Damien Hirst: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

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Aspect of Katie Ishtar ¥o-landi

So holidays are over, and after a one week business trip to Philippines I am back home where I can start processing my pictures. Let me start by saying that I enjoyed very much the Leica Kit that I wrapped in my last post (The summer bag). Sadly the 90mm did not get much use (apart from some marmots)  and my sensor is dusty so every shot with some blue sky needs editing.

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Let me start by a small post about the exhibition “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” the latest work of Damien Hirst at Foundation Pinault both at Palazzo Grassi and at la Punta Della Dogana. This is off the Biennale, but probably the most striking work to be seen in Venice this year.

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Gilded Medusa head

Hirst exhibitions is a colossal collection of the old world wonders as they have been recovered from a wreck in Easter Mediterranean sea. The exhibition boasts the “original” treasures as recovered, some footage of the salvaging, some artifacts redone as new.

This fictional (needless to say) story and the amount (in quantity, variety of materials and size) of the objects in display is mesmerizing, whatever anyone can think of Hirst work. If you still have time don’t hesitate to go.

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Silver Unicorn skull

The ticket covers both exhibitions, but frankly the exhibition at Punta Della Dogana is superior to the Palazzo Grassi, so if you have to chose… The Palazzo offers two major items, a colossal status of three stores high (below) and a piece inspired by the haircut of Yolandi from the band “Die Antwort” and teh bust of the artist girlfriend (so was I said, but I did not have a chance to check).

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You can check  http://www.palazzograssi.it/

Note also that the building at the Punta Della Dogana is a 17th century warehouse refurbished by Tadao Ando, this by itself is worth visiting.

All shots with Leica M262 with Summicron 28mm or 50mm.

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Damien Hirst: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

CENO2 Graffiti Artist

This is the second time I bump into CENO2  over the past few years he is a Singaporean graffiti artist that lives abroad, apparently often in Chicago.

This time again I saw him working on a mural at Somerset Skate park in central Singapore. This was one of the first days where I was carrying around the M262 and Summicron 28.

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Back two weeks later I saw he had already replaced his drawing with the two followings.

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These were taken with the old Summilux 50mm V2 mounted on the M262.

You can learn more about Ceno2 at https://www.facebook.com/Ceno2Artkhalytis/

 

 

CENO2 Graffiti Artist

The Fire Dragon – Part 1

“it all started as a riot”

 

I felt very lucky last week when a friend of my wife told us a bout a fire dragon performance organized by a temple in Balestier area in Singapore. In 9 years here I have never seen such a thing and was very thrilled to see one.

The Fu De Gong temple is located in Kim keat lane, very easy to access by bus. I have been told by the friendly member of the temple that this is a taoist temple. I did not see the actual temple as we arrived at night fall and the premises were covered by the tent hosting the celebration.

There was maybe a couple of hundred people attending, on one side of the tent was a stage with a Cantonese opera (or wayang) on the other side a large shrine and in the middle an area for the performances.

When we arrived a very good quality lion dance was in process and we enjoyed for a good half hour until the riot begin. From the end of the road the Dragon was approaching; with music and flames; until it finally enters the tent (but that’s another story)…

The Fire Dragon – Part 1

Singapore Tyler Print Institute open doors

Sunday was an open doors day at the STPI along Singapore river. On top of excellent exhibitions through the year the STPI does an open day each year for the biggest joy of kids and adults alike.

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It is an opportunity to learn about the many techniques of printing, and try them first hand.

Printing press

Printing press

Blouses

On one of the workshops you also have the opportunity to make your own paper.

Paper making workshop

For more information about the STPI check http://www.stpi.com.sg/

Eitaro Ogawa - Chief printer
Mr Eitaro Ogawa – Chief printer

This was also the day I tried my “new” Canon (yes you read correctly)

My friend Chum gave me his EOS-1N last week. In pristine condition I must say. I rushed to Excelsior Plazza Saturday to get a lens. I bought a 50mm1.8 MKII for 99 SGD. Load 8 new batteries in the grip, a roll of TMAX and Sunday was the day I shot a Cannon SLR for the first time.

Camera: Canon EOS-1N
Lens: Canon 50mmF1.8 EF MKII
Film:Kodak TMAX 100ISO

Singapore Tyler Print Institute open doors

Leica M6 + summaron 35mmF2.8

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That’s it, it did not took me one year to upgrade, or at least expand my Leica toolbox.

I was a bit frustrated last summer when trying the M240 for nearly 4 days. This is of course a wonder of a camera but I found all in all a few issues. Definitely for its price it is not the one fits all camera I am wishing for; it cannot take Circular polarizers, the close range is not so close, older lenses are visibly outdated, for the price you would wish every shot to be a piece of art which actually it is not. Also, having to wear glasses to see things at short distance the back screen and live view is a total loss for me (maybe there is something I have to learn here). Don’t get me wrong I had a lot of fun, and probably I will end up owning one sometime, but really I felt no urge to do so. I concluded my small review saying that instead I would more likely invest in a newer film body in the short term.

I already own a M4 with a Summilux 50mm V2, a Leica IIIc with a Summitar 50mmF2 and a few Ltm lens; most notably a Color Skopar 21mmF4. I was quite interested in getting a body with a meter and a wider lend. I ended up purchasing a boxed M6 Classic black and a Summaron 35mmF2.8, the version with the goggles.

Subodh Gupta – Le Domaine du Muy – France Shot with Fuji Provia 100 ISO, Summilux 50mmF1.4

Both pieces come in excellent condition (but I am not a collector), no dents or scratches, difficult to see how much films they shot.

I have now shot 6 films with the M6 and the Summaron or the Summilux and I must say I am very happy. Both works very smoothly and are very easy to use.

The metering is a lot better that using a handheld meter. Actually this cause a bit of a problem because if I have the M6 and the M4 in the bag, the M4 tends to stay there. Focusing is very easy; the finder is very bright, although I suspect there is a bit of haze in one of the front glass. With the goggles of the Summaron the viewfinder is a bit less luminous, something I would not have though of.

Compression de Porsche – César – Mougins – France TMAX100 – Summaron 35mmF2.8

There is absolutely no difficulties using the M6 if you had another M before; actually I would think that if you played with a few film cameras before it’s difficult to come with a surprise. The only small problem, which Leica solved in the M6TTL is the size of the speed dial. It is quite frustrating to manipulate it when looking at the meter arrows inside the finder.

The Summaron is a nice piece of kit; the infinite lock is particular and easy to handle. The focusing is smooth and does mot require as much course as the Summilux. I think F2.8 is fine for daylight. Some shots have a very nice 3D effect as the lady from the lab puts it.

All in all I am very happy; for the price of a new Elmarit 28mmF2.8 (That I did not found great last year) I have a new kit. I went on my summer holidays with the two bodies, the two lenses and the Color Skopar a very happy combo. All of this fits in a Crumpler 6Mio, with a couple of spare films, wallet, keys, sunglasses and reading glasses.

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Church of the black Nazarene – Manila – Philippines – Portra 400 – Color Skopar 21mmF4

Film wise, I had the chance to shoot a mix of :

  • Provia 100 slides
  • Kodak Tmax 100, my favorite B&W for daylight
  • Kodak TriX and Rollei RPX400, different grain but both nice for street shots
  • Kodak Portra 400, an excellent film, unfortunately under bad weather
  • Cinestill 50, first try, very promising

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La Kitchenette – Katong – Singapore – Cinestill 50 – Summaron 35mmF2.8

It is difficult to conclude. Having a better film camera is not replacing having a digital body, none of the shortcomings of the M240 are solved by the M6, but I can do better Leica shots. But I feel I did a good move. I saved a lot of money, I can happily have my new toy around my neck and still agree that the D700 is the best camera I ever had without looking like a fool. Which is important at my age.

Leica M6 + summaron 35mmF2.8

Calcutta – The potters colony

The first stop of our fourth trip to India was Calcutta, or Kolkata as it is called now.

At first I was very excited to go to India at the period of Diwali the festival of lights, but it turned out that is is more a private event celebrated at home than something you can experience in the street. True, the cities were all lighted-up and people were busy shopping for lights and decorations for their homes. Actually, that week was just after the Durga puja which is a popular celebration in West Bengal, but also the week of Kali Puja which is another big celebration in the area. And particularly in Calcutta.

If we were first struck on the night of our arrival by the number of people sleeping in the street, we were also very surprised to see number of bamboo structures being erected across the city. This, were we told, was for the construction of temporary temples for the upcoming Kali puja.

The next day one of the highlights of our tour was the “potters colony” or Kumartuli. I did not do much research before and was afraid to be inflicted one of the pseudo artisanal attractions you see from time to time. It turned out that the potters colony is the place where these craftsmen are building statues of deities (or idols as our guide reffer to them) for the various celebrations of the hindu year. That week all the colony was busy making statues of Kali for the upcoming festival.


The highly decorated statues present Kali, with a necklace of severed demons heads that she defeated but also stepping on her husband Shiva, she generally has her tongue sticking out. The explanation we were given can also be found on wikipedia:

Once Kali had destroyed all the demons in battle, she began a terrific dance out of the sheer joy of victory. All the worlds began to tremble and sway under the impact of her dance. So, at the request of all the Gods, Shiva himself asked her to desist from this behavior. However, she was too intoxicated to listen. Hence, Shiva lay like a corpse among the slain demons in order to absorb the shock of the dance into himself. When Kali eventually stepped upon Shiva, she realized she was trampling and hurting her husband and bit her tongue in shame.

It is difficult to imagine that so many statues will found someone to buy them; but they actually do. Strolling through the colony you can see statues of various shapes, colors and sizes; but all describing the same scene. You will see idols at various stages of their completion, from gross straw shapes, to fully finished ones. Most of the statues will have their head covered if they are not finished. Artists are painting the fine details of eyes or decorations, some even using spray paint for shades.

All pictures with Nikon D700 + Nikkor 17-35F2.8D, I use a polarizing filter mostly all the on this lens.

Calcutta – The potters colony

The uncle he is a painter – Singapore

 

 

 

 

This old folk was renovation some mural paintings along Keing Saik road near chinatown.

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All shots with the Leica IIIc with the Jupiter 12 35mm f2.8; I used the Ilford Pan 400ISO.

Still 4 or 5 shots going wrong on the film, but the rest is ok, but in short the Leica is not 100 operational.

The Jupiter is not bad after all but it back focuses a bit, it is definitely embarrassing of closer shots.

I just bought a Helios viewfinder for 35,85 and 135 mm so there will be more exploration of the Jupiter but also the Canon 135mm soon.

 

The uncle he is a painter – Singapore