July 2013

Posted by Ellen

This camp at Zaatari in northern Jordan just marked its first anniversary. Refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war have flooded in so fast that attempts at accurate headcounts have been abandoned. Back in March and April, when the fighting was especially intense, the influx from Syria was estimated at 5,000 to 10,000 new refugees every day.

The current camp population is believed to be approximately 144,000, making Zaatari the fourth largest community in Jordan.

Posted by Ellen

Taekwon-Do tournament in Havana, Cuba.

Posted by Ellen

As leafy as the trees may be, when the summer sun takes aim at bricks and concrete, the light will find a way.

Posted by Ellen

One year ago today, Bonnie and John, aka JJ, were married in Seattle. After the ceremony, we all enjoyed the toasts.

Now that the clutches of time have put in a claim on the newlyweds, we would like to mark the anniversary with words that are sweet yet also a little bit edgy; nothing appropriate comes to mind, but surely it was all said back then during those toasts.

Posted by Ellen

A woman and her dog, by Gordon Parks. New York, May 1943.

Posted by Ellen

On New Year's Day of 2014, the islands of Mayotte, population 194,000, in the Indian Ocean channel between Madagascar and Mozambique, will become the newest official Outlying Region of the European Union. Already, the currency here is the euro.

Most islands in the archipelago that includes Mayotte are part of the independent Union of Comoros. But in 2009, the voters of Mayotte chose overwhelmingly to affiliate with France, as its 101st département, instead of with Comoros. French citizens need no visas to vacation in Mayotte, and many of them do just that, notably for the diving in the island's lagoon and coral reef.

Tourism seems to be the major industry; per capita GDP in Mayotte is about $6,500–ten times that of Comoros, though only about one-fifth that of mainland France.

Most of the population is Muslim. Seen here is the mosque in the town of Kani Kéli.

Posted by Ellen


Roman mosaic floors (plus one freize), mainly from Pompeii.

This image is a reproduction of one page from Heinrich Dolmetsch's compilation of craftsmanship and design in ancient and modern civilizations, first published in 1887. There is more.

Posted by Ellen

Photographer Abelardo Morell describes how he created these Venetian scenes:

I made my first picture using camera obscura techniques in my darkened living room in 1991. In setting up a room to make this kind of photograph, I cover all windows with black plastic in order to achieve total darkness. Then, I cut a small hole in the material I use to cover the windows. This opening allows an inverted image of the view outside to flood onto the back walls of the room. Typically then I focused my large-format camera on the incoming image on the wall then make a camera exposure on film. In the beginning, exposures took from five to ten hours.

Over time, this project has taken me from my living room to all sorts of interiors around the world. One of the satisfactions I get from making this imagery comes from my seeing the weird and yet natural marriage of the inside and outside.

A few years ago, in order to push the visual potential of this process, I began to use color film and positioned a lens over the hole in the window plastic in order to add to the overall sharpness and brightness of the incoming image. Now, I often use a prism to make the projection come in right side up. I have also been able to shorten my exposures considerably thanks to digital technology, which in turn makes it possible to capture more momentary light. I love the increased sense of reality that the outdoor has in these new works .The marriage of the outside and the inside is now made up of more equal partners.

Morell photographed Venice in 2006. The top picture is of Santa Maria della Salute in a living room. The lower picture shows Piazzetta St. Marks prismatically inverted in an office.

Posted by Ellen

We know four small facts about the life of this boy, David Leung.

1. He was born in 1893 in San Francisco.

2. In 1911, he was photographed by eccentric New England art photographer F. Holland Day; like millions of American children of that era, young David wore a sailor suit for his portrait, but unlike all the millions of others, he actually smiled for the camera.

3. When he registered for the draft in World War I, David listed his residence as Manchester, New Hampshire, and wrote that he was of Mongolian descent.

4. In 1920, census-takers found David Leung living in Boston and working as a restaurant manager.

The photographer, F. Holland Day, was probably the leading American photographer of the early twentieth century and the first to pursue photography as an artistic endeavor. He was also fascinated by the immigrants then flooding American cities and spent much of his time with immigrant children, photographing them but also reading to them and tutoring them. He mentored a number of children in Boston, notably a Lebanese boy named Kahlil Gibran.