Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The blue room

A room in Paris.
Hotel Les Trois Couronnes.
The three crowns.
But it is a run down hotel with not one crown deserving.
The wallpaper coming off the wall.
Objects of former guests on the floor.
The TV only showing 3 French channels.
The WIFI confused and hesitant.

What else to do than to get a bottle of Marques de Caceres and have digital, interstellar cyberspacing orgasms through MSN with the Mexican senorita in her office coming when the boss is not looking?






Tomorrow is another day with meetings about “The most beautiful people in the world” with Robert Delpire, the publisher.
And with Baudoin Lebon of the Gallery about the PS-series.
And a dinner with the famous French documentary maker Bernard Martino.

That will be a red day.
Let’s have it blue now.






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Monday, April 28, 2008

Paris songs

Frank Sinatra sings:

I love paris in the spring time
I love paris in the fall
I love paris in the summer when it sizzles
I love paris in the winter when it drizzles

I love paris every moment
Every moment of the year
I love paris, why oh why do I love paris
Because my love is here

I love paris every moment
Every moment of the year
I love paris, why oh why do I love paris
Because my love is here

Maurice Chevalier sings:

Sous le ciel de Paris s'envole une chanson
Elle est née d'aujourd'hui dans le coeur d'un garçon
Sous le ciel de Paris marchent des amoureux
Leur bonheur se construit sur un air fait pour eux
Sous le Pont de Bercy
Un philosophe assis
Des musiciens, quelques badauds pui des gens par milliers
Sous le ciel de Paris jusqu'au soir vont chanter
L'hymne d'un peuple épris de sa vieille citée
Près de Notre Dame
Parfois pour un drame
Ils naissent à Paname
Tout peut s'arranger
Quelques rayons du ciel d'été
L'accordeon d'un marinier
L'Espoir fleurit
Au ciel de Paris
Sous le ciel de Paris coule le fleuve joyeux
Il endort dans la nuit les clochards et les gueux
Sous le ciel de Paris les oiseaux du bon Dieu
Viennent du monde entier pour bavarder entre eux
Et les ciel de Paris
A son secret pour lui
Depuis vingt siècles il est épris
De notre île Saint-Louis
Quand elle lui sourit il met son habit bleu
Quand il pleut sur Paris c'est qu'il est malheureux
Quand il est trop jaloux de ses millions d'amants
Il fait gronder sur eux son tonerre éclatant
Mais le ciel de Paris n'est pas longtemps cruel
Pour se faire pardonner il offre un arc en ciel


Andy Williams sings:

Stranger beware, there’s love in the air under paris skies
Try to be smart and don’t let your heart catch on fire
Love becomes king the moment it’s spring under paris skies
Lonely hearts meet somewhere on the street of desire

Parisian love can bloom high in a skylight room
Or in a gay café where hundreds of people can see

I wasn’t smart and I lost my heart under paris skies
Don’t ever be a heartbroken stranger like me

Oh, I fell in love
Yes, I was a fool
For paris can be so beautifully cruel
Paris is just a gay coquette who wants to love and then forget
Stranger beware, there’s love in the air

Just look and see what happened to me under paris skies
Watch what you do, the same thing can happen to you

Ooh, I fell in love
Mmm, I was a fool
Yes, paris can be so beautifully cruel
Paris can be a gay coquette who wants to love and then forget
Stranger beware, there’s love in the air

I wasn’t smart and I lost my heart under paris skies
Watch what you do, the same thing can happen to you
Watch what you do, the same thing can happen to you
Watch what you do, the same thing can happen to you


Solo Mano sings:

Paris Boulevards

Et Paris étale ses boulevards
Devant mes yeux qui broient toujours la même histoire
D'attendre qu'il se mette à pleuvoir
Pour lever la tête et pour pouvoir pleurer
Paris étale ses boulevards
Pour tous ses fils bâtards
Qui sont nés quelque part
Entre le désir la mort et l'ennui
Paris étale ses boulevards
Et ses tours de Babel en carton
Qui renferment leurs milliers de solitudes glacées
Paris je te regarde
Paris je t'aime
Mais souvent je te hais
Nous vivons dans ton squelette
Et tu meurs chaque jour un peu plus dans nos têtes
Paris mon père Paris ma mère Paris mon frère
Paris tous mes enfants
Je suis le fils de notre tristesse
De cette grande famille en famine assoiffée de tendresse
emmurée dans sa migraine
au point d'en oublier son coeur et ses deux mains
Paris je te fuis Paris je reviens
mais des fois je me dis que c'est toi
qu'est vraiment loin
loin de toi-même comme on l'est tous
à plus savoir le goût que t'as dans la bouche
Paris tu marches avec moi
Paris étale ses boulevards
comme des coulées d'espoir coagulé
Paris le monde entier t'appartient
pourtant tu tiens au creux de ma main
Paris... Hey


10cc sings:


Une Nuit A Paris

Part One: One Night in Paris
Bonjour monsieur
Paris really welcomes you
It's the best room in the house
It's forty francs a night, alright.
It's crazy, it isn't worth a centime
I'll take it!
Merci Monsieur
Rouged lips in the gaslight
A great view of the hall
That's the way the croissant crumbles after all
Paris is only one step away
Les girls are out on bail
Tres bien there's love for sale
Oh my cheri, wish you were mine
And I'll show you a wonderful time
For the price of a cheap champagne
I'll show it you once again
One night in Paris
Is like a year in any other place
One night in Paris
Will wipe the smile off your pretty face
One girl in Paris
Is like loving every woman
One night in Paris
One night in Paris
One night in Paris
May be your last!!!
Part Two: The Same Night in Paris
Is he gonna buy?
You wanna little culture?
Is he gonna pay?
Maybe Monsieur is into photographs, Non?
Or is he gonna fall in love
The all American way?
I got a watch wiz a beautiful Swiss movement
Is he gonna buy?
Forget the watch, I'll show you a good time!`
Is he gonna pay?
Le connoisseur, want something different?
Or is he gonna fall in love
The all American way?
Oh you know you ain't no Casanova
You can't even do the Bossa Nova
Or the Tango or the Samba!
Though you are so very charming
No you ain't no Casanova
Is he gonna buy?
Is he gonna pay?
Or is he gonna fall in love
The all American way?
Sometimes I think he will
But then again........................
One night in Paris
Is like a year in any other place!
One night in Paris
Will wipe the smile off your pretty face!
Try a girl in Paris
But try one of mine
Each night in Paris
Each night in Paris
Each night in Paris
Each night in Paris
May be your last!!!
Part Three: Later the same night in Paris
Forty-Two, Quarante-Deux
Rue de Saint Jacques
All our girls are how you say
Good in the sack
I was a stripper
On the Champs Elysees
He was a gendarme
In the gendarmerie
Going Oh La La La
Oh La La La La
He was a pimp
In a black beret
But he was an artiste
In his own way
Oh La La La
Oh La La La La
When they raided my club that night
They ruined my act with the leather umbrella
the Chief de Police got a fright
He was up in my boudoir with some other fella
It's only routine
But I got this feeling
It ain't good for business
Then the floor cleared
A woman screamed to herself
Henri...Though you're not the toast of Paris
I love you, although you bed and beat me
Henri, leave it alone,
For the gendarme's just doing his job
Paris is only one step away
Murder is only one step away
Notre Dame is ringing her bells
Another gendarme has gone to Hell
Notre Dame is ringing her bells
Another gendarme has gone to Hell
Gone to Hell
Gone to Hell
One night in Paris
Is like a year in any other place
One night in Paris
Will wipe the smile off your pretty face
One girl in Paris
Is like loving every woman
This night in Paris
This night in Paris
This night in Paris
This night in Paris
May be your last!!!







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Sunday, April 27, 2008

New PS-series images

The last two days many hours were spent with Jochgem Taken of The Pastery.
He is a man specialised in manipulating images with the software program Adobe Photoshop.
He was asked and paid to work on the new images of the PS-series.

Seeing an Adobe Photoshop expert work results in being in awe and astonishment.
Not only by the possibilities the software offers.
But most of all by the skills demonstrated by the expert.
Incredible things are possible and this with ease like making a good cup of coffee.

Of course high levels of excitement were jointly reached seeing the final results.
They are spectacular.

Today a master printer in the city of Amsterdam, Holland, Peter Paul Huf, will print the new PS-series images on special paper with decades lasting inks.
These prints made in a limited edition will be transported to Galerie Baudoin Lebon in Paris, France where collectors will finally be able to purchase these intriguing images.



























All images on this page © Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski 2008


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


For more information about The Pastery, Jochgem Taken, click on:
www.thepastery.nl

For information about the gallery where the PS-series images can be purchased:
www.baudoin-lebon.com





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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Easy going as easy as easy going can be.

These are the last two days in Holland before the caravan moves on to Paris, France.
Rather tough days because most activities are business and that takes a person into a sphere where it is different compared to the Mexican beaches.

This explains why this morning strong feelings of nostalgia and longing rage through the heart.
Or the soul.
Or wherever emotions like to dance their dances.

Nostalgia not specifically for the Mexican beaches and the Gonzales family and the warm weather and the friends and the feeling of the sand under the naked feet.
It is nostalgia for a life style.
Of a life of an easy going as easy as easy going can be.
Waking up before the sun rises and to spread the arms when standing on the beach breathing the fresh air and welcoming another beautiful day.
To do only the things that impulsively comes to mind to do and nothing else.

What a contrast it is to be in Europe and try to make the business of a photographer advance and progress.
All these people who are in a kind of race and excited and hectic and overloaded.
Nervous and full of tension and shameless and impersonal.

Most remarkable is that many things go in a way decided by the presence and threat of violence, fraud and crime.
Complicating procedures and creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.

It was not only nostalgia that was raging through the heart.
But also longing.
Fervent and loyal blog readers already realised that this can only concern the beautiful Mexican Senorita who promised by phone recently to make a beautiful breakfast.

How beautiful nostalgia and longing are though.
To miss.
To dream.
To desire.

And there will be plenty of time to drown in these beautiful emotions.
From Holland the Thalys high-speed train will take the nomad to Paris.
From Paris another train and car to La Pellière.
A small village in the west of France to see the fabulous American painter Richard Harper and his family.
Next stage is to go accompanied by Richard with Ryanair to Cadaques in Spain.
The village once home and now a place to see the many friends.
From Spain back to the Netherlands with Transavia Airlines for new meetings.
Followed by a flight with Central Airlines to Poland again to do nothing but scanning negatives day and night for two upcoming new photo-books.

After this tour is finished the journey can be made to the reasons for the current nostalgia and the longing.
Four more weeks of being sentimental.









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Friday, April 25, 2008

Spam poetry.

Hello! I am bored today. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you.

Chocolate syrup and whipped cream taste better on my big and mighty delicious cone.

Hurry up to Acquire watches because the offer is limited!

Natural augmentation of length and girth will guarantee your happy love!

You have nothing to lose, just a lot to gain!

Unleash your sexual potential with traditional herbal remedies.

Hello! I am bored today. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you.

Now you will find the opportunity to use the software environment you dreamt of for a long time.

I would like to share some of my pics.

Hello, make a wise decision, buy your medications from the best onine shop.

Be as large as you want with new improved herbal formulas.

Make sure you stand your ground.

When walking around, simply by walking hard in Top Brand Name Designer Footwear.

Give her a taste of your long and thick shaft.

Go to that cocktail party with this watch, and be sure to catch people's attention.

Hello! I am tired this evening. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you.

You'll have all the class, and still have all your money.

Your web site is good, but it looks like you are missing out on a lot of web traffic.

Be a strong man again with (Viag.., Cial.., Levit..).

This allows the normal everyday person to be able to look and feel classy,
without having to actually spend such ridiculous amounts of money on it.

Fight your s'e_xual incompetence.

It is Easy To Loss Weight Without Feeling Hungry!

Coming from a small country outside of the US can I expect to have the size of an American man?

Hello! I am tired this evening. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you.

Great thick rod will penetrate deeper into her.

Would you mind if I share some of my pictures with you?

Ejaculate and shoot over a mile.

Nothing can’t stop us from helping you to solve your health problems.

Give your girl sleepless nights every night because all you do is shag.

Within 15 minutes you will have your own website traffic generator that will bring in an ever increasing amount of hits to your websites! Automatically.

10 Genuine tricks to lay her.

A replica watch is a watch made similar to that of the real brand ones, except, at a much lower cost.

My new girlfriend is really impressed with my size and stamina.

Hello! I am tired this evening. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you.

She wants to jump in your bed.

Hello info, be wise, buy your drugs from the most reliable online store since 1998.

Make your banana GIANT.

Make it really BIG!!!

Hi! I'm a single girl and I'm 26 years old. Please take a look at my
pictures and let me know if you like them! I live in Russia and I'm
going to come to your country and work over there very soon! I don't know anybody over there and I thought it would be great to meet someone who is open to anything (as I am!).

I've played on and off with pumps, weights, and exercises for the last few years and have never gained one centimeter.

I would like to speak with the person in charge of your international clientele. Who is my contact? Who should I speak to??

If you are small and she does not mind, she is probably having an affair behind your back.

It is hard to overestimate the importance of having at least one luxury watch. Now you can afford it!

Girls call me the ultimate love making machine and I don't need a beemer for that.

Adventures of my giant mighty soldier.

Hello! I am tired tonight. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you. Email me at Ingegard@emaidaking.cn only, because I am using my friend's email to write this.







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Doomsday / Gloryday

“Doomsday” is a 2008 British science fiction film written and directed by Neil Marshall.


The film takes place in a quasi-post-apocalyptic United Kingdom that quarantined an infected Scotland, which has since been presumed dead.

Rhona Mitra stars as the heroine who leads a team to seek a cure in inhospitable Scotland when the virus begins to belatedly emerge in their preserved homeland of England.

This film is total trash.

There was some time between two appointments and the idea came to go to the movies.
Which film was decided by the time available.
The movie turned out to be “Doomsday”.

The film is abhorable in many ways.

The script is very predictable and without any surprises.
The situations and the characters are clichés.
And all this is drenched in extreme violence and cruelty of the worst kind.
In this film is not one tender moment between people.

The film is highly inspired by the “Mad Max”-films, if not a copy of them.

People who go this movie are entertained by seeing only negativity, horror, blood, torture and death.
A man is cooked alive and eaten in a most realistic way.
A woman is tortured as if it was the Gestapo back in business.
Heads are chopped off as if it really happened.

Even the end of the film is not happy.
The heroine, originally having good intentions, makes herself the leader of the cannibals.

It is shocking to learn that this is one of the examples of the current movie industry.
That money is available to finance this kind of trash.
The film was costing 21 million € (34 million $).
And it is shocking that people actually go and see this kind of movies.
Fortunately, in 2 months time the film has grossed not more than 14 million $ (9 million €).

Maybe living in Mexico in an expedition vehicle and being involved in a project like “The most beautiful people in the world” results in loosing touch with what is really going on in society.
That what is astonishing in fact has become common and the norm.

Of course it was considered to leave the movie theatre halfway the film.
After the third head was chopped off.
In detail and in slow motion with spraying blood everywhere.
Why have that kind of garbage enter the eyes and the ears?

But something kept the moviegoer in his seat.
Glued and fascinated.

Responsible for this was the heroine of the film.
An actress called Rhona Mitra.




A 31-year-old woman with an Indian father and an Irish mother.
This woman has, to put it mildly, stage presence.



For this film Rhona Mitra worked out and trained in fighting for eleven weeks.
And that can be seen.
An athletic body accentuated by her tight clothes.
With impressing muscle toning on arms and shoulders.



But most of all it is very striking how she is in the movie “Doomsday”.
Rhona Mitra has the power to reach the moviegoer in spite of the film.
As an impressive personality.
A special human being.



Best would be to have somebody edit the film “Doomsday”.
To put together in one long sequence only the scenes where Rhona Mitra can be seen.
That edited film will be titled “Gloryday”.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about Rhona Mitra, click on:
http://www.rhonamitraonline.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhona_Mitra

To learn more about the movie titled "Doomsday", click on:
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/doomsday/
http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/film/1492






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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The anti-libido pill.

A most interesting conversation with a dear lady friend and best gentleman friend.

The issue explained by the lady friend was that women at one point in time have little appetite for sex anymore.
This is when they become pregnant and after they deliver their child.
However, the level of the man’s libido, so needed to make the baby, doesn’t go down after the woman gets pregnant.
The man’s libido continues to look for ways to be satisfied.
Hence, we have a situation of imbalance.

The lady friend continued to explain that as long as men and women live, this situation was and is dealt with in different ways.
Mostly with forms of polygamy.
The man takes a mistress.
Or goes and sees prostitutes.
Or has a harem.
Or migrates from woman to woman.

All the partners in the conversation were aware that this situation exists.
And all agreed it had to do with this damned libido-thing of the men.

But what could be a solution for this unfortunate imbalance between men and women?
Because the current ways of solving the problem are far from ideal.

A wild thought was dropped on the table.
Some decades ago the anti-conception pill came on the market.
The pharmaceutical industry had developed a product that prevented a woman getting pregnant.
Why not could the pharmaceutical industry develop a pill that lowered or even stopped the libido of men?
Once the woman gets pregnant, the man starts taking this pill and looses his sexual appetite completely to be able to focus fully on the needs of the woman and the soon to come child.
Without being distracted by any urge to multiply anymore.

Actually, there are anti-androgen pills that lower the desire to have sex.
In Europe they are used for sex-offenders who want to better their lives.
It is also known that cannabis makes men sexual zombies.

The problem the world population faces is that men are not prepared to rein in their libido at the proper moment.
They enjoy and desire their libido to be free.
They wish to have orgasms, if possible, all their lives.
With their wives.
And if they are not available anymore with someone else.
For free and, if that cannot be achieved, they are prepared to pay.

Most men enjoy that and have no reason at all to start taking pills to dampen their libido.
So maybe the authorities should take action.
Already in some countries the authorities add fluor to the drinking water.
This is for the health of the teeth.
It is also known that in the army soldiers get food mixed with camphor.
Camphor has as a characteristic that it makes men temporarily impotent.

What a world we would have if we could do like the Chinese.
They have a one-child policy.
What if we would decide that men have the right to be promiscuous only a specific time of their lives?
That they can have a sexual relationship only once and until there is a child and then it is finished.
Chemical castration follows and the world will be so more peaceful.

This is an absolute great idea and highly likely that in the future it will become reality.
And that is the good part of it.
That it will happen in the future.
So that soon this photographer can still have a reunion with his Mexican Senorita.







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Monday, April 21, 2008

Watch Brandon Bay

Sometimes strange messages are received.
Like this one:


Hi M,

We know each other from Den Bosch and I was assisting you when you met M.N...remember?!

I write you because I thought of you during one of the most astonishing experiences in my life.

After I read 'The healing journey' by Brandon Bays I decided to experience 'the Journey' myself. That wasn't enough for me so last weekend I did the 'Healing Journey Intensive' seminar weekend in Utrecht Holland.

While I meditated together with 200 other people and 150 Journey practitioners and miss Bays herself you came into my thoughts:'This is something for M.S.K.!'

Listening to that innervoice I decided to tell M.N. about it.
She was surprised and gave me this blog address. 'Give my greetings too.' she said.

M. I want you to know that 'the healing Journey' can be the key for what your looking for! If you're looking for something.
It's simple and it's full of Love!

After experiencing three Journey's I feel so much relief! The heavy energy that blocked my creativity, my trust, and my gratitude for life is out of my body and mind... It opened my creativity, trust and gratitude for the life that I live!

I have no idea why you came into my mind. I just follow what comes on my path. I truly feel like a messenger. The rest is up to you.

If you're interested you can start by reading the book: 'The healing Journey' by Brandon Bays. If you feel drawn to it, just open up to what comes! You will recognize signs...

Greeting from L.K. and M.N.


A puzzling message.
Who are these L.K. and M.N. ?

After some deep thinking and visiting a dusty and dark cave of the memory it became clear who these persons are.
L.K. is Linda Kastanja.
And M.N. is, of all persons, ex-wife Mayumi Nakazaki.

In Spring 1993 it was very busy with the work and Linda Kastanja was the assistant.
A beautiful girl from Indonesian descent and one of the best assistants ever.
In those days Mayumi Nakazaki came to live in the big house in Amsterdam.
Initially as a tenant.
Soon the situation arose that both Mayumi Nakazaki as well as Linda Kastanja were in love with the innocent photographer.
But he was not that innocent.
He was in love as well.
And this strangely enough with both girls.
He found them both attractive and desirable.

Eventually the choice was made to go for the Japanese Mayumi Nakazaki.
And this resulted eventually even in a marriage.
But it could have been the other way around.

Fortunately, Linda Kastanja continued to work as an assistant and also to be a friend.
She even became good friends with Mayumi Nakazaki and this, as the message recently received shows , is still a continuing friendship.

Linda Kastanja’s message is a beautiful message.
Imagine, after 15 years a woman in meditation with 200 others has to think of this photographer.
And she still has feelings for him.
And concerns.
Linda Kastanja imagines that the globetrotter is looking for something in life and that she found the key that will help him to find it !

Obviously Linda Kastanja, now in her mid thirties, is still searching in her life.
And found Brandon Bays.
That might work for her.
But she must realise that Brandon Bays and her organisation is first of all focused on exploiting commercially people in need of answers to the questions they have about life.

Linda Kastanja would make much more progress in life and save herself a lot of money by meditating and act upon this fundamental truth:

There are no answers.
There are only choices.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about Brandon Bay, click on:

http://www.thejourney.com/welcome.htm

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Life positive

It cannot be remembered anymore how many times there have been interviews about the project “The most beautiful people in the world” over the last four years.
But there have been a lot.

Last week a request came from a magazine called “Life Positive”.

A very interesting publication.
It writes about itself:
“A body - mind - spirit magazine promoting a holistic understanding of the unity of life and self with an emphasis on personal growth.
The magazine Life Positive covers the beat of spiritual wisdom helping seekers attain enlightenment through meditation techniques and the path shown by many gurus”.


After it was agreed to give an interview a long list of questions was sent:

* a few lines about your project.
* what are the 10 countries you chose, and why?
* from which country did you come to India; was it the last country? any reason for that?
* what are your impressions of India: its geography, life and its people.
* India is a huge country. how did you choose Bombay and why?
* how do you compare India with other countries?
* do you think Indians are happy; how do they come across?
if you feel they are happy, how do you explain it?
Can happiness exist in horrific poverty?
* what do you think of the Indian people you have met. (please be honest and critical too).
* do you think people all over the world are similar?
* what are the usual answers to the question -- do you think you are the most beautiful person in the world?
* did Indians have different answers; do the poor in different countries think alike and do the rich also think alike?
* do you think India is a spiritual country; much more than other countries.
* if you do, what makes you feel that?
* any exciting encounters during your travels especially in India?
* what do you see as the problems in India which prevent it from progressing. Comparisons are always made between India and China.
* do you think corruption and poverty go hand in hand. how is corruption in China and in the other poor countries you have visited? how does India rate?
* how does an assignment like this change you as a person? do you feel more fortunate or more lousy and terrible? how do you handle the great diversities and inequities in the human race so visibly expressed in countries like India.
* do you believe in God?; are you religious or spiritual. What is your understanding of a higher power if it exists at all for you.
* how do you de-stress; does all this get you thinking about the deeper and more profound realisations of life. are you into yoga, meditation, training, running, sport..anything?
* how do you manage to live like a nomad. don’t you ever want some permanence or some base or family or woman or emotion or home or something familiar you can call your own? is being a nomad a spiritual call?
* we know that you took cow urine tablets. Did it help, are you continuing with it? What do you think of the idea or the concept?
* what was your experience of the Hare Krishna temple and your stay there.


Where to begin to answer a series of questions like this ?
Truly answering them all at length would result in a book.
And there is the matter of time.
In these days of many activities, how much time can be devoted to interviews?

Another issue is that visiting the 10 countries and documenting the persons believing they are the most beautiful is ready now.
That is a done job.
Obviously there is no desire at all to remain in the context of this project.
Life moves on and a new project is being developed.
There is not much appeal anymore to talk over and over again about the most beautiful people.

However, interviews are part of the job.
One cannot make a project and once it is presented to the audience disappear out of sight.
It needs to be accompanied and the momentum boosted.

What has been cooked of this particular interview can soon be seen on the website of the magazine “Life Positive”.
Check http://www.lifepositive.com










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Friday, April 18, 2008

Marketing madness

Originally it was planned to relax in Poland.

The three weeks of working for the project “The most beautiful people in the world” in Mumbai, India together with senior team members Marjolein van Veen and Karine Versluis had been rather exhausting.
Often difficult situations and circumstances and limited comfort and diversions.
Even the massage centre around the corner was closed for renovation.

Therefore the idea was to go to Poland and enjoy the hospitality of the family and spend the days reading books.
To recover of the extreme trip to India.

“Shantaram”, the book by Gregory David Roberts playing in Mumbai was packed.
Hemingway’s “Across the river and into the trees”.
John Steinbeck’s “The log from the Sea of Cortez”.
A book by the Belgium writer Hugo Claus: “Het verdriet van België”.
And the fascinating book about Mumbai “Karma Sutra” by friend Rajendar Menen.

So now that the two weeks in Poland are almost over the question is asked how those books are?
By asking this question the truth is revealed that the books were not read at all, except for a large part in friend Rajendar Menen’s book.

Have the days been spent sleeping?
Or chasing the beautiful Polish ladies, in abundance around?
Maybe dining, wining and rhyming all the time?

The truth is that there was no time for leisure.
So much work had to be done that no time could be found to read books or even make a daily walk.
From seven in the morning till late in the afternoon the time was spent behind the computer every single day.
All work concerning the project “The most beautiful people in the world”, the conceptual images of the “PS-series”, correspondence and blogwriting.

Most activities are positive and constructive and a great joy to do.
However, a few rotten apples are in the basket.
This is the consequence of the work being successful and finding its way into the world.
It gets to people who promise and make agreements after which they only act based on what is in their own interest.
After an agreement is made they get hold of the material they want to have and next ignore the agreement on those points that are not in their advantage.

This happens now with one magazine and one newspaper both in Europe.
They were interested to publish a selection of the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.
As usual, responsible for the negotiations was senior marketing manager Marjolein van Veen.
She has a long experience working in a management position with the American company General Electric and is therefore highly professional in her work for the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.

What happened was that the newspaper and the magazine agreed to publish the results of the project based on a specific amount of pages and for a certain amount per page.
Let’s say 8 pages for 500 € per page.
This part of the agreement is essential for the photographer because it decides how much money the sale will bring in and how prominent the project is presented to the audience.
If the amount of pages and/or the price per page is too low, the photographer will not accept the agreement and go to another magazine.

What has happened is that after the agreement was made, and this is in writing, the magazine one-sidedly decided to half the amount of the pages.
Instead of 8 pages, only 4 pages.
This decision has two consequences.
Suddenly the income for the photographer drops 50 %.
And the project is presented in a much less prominent way and therefore less effective with its message.
Meanwhile the magazine demands exclusivity: no other magazine at that stage is allowed to be approached to see if a better publication can be had there.

The difficulty here is that the magazine or the newspaper believes they have the right to do this.
They think it is normal they break an agreement.
And they put the photographer in a difficult situation.
What to do?
Sue?

These issues are now playing and Marjolein van Veen, the marketing manager handles them as best as she can.
But unavoidably the photographer gets involved as well.

Another issue that can be expected when doing business worldwide is problems with payment.
One major magazine on the other side of the world signed an agreement including a deadline for paying.
We are now 4 months after this deadline and no money has been transferred.

These issues are part of being a photographer who sells.
There is no complaining about these aspects of the profession.
Besides, marketing manager Marjolein van Veen does the bulk of the work.
But in spite of that, these things are annoying and on the mind too often.

However, no finish line will be reached and a gold medal won without successfully jumping over the hurdles.






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A most bizarre proposal

With cousin Jerzek to the town of Tarnow.
A city of over 120.000 inhabitants in the South of Poland.

Two reasons to go to Tarnow where before the Second World War half of its population consisted of Jewish persons.
But in 1943 the town was declared by the German occupiers “Judenrein” (free of Jews).
Most of the Jewish people living in Tarnow had been massacred.

One reason to travel to Tarnow is Aunt Anka.
The last surviving member of the family of her generation.



At 87 years old Aunt Anka lives in a comfortable private home for the elderly and still plays waltzes and foxtrots on the piano.
Making the other aged inhabitants of the home dance as if they were still in their twenties.
Aunt Anka has been working as a meteorologist and has been living in the capital of Poland, Warszawa.
Never she married and even today she claims what a good decision that was.
Yesterday she said with twinklings in her eyes:
“I had a fiancé and he wanted to marry me. But I liked my freedom too much !”.

Aunt Anka is still having an excellent health.
No signs of Alzheimer, Parkinson or any other physical or mental inconvenience plaguing most persons over 85.
What might be a reason for her excellent health is the fact that she is always in a fantastic mood.
Always happy.
Always smiling.
Always making jokes.
And never has she been heard complaining.

When Aunt Anka dies she will be buried in the same grave where her mother is.
And not only her mother.
In that large grave are four of her sisters who also never married.
There is even another woman in that grave: the second wife of my father.
Who himself has joined those six women.
Eventually he will be there resting forever surrounded by seven women.
That makes a son think about role models.

This grave is in the town of Tarnow and it is a tradition to go there every year together with cousin Jerzek.
At the entrance flowers and candles are sold and a large supply is purchased by the two cousins who are less loud than they usually are.
Walking along graves of Soviet soldiers killed by the Germans during the fighting for Tarnow in 1944 eventually the “Krzyzanowscy”-tomb is reached.
As always, the grave is lovingly cleaned of dust, old flower bouquets removed, candles lighted and the new flowers are placed on the large dark stone.

Cousin Jerzek prays and makes a Catholic cross while the photographer only wonders in his mind if his father would be content with what kind of person his beloved son has become.

Just around the corner from the “Krzyzanowscy”-tomb is the grave of Aunt Danuta.
The mother of cousin Jerzyk.
She is there with her husband.
It is a large grave and cousin Jerzyk, who planned and financed this grave, explained that in there is room for 5 people.
Those resting places in that grave are intended for himself, his wife and his two kids.
That makes four with one space still available.

And then cousin Jerzyk said something extraordinary:
“If you like, you can join us there”.
Never before has such a bizarre but remarkable proposal been made.

In fact, it is a very good idea.
Not being married anymore and as far as is known without children, it would be a lonely thing to be buried somewhere in a country where dead wishes to strike.
What a great idea to know that eventually the body will rest together with the family members so loved.

And it will give an opportunity to even when life finishes to still make a journey.
When the dead body will be flown from who knows where to the cemetery of Tarnow, Poland.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


To learn more about the city of Tarnow in Poland, click on

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarn%C3%B3w






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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shopped for Photoshopper

The first darkroom to develop films and print images was in a closet underneath a staircase in a bungalow in the town of Breda, the Netherlands.
This must have been around 1966.

As of then, wherever living, a darkroom was installed and used.

This was also the situation when living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in a large and comfortable house in the city centre near the famous Leidseplein and the Vondelpark.
One room was the archive.
One large room was the studio where portraits and erotic pictures were made.
One room was the darkroom.

But in the 90’s some things changed.
The activities in photography had become very time consuming.
There were always projects to perform, travels to make, portraits to take, exhibitions to be prepared and publications to arrange.
Less and less time was available to do printing in the darkroom.

Besides, after more than 25 years printing in the darkroom, it was felt it was getting rather boring.
And it was realized how unhealthy it was to stand for hours in chemical fumes in spite of a good ventilator.

Fortunately not far away from the house was a small professional lab run by a woman called Ruby specialised in developing black and white films and making black and white prints.
She got involved and responsible for most of the printing.

There were two hurdles to take to come to this decision.
One was a financial one.
Of course it was more expensive to have a professional lab print the pictures compared with doing it oneself.
Because when one does it oneself, the hours are not counted and charged.
But in the 90’s money was coming in from sales of work and also people who wanted to buy work had to pay higher prices to include Ruby’s fees.

But most important hurdle was the acceptance that the photographer himself did not print the own pictures anymore.
At the time it was believed that only the one who took the picture should do the printing in the darkroom.
Many thought that a print had more personal characteristics when the photographer did the printing.
Having a lab do the printing was like giving up on a strong personal presence in the print.

However, it did not take long to realise that Ruby made prints much better than the photographers could make.
And quickly this doctrine and dogma of having to do the own printing was dumped, production and quality increased and much more time became available for taking pictures.

Soon after, the darkroom was changed into a second guestroom when the wife’s brother moved in.
That was the last darkroom in the existence of this photographer and this is a celebrated and happy thing.

Nowadays, in the age of digital photography when there are no more films to develop and print, another issue has been coming up.

Since a few years on an abandoned beach in Baja California, Mexico, conceptual images are made.
This with a digital camera.
The individual pictures are combined into a final image with a software program called Photoshop in an Apple computer.

What is becoming clear is that the effectiveness of working in Photoshop and the resulting quality has everything to do with the skill and experience one has with this software program.
Photoshop is a very complex program and it takes courses and classes and many hours behind the computer to become a pro.

This situation results in the photographer having brilliant ideas for new conceptual images using several pictures but running into a wall.

It is possible now to construct with Photoshop a new conceptual image using existing pictures made on the beach, but the result looks rather clumsy.
This is because of lack of sufficient knowledge and experience with the software program Photoshop.

Hence, like in the 90’s, the question is asked if it is not a dogma that a photographer must construct his own images in Photoshop?
Why can a specialist not do it?
Who get precise instructions and clumsy examples after which a perfect and convincing image is the result?

Recently this process has been passed.
The concept of doing the manipulations in Photoshop on the own computer with the limited knowledge of the software has been left behind.
The decision has been made to hire an expert who will work on the PS-series in order to have perfect and more convincing results.

In the near future this collaboration may evolve in making the starting point pictures in Mexico and sending them to the Photoshop expert together with sketches how the final conceptual image is desired.
The days of spending many hours being frustrated with Photoshop are over.

Of course, one consequence is that now the price of the images of the PS-series will go up.
However, the collector gets a much better product.





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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Juggling in the momentum.

An artist photographer is not more than a woman or a man with a camera.
Pictures are made from the own initiative without being asked.

This results in a group of images or a body of work.
Most artist-photographers next look for ways to present their work to an audience.

This works best as somehow a momentum is coming into existence.

Momentums are very strange phenomenons.
They are uncontrollable.
They cannot be forced to happen.
While needed to obtain success and possibly income, it is always a matter of waiting if it will happen or not.

Of course, somehow some influence can be exercised to invite momentum to happen.
It can come by the choice of subject.
It can come by being really up to date with the Zeitgeist.
It can come by having an excellent network of persons in the business.
It can come by having very original and high quality work.

In a career spanning over 38 years many momentums have been experienced.
But the one currently happening, around the project “The most beautiful people in the world”, is of dimensions and of an impact never witnessed before.

The project “The most beautiful people in the world” has success worldwide.
It triggers interest in most countries and find ways to the audiences easily.
Besides, it makes many other things happen.
Invitations for exhibitions.
Invitations for workshops and lectures.
Invitations for interviews.

This multifaceted and worldwide momentum puts the artist-photographer at the centre of a tremendous whirlwind gaining in strength and volume every day.
Important in such a situation is to remain with both feet firmly on the ground.
To have the things happen without getting lost in the complex facets of the momentum.
Easily it could carry a person away to end in confusion and in megalomania.

Being in a major momentum feels like being a juggler.
Who tries to keep many objects in the air.
Who tries not to have them fall on the floor.
While more and more objects are added.
A nerve wrecking activity.



Of course it is wonderful to have worldwide success.
But the own life needs to remain centred also.
This is why several activities that came as a consequence of the momentum have been delegated to others.
Like the whole marketing and distribution of the images.
This is hardly a concern of the artist-photographer anymore and now in the hands of a very able and efficient manager.

Hence, there is time now to visit the last remaining Polish Aunt in a home for the elderly in Tarnow, Poland and the cemetery there to put flowers and candles on the family grave.








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Monday, April 14, 2008

3 recent Polish images










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Food with sex

Sunday is a perfect day for a family outing.
So, it was decided to drive from the town of Nowy Sacz to the famous city of Cracow.
A trip taking almost two hours but this is because in Poland roads are small and highways have not been invented yet.



Entering the streets of Cracow a modest sign was noticed on a normal looking house:
It said:
“Non stop exotic massage”

Once seated in the bright and warm sunshine behind a glass of Polish Tyskie beer on the beautiful main square of Cracow, cousin Jerzyk, who is considered an expert in these matters, was asked what exactly means “non stop exotic massage”.
It was suggested to cousin Jerzyk that it probably means that the massage is done with the juice of pineapples, mangoes, papayas and bananas.
However, cousin Jerzyk, who is not exactly born yesterday, immediately saw the irony in the naïve remark and countered by saying that a lady from Africa performs an exotic massage.
But what then about the non-stop aspect of the treatment.
Was it a massage starting but never ending?
Another salt less demonstration of cheap humour because even most fervent and loyal blog readers understand that non-stop in this case means that during 24 hours a day and night an African lady is on duty to perform her exotic tricks.

The day developed beautifully with a visit to the Wawel Castle where once Polish Kings were living.
It is beautifully restored and what an experience it is to walk where once the centre of Europe was based and its destiny decided.
Besides, the castle garden was at its most beautiful because of the magnolia trees having their flowers this time of year.

At the end of the wonderful afternoon cousin Jerzyk was leading his wife, his 17-year-old daughter and the international son of his uncle to a restaurant in Cracow for a dinner.
To ultimate surprise this restaurant was a “Roosters”-restaurant.

Probably and hopefully not many fervent and loyal blog readers know what is a “Roosters”-restaurant.
It is an American franchise chain operating worldwide.
A “Roosters”-restaurant is a large space in a centre of a city.
It has a bar and a kitchen and tables and chairs and a menu and one can eat and drink there.
The trick is the waitresses.
They are hardly dressed.

All of them wear a tight and too short T-shirt and red hot pants.


This reveals most of how the girls look and they show quite some nudity.


Obviously only real beautiful girls are selected to work in “Roosters” and they get the time to work out in the fitness centre and to get a deep tan in the solarium.



What is truly remarkable are two things.

The Polish “Roosters” in Cracow, Poland, is a family restaurant.
Not a place where only horny men go eating out as an alibi to satisfy other desires.
Families with children of different ages go to “Roosters” and seem not to be shocked or distracted or annoyed or excited by the fact that beautiful scarcely dressed sexy girls serve the food.

The second remarkable thing is that the girls working in this restaurant are totally acting normally and naturally.
They do not give any hint of shyness or embarrassment.
In fact they work as if nothing is the matter.
And the clientele of the restaurant acts in the same way.
For example, taking our order and serving us, this beautiful Polish girl was standing right next to the table.


She could be seen at close range from halfway her upper legs all the way to her head.
The red hot pants were tight.
Lightly accentuating her pubic bone and vulvar lips.
She had a well-trained belly showing discipline in eating and exercising and her belly button was decorated with a glistening silver star.
She was a totally convincing woman when it comes to being attractive.
But what it made so special was her naturalness.
Standing very close next to unknown people in this physical revealing way without any hesitation or reservation made her more desirable and inspirational than an oasis after 40 days in the desert.

But what is the daydreaming about when she probably has at home this guy servicing her hopefully adequately and offering her a steady future?
And why be dizzied by glistening stars in belly buttons while a wonderful and desiring senorita is waiting in Mexico?

In the end “Roosters” was a self-confrontational experience.
Of great value.
It brought some considerations.

One is that in fact “Roosters” was not enjoyed at all.
It is personally too disturbing.
Of course sexuality and sensuality is highly appreciated.
But it is felt as being degraded when used to attract customers to a restaurant.

Second consideration is the exploitation of women by “Roosters”.
Obviously women don’t work in “Roosters” because they like so much to serve food in tight red hot pants, solarium tanned, fitness centre sculptured and wearing tight T-shirts revealing the shapes of the breasts above the dining table.
It is probably only because it is a well-paid job.

Thirdly, from grounds of equality, strong objection is felt by the fact that only women work in “Roosters”.
Why are there not waiters dressed in red hot pants revealing the shapes of penises and tight T-shirts showing well-developed chests and muscles?
Are only heterosexual men eating in “Roosters” we may ask?

When leaving the restaurant a sincere Indian bow was made to the girl who had been serving our table.

And the dark, narrow, dangerous and busy road taken back to the family home.








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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Being blasé?

Frequent readers of this blog, who are of course different from the loyal and fervent readers, will have noticed that life of this photographer tend to occur in the more marginal sections of life.
Most diverse and extreme situations are experienced.

Nights were spent on a wooden platform of a family in the Amazon rainforest in Peru and in a King Size bed of The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, USA.
Dining was in “Le Train Bleu” in the Gare de Lyon in Paris but also in food stalls in the streets of Surabaya, Indonesia.

Even more important than the circumstances are the exceptional people that are met while working and travelling worldwide.
Famous people were met but also persons that should be famous.

Is this kind of life style not resulting in becoming blasé?
That hardly anything still impresses as exceptional?

Yesterday morning at first light, a blackbird started singing right next to the window of the comfortable bedroom of this globetrotter.

Blackbirds are remembered from childhood.
The house of birth was in a park with many trees.
Each morning as a child the wake up call came from the blackbirds in the garden.
Hence, here in Poland the singing of the blackbird at about 6.30 AM was highly appreciated.
It brought back memories and bridged time.
As if nothing had happened since some years.

Blackbirds can be found only in Europe.
Although they are also spotted sometimes in North Africa, the Canary Islands and South Asia.

The remarkable thing of the blackbird is the singing.
They use singing to unsuccessfully stake their territory.

It is a sensation to listen to the blackbird singing because the tunes it makes are never ever the same.
There are birds that can sing but only one tune.
Famous example is the owl.
It is “uhu uhu uhu uhu” all his life...

But the blackbird is an absolute virtuoso.
Each tune takes approximately 4 to 5 seconds.
And each time the blackbird comes up with something different.

While listening to this Polish blackbird this phenomenon was checked.
And indeed, the incredible bird managed to present a new tune every time!

This made the waker think about creativity and photography.
To make pictures like a blackbird sings.
Each time different.
Each time letting the creativity flow to come up surprisingly with something original.
To make inventivity the source of all action.

Repetition ransacked.
Imitation irrationalized.
Plagiarizing petrified.
Epigonism eliminated.

The pictures of a photographer like the tunes of a blackbird.

There are no signs of being blasé.
As long as a blackbird can still astonish, impress and inspire.



Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Black bird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
all your life
you were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Lennon & McCarthy


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To learn more about blackbirds and even hear them sing, click on
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbird







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Two women/nemow owt

As a photographer part of the fascination for the work is that many different situations and many different people are experienced.
Each time it is a surprise and an opportunity to learn.
And sometimes to laugh.

One of the most fascinating aspects of being a photographer is making portraits of people.
This is an ultimate confrontation and in this situation often the cores of the personalities become clear.

Recently it became possible to reflect on two persons portrayed in the last year.
Jennifer Siegal in Los Angeles, USA in August 2007 and Nandita Das in Mumbai, India in March 2008.

Ms. Siegal, a well-known designer, had been selected by the magazine LUMEN to be part of a story about alternative energy in California.
She had to be photographed in her work.
The author of the story of the LUMEN publication, New York journalist Adam Spangler from Vanity Fair, had made contact with Ms. Siegal and arranged the shooting.
However, Ms. Siegal had some conditions.
Before each shooting a make up artist and a hairdresser had to come in to fix her up.
This would take two hours, according to Ms. Siegal, and the magazine had to pay for it.
600 $ for the two of them per hour.
It may not surprise any fervent and loyal blog reader that not only the editors of LUMEN were impressed by these conditions but that they also rejected them out of hand.
Eventually a compromise was reached.
Before each shooting the hairdresser would come for one hour.

To simplify matters, and not have the hairdresser in the way, the photographer instructed Ms. Siegal to have everything done before the shooting would start.
But when arriving in Ms. Siegal’s office the hairdresser was still there with her impressive equipment, tools, tricks and tingles.

One of the worst mistakes ever in the career of this hard working photographer occurred then and there.
Looking at Ms. Siegal it was noticed that not much had been done yet about her hair and she was asked in an agitated way when for God’s sake the hairdresser would start her job.
Coolly and slightly insulted Ms. Siegal replied that in fact her hair was actually ready.
The disorganised, upheavaled and disrupted hair was the result of 2 hours of precise sculpturing of the champion hairdresser who turned out to be Ms. Siegals’ close friend.

Another issue was the fact that Ms. Siegal had put on for the occasion a cocktail dress.
Clothes one would wear when going to an elegant party.
While the shooting was to be of a hard working designer in her workplace.
Obviously it was very important to Ms. Siegal how she looked in the pictures.
That people would be impressed by her physical beauty and her way of dressing.
This is easy to understand.
Designers are operating in a competitive business.
Good looks are helpful.
If a well-designed house is coming from an elegant and attractive designer, extra incentives are carried into the battle for possible new assignments.
This way of working was becoming really clear when it was later revealed that two of the most prominent houses in Los Angeles Ms. Siegal had designed and had been build belong to two of her former boyfriends.

This was August 2007 and it is only part of the many experiences with Jennifer Siegal.

Now fast-forward to March 2008.
Walking in the streets of the neighbourhood called Juhu in Mumbai, India one evening, the team member Marjolein van Veen of the project “The most beautiful people in the world” accompanied by journalist Ms. Lhatta of the magazine Marie Claire, spotted in the street the famous film actress Nandita Das.
Ms. Das was standing there with a male friend eating pasta from a carton plate she had bought from a stall in the street.
One would expect a film star to eat in fancy restaurants but not so Ms. Das.

Senior team member Marjolein van Veen approached Ms. Das to explain her the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.
They had a long conversation and Ms. Das promised to visit the website of the project to learn more about it.
The next day was a phone conversation and Ms. Das agreed to participate in the project and invited the team to her home.

The shooting with Ms. Das could not have been more different than the experience with Ms. Siegal.
While Ms. Siegal surrounded herself with clouds of pretension and focus on appearance, Ms. Das was the simplicity herself.
She was cordial, open, interested and very professional.
Dressed in a most simple but beautiful dress.
No hairdressers around.
No make up artists.
In fact, Ms. Das wore no make up whatsoever and had her hair in a natural way.

The shooting of Ms. Das was a great pleasure because she knows how to look convincing in a picture.
It was not about trying to look beautiful or attractive, as was the case with Ms. Siegal.
It was about looking as who you are.
Simple, modest, honest, open, without any tralala.

As a photographer these situations are experienced.
And the thing is that the photographer should never fall into the pit of becoming judgemental.
It is a job and no matter how the people are, the best pictures possible need to be made.
This is why it was a privilege and a joy to meet and share moments with Jennifer Siegal.
And a privilege to meet and share moments with Nandita Das.
Because, is Jennifer Siegal, Nandita Das, the photographer and all loyal and fervent blog readers, not simply trying to make the best of their lives?

Jennifer Siegal, designer


Nandita Das, actress.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



To learn more about Jennifer Siegal, click on:
http://www.designmobile.com/

To learn more about Nandita Das, click on:
http://www.nanditadasonline.com/



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Friday, April 11, 2008

The Wild West in the East.

Now based in the small town of Nowy Sanz in the South of Poland where the weather is unbelievable warm and with plenty of sunshine.
Lodged in the very comfortable bungalow of cousin Jerzyk an office is created at a corner of the 10 persons table in the immense dining room.
Here logistics are managed of life and work, current projects further developed and new ones initiated.

Nevertheless, cousin Jerzyk is afraid that the hyperactive family member may bore himself and this is why last night while having dinner he proposed to go and visit the Wawel cathedral of the city of Krakow soon and the salt mines of Wieliczka.



But this photographer is the worst tourist in the world and hates to visit places to inactively admire things like a church or even a salt mine.
Doing such an activity feels like having one foot in the tomb and the rest of the body to follow soon.

Hence, a counter proposal was made and this concerns the village of Chodorow in the Ukraine where our family originates from.


Since one year it is possible to get a visa at the border to enter the Ukraine.
The Ukrainian authorities have simplified entrance into their country and this makes it possible to go there and visit Grandfather’s grave.

But the idea to go to Chodorow launched during dinner exploded like a grenade filled with confetti.
Immediately the level of excitement, that was at a normal level, skyrocketed.
Everybody started talking with a loud and agitated voice.

It is a big issue for Polish people to think of going to the Ukraine.
There is a long historical background: in the end the Szulc Krzyzanowski family and millions of others were chased away from their lands during the Second World War and had to settle far more to the West.
They lost their home.

The other issue is that travelling to the Ukraine has hardly been possible during the last 60 years.
Hence, the Ukraine is like an unknown territory with unknown people living there and that makes most people afraid and careful.
It is the unknown and not many like to jump into it.

Then there are all the stories about the Ukraine.
That it is worse than what the Wild West once was.
Besides that every other Ukrainian person, so the stories go, is a robber, thief and criminal, the police are the worst.
They have roadblocks every 5 kilometres (3 miles) where a fine for nothing has to be paid.
And once in the city of Lwow in a hotel, it is too dangerous to go out after dark.
In case you want to return home alive.

It all sounds like a holiday in the Green Zone of Baghdad or a trip to Tsjetsjenia and the Ukraine stories might have a flavour of exaggeration.



But you never know.
If a bullet hits a visitor, the adventure turns into a tragedy and the exaggeration in that particular case was unjustified.

At the dinner table cousin Jerzyk immediately started calling people who knew more about going to the Ukraine and one story was stunning.
A Polish truck driver had been to the Ukraine recently and disclosed: “I kissed the ground once back in Poland”.

And another person insisted not to go with his car.
Cousin Jerzyk has a Porsche Cayenne.
That is asking for trouble in any uncivilised country.

In the end it was learned that the way to go was to drive to the Polish-Ukrainian border after arranging a pick-up by highly paid Ukrainian drivers and bodyguards on the other side.
The border crossing would be by foot and the journey would continue with the hired crew of professionals in violence, crime, banditism and corruption.
This is of course another way of tourism compared to visiting the cathedral of Krakow and the salt mine of Wieliczka.



A little bit of extra excitement and a higher premium to pay for health and life insurance.

Would a fervent and loyal blog reader accept this challenge?
To go or not to go?
To ignore the intimidation and put flowers on Grandfather’s grave or to chicken out and pray in the Krakow Cathedral?



This is not a question.
Even cousin Jerzyk, after the initial shock of learning about the plan to go to Chodorow, sees clearly now it is the thing to do.
Hence, the logistics are set up and if this is successful we go.
Bye bye.







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