City of Mozart
So I visited his grave in Vienna. That is to say: He was buried here at the St. Marx cemetery, but the exact location is a guess. Buried in an unmarked grave, according to the rules and habits of that time. Probably his bones were dug up after ten years to give room to other deceased. But it is nice to think that he was laid to rest here, at this memorial.
“Do you think this is it?”
Approaching the Mozart house at Domgasse 5 in Vienna, Austria. But no, the house where Mozart lived is just around the corner. The house is a museum, and you can walk in the rooms where you he and his wife lived from 1784 to 1787. He wrote the world-famous opera “Le Nozze di Figaro” there, and three of the six Haydn Quartets.
Well, this is it then. The Mozart house. Domgasse 5 in Vienna, Austria. Incredible that he has walked in the same streets, through the same door over the same stairs. With a little fantasy you can walk together.
View from his house.
This he saw when looking out of the window, thinking what the violins should play next.
The Stephansdom is just around the corner
I created Art. Capital A
I did it. I created Art with a capital A, and it hung in a museum. A dream come true. In the Belvedere museum in Vienna, Austria, amidst all grand names of art history.
In fact I completed the work Quasimodo of Franz West. “The title of the installation, “Quasimodo” by Franz West, can be translated as ‘the Incomplete’. Consisting of a forged iron hook and a video, this only becomes complete when the hook is hammered into a wall and objects – or in the worst case one’s self – are hung up on it at will, according to the artist…”
So I asked the attendant if I was allowed to hang up something there. He chuckled shyly, not really knowing how to react. “Oh dear… I just started working here. But I guess… if I you read what the artist says, the idea is to do just that…”
I smiled at him “I totally agree. You are so right, and I would really love to do it!”
While the other visitors watched in a bit of a shock, I hung up my camera. Like a statement: Look! I am temporarily pausing my photography as a tribute to the artist and his art. Of course by hanging up the camera I prevented myself from taking professional high quality images. Thereby strengthening the incompleteness, as I was powerless and empty handed as a photographer. I could only take a snapshot with my mobile phone. For me, this snapshot now has become a piece of art in itself, mirroring different layers over the original work.
I call it: Sicut modo. So happy with it!
Art and adoration. I went to Vienna just to see this picture. Recently I visited the Klimt experience at the Fabrique de Lumières in Amsterdam. That raised a few memories: The shop in Amsterdam so many years ago when I was a high school teenager. The cards I found there – all about Jugendstil and fairies and so. And this one that I immediately loved.
So I decided to go and see it. No reproduction can give the feeling of the real thing. I tried to take pictures of the shimmering gold and silver particles, but it’s impossible. You have to see it for yourself. In the Belvedere museum in Vienna.
Art touches one´s sense of beauty. Museums always tickle my creativity and wake up my inner muse. There is so much beauty all around! Just a glimpse out of the window tells me there is a world full of splendor waiting to be transformed into masterpieces. And after leaving the building, I feel enlightened and ready to create the most stunning art myself. View of the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna through the blackout screen of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.
View from the Albertina museum in Vienna. Wherever you look, the world will show beauty.
It’s definitely not only the paintings that you should see in the Museum of Art History in Vienna. This is a view of the restaurant…
You just cannot not look up here. Is to too much Baroque here in the lower Belvedere?
All that glitters is… yes, gold!
Back to Jugendstil
Floating away into the wonderful world of Jugenstil and Art deco. That is another way to go back in time. I love this period of more than a century ago, when books were written with words that had a life of their own and paintings offered a dreamy world where miracles were just about to happen. This portrait was taken almost two years ago, and needed the time to grow into this aquarel style
To the Moon
Peter Westenbrink from Utrecht is an extraordinary artist. Right now his art is flying in orbit around the globe in the International Space Station, where a box contains numerous small pieces of art, made by artists like Peter.
He asked me to make a poster of him and his art. The concept he created himself, in the style of his other works (take a look at his website www.boutkunst.nl). I merely did the handwork: the photography and the editing in Photoshop.
The objects are a reference to the first word he learned to read at school. The teacher had these wooden tablets with images and a word, like the one on the picture (which in reality is approximately 50 cm in length), and the first one was: Moon! He transformed that idea in a piece of art the size of 1 cubic centimetre, the maximum size. All art in the space station will return to earth later this year, and after that another mission awaits. The aim is to go to the very moon itself, to create the first art exhibition on the moon. Lots of arrangements still have to be made with NASA and all, but the goal is clear. You can see it hanging in the sky every day.
Just got a message from Peter:
“Coincidentally, the work of art (along with 63 more) returned to Earth today (January 11). At 11:19 a.m. our time, the space capsule splashed into the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Florida. The attached photo was taken at the landing site, shortly before landing on 4 parachutes. You see the spacecraft falling from the sky like a fireball (heat is released due to the friction with air particles in the atmosphere).”
Magical mushroom shedding spores by night
I saw a group of fly agarics, very nice for a beautiful night portrait. But when I arrived at the site in the dark, they had disappeared, broken down. Maybe run over by dogs, maybe taken by passers-by, but gone.
Fortunately the flashlight showed a few nice specimens in a meadow along the path. I knelt in the grass, put the flashlight on the camera bag and started to set up my gear: small tripod under the camera, setting ISO / shutter speed / aperture, focus… and then I heard something buzzing and rustling in front of me.
“Must be a beetle!” I thought hopefully. It sounded like a big one. Also nice for a night photo!
The insect jumped to the light, and tried to sort of crawl into the flashlight.
Not a beetle, but a European hornet. Our largest native wasp, even larger than the so-called terror wasp, the Asian hornet. One of those whoppers that you can hear flying by like a helicopter. Immediately afterwards, a second one landed in the illuminated grass. That one also seemed very interested in the light.
European hornets are quite large in their own right, but I did not know that they grew even three times as large in the dark. And that each hornet split into several individuals during the night. That is to say, these two insects sounded like there were five or ten of them.
The first one became bored with the flashlight, and began to inspect my camera. The second one flew first to the light, then to my camera bag. I wondered how I could lie down and operate my gear without running the risk of accidentally grabbing an insect. And I wondered if these two would be the only ones. A memory came to mind: that time when I accidentally sat on the edge of a lake on top of a wasp’s nest in the ground, and after being stung twice in my leg had to run to avoid worse. And I remembered the articles I’d collected about dogs, hikers, and cyclists accidentally getting too close to a ground nest of European hornets and being attacked by an angry swarm. Then the first hornet decided to inspect me.
I turned off the light and took a little distance. And after a minute or so, when all movement and noise subsided, I carefully walked back to get my stuff and go home. No night photo of the fly agarics today.
I didn’t go back until two days later. And what I hoped for, succeeded this time: catching the spores being spread by the fly agaric. There is a lot of Photoshop in this photo, but the spores are really real! Wonderful to experience the magic of the forest this way.
I learned a few things. The fly agarics are always redder on the other side of the path. European hornets are three times larger at night than during the day, and split into several individuals at night. And for forest photography you sometimes need a little patience
Winds of change
Panta rhei. All is change. Somehow these words echoed around this week. Talking with a friend about the future of nature. Taking with elderly about getting old and seeing all that once was so familiar crumbling down. We tend to focus on what we lose during these changes, things we want to keep forever. But there is no forever.
At the age of seventeen, my friends and I went traveling by train for a month through Europe, all the way to Greece. So many precious memories! I still have a few pictures of us sleeping on the beach under the stars.
Last week we went out again, camping for the weekend at the island of Schiermonnikoog. Unfortunately on the way there we got into the worst traffic jam ever, due to a what can be described as no less than a small disaster in the regional power grid. Four hours delay – we missed our boat and we also missed the last boat of that night.
No problem. Once again, we unrolled our sleeping bags (this time on the edge of a jetty) and slept under the stars.
The next day we took the first boat and laid down on the beach like forty-two years ago, under a clear blue sky. I felt 17 again – although swimming was a bit colder here.
The winds of change are blowing fiercely. Always. It might hurt sometimes, but there is and always will be beauty in the world. Like that stunning sunset that concluded our wonderful weekend. No Photoshop, no filters, no tricks. Just taken with the phone from the backseat of the car.
Portret met bloemen
Af en toe komt iemand met een leuke vraag.
“Ik wil graag zo’n portret met bloemen op mijn hoofd. Maar dan wel met mijn eigen gezicht, want ik wil geen vreemde in mijn huis.”
Et voilá. Een portret in de stijl van de oude meesters.
Ik ben benieuwd: Hoe zou jij jezelf terug willen zien?
Ik houd van woorden, maar soms zegt een afbeelding genoeg
Is dit echt? Het hangt er maar van af wat je ‘echt’ noemt. De paddenstoelen zelf geven geen licht, in tegenstelling tot de haringen van laatst. Die haringen gaven wél echt licht; de enige ‘truc’ was een zeer, zéér lange belichtingstijd om dat kleine beetje licht ook op de foto zichtbaar te maken. Deze paddenstoelen niet, die zijn gewoon beschenen met een zaklantaarn. Dus de paddenstoelen zijn echt, het licht is echt, de voor- en achtergrond is echt en na een flinke bewerking van dat alles in Photoshop is wat je ziet ook een echte afbeelding. Maar waar het me om gaat, zijn de dromen die zo’n beeld oproept. Gedachten over kaboutertjes die het licht hebben aangezet, over een bos vol sprookjes en mysterie.
Zo ook de herfstbladeren. Ik had een beetje genoeg van alle gekleurde blaadjes en paddenstoelen, en vroeg me af hoe ik iets kon maken dat alleen maar de sfeer weergaf van al die kleuren. Een heel oude truc: gewoon rond zonsondergang op pad gaan, als de kleuren blauwer en intenser worden, en dan een heel lange sluitertijd gebruiken.
Voor mij is dit de herfst van 2021. Vol dromen, vol mysterie. En vol met nieuwe plannen.