Welcome/Willkommen!

Hello and welcome. Hope you enjoy the images I have posted. Please do not reproduce them without my permission. Most are available as note/greeting cards or as prints/enlargements. Thank you for visiting my site and your comments.
Many have asked about the Header image above, which I named 'Eerie Genny'. It was originally shot with film [taken on the shore of the Genesee River near the Univ. of Rochester]. During the darkroom development, I flashed a light above the tray. The process, known as 'solarization', produces eerie, ghostlike effects; some have mistaken this image as an infra-red photo. Some 35+ years later, I scanned and digitized the print, and did a little modern day editing, and, voila.
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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Magdeburg Skies (ii) [Sky Watch Friday]

Today’s post is dedicated wholly to the Magdeburger Dom. It stands on the site of a monastery built by Otto 1 in 937, most of which was destroyed by fire in 1207. The new cathedral was the first French gothic style structure in Germany; it was dedicated to St. Mauritius [Maurice] and St. Katerina [Catherine]. Views of the exterior clearly show what an awe-inspiring edifice it is today [imagine its effect on 13th century townspeople].


                                          
                                               The interior made no less of an impression.

 
Unlike the French gothic, where sculpture was outside on the portals, Magdeburg  has a variety of beautiful and precious figures inside the church. Facing one another across the choir are the figures of Mauritius and Katerina, sculpted by the same artist around 1250.




 Also in the general area of the choir is a magnificent wood sculpture from Ernst Barlach. It as a strong anti-war piece that requires a great deal of study and contemplation.  I have taken the following passage directly from Wikipedia:

“From 1928 onward Barlach also generated many anti-war sculptures based on his experiences in the war. This pacifist position went against the political trend during the rise of Nazism, and he was the target of much criticism. For example, the Magdeburger Ehrenmal (Magdeburg cenotaph) was ordered by the city of Magdeburg to be a memorial of World War I, and it was expected to show heroic German soldiers fighting for their glorious country. Barlach, however, created a sculpture with three German soldiers, a fresh recruit, a young officer and an old reservist, standing in a cemetery, all bearing marks of the horror, pain and desperation of the war, flanked by a mourning war widow covering her face in despair, a skeleton wearing a German army helmet, and a civilian (the face is that of Barlach himself) with his eyes closed and blocking his ears in terror. This naturally created a controversy with the pro-war population (several nationalists and Nazis claimed that the soldiers must be foreign since true Germans would be more heroic),[4] and the sculpture was removed. Friends of Barlach were able to hide the sculpture until after the war, when it was returned to the Magdeburg Cathedral. Yet, the attacks on Barlach continued until his death.”


                                Close inspection of the skeleton suggests that it is smiling.


Another excerpt from Wikipedia:
“The sculptures of the five wise and the five foolish virgins (see The ten virgins from the List of Bible stories), also around 1250. This is the most remarkable piece of art in the cathedral. The five wise virgins are prepared and bring oil to a wedding, whereas the five foolish virgins are unprepared and bring no oil. Hence they have to go find oil and subsequently arrive late and cannot join the wedding anymore. The unknown artist masterfully expresses the emotions in the faces and the body languages of the girls, showing a much more realistic expression than what was common in art around that time. All figures are different, and have ethnic Slavic features. The sculptures are outside of the north entrance to the transept.”   [For the sake of brevity, I am not posting any close-up shots from these groups.]





Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Morocco Odyssey 25: Marrakesh (iv)

 Finally, we are ready to enter the el-Fna square. For centuries, it was the nerve center and symbol of the city.Once a site for public executions [beheadings], today it is a multi-purpose market place. Occupying a huge area, it is jam packed with all manner of food stands, apparel, musicians [drummers, snake charmers]. The shot below was taken from a restaurant balcony; it can gives you only a small glimpse of extent of the market.


Everywhere I turned in this hustle and bustle, there was something or somebody I wanted to photograph. Below are some select samples of the many shots; they are self-evident, so I will skip further commentary except to say that this was my favorite site.









 The next day we returned to Casablanca for our flight back home. So, this posting completes my Morocco Odyssey account. I hope you enjoyed looking/reading about it. For us, it was among the best foreign travel experiences we ever had. A sneak preview of future posts: we will be visiting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Images will be in color and B&W infrared.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Morocco Odyssey 24: Marrakesh (iii)

The next day was free for exploration on our own, so we returned to Place Jemaa el-Fna square, which is actually just outside the medina wall. Since we already had our orientation walk there, we felt comfortable wandering through the souks. Along the way, there were many places to stop, look, photograph, make a purchase or just chat with the shopkeeper. Below are some images of what we saw/encountered.









In this last image,  I inadvertently caught something I did not notice [in the lower right hand corner] when I took the shot. You might want to look away...


Monday, July 11, 2016

Morocco Odyssey 23: Marrakesh (ii)

We began our next morning in Marrakesh by taking a ride in a traditional horse-drawn cal├Ęche. Initially, we rode through the modern part of the city, which was built by the French in the early 20th century. Below is our driver.


Eventually, we parked and walked through some lush gardens to the Koutoubian mosque, the largest in Marrakesh.



It was near the mosque that we encountered three ‘water men’. In an earlier post, I mentioned one of them for having his picture on the side of a bus. Tradition has it the watermen supplied drinks [carried from local wells in goatskin bags] in brass cups. They announced themselves by ringing the bells. Today they earn their livelihood by posing for pictures with tourists.
 

We proceeded on foot to a number of attractions, including the Saadian Tombs, which date back to the late 16-18th centuries. It is a small ‘palace’ whose rooms serve a mausoleums  for the Saadian princes and royalty, and various favorites of the ruling monarchs. They feature ornate capitals on columns and intricately carved doorways and ceilings





Outside the buildings are burial plots of various chancellors, their wives, and some military personage.


 The Palais Bahia [Palace of the Favorite] was only short walk away from the Tombs. Built at the end of the 19th century, it consists of two parts, both containing apartments built around marble-paved courtyards.



As in the Saadian Tombs, wonderful tile work, woodwork and carvings adorn all the rooms.





It was in the Palais that I encountered four lovely young women from South Africa, who agreed to let me take their portrait.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Morocco Odyssey 22: Marrakesh (i)

The next day we set out from Ouarzazate on a long scenic drive through the High Atlas Mountains  to Marrakesh. This trip required great skill of our bus driver as we drove over the Tishka Pass through narrow, winding roads with endless snapback curves along very steep drop-offs into the valley below. I was not comfortable until we finally reached flat terrain and made our way into Marrakesh, where we would remain for several days. We had lunch at our riad, which was located within the old medina [yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site]. As it turns out Marrakesh is a ‘tale of two cities’, one a modern bustling metropolis, and the other a traditional medina.
Following lunch in our riad, we took an orientation walk to the legendary square, Djemma El-Fna [to which we would return again and again during our stay]. Here are some of the sights we encountered along the way.