The strange and prejudice gave way to a spark of attention… (Jan Hoet)
The Visual World Tweet Observing the things and people around me is one of my passions. It’s a need in me to analyze and try to understand what it is that I see. It’s a constant and conscious search for meaning in the hope that it will enrich my skill of judgment.
The winner of this fight is Michaelis, a very skilled and fair fighter.
Had a nice conversation with a gentleman in Hong Kong. He belongs to the Sikh people. Hong Kong is one of these great multicultural cities.
Girl Reading in Chair Taipei
This bookstore is open 24/7. People come to relax after a hard day of work. I also like to stay here with my wife and son. Reading books (and buying too many). But also just to enjoy the quite atmosphere.
Taxi Searching for Clients at 4h30AM - New York
December 31st 2012, New York Night walk 5.30 AM
The morning of December 31st. People move in the beautiful Grand Central Station in New York. They heading home or to nice places to celebrate with friends and family. Some have nowhere to go.
Nothing to offer - Night Walk in New York (3.30 AM - 7 AM)
Walking in New York 3.30 AM - 7.00 AM
Night walk in New York. Walking back to the hotel. Freezing cold. Enjoy the city that is still calm.
Abandoned man on a chair
Walking in the streets of Hong Kong. It is very early. The city wakes up and gets ready for another warm and rainy day. A man sleeps on a chair. Millions of people around him and yet no one to turn to. A human being abandoned by society, the tragedy of every large city.
Early morning rush in Hong Kong. People run in the corridors of the Metro. In front of me a Chinese monk texting and calling on his cell phone.
Streets of Hong Kong It's a late business dinner. I went out to get some fresh air. Hong Kong is a busy place. I'm surrounded by colours, movements, a mixture of different sounds and the nice smell of food. I always enjoy to be here. In front of the restaurant two man stopped to talk for a minute. Then the busy movement continues.
Waiting with my son for the stars to move…
We are in the hills of Taiwan (in the North). It is late at night and my son and I are leaving to make star trail pictures. The sky is cloudy, but that can add a little extra effect to the picture if we are lucky. It’s a bit strange for my boy to be out so late. The location where we stay is surrounded by woods so there is little light pollution which is ideal for making night pictures. It’s very warm outside (28°C) and the crickets make a lot of noise. While we are waiting about two hours for the camera to make the picture, we are talking about everything. Pure quality time.
The next day we look at the result. The colors and the clouds give the picture a dramatic touch. I like the hill on the picture. Each time we are here we stay next to it and in the morning the first thing we see when we open the curtains is this hill.
Dragonfly part 2 It's my daily routine. I get up, go to the garden (at least when the weather is nice) and check the pond for Dragonflies. The one in the picture is a beauty. It sat very still and I could get close with my camera. It is still a larva but you can see its colors already through the larva skin. Unfortunately this one was eaten by a magpie the next day. Nature is cruel ;-)
The Kite I was standing with my son on the old Zhong Hua city gate in Nanjing, China. It was a rather cold day and that afternoon there was only one more visitor on the gate. The man was playing with one of his kites. He has a passion for kites and he told me that he enjoys building them. The one shown here consists of 250 separate pieces. Playing with kites is an old tradition in China and I think almost every Chinese boy or girl has played with it during their childhood. The oldest records of the use of kites is dated back to the Warring States period (475-211 BC).
They are coming and I’m waiting for them...
A few years ago my wife installed a nice little pond in our garden. I learned that as soon as there is water, there is life. The pond has quite some creatures swimming in it, but one of them got my attention because it’s quite big (about 6 cm or 2.4 inches long), they have big eyes and look pretty scary. I send a picture of it to an organization specialized in biodiversity to ask what it was. It turned out to be a larva of a dragonfly. And indeed a few days later some of the larva’s changed into beautiful dragonflies. I love to look at them while they fly up and down our pond.
It’s actually an incredible animal. They existed already even before the time of the dinosaurs and they can fly with almost 100 km per hour (about 62 miles per hour).They have beautiful colors and when they fly they move in a gracious way. When Dragonflies are in the water, they change their skin many times (sometimes up to 16 times). Their final change is when they become a flying being. How incredible it must be to be a creature that knows how to live under the water and then to know how to fly. With this enormous capacity to adapt and change, it is no wonder that this species was able to survive during all these millennia.
In China and Japan the dragonfly is considered a symbol of good fortune.
*These are pictures I made of the shed skin of a dragonfly larva
The Lincoln memorial and the power of words...
It was one of my night walks with my camera. At 4:30 AM I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial. It was a special sight but it also looked familiar. The memorial is something most of us have seen so many times on TV and in movies. However besides the fact that this memorial was build to always remember Abraham Lincoln, it is also a place where several important historical events took place. One of the most remarkable is the great speech by Dr. Martin Luther King in 1963, “I have a dream.” Another impressive moment is the (to some extend) fulfillment of that dream when in 2008, the first African American president, Barack Obama, gave his impressive inauguration speech.
In some way this place is a lot about great leaders and the power of their oratory skills. Inside the memorial, left and right of the statue of president Lincoln, are two of his speeches engraved in the wall. Probably the most famous of the two is the Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863. It is remarkable what happened that day. He was “only” the second speaker after Edward Everett, a famous politician and a great orator. Everett spoke for about two hours. Afterwards it was Abraham Lincoln’s turn. He spoke just about two minutes. Unfortunately today almost nobody remembers the content of the speech of Mr. Everett or even who he was. However, the few sentences Lincoln used were so powerful that even more than two hundred years later people still remember it and refer to it. Edward Everett was also impressed by the concise speech and he wrote to Lincoln:” I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes."
In the garden of the main temple in Tokyo a newly married couple is patiently waiting while their picture is taken. The silence and beauty of the temple and the beauty of the couple with their traditional cloths created a peaceful atmosphere. The photographer and his assistants spend lots of time to put every detail into position. I was observing the event for more than an hour and it was interesting to see how everything about the photo shoot was done in an elegant and efficient way.
The Monk I saw this monk in a Buddhist temple in Taipei, Taiwan. I wasn’t sure if he was praying or resting or sad or angry. His body language only shows that he wanted to be detached and alone in the midst of the crowd.
This image is a bit bizarre. It's difficult to get an idea of what is happening. We don't really have a "template" in our head to decode it. Actually it is a quite random situation. You see a clerk carrying incense sticks. He is wearing a mask, probably because he is a bit sick and he doesn't want to infect others. This situation only existed for a moment. But now that it exist people tend to look rather long to the picture… in search for meaning.
This image was made at the Jiming si monastery in Nanjing, China. It shows the shadow of a woman praying while holding an incense stick. Jiming si stands on a hill. It is quiet and calm place. I like to spend hours there to enjoy the atmosphere, to read and to drink tea. My first visit to the monastery was in 1995. At that time it was a rather decayed place and only a few people were praying or performing a religious ritual. I still remember the mist of incense when I arrived at the top of the hill. It gave the place a mysterious appearance. I try to go back to Jiming si as much as I can and it is great to see that the monastery is now again a flourishing place with many visitors who come and pray.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen was the first president of China. He played an important role in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. The picture shows his statue in the center of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province. In front of him is now an enormous flat screen showing 24h advertisements. He wanted to reform China and make it a modern state. Now it seems like he looks at one aspect of modern China every day.
Dong Tai Road A typical scene of a vendor in front of her shop at Dong Tai Road in Shanghai. Every shop is loaded with real and fake antique. The area has a unique atmosphere. Although Shanghai is a very busy and fast place, Dong Tai Road is slow and peaceful. You can walk around and watch local people patiently waiting for customers to come around. Interaction with the shop owners is via bargaining only.