Friday, February 29, 2008

Busy like a bee

In two days departure will be to Los Angeles.
Again, that is an event around which activities cluster and centre.
Suddenly many things come up.
Like a magnet they are drawn to this moment of change.

The performance of the project “The most beautiful people in the world” in Mumbai, India, starting on March 12, is resulting in intensive communication with team members.
To organize all the preparations.

And meanwhile negotiations are under way with major magazines in the Netherlands and Brazil who are interested to publish a selection of the images and text of the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.

Yesterday three young people from Puebla, Mexico, came with their car close to the Fuso Szulc.
They decided to proceed towards the beach and got stuck in the sand.
Fortunately they had some Tecate beers with them and the boy was digging as if that would help to get them out.
Eventually, having spoken to Alfredo, he came with his 4x4 pick up truck and pulled them back on the road.

These two last days at Punta Boca del Salado luggage is prepared.
Time will be spend in different climates.
In the hot and humid city of Mumbai.
In the cold and wet city of Amsterdam.
And all kinds of temperatures and weather circumstances in between.

Also all kinds of documents, camera’s and other photographic equipment, mobile phone and the MacBook Pro computer must be prepared to take along.
While the Fuso Szulc must be prepared to go in storage for at least two months.

Then tomorrow a photo session is booked.
A friend from San Jose del Cabo, a young and beautiful woman, wants to be photographed in the nude on the beach by this photographer.

The quiet days are over.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Still not in paradise

The Gonzales family are wonderful people.
Warm, loving, good and honest.
But they treat dogs like shit.

Recently Gumaro Gonzales came back to the rancho with a new dog.
A nice semi-Labrador.
A 2-year-old dog friends had given him as a present.
This dog he intended to use for accompanying him on his horse rides into the mountains.

In front of the rancho is an old sea container.
This is where the new dog was tied up.
On the metal floor sand was dropped.
Some old blankets were thrown in a corner.
And the dog put on a rope so short he hardly could lay down.

Inside this sea container it was getting very hot during the day.
And the dog was not supplied with fresh water.

This was how he was.
Exhausted and breathing rapidly.
Covered in flies.
Because he could only relieve himself where he was, due to the short rope.
Standing and more or less laying down in sand saturated in his own urine and excrements.

The remarkable thing is that Gumaro Gonzales is a super sympathetic man.
His cruelty towards dogs doesn’t fit at all how he is.
But somehow it is not entering his awareness that a dog can suffer.
And that with a little effort a dog doesn’t need to suffer.

The same goes for Gumaro’s son, IsmaĆ«l.
He was also taking care of the Labrador and never it got into his mind that tying up a dog inside a metal container on a tight rope is not very respectful towards life.

First there was this situation with Gorba.
That was solved after working on it for months.
And now the whole thing repeats itself with a new dog.

Gumaro was asked what was the name of the new dog.
He didn’t know.
The former owners had told him but he had forgotten.

It was of course impossible to ignore the situation of the dog.
And again the tight rope had to be walked of respecting the hospitality of the Gonzales family, accepting their way of living and the welfare of the dog.

The objective became to get the dog out of the sea container and to a better place.
The best place being where Gorba used to be.

Yesterday a great opportunity offered itself to take action for the Labrador.
It was Lucretia’s birthday.
Gumaros’ wife.
In the morning she was visited, congratulated and she was offered kisses and a nice present.
Lucretia was thankful but also complaining: Gumaro had forgotten her birthday.
Hence, she was in the right mood to involve her in the situation of the Labrador.
She was proposed to have the dog change location.
Out of the sea container and to Gorba’s former place.
But of course she was told that nothing could be done without the consent of Gumaro.
However, Gumaro not present and Lucretia annoyed by his lack of interest in her on her birthday saw an opportunity to get back to him.
Exactly as the photographer had imagined it would go.
Lucretia gave permission to re-locate the dog.
She was taking all the responsibility.

Hence, the dog was put in the new place.

Happy like crazy.
To be able to relieve in a decent dog like way.

Unfortunately for the dog his liberator is leaving for the USA, Europe and India on Sunday.
Because the next step would have been to convince the Gonzales to have the Labrador run around free of any rope.

Part of the truth is that staying and living on a Mexican rancho is a fabulous experience.
The other part of the truth is that to see how dogs and other animals are treated is sickening.

Damned, still not in paradise.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Un amigo.

The Fuso Szulc is equipped with a large propane tank that can hold 75 litres (19 gallons).
Over the last 55 days this propane was used to run the Swedish made Dometic fridge, to make a pot of Assam tea in the morning and a cup of sleeping time tea in the evening.
Not for cooking food because dinner is with the Gonzales family every night.

The propane tank was almost empty.
Reason to go to San Jose del Cabo to have it filled.
Two hours on a gruelling unpaved road full of potholes and deep washboards.
To drive this road is torture.
But it guarantees the peace and harmony of Punta Boca del Salado.

The propane tank is fixed to the Fuso Szulc.
Hence, the tank can be filled at propane stations for cars and trucks.
This is an advantage to RV’s equipped with bottles.
These need to be unbolted, taken out and next one has to wait in line in Mexico to have them filled.
Because in Mexico there are cars and trucks using propane instead of gasoline, in Baja California every bigger town has a propane filling station.
Besides the places where they fill bottles.

The tank was very empty.
It took 72 litres.
Costing 424 Mexican Pesos.
26 Euros, 39 US$.
Conclusion, staying in Punta Boca del Salado costs 7,70 Mexican Pesos per day for propane.
0.70 US$ or 0,47 Euro.

Driving back it happened that Gumaro Gonzales was on his way to San Jose del Cabo.
Somewhere in between Punta Boca del Salado and San Jose del Cabo the Fuso Szulc and his pick up truck met.
Both stopped, drove back to have a chat.
Was there anything special to say?
But here it is different.
People take time to keep high the level of social quality in life.

Gumaro and the photographer are friends for 28 years.

They are like brothers: they are in each other’s lives as are family members.
They meet every day at the rancho and chat.
But when they meet on the road they stop anyway to talk.

This is sharing existence.
Matching energy fields and synchronizing the vibrations.

There are two characteristics present when to know Gumaro.
The man is never imposing his ideas.
Or his judgements or opinions.
Secondly, he never asks personal questions.
He waits until the other person feels ready to talk about it.

These characteristics are vice versa.
For example, from other people it has been learned that Gumaro had a different father than all of his brothers and sisters.
He himself never talked about this.
And this has been respected.
Never was he asked about that.
Like when he was talking about “my father”, meaning the father of his brothers and sisters.
Of course he was not corrected or asked questions about the way he was putting it.

There is more about Gumaro that is never a subject of discussion.
Because it doesn’t matter.
He is who he is.
We are who we are.
From liquid to gas.
Like propane.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Communist champagne

In September 1986 a trip was made to the town of Odessa in what was at the time the Soviet Union.
Those were the interesting days to travel in that part of the world because the Soviet society was like an anomaly.
Technically underdeveloped, a society with a devastating and destructive social and political system combined with strong fear and paranoia for foreign visitors.

The purpose of the journey was to photograph the famous Eisenstein steps in Odessa for a project about famous steps worldwide to permanently exhibit in a large building of the IRS in the Netherlands.

Sergei Eisenstein made the silent film “The battleship Potemkin” in 1925.
The dramatic and innovative film shows the rebellion in 1905 of the crew of this Russian battleship against their oppressive officers of the Tsarist regime.
There is one famous scene in that film showing a child in a baby carriage without being controlled by anyone driving down the Odessa steps during a riot.

In Odessa one stays of course in the marvellous hotel called “Londonskaya”.
Built in the early 1900’s it is of a grandeur and luxury not found anymore.

Not by the own choice.
Travelling in the Soviet Union in the 80’s was regulated: the authorities decided where foreign visitors had to stay.

The rooms in the hotel “Londonskaya” were huge comparing to a small apartment in Paris.

The whole set-up, the furniture, the floors of parquet, the decorations and the overall allure made one feel to be a tsar oneself.

It was very busy in the hotel because that very first night about 5 couples were celebrating their wedding.
This is why in the large ballroom hall no table was available for dinner.
But the kind waiter approached two foreigners, who were enjoying a delicious dinner, and asked them if they would not mind to have a third person eating with them.

The two men were Norwegian officers of a ship in the harbour of Odessa.
Because the whole ballroom hall was filled with Russians involved in the wedding celebrations with music, dancing, eating and celebrating, these two sailors were like on an island all by themselves.
Hence, they welcomed the new foreigner heartily.

The Norwegians were most friendly and in a good mood.
In the hotel was neither beer nor wine.
But there was excellent Russian champagne.
This the Norwegians had been drinking.
What could they do?

Immediately the glass of the new friend was filled with champagne and to keep things in balance, another bottle was ordered on behalf of the polite photographer.
As so much was to share between the three men and so much to enjoy seeing the 5 newly wed couples and their families and friends having the evening of their lives, soon more bottles of champagne had to be ordered.
Somehow they got empty rather quickly.

The West European table, in the midst of the Soviet Union, was like the newly weds also having more and more the time of their lives and the excellent champagne had a lot to do with that.

Then suddenly all the lights went out.
The music stopped.
People who had been dancing hurried back to their seats.

A spotlight came on.
Shining on a man now all by himself in the centre of the hall.
He was a magician about to begin his show.
Russian entertainment.

Part of the routine of this magician was to magically make parakeets appear out of a large handkerchief in his hands.
He would wrestle the handkerchief and, oooops, another parakeet was circling in the air around the magician.
An act that would not qualify for a Las Vegas show but for Odessa it was spectacular.

However, next, something extraordinary happened with shocking consequences.
These parakeets were circling in the air but some landed on the floor around the magician.
One parakeet was behind him innocently looking for seeds or breadcrumbs when the magician started to move backwards.
Walking backwards with his face to the audience who all could see that behind him was his parakeet on the floor.
Many women started to scream and men shouting warnings but nevertheless, the magician stepped on his own parakeet.
The unfortunate bird was crushed to death.
This was definitely not part of the magical routine because the parakeet was very dead.
And could not be revived.
The magician hurriedly disappeared taking his dead parakeet with him.

The audience was stunned and shocked.
But the two Norwegians and the photographer believed this to be a hilarious event.
They started laughing and couldn’t stop.
Tears on their cheeks, falling from their chairs, until they noticed that they were the only ones in this hall filled with hundreds of people who were laughing.
And that made it even more hilarious.
Laughing loud and without shame watched by stunned Soviets.

A waiter came, obviously very angry.
And started pushing the damned foreigners out of the ballroom.
Kicked out for misbehaving.

Years before, in Odessa the Tsarist police was shooting at rioting citizens and killing them.
But 80 years later you were not supposed to laugh when a parakeet was accidentally killed.


To learn more about Sergei Eisenstein's film "The Battleship Potemkin", click on:



Monday, February 25, 2008

6 Yes seY 6


© Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski 2008


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Letting it go where it wants to be

It is almost similar to a scientific experiment.
A person is put in ideal circumstances and next it is tested what is the capacity of the creativity.
Each day new ideas must come up to have the experiment continue.
It is going on for 52 days now and the bottom of the tank filled with creativity cannot be seen yet.
There is still enthusiasm, vigour and passion each day to create more and the results continue to be produced.

The major danger is to get bored with this creative process.
It is repetitive: each day is organised in the same way.
The risk of paradise becoming a boring place.
It is only that the images, that are the result of the creative process and the self-imposed circumstances, are still different and interesting each time and are responsible for the excitement.

It is now even dreaded that this situation will be aborted in one week to start travelling to California, USA, the Netherlands, Europe and Mumbai, India.
There is the strong feeling to desire to continue to stay here and make more interesting new images.

Yesterday this image was made.

© Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski 2008

This image is emblematic for the work created during these weeks.
It is showing reality as we know it, but some things are definitively wrong with the reality in the image.
We see a landscape we know from places like Arizona.
A blue sky we all know.
A horse and a bird in the sky: rather common animals.
But it seems the horse is running away in a light panic.
This seems to have to do with the bird who is on a flight towards the horse for unknown reasons.

Now, in reality as we know it, it is not common at all that a bird chases a horse.
So, what is going on there?

A person seeing this image gets more and more uncomfortable because it is not only this unlikelihood of a bird chasing a horse.
Something more is the matter but not immediately it can be explained what it is.

Eventually it is discovered.
It is the shadow of the bird.
That shadow implicates the bird is in another reality.
Never a shadow of a bird is seen on the blue sky.
Unless it is a large painted background.
This creates a conflict of perception.

We see the bird chasing the horse who is running away.
But the bird seems also to fly in front of a huge picture containing the landscape, the horse and the sky.
The bird is part of the action and the bird is not part of it.

This makes many questions come up in the mind of the person seeing this image.
And that is exactly the objective.

How was this image made?
Was there first an idea, a design, a concept?
This image was created while playing with the different visual elements without having any idea whatsoever what was being made.
It just came into existence.
Created without thinking.
Simply by letting it go where it wanted to be.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

5 Yes seY 5



© Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski 2008


Friday, February 22, 2008

Who to believe ?

A new and longer conversation with different members of the Gonzales family about their habit of putting red ribbons in fruit trees when a lunar eclipse takes place.

They are totally convinced that this is necessary to do to avoid that the tree will not bear fruit otherwise.

They claim that small bushes growing in nature carrying small berries have dropped all their fruit the morning after a lunar eclipse.

The Gonzales also claim that a lunar eclipse is very dangerous for a pregnant woman.
She must drape around her belly a red cloth and hide in the darkest corner of a house.
To walk around the house three times after the lunar eclipse.

It could not be avoided to think they were kidding.
That they were making up these stories.
But this was not the case.
They were very serious and obviously believe in this wisdom.

So, it was asked how a red ribbon could stop a mango tree loosing its fruit after a lunar eclipse.
What had the colour red to do with it?
The answer was that red was a very good colour to protect many things.

Yes, but why?
They don’t know.
It is like that.
For hundreds of years.

After dinner with the Gonzales and the interesting and mysterious conversation the Internet was accessed to find out more about red ribbons in mango trees in case of a lunar eclipse.
Surprisingly enough nothing could be found.

There are some stories on the Internet about superstition concerning lunar eclipses.
Mainly in case of pregnant women who are afraid the lunar eclipse may have a bad influence.
And all the answers are that this is nonsense.
It is explained that a lunar eclipse is nothing more but the earth moving in between the sun and the moon.

Who to believe?


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Free coffee

A full lunar eclipse in the clear skies of Baja California and right above the rancho Punta Boca del Salado.

The Gonzales family are aware of this natural phenomenon and this is why Ketcha was cutting red ribbons.
To hang in the mango trees.

Many fervent and loyal blog readers, together with this innocent photographer, may wonder what a lunar eclipse has to do with cutting red ribbons to hang in mango trees.
Hence, Ketcha was asked for more details.

According to her a lunar eclipse will destroy the flowers of the mango tree it is now having.
This will result in the mango tree not bearing fruit.
The problem can be avoided by hanging red ribbons in the mango tree.
Somehow this protects the flowers of the mango tree from the effects of the lunar eclipse.

What to think of this?
Is this a real issue and an effective solution?
Or is it some superstition of the Mexican countryside?


Meanwhile one of the most important and prominent magazines in China has published 8 pages with a selection of the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.

There might be some loyal and fervent blog readers thinking that besides writing a daily blog, their favourite photographer has as other activities only to be busy with the Fuso Szulc and its Santek Trailers legacy.
The truth is though that the Fuso Szulc is a nerve centre of many worldwide activities and the publication in China is one of the thrilling results.

It is a strange experience to publish pictures of a project.
On the one hand it must be realized that millions of Chinese now see the results.
That the philosophy of the project is promoted and shared.
As well as the beauty of the images.

On the other hand it is a very anonymous experience for the photographer.
Although plenty of people see and share the work, no direct proof of this is experienced.
Nobody is calling or mailing except for the Chinese team members, friends and the most beautiful in the pictures published.
Daily life goes on as if nothing has happened.
While the expectation goes so far as to imagine that soon now an invitation will come to visit the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer.

There is certain solitude in stepping into the limelight.
Reaching out by publishing, communicating with millions, but hardly hearing anything back.
It feels like shouting into a dark cave.
The only remedy to have that fact drag the person into a deep depression is to always keep in mind that there is the existence as an individual person and an existence as a public figure.
Togetherness with other people is the exclusive domain of the individual person and his or her social infrastructure.
It is there that being human is optimally experienced.

Not so in the territory of the public figure.
A false world, deformed and twisted, where one must avoid to look for sympathy, warmth and love.
Instead of shouting in the cave and not hearing any reply, a chat over coffee will take place with the Gonzales this morning.


As an extra service to the fervent and loyal blog readers, by exception free of charge, hereby the pages that are published, now seen by millions of Chinese.

© Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski 2008


Wednesday, February 20, 2008


During the time of working in China last December, team member Liang Han offered a book.

The book is called “Moment in Peking”, written by the famous Chinese author Lin Yutang.

The book was published for the first time in 1940.
It describes life in Beijing from 1900 to 1920.
A fascinating book that learns the reader very much about where the China of today is coming from.

One of the things described in the book is the concept of “tsunghsi”.
This is a very enlightened way of dealing with life as it is the philosophy that says that if something evil occurs it should be balanced by a happy event.

“Tsungshi” was particularly practiced in China concerning people who fell sick.
It was believed that a sick person not only needed physical treatment but psychological treatment as well.

In the book it concerns a young boy who is very much in love with a girl.
And the girl is seriously in love with the boy.
The boy falls ill and besides giving him herbal treatments, the parents decide to ask the girl to come and be with the boy.
Because they believe the presence of the girl, that will delight the boy, will have a positive effect on his illness.

In Lin Yutang’s book “Moment in Peking” the etiquette of the time required that the boy and girl so much in love could only be close if they were married.
Within two days this was arranged so that the now wife could nurse the new husband.
It made the sick boy very happy.
But he died anyway and the girl was subsequently a lifelong widow.

That was unfortunate.
But does not disqualify “tsungshi” at all.

Somehow this old knowledge and wisdom has escaped the modern man.
When we walk these days into a hospital there is nothing “tsunghsi” about it.
It is sterile.
Anonymous and characterless.
Factory like.
And it stinks in hospitals.

Not much has been done to try to make hospitals a nice place.
To counter the negativity obviously occurring there with things positive and happy.

There is one exception though.
In many hospitals in the USA and Europe are ”clinic clowns”.
Most of the time these are volunteers who dress up as clowns to entertain children.
Some hospitals have the clowns also cheer up adults.

This is coming close to the Chinese concept of “tsunghsi”.
To make people laugh when they seem to have reasons to be sad only.

But a lot more could be done.
To transform hospitals into centres with a high presence of positive influences.

A hospital could be made into a place where it smells nice.
Where white is not the dominant colour.
And the sheets are decorated with flowers.


To learn more about the important Chinese author Lin Yutang, who also invented the first typewriter for Chinese and wrote the first dictionary, click on:


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The horse is gone

There is incredible beauty being at Punta Boca del Salado.
See for example how the office looks at sunset.

This beauty is not saturating for 100 % though.
There are certain things happening at Punta Boca del Salado that are experienced as not very beautiful at all.

One example is a horse that was tied up near the rancho for months now.
It had been roaming freely for two years.
Having a wild life in the mountains until it was caught coming down to drink from the water well of the rancho.

In a former posting it was reported how an effort was made to try to become friends with this horse.
Because it inspired sentimental feelings.
Having lost its freedom and unable to understand why it was tied up.

During months this horse was offered fresh water and hay.
To see if some kind of friendship could develop.

Yesterday an end came to the ordeal of the horse.
The ordeal of being tied up in the bright sun all day.
The ordeal of days without water or food.
The ordeal of being without freedom.

For 1.500 Pesos (95 Euros, 139 $) the horse was sold.

Yesterday the new owners came to pick it up.

Once in the trailer and ready for transportation, there were tears in the eyes of the horse.

Monday, February 18, 2008

4Yes seY 4



© Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski 2008