The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

Line and Shape From Across the Planet – a Series in 15 Photos

The #FriFotos theme for this week is ‘Geometric’, which sent me to the archives looking for lines and shapes that I found to be slightly unconventional. That search was whittled down to this selection of fifteen taken over the past five years in ten countries.

The first two are among my personal favorites: the ground up view from the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin (top) and the Graffiti stairway in Sarajevo (below).  Enjoy!

Graffiti Stairs, Sarajevo, June 2011

Mural by Guache, Lima, Peru 2013

Mural by Guache, Lima, Peru 2013

Doha skyline from the Museum of Islamic Art

Doha skyline from the Museum of Islamic Art

Young lovers at Udine Castle

Young love at Udine Castle

Men's 60m hurdles final, World Indoor Championships, Istanbul, 11-Mar-2012

Men’s 60m hurdles final, World Indoor Championships, Istanbul, 11-Mar-2012

Market stall, Istanbul

Market stall, Istanbul

Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai

Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai

The Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center at night

The Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center at night

International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) grounds, Ljubljana, 29-Sep-2012

International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) grounds, Ljubljana, 29-Sep-2012

Art Nouveau cooperative bank building, Ljubljana

Art Nouveau cooperative bank building, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Sarajevo 123

Main train station, Sarajevo

18th C. Palača Carli, or Palazzo Carli, Koper, Slovenia

18th C. Palača Carli, or Palazzo Carli, Koper, Slovenia

El Ateneo bookstore, Buenos Aires, 23-Jan-2013

El Ateneo bookstore, Buenos Aires

We, sculpture by Jaume Plensa, Prague

We, sculpture by Jaume Plensa, Prague



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Omara Portuondo mural on the Avenida Independencia, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, 24-Jan-2013.

Omara Portuondo in Buenos Aires – Pic du Jour

Omara Portuondo mural on the Avenida Independencia, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, 24-Jan-2013.

On the Avenida Independencia, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, 24-Jan-2013.

A lovely tribute to the legendary Cuban voice on the Avenida Independencia in San Telmo. Stopping to snap the pic also provided a good opportunity to clean the dog crap off the soles of my shoes. Come on, Porteños, it really is time to get that together, ok? My hostess and I thank you.

Here’s Portuondo with the Buena Vista Social Club in Buenos Aires in October 2011 at the nearby Luna Park.

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Still Life with Swiss chocolate, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, Zurich, 28-Aug-2012

Still Life with Swiss chocolate, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith

Still Life with Swiss chocolate, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, Zurich, 28-Aug-2012

Still Life with Swiss chocolate, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, Zurich, 28-Aug-2012

‘Sweets’ is this week’s twitter travel theme for #FriFotos; this was the only image to immediately come to mind. All things considered, nothing was as sweet this year as the few days I spent with Patti Smith‘s memoir, Just Kids. (But yes, the chocolate was pretty good, too.)

Indeed, if I were to put together a list of the best books I read in 2012, Just Kids, published nearly three years ago, would find itself very much alone at the top of that list. It’s a spellbinding account of how Smith and her best friend, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, ultimately became what they were truly meant to become, beautifully written and recounted with an eloquent innocence of a young poet who didn’t quite realize the history she was living and experiencing when she was just a kid.

To aspiring artists and writers who don’t know much or anything about the genius of Smith and Mapplethorpe or the legend of the Chelsea Hotel or the late 1960s art and music scene in New York City, please read this book and get acquainted. It might be the only ‘How-To’ guide you’ll need.

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Somewhere between Bohinj and Bled, 24-Sep-2012

A Train, a Bus and a Stolen Bike – #frifotos

Somewhere between Bohinj and Bled, 24-Sep-2012

My bike was stolen today, the third since I moved to Ljubljana. It was locked but still snatched in broad daylight, ruining what was an otherwise excellent day. I’m leaving in 94 days so I won’t dwell on it. One less thing to store, right?

Chairs are this week’s #FriFotos theme on twitter to celebrate places we like to park our behinds. One of my favorites was my bike, but I’m not dwelling on that. So instead, I’ll go with what is probably my second favorite mode of transport, a seat on a train.  The one above was taken in late September, somewhere between Bohinjska Bistrica and Bled, Slovenia, on the way back from a would-be camping trip that was a disastrous washout. (It would be the last time my bike was on a train.) Below is a quick snap taken earlier this month on bus somewhere between Varna and Kavarna, Bulgaria. It broke down about a half hour later which made me wish I had my bike. But let’s no dwell on that.

Between Varna and Kavarna, Bulgaria, 03-Oct-2012

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National Bank of Slovenia

The Power of Two – #Frifotos

National Bank of Slovenia

The EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today. I’m going to assume that means that the Union is not in the running for the Prize in Economics that’s yet to be awarded. That’s too bad since these two telamones that so dutifully carry Slovenia’s National Bank could really use some help.

Two, as in the number 2, is this week’s #FriFotos theme on twitter to celebrate the popular travel photo-related hashmark’s second anniversary. That pair propping up the bank, from a small but growing collection of telamone pics, immediately came to mind.

The bank, which sits on Slovenska Cesta near the city center, was designed by Czech architect František Krasny and built in the early 1920s. But the four telamones (two are pictured) were sculpted by Franc Berneker, universally regarded as the first and best modern Slovenian sculptor. There’s also a hiking/biking path in Pohorje mountains of north central Slovenia that bears his name.

Here’s a dozen pairs that I hope will contribute at least a bit of spark to the birthday celebrations. First, two more pairs of telamones, at top another in Ljubljana and the second in Rijeka, Croatia.

More of Ljubljana’s ubiquitous telamones. These two, on Miklosiceva, are bound by a chain.

Rijeka, Croatia, 26-Jan-2009

We remain in Ljubljana but move first to the central Preseren square where these two street musicians were sharing a delightful rendition of the Theme to the Godfather, and then closer to the main train station where two men were sharing a bench and a pillow.

Street musicians, Ljubljana.

Nap time.

This was taken nearly one year ago to the day during a large Occupy Ljubljana demonstration. Sometimes one Guy Fawkes is one too few.

When one Guy Fawkes mask simply isn’t enough.

Moving on, we have two eggs. Does anyone have The Best of Birth Control? I missed the entire Krautrock era.

The Best of Birth Control

The next two photos of twos were taken in Nghia Lo, Vietnam two years ago this this month: two baskets and two woman.

Street salad vendor, Nghia Lo, Vietnam

Women bicycling with firewood. Nghia Lo, Vietnam

Next up, Shanghai. Two very tall buildings and a pair of very tired shoppers.

Two tired shoppers. Shanghai, 25-May-2012

And finally, two photos from Greece, a country that’s not getting much peace from the EU. At top, a pair of motorcyclists, shot from the balcony of my cheap hotel near the main train station in Athens. And below, a pair of strangers on the Hellenic Seaways’ Nissos Chios traveling between Syros and Piraeus, showing that even in twos solitude is possible.

Two motorcyclists, Athens, 21-Sep-2009

On the Hellenic Seaways’ Nissos Chios, Syros to Piraeus, Greece, 13-Nov-2008

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Kolner Dom (or woman in white)

#Frifotos – White

Kolner Dom (or woman in white)

‘White’ is this week’s #FriFotos theme on twitter; if I was at home, I could simply take a photo of all the stolen white hotel towels I have. But I’m not. I’m sequestered at a resort hotel near Kavarna, Bulgaria, whose entire interior is swimming in a sea of white. But I won’t take pictures of any of that.

Instead I’ll stick primarily with my black and white fascination of late, but in order to adequately remain within the bounds of the theme, I’m only posting black and white shots of subjects that are actually white. Like the shot at top of the Kölner Dom, or Cologne Cathedral. I instantly fell in love with the woman in white floating in the center of the pic and have had her picture on the front page of this blog ever since.

This is We, a sculpture by Jaume Plensa I shot late one evening in Prague in February 2009. The entire piece is white.

We, by Jaume Plensa

Moving further south, this is a shot of Nouassa, on the Greek island of Paros, where almost all the buildings are bright white.

Nouassa, Paros, Greece, 16-Sep-2009

Now we move indoors briefly, to Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona – MACBA, an excellent museum which I hope isn’t getting too hard hit by the economic shenanigans in Spain. A few more pics from a previous post are here.

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona – MACBA, 31-Jul-2010

OK, I just changed my mind. I will include –and conclude with– a couple in full living color, beginning with this snap of the Russian White House taken from my room at the Ukraina Hotel in Moscow.

Russian White House, across the Moscow River from the Ukraina Hotel, 08-Mar-2006

And finally, The White Eyes Music Club in rural Athens County, Ohio. Wouldn’t it be great if someone were to one day unearth some long lost recordings created here?

White Eyes Music Club, near Stewart, Ohio, Aug 1998

Happy #FriFotos, folks!

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Menton, France, 21-Jul-2011

Windows is this week’s #frifotos theme on twitter. This piece below is also called Windows, from Le Spleen de Paris (1864), by Charles Baudelaire, which I now want to read start-to-finish. Enjoy and may your weekend dazzle like a window lighted by a single candle.

Looking from outside into an open window one never sees as much as when one looks through a closed window. There is nothing more profound, more mysterious, more pregnant, more insidious, more dazzling than a window lighted by a single candle. What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what goes on behind a windowpane. In that black or luminous square life lives, life dreams, life suffers.

Bob Marley is everywhere. Window, Moscow, 16-Mar 2006

Across the ocean of roofs I can see a middle-aged woman, her face already lined, who is forever bending over something and who never goes out. Out of her face, her dress, and her gestures, out of practically nothing at all, I have made up this woman’s story, or rather legend, and sometimes I tell it to myself and weep.

Looking for something. Linz, Austria, 30-Jan-2008

If it had been an old man I could have made up his just as well.

And I go to bed proud to have lived and to have suffered in someone besides myself.

Poreč, Istria, Croatia, 17-Jun-2010

Perhaps you will say “Are you sure that your story is the real one?” But what does it matter what reality is outside myself, so long as it has helped me to live, to feel that I am, and what I am?


Ljubljana, Slovenia, 23-Jan-2011

Sarajevo, 28-Jun-2011

Off-season at the Green Dollars Bar, Galissas, Island of Syros, Greece, 12-Nov-2008

Piran, Slovenia, 04-Apr 2005

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Bridges, a Rainbow and St. Paul’s

London, 02-Aug-2012

Bridges is this week’s #frifotos theme on twitter; I was stuck indoors all day yesterday working in a hotel in Brussels which allowed no time for bridge hunting in the Belgian capital.

So instead here’s another shot from a visit to London last month, a view towards St. Paul’s Cathedral from the Golden Jubilee footbridge. Catching this made me feel really warm and fuzzy all over. And since Elvis Costello forms the backbone of a good portion of my daily soundtracks, I then began humming this. Enjoy.

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#FriFotos: For Sale – Encounters with Commerce

Taking a break for an inning or two. Municipal baseball stadium, Teustepe, Nicaragua, April 1994

I haven’t been around here much for the past week, which is more or less par for the course during the hazy summer months. Missed me? ;)

For Sale‘ is this week’s #FriFotos theme on twitter, affording this quick glance back into when my camera met commerce head-on in various parts of the world. I’m unapologetically anal about tagging photos in my flickr stream but the ones I decided to include here weren’t found that way.

Rather, they were all snapped fragments of memory of buying, selling and browsing that immediately popped into my mind when the theme was announced. Some quite vividly. I was particularly pleased to recall the few shots below taken in Nicaragua –the bottom one, 22 years ago– now that I’m beginning to read up on the country again, trying to catch up on a lapse of nearly a decade-and-a-half. I visited there five times since 1990; my planned return sometime next year will be my first since 1999.

Enjoy, and I hope you’re making the most of whichever heatwave you’re currently a part of.

Lottery ticket seller. Near Istiklal Avenue, Istanbul, 14-Mar-2012


Piraeus train station. Piraeus, Greece, 13-Nov-2008

Cigarette seller, Istanbul

Evening shoppers. Nanjing Rd. Shanghai, 24-May-2010

At a bus stop near Mtito Andei, Kenya, along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway, 30-Mar-2007

Shop keeper and his daughter, Teustepe, Nicaragua, 23-Feb 1990.

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.. is the theme for this week’s #FriFotos on Twitter. How about a shot taken from a rooftop?

This was the first time I tried a pan-zoom technique I saw somewhere on a site I forgot to bookmark. Or is it zoom-pan? Kind of nifty either way, no?

To get the zoom ‘movement’ to work, you obviously have to use a slow shutter speed. This is at 1/13 and was quite difficult to pull off hand-held. The photographer whose work I saw suggested using a monopod. Very wise suggestion.

Anyone every tried this?

And Hey! Please join me on Twitter.

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