Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, aka Le Corbusier, was 'an architect, designer, urbanist,and writer, famous for being one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture.' (Wikipedia, May 17 2012).
I went to visit his grave today (see picture) at the cemetery in Roquebrune, a small medieval village in France perched up on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean. The view from the cemetery was spectacular, the water was deep blue and, in the distance, massive cruise liners docked at the bay in Monaco. Check out the sign on the cemetery gates. I can't figure out what it means...
Although I knew that Le Corbusier is buried here I was surprised to learn that Coco Channel owned a villa nearby and that even Winston Churchill used to stay in that same villa!! Read post in Google+
[Photo of a Bakery's front door in Nice, France]
It was early afternoon when I came across this bakery. The small sign in the middle says: 'will return at 16:30'! Got to love France. Where else in the world can someone choose to close up shop in the middle of a working day (assuming that Sunday is a working day for this baker)?? Read post in Google+
[Photography: Robert Doisneau (1912-1994) - Pictures of street life in Paris]
I recently learned that Robert Doisneau is the author of this iconic picture (Le Baiser de l'Hote de Ville, Kiss by the Hotel de Ville).
According to The Encyclopaedia of Photography (1984):
"Robert Doisneau, one of France's most popular and prolific reportage photographers, is known for his modest, playful, and ironic images of amusing juxtapositions, mingling social classes, and eccentrics in contemporary Paris streets and cafes."
The story behind this picture (taken in 1950) is interesting. Doisneau was a street photographer and, for the longest time, people thought that the kiss was a random scene that Doisneau was lucky enough to capture. In 1992 it was revealed that it was actually posed. The photographer noticed the couple, found them charming and asked them to pose at three different locations. Doisneau had this amusing statement to say about his picture:
"I would never have dared to photograph people like that. Lovers kissing in the street, those couples are rarely legitimate. — Robert Doisneau, 1992" (report on the auction of ''Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville''". BBC News. 2005-04-25. Retrieved 2011-08-12.)
Interestingly, years ago I watched a short black and white film that created a fictionalized account of the back story for this picture, ending with the iconic kiss. It was very well done, but I don't remember the name of the film. This is a long shot, but has anyone seen that short film?
Doisneau has taken incredible pictures of street life. From what little I've seen, I'd highly recommend looking at these pictures: The Factory, Sidelong Glance, Pipi Pigeon, Picasso, Cellist, Luxembourg Gardens Read post in Google+
[Photo: Rainy day in London]
Ahh... London. Arrived yesterday and the weather is just as it should be: cool, cloudy and rainy. A nice change from the sun and heat of the desert... Read post in Google+
The fact that this kind of sloppy parking is tolerated really frustrates me (the truck is parked over two places).
There have been a lot of articles this month on the Bosnian war and the siege of Sarajevo by Serbian forces from 1992-1995. I didn't read any of the articles, but their headline made me think back on when I visited Bosnia in the winter of 2010. The picture attached to this post is of the old town in Sarajevo – a very atmospheric part of town in its Ottoman style and, literally, the city’s beating heart.
Bosnia was one of the best surprises during my eight-month journey across Eastern Europe. It’s a gorgeous country with very welcoming people. Sadly, one can’t mention Bosnia without its terrible past, which looms over the country and covers it in shadow. One doesn’t have to go far to see the legacy of this history – head out of the capital Sarajevo and you’ll see desolate villages and come across towns like Srebrenica that, if you didn’t know any better, make you think the war just ended the day before. Actually, one doesn’t have to travel that far – the capital itself is divided in two: one part is governed by the Federation of Bosnia (the main political entity in the country) while the other by Republika Srpska (the second main political entity in the country). Although there’s no official border to mark this split, you can easily tell which part of Sarajevo you’re in by looking at the streets signs: if the signs are written in the Cyrillic alphabet, then you’re in Republika Srpska; if the signs are in the Latin alphabet, then you’re in the Federation of Bosnia. It’s a tragic state of affairs that has left a profound mark on people. While travelling in Bosnia I came across a university student studying to become a primary school teacher; an imam – a mosque’s worship leader – that looks like a rock star (with shades, neatly trimmed thin beard, jeans, sports jacket and cigarette in hand!); and a human trafficker who left during the war, got imprisoned in France and eventually deported back to Bosnia for his illegal activities. Their stories are all profound and give shape to the country’s struggle to get back on its feet.
Despite the country’s troubles, it is a fascinating place to visit. The country has a fascinating history that stretches from the medieval ages, to Ottoman rule, to Austro-Hungarian rule and Yugoslavian control. Of the cities I visited in Bosnia, Sarajevo is by far the most charming. Although it looks a bit backwater, there’s an incredible energy in that city and an unusual romanticism. It’s the only city where I’ve seen a cathedral, a synagogue and mosque all next to each other on the same street. Boxy Ottoman houses give way to elegant Austro-Hungarian buildings followed by cold Soviet style towers. On top of that, Bosnians (the ones I met, at least), despite their economic difficulties, have a great sense of humour! More so, they party hard - like there’s no tomorrow… Read post in Google+
[Picture of Kuwait University Students: 1960's (black and white) vs Present (colour)]
Recently, as part of research for my short story, I've talked a lot with the older generation about how life was back when they were growing up in Kuwait. This picture (taken during the golden years of Kuwait) reminded me of their stories and made me feel nostalgic for the Kuwait of the '60s - even though I was born in the '70s... Read post in Google+
[Photo - Darkness on Stairs]
I can't bring myself to delete this picture from my phone. The staircase is that of a building in St Gallen, Switzerland, where a friend of mine lives. The building is one of those old elegant European buildings. There are four or five floors - one (sometimes two) apartment to each floor - and one small window on the ceiling to light up the staircase. My friend lives on the top floor where everything is well lit. Things, however, get darker as you walk down the stairs... Read post in Google+