I hope you have a good time with friends and
family and wish you all the best for 2014.
I have just received Sebastião Salgado’s Genesis from the postman. I bought this a few days ago on Amazon, when I noticed the absurdly low price they sold it for. I had read some good reviews about this book, which was published in April this year. Apart from the excellent photography a reason why this book stands out is its size. At 36x25cm (almost A3) and a whopping 520 pages printed on heavyweight paper, it weighs in at about 4kg! We all know size isn’t everything, but when a book like this is filled with magnificent photography it makes the price of £23.31 (with free delivery) seem like a steal.
I have only dipped into it for half an hour, so I have only had a look at a fraction of what is there, but the photographs I have seen made me very happy with my purchase. The subtitle gives you a good idea of what you can find inside: A Photographic Homage To Our Planet In It’s Natural State. The photos were taken over 32 trips to places all over the globe. The book starts with A chapter called Planet South (mainly Antarctica) and there are other chapters called Sanctuaries (Galapagos, Irian Jaya, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea’s Highlands, The Mentawai), Africa (The San People, The Dinka Of Southern Sudan,The Himba, A Journey Through The Old Testament, The Ethnic Groups Of Omo Valley), Northern Spaces (mainly Alaska and Canada), and Amazonia And Pantanal. There is a 17 page introduction, but after that it is just 500 pages of photographic goodness, no text or captions to distract from the images. If you are like me and want to know a bit more about the background to the pictures there is a very handy, seperately bound, insert that you can refer to for more information about the subjects of the pictures.
As I said above I have only started to enjoy this book but I have already seen some real masterpieces. It is not a book that you’ll finish in one sitting, but one that you can savour in sections. I am sure that after having seen all the photographs it I will keep it easily accessible, so that I can dip into it whenever I like. I you are a photographer, or someone who likes photography I would highly recommend this book at this price from Amazon.
Jean-Luc Ponty is a fantastic jazz violinist. I had the pleasure of seeing him play live in Paradiso, Amsterdam a good few years ago in the late seventies. The band included a few other great musicians like Patrice Rushen on keyboards, Daryl Stuermer on guitar and Tom Fowler on Trombone. He knew Fowler from his cooperation with Frank Zappa. They both played on Over-Nite Sensation. Ponty’s link with Zappa goes back much further, all the way to 1969 when he played on Hot Rats, described by Zappa as “a movie for your ears.” A few tracks from Aurora featured during the concert in Paradiso. This album is Ponty’s best, in my opinion, much better than the stuff he produced later (and still does, I think.) Here is one of the best tracks, Renaissance
The second album I listened to today was King Kong – Jean-Luc Ponty Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa. He appears together with other fine musicians with Zappa credentials like George Duke, Ian Underwood, Art Tripp, and Zappa himself on guitar. I wonder who was the ‘boss’ in the recording studio.
This year it was my turn to organise a surprise holiday for our anniversary. Slightly out of character I opted for a package deal in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol. The hotel was quirky, with an Austin Healey 3000 parked in reception (apparently it was the prize possession of the owner of the hotel/spa/gym complex and still in full working order.) The food and wine were excellent and the included spa treatment very relaxing. We did not spend a lot of time in the hotel, but made a few day trips in Andalusia. The first one was to one of our favourite haunts in this region: Ronda. We got there via a place we had not been before Casares, one of the typical Pueblos Blancos.
Visiting these inland places at this time of year, when there are not many other visitors, gives you a different perspective. Not a lot tourist tat for sale, shops and galleries closed for the winter. On the coast it was different though. The item that appears most often on the menu of restaurants in Fuengirola is still “Full English Breakfast” and the boulevard is lined with English pubs and Fish & Chips shops.
Our other trip was to Cordoba. It was over 15 years ago that we first visited the Mezquita and it had not lost any of its attraction. What a great place it is; home to two religions and a fantastic mix of different styles of architecture.
Near the newly restored Roman Theatre in Cordoba Ruud’s Eye was caught by the shadows on a wall.
Before the Christians and Muslims the Romans put their stamp on this area. One of the monuments to evidence their culture is the Roman Theatre in Cordoba. which had just been opened to the public the day before we were there.