our love for this art alive. This giant creature being so gentle with the child, is just magnificent, amazing.