Fire on Ice / Ice on Fire…

Haunting Beauty of Chicago’s Freezing Fire

On the night of January 22nd 2013, a huge vacant warehouse on Chicago’s South Side went up in flames. Fire department officials said it was the biggest blaze the department has had to battle in years and one-third of all Chicago firefighters were on the scene at one point or another trying to put out the flames. Complicating the scene was the weather – temperatures were well below freezing and the spray from the fire hoses encased everything below in ice, including buildings, vehicles, and some firefighting gear. The warehouse was gutted, but the fire was contained. The following hauntingly beautiful images show that nature is the best artist.The empty warehouse, surrounding tools, machinery, and vehicles enshrouded in a thick layer of artfully sculpted ice all look like scenes from a fairy tale that only exists on the pages of a book or our imagination. Chicago-Warehouse-Fire-Icey-1 I ce on fire Ice on fire 2 Ice on fire 3 JohnGressReuters2-640x436 tumblr_mh5e0nr6dG1r6q94do4_500 800_ufvbvxbuja8b71mrasqi6afgmohu09pk 1682379-inline-slide-2-chicago-ice-fire Burning-Warehouse-Icey-Chicago-4 Burning-Warehouse-Icey-Chicago-6-Olson-Getty-Images c08_RTR3CUQY c12_RTR3CUQE c14_RTR3CUMT
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Locks of Love

These Locks of Love were fixed on the railing of one of the many bridges over the hundreds of canals in Venice near the Rialto Bridge. These padlocks are fixed by couples in love, on to a fence or a pole or metallic chain/string at a usually romantic and popular public place, to symbolize their eternal love. A couple would hang a padlock after inscribing their name or initials on it and throw the key away so that their love is locked forever. Some couple use two inter-twined locks, each lock bearing their name/initials. Besides lovers, often family members and close friends also put such locks at these places, to lock their relationship forever. The tradition probably originated from China where the love locks can be seen at several locations alongside the Great Wall of China and also in many temples and on the steps/paths leading to sacred peaks. Locks of love… Connected to each other for all eternity…

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Haunting Beauty of Abandoned Buildings

Matthias Haker’s ‘Decay’ series chooses to focus on the rare beauty of decrepit spaces. The German born photographer is a media computer science student who began taking pictures in 2008. He has since developed an expansive portfolio with images of landscapes, weddings, people, urban activity and architecture.

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Peeling, rusted ceilings and chipped floors laden with sawdust prove to be quite alluring. The abandoned scenes were once occupied by families, health practices and students, evidenced by the moldy cribs and dental chairs.

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While the rooms have long since been used, they have still managed to retain their charm. The Decay project proves that there is relevancy in even the most neglected of buildings, seen here in the magnificent colors, winding staircases, record players and collectible vintage furniture.

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While these dilapidated spaces bring on a sense of melancholy in the viewer, Haker’s pictures have also brought out their haunting beauty—despite the peeling paint and debris-strewn floors, the former grandeur of these buildings remains very evident.

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Many of these abandoned sites feature magnificent details like beautifully painted walls, ornate stairways and embellished domed ceilings—it makes one wonder why they were forsaken in the first place.

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I Am Amélie Poulain…

Well maybe not all the way and not in each and every aspect, but we definitely have a shared liking of little things and a resemblance in being able to notice these little things.87116574012324026_US1goaK7_b

“I like to look for things no one else catches.” Amélie Poulain

Amélie, the movie, is a celebration of details and small pleasures. They are sprinkled throughout the narrative like potent seasoning. They make up the common thread that weaves the story’s characters together in a single tapestry. Upon first encountering a character they are defined by the narrator in terms of their likes and dislikes, which is followed by a captivating, unpredictable list. The kind that makes you the target of a random smile in search of a face, directed at some ineffable delight. A list that is brief, particular and wonderfully distinctive. Do you remember too???

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“On the other hand, she enjoys all sorts of little pleasures, putting her hand in a bag of seeds, piercing the crust of crème brûlée with the tip of a spoon, and plays ducks and drakes on the Saint-Martin-Canal.

Amelie - Audrey Tautou As Amelie Poulain Innocent N Naive Girl

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Sometimes, Amélie goes to the movies. ‘I like to turn around in the dark to see the faces of the people around. And I also like to spot the little detail nobody will ever see. But I hate the way drivers never look at the road in old American movies.”

The world of little things can pull you into its orbit as easily as a dust buster would a speck of dust. It’s likely to reprogram you to read far more into things than you thought yourself capable of, by surrendering the reins of life to imagination. As John Guare wrote in Six Degrees of Separation, “I believe the imagination is the passport that we create to help take us into the real world. I believe that imagination is merely another phrase for what is most uniquely us. “

This got me thinking about those odd little things that I like and dislike. I did not want to focus on general annoyances and irritations (of which I have a lot), but instead wanted to figure out some particularly unique things that get to me in either a positive or a negative way. So here it goes Amélie Poulain style:

“Fruzsina is a hopeful writer, a tamer of cats, and an acrobat of endless ideas, who dreams her way through life with eyes open wide.  She vehemently dislikes price stickers that are not easy to remove, when people lean against a subway car pole as if it were private property, and to see strands of hair on or hanging from people’s clothes. She likes to dig her toes into warm beach sand and when a few notes in a song give you goose bumps that make all hairs stand on your arms. She likes to imagine a soundtrack playing while he walks down the street and noticing spelling mistakes in all possible form of print that has slipped through the scrutinizing gaze of copy editors and proofreaders.”

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Budapest Time Lapse

I come from the breathtakingly beautiful capital of a country full of potential, natural and built splendor. Budapest is the city that is deeply embedded in my chromosomes and imprinted on my soul for all eternity.

This time lapse by Peter Dancso clearly shows that my problem with Hungary in general has never been and will never be of geographic or topographic origin, but rather the unfortunate coexistence of certain circumstances in this otherwise spectacular country…

Christmas – That Magic Blanket…

Christmas is that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. – Augusta E. Rundel

Christmas CardI wish everyone a blessed and peaceful Christmas!

Ammamma – Grandmother

Ammamma is everyone’s grandmother – the oldest living female member of the family. Just look at her face, those wonderful wrinkles of time, age, and wisdom…

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I took this photo last May at a pooja (a religious ritual performed by Hindus) in Edathua, Kerala, India last May. My husband is Indian and his family is from Kerala in the south of India. The pooja was held for all members of the family who passed away and to purify the living of the lingering negative energy of the deceased.

Ammamma is an amazing woman. Three years ago, when we got married in Kerala (with almost 400 people at our wedding—more about this in a later post :), she accepted me in the family with and open heart, no questions asked and without any reservations. This was not an obvious thing for every single member of the family as my flaws as an ideal bride were only multiplied by the fact that not only am I not South Indian, but I am neither North Indian, or Indian for that matter…

She is 87 years old. Look at her eyes, her hair, her face, her hands. Think of all the things she has seen and lived through. We don’t speak the same language, we do not have the same religion, we do not have the same background, I am almost 60 years her junior, and I want to hear everything she knows and has to say.

It Was a Matter of a Few Seconds…Some Lights…and a 96 DSLR Camera Rig

Upon his return from a 3-month excursion filming in China with a bullet time rig, photographer Richard Kendall decided it was time to get back into the studio and start  experiments with lights, strobe flash, and the bullet time rig. One of these projects was creating a collection of stunning artistic light paintings. The result is this breathtaking video below.

In still photography, bullet time is achieved by surrounding the subject with multiple cameras that are mounted on a special ring shaped rig (often referred to as an array).  The camera are then set to fire either simultaneously or sequentially. Each of the photographs are then made into a time lapse so they create a super slow motion scene. Kendall used a half circle rig for his photo shoot, which required the use of 96 DSLR cameras!!!!!!!

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In the second video Patrick Rochon / Timecode Lab / Eric Paré have created “24×360” as a purely artistic and experimental project using 24 cameras and light painting techniques.

The project was born after a very intense year mounting and un-mounting their bullet time rig in live events. They then finally sat down at their studio to create some inspiring 360 degree bullet time pictures.

Hope you like them as much as I did!!! This is pretty stunning stuff.

Love,

F

Serenity Is a Soft Blanket of Mist…

Today is one of those days, when I get that gut-wrenching longing to be back in my beloved Hong Kong even if only for a day to recharge my depleted inner batteries… (After having spent four years in Hong Kong it has left a void in my mind and heart that I am still hopelessly trying to fill.) This is one of my favorite spots in Hong Kong – Nan Lian Garden next to Chi Lin Nunnery. Both the stunning public garden and the nunnery were designed and renovated in Tang dynasty style.

The Nunnery is a large temple complex of elegant wooden architecture, treasured Buddhist relics and soul-soothing lotus ponds. The Garden is a tranquil haven midst Diamond Hill’s myriad of high-rise apartments. Its scenic garden is meticulously landscaped over an area of 3.5 hectares, in which every hill, rock, body of water, plant and timber structure has been placed according to specific rules and methods.
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But most of all, Nan Lian Garden to me is a place of utmost bliss and complete relaxation. I know that the soothing sounds of Chinese flute come from strategically placed concealed loudspeakers. That even the mist and fog that floats above

the pond and coils around the tree trunks is artificial. But if you sit on one of the benches here, close your eyes, still your breathing, the rumbling noise of mad traffic will ebb away, and you can hear the universe as clear as droplets falling from a faulty tap in a still and quiet apartment… This is Nan Lian Garden to me, my safe and calm place…
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Cinemagraphs – Wonderful Living Moments Captured in a Still Shot

“A Cinemagraph is an image that contains within itself a living moment that allows a glimpse of time to be experienced and preserved endlessly.” Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg

Visual Graphics Artist Kevin Burg began experimenting with the .gif format in this style in 2009 but it wasn’t until he partnered with photographer Jamie Beck to cover NYFW (New York Fashion Week) that Cinemagraphs were born. Marrying original content photography with the desire to communicate more to the viewer birthed the cinemagraph process. Starting in-camera, the artists take a traditional photograph and combine a living moment into the image through the isolated animation of multiple frames. These living moments captured in a still shot are more than photographs but not quite videos.

Beck and Burg named the process “Cinemagraphs” for their cinematic quality while maintaining at its soul the principles of traditional photography. Launched virally through social media platforms Twitter and Tumblr, both the style of imagery and terminology has become a class of its own. The creative duo are looking forward to exploring future display technologies for gallery settings as well as pushing this new art form and communication process as the best way to capture a moment in time or create a true living portrait in our digital age while embracing our need to communicate visually and share instantly.

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The Kettle Can Wait – Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg

One of Beck and Burg’s first subjects was Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha. As in so many of their images, here also NYC is the stunning backdrop.

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Coco Rocha – Balcony – Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg

These evoke memories of pin-up girls from the 1940s and 1950s.

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Beck and Burg’s love and passion for this complex, crazy, restless, wonderful city is palpable in the following few images. It is a place always on the move, with daily little miracles happening around you.

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30 Rock Viewing – Beck and Burg

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Newspaper Subway – Beck and Burg

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Hot Dog – Beck and Burg

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Cab Window – Beck and Burg

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Fountain – Beck and Burg

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Barber Shop Pole – Beck and Burg

NYFW would not be what it is without Anna Wintour, the English-born Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue, who has become and institution throughout the fashion world.

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Anna Wintour – Beck and Burg

Just look at the reflection of her dangling leg in the mirror… Purely amazing… 🙂

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Coco Rocha Desk – Beck and Burg

It’s somewhere between a photo and a video, a piece of artwork that seeks to perfectly capture a fleeting moment in time. Just like this one. A few seconds of motionless passing time captured for eternity.

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A Moment in Time – Beck and Burg

“I was shooting a building to make a cinemagraph one day, and nothing moved. I thought, well this is dumb, but then the light changed, a bird flew by, and I realized that everything is alive. I just had to start training my eye. I had to start visualizing cinemagraphs.” Jamie Beck

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30 Rock – Beck and Burg

And the last one for today. To be honest, although I have an infinite passion for photography, sometimes I feel something is missing. You capture the moment, but it is merely a snapshot of the moment that often fails to reflect the whole experience and meaning of that moment. A video would be too invasive and could ruin “the moment”. A cinemagraph is the perfect combination of the two. It raises the ordinary to extraordinary in the split of a second. Oh my… I can almost smell the sea, feel the wind in my hair, and the sun on my skin.

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Have a wonderful evening,

F