Je crois…aux Anges

Sunrise, Baie des Anges, Nice
Sunrise, Bay of Angels, Nice

Shot at dawn, midwinter, as I walked along the Promenade des Anglais. I noticed the gulls’ wings stirring as they fed at the water’s edge, and was ready with the camera by the time they’d taken flight. Other than sharpness and white balancing, this image has undergone no colour adjustment .

Images such as this benefit from printing on highly reflective paper such as Kodak Metallic Endura, which offers image stability up to 100 years in a typical home display.

From Russia with Love

Interior, Chiesa Ortodossa Russa, Sanremo

The domes of La Chiesa di Cristo Salvatore, Santa Caterina Martire e San Serafino di Sarov (Church of Christ the Savior, St. Catherine the Martyr and St. Serafin de Sarov) are its most beautiful and distinctive attributes.  They featured fleetingly in the 2009 movie Io Sono L’amore (I am Love), whose heroine, Emma Recchi (Tilda Swinton) passes the church enroute to an unexpected – and life-changing – encounter with her son’s best friend.

Domes, Chiesa Russa Ortodossa, Sanremo
Chiesa Russa, Sanremo

The movie’s main theme, that of identity and self, finds expression in a number of key scenes.  Recchi, Russian by birth, has lost her cultural identity in a cold and sexless marriage to an Italian plutocrat: “When I moved to Milan, I learned to be Italian.”

As she walks through Sanremo, she  looks up to the roof of the Russian church, and a shaft of sunlight breaks through from behind the domes. This prefigures the coming plot point at which Recchi meets the man who will awaken yet other aspects of her self, cut her hair, and cook for her a peculiarly revolting (and deadly) fish soup.


Near Imperia, Liguria: the view across the valley from Bellissimi

Palondromic primes, like today’s date, are said to be auspicious for new beginnings and also to represent the cyclic nature of existence .

Here, in the olive groves of Imperia, Liguria, the fruit is famous for its sweetness, and is handpicked to prevent bruising, (the oil becomes bitter if the fruit is hurt).

The olive branch has, since pre-Christian times, symbolised peace and goodwill, and is featured on the Great Seal of the United States, whose eagle grasps in its talon a stem bearing 13 olives.

The Masons are mad about it.

Oooooh Vienna! Halloween im Wien – pumpkins, every witch way

Witch, pumpkin, Naschmarkt
Naschmarkt, Vienna – a contemplative witch among the pumpkins

In Vienna, Halloween is about pumpkins. If you’re a fan, it’s the perfect place to be – what Austrians can’t do with pumpkins simply can’t be done.

If you get a chance to lay your hands on a bottle of Kürbiskernölpumpkin seed oil, grab it and run. Delicious in soups, as a salad dressing, or even on ice cream (with crushed walnuts or pecans), it’s also rumoured to make you live longer. This may be true – like many visitors to Austria, I was truly amazed by the age of some of the locals, who looked for all the world like mummies, unwrapped and reanimated. For Halloween.

The sweet taste of Halloween

American Halloween is about, yes, all things American; pumpkins and parades, Trick or Treat, getting dressed-up and getting made-up.

In the UK, Halloween is about importing all things American, but isn’t nearly as much fun…

…and in Belgium, where life is sweet, Halloween is all about…chocolate.

Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille: The Good Mother

Detail, first cupola, Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille

The ornate gold mosaic is typical of (Neo) Byzantine architecture, which was popular during the mid-late 19th century; cf London’s Westminster cathedral.

Notre Dame de la Garde (Our Lady of the Keeper) dominates the city’s skyline and is known fondly by the locals as la bonne mère.

Consecrated in 1864, it predates London’s basilica by around forty years, and is in considerably better condition.

Fine images of the cupola and interpretations of the biblical images intersecting the arches can be found on the Wikipedia entry for Notre Dame de la Garde.

Snow tomorrow

Snow, Walthamstow Central
Snowbound, February 2009

Walthamstow Central rail station, February 2009, when a cold snap shut down most of London for a couple of days.

You go, Girls

To our boys in SA. You are supported…

Team support, from strange quarters

Pride 2006 took place on the day following England’s unfortunate defeat, and whether the flags were being waved ironically or in a spirit of consolation can only be inferred from facial expressions…

Home sweet home..

House doors on low-rise public housing. Who's weird idea was that?

This image was shot using a Nikon D200 and an 18-200mm VR lens. Look hard enough and you’ll see some weird distortion on the image. If I didn’t think there was something weirdly cool about it, I’d photoshop it out.