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Final post

Posted 21 June 2009 - The Hague (NL):

After almost four years of Daily Photo, the time has come to stop attempting to keep up with the rhythm I designed on the day I bought my first digital SLR camera back in August 2005.

Not only do I lack time to consistently keep up with the photos and blogposts - I also have more important things to do for the upcoming couple of months. On 15 July, Sanne and I will get the keys of our new house. Shortly after, we expect to become a small family of three.

Four years of Daily Photo have helped me pile up discipline for the Us Europeans project. It also helped me get and stay in touch with friends all over the place. As I tend to be rather busy and `all over the place`, Daily Photo helped people to keep track of me. Finally, it gave me a platform to direct people to articles I had written, photos that got published or other achievements in similar areas.

Under today`s circumstances, I feel less challenged to show that I can be disciplined in terms of quantity. The next step will be to focus on quality and coherence, meaning that I am gearing up for another big project in 2010. I am currently investigating which skills I need to train before being ready. And, quite importantly, I need to give `arms and legs` to the idea for this big project, in order to turn it into a solid concept.

Now what to expect of Daily Photo in the future... Nothing :) You may want to keep your RSS subscription. There may not be updatums for the next couple of months, but I do anticipate using the same RSS-feed as a news stream on the face-lifted PhotoLogiX site by the beginning of November.

If you have enjoyed my posts at Dailyphoto, I would like to thank you for your visits. Should you want to continue reading about my whereabouts, I encourage you to start follow me at And to keep sending me those e-mails via! After all, there`s still lots of stuff worth sharing with all of you! Thanks for following, hope to speak to you again soon!

(© Auvergne - FR, July 2005)
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27 hours of Europe..

Posted 4 May 2009 - The Hague (NL):

It was good to be away from busy NL for two days. Now it`s business as usual again, with two busy but expectedly exciting weeks ahead.

This Saturday, I will be presenting Crossroad Europe to the Dutch secretary of state for European Affairs during the 27 hours of Europe. I secretly wonder how many non-Dutch will be present at all these celebration. Guess it will be a very small minority. But hoping for the best.

Here`s another photo from last weekend`s trip to Normandy showing one of my cousin`s lamb and its mum.

(© Normandy - FR, May 2009)
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Posted 3 May 2009 - The Hague (NL):

Day #2 in Normandy with a photo of Robin and Arjan to illustrate the pleasant weekend we spent in the North of France.

(© ND d'Estrées - FR, May 2009)
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Festival AOC Cambremer

Posted 3 May 2009 - ND d'Estrées (FR):

Today was a pleasant day in the French village of Cambremer, which hosted the 15th Festival for Local Products of Normandy (AOC).

The principle is simple: buy a three euro glass at the entrance of the fair and you can taste all sorts of local `juices` from all stands. Normandy is known for its cider (sparkling apple wine which by no means tastes like horrible stuff that some other countries serve in pubs), calvados (strong apple-based spirit), different drinks made of pears and - on top of that - a wide variety of cheeses and sausages.

The way it all happens is obviously typically French: lots of discussions about the smallest differences is taste, lots of trading and many prizes to be won for products coming from different families or farms.

The AOC Festival of Cambremer takes place every first Sunday of May, which might explain why I have often been in France at this time of year.

(© Cambremer - FR, May 2009)
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6 Milliards d`autres

Posted 24 November 2008 - London (UK):

Before embarking on the ferry to Portsmouth, I spent today`s afternoon in Caen with Arjan and Olivia. We went to the trial exhibition of a project that I already mentioned on my website a year ago:

6 Billion Others by Yann Arthus Bertrand is a project that is somehow similar to Us Europeans, although bigger and more video- than photo-based. From Caen and probably some other smaller cities in France as well, the exhibition will travel to Paris. And from there across the globe, I`d guess..

(© Caen - FR, November 2008 )
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En Normandie

Posted 23 November 2008 - Lisieux (FR):

Greetz from grey and rainy Normandy. I`m staying over with my cousin inbetween my stays in Paris and London.

Heading to the UK tonight, on the ferry from Ouistreham to Portsmouth. Then off to London for work and back home on Tuesday by plane.

These are some of my cousin`s cows:

(© Normandy - FR, November 2008)
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A bit of PR in Paris

Posted 22 November 2008 - Paris (FR):

Reporting live from Paris where I seized the opportunity of the Eurobarometer Conference to have a face-to-face meeting with Ms Wallström, First Vice-President of the European Commission.

Subjects during the conversation: the Us Europeans project and the upcoming photo exhibition about the subject. Result: an invitation to write another post for Ms Wallstrom`s web log about the conclusions of the project, as well as my current Europe-related activities and the upcoming photo exhibition.

I will obviously use DailyPhoto to refer to that article once it gets published.

(© Paris - FR, November 2008)
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Photograph people

Posted 20 November 2008 - Paris (FR):

About taking photos of people.. it`s not all that difficult.

Especially when people come up to you and ask whether you can photograph them. That actually happens to me quite a lot, also today in Paris. It was the guy on the right who thought he`d give it a try.

(© Paris - FR, November 2008 )
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Ambitions, ambitions

Posted 19 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

Hello and welcome to my new method for staying up to datum: posting backwards. I actually took this photo tomorrow :)

It`s 19 LISTOPAD today! Apart from welcoming many birthday wishes and having a shared pancake dinner with my close family, I just spent it like most other working days: having meetings and making sense out of sometimes distant-from-reality business proposals.

Beside that, I`m dedicating lots and time of effort to the photo exhibition about Us Europeans. A first proposal harvested some critical reactions, which means that I`m back behind the design board for versions 2.0 and 3.0 of the concept. The focus is on finding suitable backgrounds for the portraits. For those who are curious to know what the first selection looks like: check here for a first impression. Comments are welcome by mail or through this comment link. Then, when all is done, it should be something transportable to the outside world in a way similar to what they do on the gates of the Jardin du Luxembourg (below photo). And by the way, I intend to become Dutch Photographer of the Year 2010. Ambitions, ambitions.. But gotta start somewhere..

(© Paris - FR, November 2008)
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Modus operandi: fast forward

Posted 31 October 2008 - The Hague (NL):

It`s been three months since I returned from my traveling year, and two months since I officially resumed work. Time for a quick review of how things have developed.

I was happy to get back home and I am still happy about being home. I still oftentimes get asked about whether it takes a lot of effort to get used to the change of rhythm: from switching locations every two days to living in one place again, from traveling to working, from being on my own to being back into a fully familiar environment. The answer is simple: yes it has been very easy to adapt. It didn`t even feel like adapting to be honest. Maybe mere flexibility has been one of the greatest learning experiences during the one year trip. I can live and work wherever I am, which singles out the question of where I want to live and work. For now, The Netherlands still seems a quite alright place for that.. And if I want to get out, I can. And I will: next week to Barcelona and to Paris again in about three weeks time.

My way of working is quite different from what I was used to before leaving. And also different from standard ideas about working. I don`t have any office anymore, nor do I have real colleagues, fixed working hours or a fixed working place. I spent most of my time at home, in cafés or at other people`s offices. I read lots, meet up with lots of interesting people and generate lots of ideas. I feel privileged for working in a way that will be much more common in the future. Take a look at this piece of film about new working philosophies to see what I mean.

Let me sum up my basic activities at the moment:

* Scout for interesting ideas through Funds for Fun: for which I spent most of my time reading stuff, meeting people and attending events;

* Writing articles about each of the European countries: under commission of a Dutch website, which I will mention on this blog as soon as the articles start appearing online. A nice way to keep my insights into all the national cultures at a decent level;

* Helping pan-European magazine Indigo advance with their ambition: being part of their management team, joining brain storm sessions and see how we can increase the impact of this magazine. It`s also a nice way of meeting plenty of international people and attending international conferences;

* Making progress on the Us Europeans photo exhibition: making slow progress with this as it is a tremendous job to put together all the photographs I took during my trip;

* Helping Sanne with her new house: project to be completed by next weekend;

* Creating a network of independent workers like myself: and hooking them up so that they can meet in a cafés and work in `parallel mode`. Will explain what that means in upcoming posts.

Allowing this message to come to an end, I would like to share below photo with you. It datums back from the weekend in Paris, a couple of weeks ago. As I was taking photos from the terrace you see on the righthand side, one of the clients of the café decided to photograph me back. Result below, I received it in my mailbox today. Amazing how easy and nice it is to chat with unknowns and stay in touch afterwards.

(© Paris - FR, October 2008)
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Peaceful and quiet

Posted 13 October 2008 - Barcelona (ES):

And another `relaxed` photograph: a handful of people enjoying peace and quietness at the Père Lachaise cemetery. While posting this photo, I already got my butt moved to Barcelona for a couple of productive working days.

(© Paris - FR, October 2008)
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Weekend à Paris

Posted 12 October 2008 - Paris (FR):

More relaxation in Paris.. .. .. Yesterday was a nice day for walking around and having dinner with import-Parisians Magali and Pauline (because originally from Toulouse). Today has been nice to: lots of sun again and plenty of beautiful places to visit.

(© Paris - FR, October 2008)
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Sleepless across the Channel

Posted 11 October 2008 - Paris (FR):

Taking a night bus from London to Paris is not a very nice experience. It involves lots of strange-looking people of unspecified trustworthiness, it is the best guarantee for an almost-sleepless night and it`s not even cheap. The good thing is that it takes you to Paris, which was the purpose of the adventure. I arrived at 6 in the morning at the always welcoming bus station of Galliéni, Porte de Bagnolet. Right in the middle of urban no-where.

Thanks to metro line nr 3, I quickly made my way to the hotel to catch some sleep before collecting Sanne from Gare du Nord at 11h30. And that`s how a pleasant, sunny and relaxing weekend in Paris started.

(© Paris - FR, October 2008)
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No Christmas cards

Posted 26 December 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Sorry for not sending out any Christmas cards. I was indeed planning to, but couldn`t fit it into the schedule. I hope everybody visiting this blog has spent a nice Christmas, I`ll try a little harder next year for the Christmas cards!

Below is one of the photos I considered using:

(© Bordeaux - FR, November 2007)
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Strasbourg, check

Posted 9 Dec 2007 - Strasbourg (FR):

I obviously wanted to visit Strasbourg on my trip, because it`s one of the cities that together form the heart of the EU. I would have had to abandon my plan if I wasn`t so lucky to stay at François and Helena`s place in Metz. They had planned to go to a CouchSurfing meeting in Strasbourg, so I could join them and get there by buying some food instead of an expensive train ticket. Strasbourg is an interesting city, with many German city. Here`s a quick glance at the Christmas market. The people in the front are taking photos of the cathedral, which is the second tallest in France.

(© Strasbourg - FR, 9 December 2007)
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Cathing up and up

Posted 8 December 2007 - Metz (FR):

Trying to catch up, sorry for the delay, longing for Christmas. Here`s a quick snapshot from Paris, taken little over a week ago.

(© Paris - FR, December 2007)
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Rainy day

Posted 7 December 2007 - Metz (FR):

All throughout my journey, I have been quite lucky with the weather. Some rain here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary and nothing disruptive. Oftentimes in rainy weather, I was not even walking around but sitting on board a bus or train. Like today on the way to Metz.

(© Halfway - FR, December 2007)
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Posted 6 December 2007 - Lyon (FR):

Saint Nicholas was nice to me this year! Like my birthday, I celebrated this other important Dutch cultural event in company of fellow Dutchies. I got a box of chocolate bonbons and a can of foie gras. I will eat both on my trip from Lyon to Metz tomorrow. 5.5 Hours of train sitting, starting at 6h30 in the morning. But the landscape will be nice and I will take some comfortable train naps on the way so should be alright upon arrival. Photo: some industrial area in Lyon, earlier today.

(© Lyon - FR, December 2007)
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Back on track

Posted 4 December 2007 - Lyon (FR):

Sorry for having been absent for a while. It`s been a bit hectic with traveling, yes I know I have been doing that for four months now and should have got used to it in the meantime, but traveling every single day like I did for the two weeks before ending up in Paris is really tiring – like reading long sentences similar to the precedent one. I have also been taking only very few photos, maybe I need a little rest.. Anyway, I will resume my Daily Photo operations per today. Hello again!

(© Paris - FR, December 2007)
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De retour chez moi

Posted 25 November 2007 - Bordeaux (FR):

Arriving in France this morning almost made me feel like arriving back home. Hearing French, reading French, knowing where to go and how to do thing - it hasn`t always been like that for the last few months. Also, the Spanish rythm of having dinner at 21h30 and then stay up for a little longer, then having to write an article.. made me quite tired. But I`m back on schedule and will try to report some interesting findings about France during the days to come.

(© Bordeaux - FR, November 2007)
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J - 9

Posted 23 July 2007 - The Hague (NL):

I have been wanting to post this photo for a long time, but all that time there was no interesting and related information to post with it. I am posting it now anyway, although my posting has still not got anything to do with it.

I am now at 9 days from departure (in French: J - 9) and I am finishing things off and doing my final preparations. Fortunately, media attention is picking up. As it looks now, three websites will include my iframe, the number of links towards Us Europeans is increasing rapidly, there will be a radio interview on Thursday and I am getting back a lot of questionaires. All technical stuff for the website has almost been done, except the PHP upload. Something still seems to go wrong there, but I will try to fix that before I go.

By the way, there is only a few millimeters of hair left on my head. It is more practical for travelling but it looks a bit different from what people got used to over the last few years.

(© Arles - FR, July 2005)
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Family holidays

Posted 14 July 2007 - Normandy (FR):

Another marriage yesterday - between my cousin Arjan and his now-wife Olivia. I drove to France with my brother last Thursday to join my parents at the campsite and go to the wedding from there. We happened to spot them (= my parents) in a village some kilometers away from the campsite we intended to go to. That one had been pretty much washed away by rain so we needed to find another one nearby. And what great fun it is to be 'on holiday' with your parents again, after more than 10 years of independent travelling.. Quarrels about navigation, money, time, organisation.. Pretty much anything you can think of. We did have a good time though. As a nice coincidence it had stopped raining just before our arrival and it has been sunny throughout the weekend. (Photo below: breakfast on Friday morning)

Then about the wedding: it was absolutely marvellous. Two happy people, wonderfully dressed, a whole French-Dutch audience and the best meals ever (I from now on refuse to use the English word food). Nice company, nice weather, nice everything.

(© Ranville - FR, July 2007)
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Départs Normandie

Posted 12 July 2007 - The Hague (NL):

As announced, I am travelling to Normandy (France) today. Yesterday's wedding was a wonderful day and I will try and post one sample photo tomorrow.

Also, I would like to warn for delayed postings over the next few days as internet connectivity on my end is not guaranteed. Another issue I need to find a good solution to, when the big trip starts.

(© Paris - FR, April 2006)
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'Us Europeans' on Your website

Posted 10 July 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Over the last couple of days, I have been approaching media sources in Europe to introduce them to the 'Us European' project. The reactions have been encouraging so far: it seems like quite a few websites will in some way or another dedicate some place/time/attention to the project. In order to take this a little further, I have put together a small piece of coding that will allow all third-party websites to automatically upload the latest portrait to a page of their choice. As you can see, I have done it with Daily Photo - see menu on the righthand site.

If you as a photolog reader would like to use this service as well, please add the following code to your page, at the location where you wish the image to appear. I'm not sure you should do this before 1 August, because it will just be my face all the time and your readers may not be too amused by that. Also, if you would like to adjust the size, lay-out or content of the iframe, let me know and I will customise it for you.

Here's the code:

width="160" height="185"
valign="right" scrolling="no" frameborder="0">

(© Paris - FR, January 2005)
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Do more by working less

Posted 5 June 2007 - The Hague (NL):

When reading the newspaper yesterday, I read an article about a book called 'How to be free' by Tom Hodgkinson. It contains some nice hints about the good life, some of which sound very familiar to me: don't wear a watch, throw away your TV, don't care about insurances, take a nap in the afternoon..

There's a whole organisation behind this movement. For more info see the Idler website or read an (old) interview with the guy who says that doing nothing may be more useful than working hard.

(© Ault - FR, May 2007)
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Living and working in Paris

Posted 11 May 2007 - The Hague (NL):

There's no urgent news for today, so I thought I'd write a little story about Paris. I thought of it as a magnificent city before moving there for the second half of 2000. It is definitely a nice city to visit and ever since then, taking the Thalys is leaving home to arrive home. Living there was not the best thing in the world though.

As a part of my studies, I was doing an internship as a head hunter (chasseur de têtes) the time. Having to locate professionals with specific skills in one company to offer him/her a job in another company within the same industry. That's how things work in France. Everybody obeys the big boss and in case of trouble, they'll typically complain among colleagues rather than sticking out their necks. Enough complaining, I had nice colleagues and I still see some of them every now and then (coucou if you're reading this :) I did have some arguments with my superiours: the PDG, French equivalent of CEO, and especially his wife. Le patron was not easily satisfied with people’s work. He called people ‘bricoleur’ (a funny alternative to no-good-for-nothing) or worse, everything was 'perte de temps absolu' (a bloody waste of time) or he would respond to what you said with a suspicious-angry 'mais attendez' (what the *&^(*@% are you telling me). Pretty much everybody was scared of not only him but even his presence. Surprisingly, I always managed to settle things amicably with the two of them. They did get annoyed with me but at least they didn’t walk over me.

As I am writing this, and looking for their names, I notice that they have not been sitting still since the moment I left the company. They carried on for a bit, then sold the company. And after that: Paris – Dakar, rowing the Atlantic solo, sailing tours around the globe… I remember how he was telling about a time two of his toes 'happened to freeze off' or how his friend got killed while they were in South America. Both without the slightest change of facial expression. He was not easily impressed and I guess that helps if you have this kind of ambitions.

Uhm but my photo is just a metro train, and I was going to tell how I might still like to live in France but only when I’m old. And by then, I would like to live in one of those round-cornered houses that are so typical for Paris.

(© Paris - FR, 30 April 2007)
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Language lumps

Posted 10 May 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Languages and especially multilingualism are fascinating material. In my opinion, being able to speak more than one language requires the ability to switch between parallel logics. Leaving room for plenty of misunderstandings and by consequence: humour :)

Whenever somebody Dutch is good at speaking languages, he/she is said to have a language lump. This suggest an innate talent for languages, but I think it's mainly got to do with exposure, whether that's unintentional or by choice.

I very much like to hear people speaking Polish, Irish, Scottish or Swedish. For anything that's got to do with enjoying though, I'd say French remains favourite.

(© Paris - FR, April 2007)
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La pregunta del día

Posted 6 May 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Who is it going to be....

(© Paris - FR, 1 May 2007)
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Partly professional non-art student

Posted 5 May 2007 - The Hague (NL):

I spent a wonderful time yesterday training and cycling around Holland for two photo shoots. Just as in the old days when I was trainspotting instead of attending uni lectures. Or sending e-mails during Spanish courses, e-mail back then was brand new and we were not allowed to access hotmail on the premises :) Nostalgia...

As promised, here's part two of the Dutch people in Paris theme. In order to make it a little more exciting, I now added one photo in which there are NO Dutch people. Up to you to check which one that is.

Apart from the question about how I get to ideas, some people in Paris and many like them are asking two other questions. Whether I am a student in the art academy. No, I'm not, and I never was. I once met up with one of the teachers who said that I would have a fair chance of being admitted if I applied, but I then abandoned the idea. Maybe I will do it in the future, one day.

Second question: whether I am a professional photographer and I never know the right answer to that question. Yes and no. Yes because I have an official registration with the Chamber of Commerce and need to fill out all sorts of annoying tax forms each quarter. Yes, because I make money out of it. No, because I'm not doing it 40h a week and my main source of income right now is not photography. To put it short: I don't know the right answer to that question. So for everyone who reads this, please don't ask again: I've already changed to digital in order to be able to answer yes to the ever-recurring question of whether I was using a digital camera or not...

(© Paris - FR, 30 April 2007)
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Ideas about ideas

Posted 4 May 2007 - The Hague (NL):

The idea to photograph Dutch tourists in Paris was perceived as quite weird - not in the last place by the to-be-photographed tourists themselves. People oftentimes ask me where all these strange ideas/projects (the one-photo-per-hour-project, the McDonald's project, the smile-nosmile ID photo project and many more alike) come from and what goal they serve. That's two questions and I'm trying hard to address them properly during the next two paragraphs:

1: Where the ideas come from:
Good question, tough one though. For each 100gr of idea, let's say there's 50gr of frustration about something that most of the time has to deal with authority or boredom in one way or another. Add 25gr of pleasure to collect and/or record things. Then there's 25gr of blackbox powder which turns on a small light bulb above my head. And then it's GO. I still think that my best photos are not idea-based though, but this is how I get to the second question:

2: In which way they are useful:
Consciousnous is a scarce good so it needs to be tickled. Structuring preception allows for 'more' perception. Concentrating on one thing gives me the perseverence to continue what I'm doing, because I can tell that photography can be one of the most boring things ever on those days you feel like there's simply 'nothing to see'. Most ideas are therefore indirectly useful: they create exposition of the senses to new ideas that are not conceptual but incidental.

And that's the most I can tell you about it now. Enjoy the Dutch faces - I'll post some more of those tomorrow. And speaking about McDonalds, I added another 20 logos. If you have any, or see a McDonalds sign, please record it and send it to me. One day I just might use it for something useful ;)

(© Paris - FR, 30 April 2007)
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Opzij, opzij, opzij

Posted 3 May 2007 - The Hague (NL):

After some relaxing days in France, I'm back home and in a real hurry to organise 25 things at a time: moving all my stuff one floor down, scheduling two photo shoots tomorrow, organising my photos from France and sending them to the right people...

Research shows that more people are facing the same issue, albeit on a more general and global level. It seems like we have all started walking 10% faster over the last decade. In spite of all the tools we designed to make our lives easier.

In line with this sad development, I would like to ask the people to whom I promised to send photos to have a little patience with me. And the same goes for anybody who is eagerly looking forward to see all the Dutch faces in Paris - I will post some of those tomorrow.

(© Paris - FR, 1 May 2007)
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Posted 2 May 2007 - The Hague (NL):

One of the things I like most about Paris is le métro. Especially when it turns from subway into uhm.. overway. When it appears above the ground. It's a lot more practical from a photographic point of view as well. So before proceeding to the very reason I went to Paris this time - to take photos of Dutch tourists - here's two photos of subway-above-the-ground:

- Line 5 crossing the river Seine on the way to Gare d'Austerlitz. The little spot on the river bank is an old man enjoying the sunny weather. The road along the river is packed with cars heading for the banlieue (outskirts) and/or Province (everything French that is not Paris);

- Line 2 on the way to the Etoile. The two ladies in the front probably - judging on the cap sticker, the poster one is holding and the facial expressions they've put on - just attended a speech by the socialist presidential candidatum, Ségolène Royal.

(© Paris - FR, 1 May 2007)
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Green and quiet

Posted 29 April 2007 - ND D'Estrées (FR):

Holland today: PSV wins the Dutch Premier League by only one goal's difference with Ajax, Queen's Day and Night and persistant hot and dry weather. France today: quiet, relaxed and green. This is the church where Arjan and Olivia are going to get married in July.

(© Crêvecoeur en Auge - FR, 29 April 2007)
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Sponsored trip to France

Posted 28 April 2007 - ND d'Estrées (FR):

Despite heavy traffic and lack of navigation tools, we made it to Normandy before midnight last night. We were forced to take the tourist route (Brugge - Calais - Boulogne) and arrived two behind schedule. The car at our disposal was my uncle's company car, with our family name on clear display. Robin claimed it would help us promote my uncle's business, whereas my uncle said we were simply not allowed to take the other car. That one's my aunts and she's a horse driver so it "smells of horses anyway" (not my words).

So this is the three cousins Arjan, Bruno and Robin posing in front of our sponsored vehicle.

(© ND d'Estrées - FR, 28 April 2007)
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Faire le pont

Posted 27 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Building bridges.. French usually do that when a public holiday falls on Tuesday or Thursday, meaning that they will claim the day that separates there holiday from the weekend as holiday as well. This year, Monday 30 April (day before Labour Day) will fall victim to this practice, like 'Ascension Friday' does year after year.

So the French are known for building bridges (see also Viaduc de Millau and Viaduc de Garabit), but not everything is what it seems. The Pont d'Avignon, famous from the song, doesn't reach from one bank of the river to the other. It collapsed during a flood in 1668 and was never repaired.

The most recent example of unfortunate bridge building was Mr Bayrou's run for French presidency. In a comment on the battle between the remaining two candidatums, he vowed to continue his efforts to create a bridge between left and right.

Along the line, he called Mr Sarkozy a man with a taste for intimidation and threats whose thirst for power puts French democracy at risk, and Ms Royal's plans a sure path towards increased government spending that would choke instead of stimulate badly needed growth. Which closely connects to what I wrote on 23 April, referring to the same two people as Mr Narcism and Ms Incoherent.

(© Avignon - FR, June 2007)
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Visiting family abroad

Posted 20 April 2007, The Hague (NL):

Out of my generation of Van den Elshouts, I was probably the one who was most likely to move to France. I probably will though, one day. For now, only my cousin Arjan made it there. He exported himself to Normandy about 10 years ago, found himself a woman to marry (July of this year) and now runs his own animal farm (sheep and cows). I visit him about twice a year and will go say hello again next weekend, together with our other cousin Robin.

Below photo datums back from April of last year, when Robin and I also came over to visit.

(© Notre-Dame-d'Estrées - FR)
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Global Village 2007

Posted 4 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

The dream of the 1990s was for the world to become a Global Village. Distances between nations, cultures and people seemed to get smaller. Major propellors of this development: the internet, infrastructural improvements, end of the Cold War as well as favourable political developments South Africa, Russia and Israel.

In the meanwhile, the Global Village is starting to fall apart before it even came into existence. Major threats to our beloved Global Village:

1) Politics: Rather than reducing barriers of entry, many countries are lifting them. Oftentimes through visa requirements, sometimes even by building physical walls (example 1, example 2);

2) Culture: Polarisation of religious/ideological extremes. The extremes are different (compared to the Cold War) but they are equally extreme and incompatible. Also gradually taking place: a return to nationalistic values, limiting the sphere of influence of internationally operating organisations like the UN and the possibility of exchange as a whole;

3) Infrastructure: Congestion all the way! It is no longer the maximum achievable speed of a transportation device that determines the duration of a trip - it's the space available for movement that dictates how quickly you get somewhere;

4) Information access: Internet in the early days provided a perfect way around traditional, possibly biased, news media. Nowadays, authorities are interfering in accessibility, aiming to regain control over the information flow, add to that illiteracy and the Digital Divide;

5) Environmental issues: Including the global warming and pollution plus the associated natural disasters, but also the depletion of natural reserves of water, food, air and energy;

6) Demographics: Too many people in a too crowded place, leading to quick and aggressive outbreak of diseases.

Anyway, here's a photo with a nice village atmosphere to make up for all the pessimism:

(© Clermont-Ferrand - FR, August 2005)
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National Anthems

Posted 1 February 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Do you know the lyrics of your national anthem? When looking at them closely, you may be surprised by the strange combinations of words and meanings that make up the song. Wondering to which extent the anthems of countries are representative for the national culture, I digged into some of them. This resulted in the following (very short) summaries of the hidden meaning behind the words:

The Netherlands (Wilhelmus):
Not sure where about where I’m actually from or who I should listen to.
Belgium (La Brabançonne):
We are liars (‘in harmony unbreakable’), and stupid (last sentence x3 for those who miss out the 1st and 2nd time).
Germany (Das Lied der Deutschen):
Too bad we didn’t get our Lebensraum, we still deserve it anyway.
France (La Marseillaise):
Whatever you do, make a lot of fuzz about it and describe it in as much exaggerated detail as you can.
UK (God save the Queen):
God and the Queen are all we care about, no matter if they care back for us.
Poland (Dabrowski Mazurka):
You win some, you lose some / can’t have it all.
Italy (Fratelli D'Italia):
Kamikaze all the way.
Ireland (The Soldier's Song):
Life is a scouting camp, are you with us?
United States (Star-spangled banner):
We want to plant our flag wherever we can even though we have very little understanding of ourselves and the world around us nor do we care.

(© Champagne Region - FR, June 2003)
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Posted 27 January 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Due to the cold and lack of ideas, I didn't take many photos on this Paris trip. Here's one of the very few, a metro crossing the Bercy Bridge in the 13th arrondissement.

Read more about the Paris metro network at Wikipedia.

(© Paris - FR, 26 January 2007)
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Posted 26 January 2007 - The Hague (NL):

I did not make it to Interlaken and safely returned home. It was too cold in Paris to wait for the night train, so I just picked another one and got home via Metz and Luxemburg. Nice itinerary with good views. It will almost disappear in June when the new TGV East will be inaugurated.

10 Years ago, I chose to study international business, mainly because I knew that would allow me to go to France for a year. 3 Years later, Y2K, I was offered the choice between Nice, Lille and Clermont-Ferrand. I thought Nice would be too hot, Lille too ugly, and Clermont-Ferrand just nice. Only to find out later that Lille is not as ugly as I thought it would be. The historical city centre, that is. The rest of Lille turned out to be even uglier than I had expected, especially the areas 'designed' in the early 90s, like the one below:

(© Lille - FR, 24 January 2007)
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Seemingly boring

Posted 14 December 2006 - The Hague (NL):

I like the empty and organised type of photos where nothing seems to happen. Like the one below, shot in Lyon last week. But when taking a closer look, there seems to be quite some interaction. In this case between people but otherwise between structures in the photo.

Last week, also in Lyon, I happened to meet the owner of Dickson Coatings who promised me he would print one of my photos on canvas. I selected my own favourite photo, which is also of the seemingly boring kind: this one.. I am curious to see how it comes out :)

(© Lyon - FR, December 2006)
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Posted 9 December 2006 - Lyon (FR):

Another photo from the Light Festival in Lyon. This one shows the bottom floor of the Préfecture, in continuously changing light assisted by very loud classical music. I'm leaving for home tomorrow in the afternoon, Monday we be another regular working day.

(© Lyon - FR, 8 December 2006)
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Fête des Lumières

Posted 8 December 2006 - Lyon (FR):

So this is what I'm actually here for: La fête des Lumières, the Light Festival. Slide projections on churches, light shows around fountains and plenty of colours in the street. The festival is on until Sunday while I'm staying until Sunday.

What else have I been doing? Walking around the city, meeting up with Cécile - a colleague from the time I was working in Paris - visiting some photo galleries and speaking to the people there. Just randomly but nevertheless very much worthwhile.

(© Lyon - FR, 8 December 2006)
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Another crossroad

Posted 7 December 2006 - Lyon (FR):

Another crossroad, one that I think I've seen quite a few times when I was younger and we used to go to the south of France. It's right in the middle of the city. When transitting Lyon by motorway, you drive straight through the city centre but hardly get to see anything at all..

(© Lyon - FR, 6 December 2006)
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Autumn colours

Posted 10 November 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Two more photos from last weekend's trip to France:

(© Dpt 51 - FR, November 2006)
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Typical, A-Typical and Stereo-Typical

Posted 7 November 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Whatever we in Dutch call typical (=different, strange, noticeable, striking) is referred to in French as A-typical (=not complying with prevailing standards). I was taught one day that as a photographer, one needs to look for a-typical things and go beyond the obvious. Well, I somehow feel attracted to the obvious and do the opposite: take photos of things that confirm my stereotypical view on things. So here's two typical photos from the Haute-Saone department in France.

(© Haute Saone - FR, 5 November 2006)
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Un chasseur sachant chasser..

Posted 6 November 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Spent a nice day in France + driving there and back. Living on the European continent is a good thing, you can travel in any direction for a few hours and be somewhere completely different.

This photo shows two deer, just shot by French farmers on their Sunday morning hunting tour.

(© Morey - FR, 5 November 2006)
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MSN: Bruno risque .. statut absent(e).

Posted 5 November 2006 - The Hague (NL):

I'm gone for the day, you can find me in La Douce France :)

(© Paris - FR, July 2006)
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Children & More children

Posted 25 July 2006 - The Hague (NL):

European governments are trying at all cost to keep immigrants off the continent. At the same time, they do not realise that these immigrants, and their high fertility rates, may help solve a future problem Europe is facing: its aging population. It may prevent us from measures similar to the ones taken in Australia, where women are 'requested to procreate'.

(© Avignon - FR, July 2005)
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Then & Now

Posted 14 July 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Yesterday, on the way from the railway station back home, I bought a CD that I've been wanting to buy for quite sometime already. The CD is by a Dutch singer called Stef Bos and it contains the song 'Is dit nu later?' (So this is it then?). The song is about somebody who wonders what happens to people's childhood dreams when they grow up. For those interested, here's a translation of the song.

(© Paris - FR, January 2005)
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France: Pros & Cons ;)

Posted 11 July 2006 - The Hague (NL):

The World Cup is over, Wimbledon has been dealt with, exams have been either passed or failed and the holiday season has taken off. About 10% of Holland is temporarily emigrating to France in a car + caravan. France has been Holland's most popular holiday destination for the last decades. Nevertheless, if you ask an average Dutch person about France, they will reply that they like the country but 'it's a shame it's populated by French people'. Tolerant as we are known to be, we seem to be unable to deal with people from a country that is physically and historically close, yet profoundly different in many many ways.

Here's some reasons why Dutch people should not go on holiday in France (and why they should):

-1) They are only prepared to speak English when you are prepared to speak French (which would make speaking English rather useless), but then:
Ever tried to decipher written or spoken Bulgarian?

-2) French are King of the Road, to be more precise: Each and every Frenchman is a King of the Road, and only foreigners are supposed to obey traffic rules, but then:
At least they usually don't drive on the wrong/lefthand side of the road like the British..

-3) The French don't know anything about Holland, they couldn't point it out on a map and they think we compose sentences with 50% German words and 50% Dutch words, but then:
If they don't know where we're from, they can't come to visit and dig holes in/on Dutch beaches, like our lovely German neighbours usually do..

-4) Too many Dutch people ruin the idyllic French countryside, but then:
They won't make you speak French to them..

-5) French keyboqrds qre totqlly crqpm zhich ;qkes typing ql;ost i;possible, but then,:
You're on holiday, don't need any computers..

-6) Their president looks and moves like Pinocchio, but then:
Our prime-minister looks like Harry Potter, now which one's worse..

-7) They only serve coffee, orange juice and croissants for breakfast, but then:
Try to get invited to a French home to enjoy a weekend lunch. You'll understand that the lousy breakfasts just aim to leave some space for just that weekend lunch..

-8) They're ugly, but then:
They're not as bad as Belgians or Chinese..

-9) They're too chauvinistic and patriotic and they put flags on every lousy building, but then:
Climb those buildings and turn the flag 90 degrees counterclockwise (to make it look like a Dutch flag). You may get arrested by Louis de Funès, which would give you a funny story to tell back home..

-10) They eat disgusting animals or disgusting parts of not-so disgusting animals, but then:
Whatever they've already eaten will not end up on your plate. Besides, there's more in life than French fries and hamburgers..

(© Maringues - FR, May 2000)
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Zebras & Crossings

Posted 7 July 2006 - The Hague (NL):

It may not be very original and certainly requires some more work to really make it look like something, but I still like the effect of this sequence:

(© Paris - FR, July 2006)
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Paris & Impressions

Posted 6 July 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Impressions of my extensive walking tours through the city of Paris last weekend:

(© Paris - FR, July 2006)
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Road signs & Logos

Posted 5 July 2006 - The Hague (NL):

I think I found the perfect road sign in Paris! It's the lower one of the three, and I like it because it's got a plane on it, a nice font and the European motorway logo. Futhermore, it's got the best colour of blue (for a road sign at least) and it's French. Other photos from Paris expected tomorrow. New McDonald's photos can already be found here.

(© Paris - FR, July 2006)
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Cucumbers & Holidays 2: 1998

Posted 30 June 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Back to the summer of 1998!

Uni: Completed the first year of International Business Studies. Good grades for French and Spanish, lousy grades for Organisational Behaviour (didn't prepare exam) and Law (don't give a shit). Not very proficient in doing presentations. All classmates were recruited for the 1998 World Cup Pool of all Pools, co-organised by Joachim and myself. 320 people participated!

Sports: Still cycling.

Work: SuperPhoto one-hour photo service. Remember the day Holland played Argentina and made it home just in time to see Dennis Bergkamp magnificent goal. Also: "Can I speak to the manager" - "Yes you can, it's me, what's your question". I never had my own films developed there because everything was so badly organised.

Holidays: Together with cousin Tjeerd, along with a Christian community. Lots of holy-song-singing, and no drinks and no sleeping outside allowed. We slept outside, and all we drank was Desperados and red wine. A fun holiday in the end, with day trips to Andorra, Carcassonne and Barcelona.

Photography: Mostly trains and everything on slide film. Using my dad's old OM-1 camera and getting familiar with shutter speeds and apertures. Working at the photo shop helped me understand the basics of colour management.

(© Argeles s/ Mer - FR, July 1998)
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Cucumbers & Holidays

Posted 29 June 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Cucumber time @ PhotoLogiX. A nice opportunity to realise that this summer will be nr. 10 since my parents offered me my first camera for successfully finishing secundary school. Flashback to the summer of 1997:

School: Just messed up my final exams which downgraded my final averages by one (out of 10 points) for each subject. Best marks for geography, french and mathematics. Worst grades for history and english. Doubting whether I'll be able to follow studies that are conducted in English 100%. Considered International Business Studies in Breda but finally preferred The Hague, because closerby. Only reason for selecting these studies: exchange program with France.

Sports: Cycling on my racing bike: just prior to exams completed a 240km day race to Dwingeloo. Skating: no more. Tennis: on Sundays.

Work: Six days a week: 5 at an insurance office, cake shop on Saturday. Making lots and lots of money (not) but at least keeping myself busy. Skipped a voluntary resit of my mathematics exam which would mostly have given my a higher grade on my diplome. But resit was on a working day, so No Go.

Holidays: With Yvonne, visiting Susanne in Aix-en-Provence, then in turn visited by Jean, Bas, Jasper and Freek (photo) who were crossing Europe on an interrail ticket. Nice surprise. Tore my jeans apart by sliding from a motorway slope next to the campsite. Got shouted at by manager of the campsite for making to much noise that night, and keeping beer bottles in the central campsite fridge/freezer.

Photography: Not very impressive as you can see below. No ambitions in that direction, just using my camera to register fun events.

Tomorrow: 1998!

(© Aix-en-Provence - FR, August 1997)
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Posted 6 June 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Beside the whole apocalypse 6-6-6 story, today is the 52th anniversary of the real D-Day, the start to the end of the second world war. When visiting France, it's for sure worth visiting some of the beaches, bunkers, cemeteries that remind of the early June days of 1944. Just like former concentration camps, they are the most obvious evidence that wars don't make sense.

(© Douvres - FR, March 2005)
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Posted 1 June 2006 - The Hague (NL):

If you happen to plan to go to Paris this summer (from Holland or Belgium), take a look at the Thalys website today! Thalys is celebrating its 10th anniversary and tickets are for sale at only 10 euro per one-way trip!

(© Paris - FR, October 2000)
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Posted 31 May 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Dutch football player Rafaël van der Vaart and his wife Sylvie Meis named their newborn son "Damián", which apparently means 'idiot' in German. A nice reason to look up some other words and names that make bad translations in other languages:

Dick Bruna (NL: Author of Miffy) - Dick (UK: dick) + Bruna (SE: asshole)
proost (NL: cheers) - prost (RO: stupid)
con (UK: drawback) - con (FR: dick)
Bert (NL: boy's name) - Bert (DE: idiot)
P.D. (US: police department) - Pédé (FR: gay)
God (UK) - god (FR: dildo)
queue (UK: line) - queue (FR: dick)

And of course my all time favourite:
curva (ES: curve) - kurva (PL: whore)

If you as a PhotoLog reader have any interesting additions to this list, please let me know!

(© Curva à Poitiers - FR, May 2002)
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Posted 27 May 2006 - The Hague (NL):

The ultimate proof that people mostly see what they think they see, is about to become reality! It's actually a miracle people haven't discovered this before.. How to make objects invisible... Read this article [link removed] to know more.

(© Paris - FR, May 2003)
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Posted 11 May 2006 - The Hague (NL):

When I asked this French guy whether I could take a photo of him, he replied that he was not a star.. Well, at least in this photo he is.

(© Normandy - FR, May 2006)
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Posted 11 May 2006 - The Hague (NL):

All Paris photos below have been taken using a Canon Prima 135. That's the analogue compact photo camera my parents offered me when I finished secundary school. As you can see, it still works alright.

(© Paris - FR, May 2006)
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Posted 7 May 2006 - Paris (FR):

Le petit Parisien:

(© Paris - FR, 6 May 2006)
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Posted 27 April 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Tickets for my next trip are secured. Together with my cousin Robin, I'm going to visit my other cousin Arjan in Normandy and spend some time in Paris. Arjan has been living in France since the end of the previous century and he has mixed up quite well with the local French population. In the photo below, he is advising two of his neighbours how to fix this pre-historical concrete mill.

(© ND D'Estrées - FR, October 2004)
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Posted 20 April 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Multiple choice question for psychologists. Whose quote is this:

"I'm the decider, and I decide what is best"?

a) Traumatised teacher of German litterature;
b) Frustrated father of a family of 10;
c) Dangerous terrorist on a suicide mission;
d) President of a civilised country.

Read the answer and some additional comments here.

(© Paris - FR, October 2000)
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Posted 15 April 2006 - The Hague (NL):

This is where my Cannonball team, just like the people in the photo, enjoyed some street comedy. Whenever you're in Paris and have some time left, the square in front of Centre Pompidou is a nice place to relax, especially when the weather is nice.

(© Paris - FR, 8 April 2006)
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Posted 13 April 2006 - Warsaw (PL):

Following last weekend's unexpected trip to Paris, I was planning to share some photos of that experience on short notice. Unfortunately, I have not been able to have them processed before I left for Poland so here's a nice old photo.

If I did take a photo at the same place last Saturday, it would have looked exactly the same. Somehow, the evenings close to the equinoxes (21 March, 21 October) are very suitable for evening photography with existing light. The blue sky, under condition that it is recorded just after sunset, can very well be captured and guarantees a much more harmonic image than one with a plain black background.

By the way, be ready for many new photos to be posted this weekend!

(© Paris - FR, October 2000 )
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Posted 9 April 2006 - Paris (FR):

Arriving in Paris was quite a big surprise and I didn't take my digital camera with me, so here's an archive photo. Fresh ones will hopefully be available by tomorrow evening.

(© Paris - FR, April 2004)
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Posted 6 April 2006 - The Hague (NL):

"Get those lazy frogs to work!" It's wartime again between France and the UK, as you can read here.

(© Paris - FR, May 2002)
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Posted 18 March 2006 - The Hague (NL):

For those of you who are not scared of starting to feel old: today FOURTEEN years ago, Windows 3.1 - a major breaktrough in software development - was released..

(© Arles - FR, July 2005)
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Posted 23 February 2006:

Penny for your thoughts or a euro for your dead body? Three photographers who were chasing Lady Diana in Paris - alledgedly causing her fatal accident back in 1997 - got a symbolic fine of one euro for privacy invasion. The invasion did not consist of chasing the princess, it referred to the fact that they were taking pictures of her when she was dying.

(© Pont de l'Alma - FR, April 2004)
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Posted 17 February 2006 - The Hague (NL):

I'm currently putting together the program for the guided photo tours (Fotoreizen) to Paris. If you feel like joining one of these tours, please send an e-mail to info(a)

(© Paris - FR, April 2004)
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Posted 10 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Many people like France, but they don't like the French. I can perfectly understand that their perceived arrogance and their notorious rule-breaking can be an eyesore to foreign travelers and business people. Apart from the commercial perspectives, it may be worthwhile to look at how the French sometimes take more pride in HOW things are done, rather than appreciating what is actually being acheived. Style is everything, even when agreements are not met, rules are broken and projects remain unfinished. As long as you do things with style, savoir-vivre and bravoure, you're quite safe.

If you can't beat them, join them: just act like their president and say a lot of things that don't mean anything. Then find out is probably rather funny to 1) be the President of such a nation 2) present yourself as the serious version of Pinocchio and 3) look very serious while 4) just generating A.I.R.

By the way, doesn't A.I.R. happen to be a French band...

(© Clermont-Ferrand - FR, August 2005)
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Posted 1 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):

Happy new year! And a happy new face to the PhotoLog. Hope you like it! If you want to read back to anything I wrote in 2005, please follow this link which will guide you back to all the photos I posted in 2005 (starting in August).

There are plenty of new things on the way: My brother is going to move to England in April and my sister is going to get married early summer. Jean will be moving out within a few days and Maaike is likely to move in sometime later. PhotoLogiX will contain even more photos and 'quant à moi', I will work on the further professionalisation of my photography. Thank you all for your many visits in 2005 and keep track of the PhotoLog in 2006!

(© Auvers s/ Oise - FR, January 2005)
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Posted 30 December 2005 - The Hague (NL):

In order to keep our nation clear of external influences and protect our cultural heritage, the Dutch national immigration service has come up with a list of questions to assess a person's suitablity to enter our Lebensraum (one of those few German words we incorporated in our language after WW2).

This can at least be called an 'interesting' initiative but what if even the Dutch themselves are not able to come up with the right answers? I have done some kind of copy of the test (you can find the ridiculous questions and equally classifiable replies here and there's no English version). I only scored 52 out of 100 and would not be allowed to enter my own country... How does that work? Would they have found out that I am secretly French?

(© Paris - FR, January 2005)
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Posted 17 December 2005 - The Hague (NL):

Since my departure for France, back in 2000, I have become interested in everything that has to do with thinking strategies, creativity, problem-solving, and logics that explain behaviour. There's been nothing scientific about my approach, but many of the 'theories' later turned out to be confirmed by 'real' research. Let me list some of those ideas:

- Doing what people would like you to do is mostly useless, as most of the time what they think they want you to do is not what they actually want you to do;
- Smiling makes you happy just as much as being happy makes you smile;
- Problems can be made smaller to the same extent they can be made bigger;
- Tell people they are fully free what to do and the first thing they are likely to do is copy somebody else's behaviour;
- Truth is a matter of perception and statistics typically serve to cover up lies;
- People who insist on being respected don't deserve that respect, otherwise they wouldn't insist;
- Creativity is problem-solving with the only difference that you first need to come up with a problem that needs to be solved;
- Ideas only survive when they are bigger than their inventors.

(Photo: Paris, November 2005)

(© Paris - FR, November 2005)
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Posted 16 December 2005 - The Hague:

Almost since the beginning of time, Holland and Germany share a relation of rivalry between themselves. This is true in everyday life, but it is taken to a climax during football matches between the national teams (Oranje vs. die Mannschaft). Even the Royal Dutch Footbal Federation is pooring oil into the fire by offering tailor-made courses in German: how to comfort a German after 'die Mannschaft' lost, don't worry there will be another World Cup in four years time, and many more..... A must for people who speak German and/or Dutch.

I was writing about Sudoko the other day. The guy on this photo (left) probably just got robbed and is desparate about his metro life without Sudoko.

(© Paris - FR, December 2002)
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Posted 11 December 2005 - The Hague (NL):

Last week's trip to Dubai was probably my last trip abroad this year. It closes a vertiginous list of foreign destinations, which looks like this for the year 2005 only:

Belgium: Ardennes, Brussels
Bosnia: Sarajevo
Bulgaria: Sofia
Croatia: Zagreb, Sisak
Czech Republic: Prague
England: London, Southampton
France: Paris (3x), Caen, Avignon, Carcassonne, Clermont-Fd
Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice
Poland: Warsaw (2x)
Romania: Bucharest
Serbia: Belgrade
Slovenia: Ljubljana
South Africa: Cape Town
Sweden: Stockholm
Switzerland: Zürich (haven't seen a thing!)
Turkey: Istanbul
United Arab Emirates: Dubai
USA: San Francisco, Washington DC

The photo below is not from former Yugoslavia as one might have suspected; it's from France and shows a former railway station in Normandy.

(© Normandy - FR, September 2005)
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Posted 1 December 2005 - The Hague (NL):

Especially for frequent readers of the PhotoLog: here's a preview of the new PhotoLogiX series Capital Cities of Europe. The final version will be online before next Sunday.

It's interesting how different cultures (and individuals) react differently when faced with one and the same problem. When looking at the issue of traffic congestion, many different countries have just as many different approaches to solving the problem:

Try to increase effiency:
Netherlands: decrease the speed limit to 80 km/h ("what if we move slowly, that will make us get where we want quicker")
Austria: increase the speed limit to 160 km/h ("we want to get somewhere quicker, so the faster we drive, the quicker we get there")
Germany: have no speed limit at all ("otherwise we won't sell our precious speedy German cars")Canada: Promote carpooling ("that didn't work in Holland so let's try it here and see if it works")

Use financial measures:
Sweden: levy toll around borders of urban areas ("it won't make us quicker, but we'll at least make some money out of it")
Kuwait: make your elegibility for a drivers licence subject to the most irrelevant factors such as monthly income ("drive as you earn")

Be creative:
United States, CA: allow for more congestion by law ("it doesn't solve a thing, but at least we don't have to do anything about it")
France: Only allow for cars with either odd or even (alternating) number plates to drive around big cities ("that will keep them busy")

Solution for the simple minds:
Belgium: Simply aim to reduce the number of cars by 10% ("cars cause congestion, so fewer cars means less congestion")
Iraq: No joking on that one.

(Photo below: Paris, November 2000)

(© Paris - FR, October 2000)
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Posted 24 November 2005 - The Hague (NL):

Portrait photography is about representing people in a genuine way. That's at least my view on it. Some people have adopted the annoying habit to smile on command or whenever they think it's appropriate. This happens in photography but also in real life. Sometimes it's even culturally accepted to produce the fakest possible smile no matter how much the situation is not asking for it. The ultimate fake smile disappears in the same second it started, followed by a lifeless expression of indifference.

As it seems, people are not very good a differentiating between real and fake smiles. I found an interesting smile recognition test from the BBC and scored 12 out 15 correct before I was interrupted by a colleague, who made my score fall to 14/20. I also looked for nice smiles in my photo archive and came up with these ones, captured in Carcassonne - FR in July of this year:

(© Carcassonne - FR, July 2005)
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Posted 13 November 2005 - The Hague (NL):

Another 'passage à Paris' has gone by. I met plenty of nice people: Magali, Kevin, Jean Flavien and some more of their friends. I hardly took any serious photos, but I wasn't planning to, anyway. I visited some places I hadn't seen before: some very Parisian streets in St Germain des Prés, the André Citroen park and some rues I just never happened to have taken before. On the way back to Holland, I read the Thalyscope which listed a whole bunch of other nice places in Paris that I should certainly go see during my next visit, whenever that will be...

(© Paris - FR, November 2005)
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Posted 12 Novembre 2005 - Paris (FR):

Salut! I've taken all day to get to know my new flash and the introduction has been difficult but worthwhile. I figured out how it works, took a lot of shitty photos and walked around the city. Schematic proof of my achievement below:

(© Paris - FR, November 2005)
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Posted 11 November 2005 - The Hague (NL):

This is where I should be by tonight just after 9 o'clock..

Gare du Nord is a very special place. Whenever I travel from Holland to Paris, it feels like arriving home. On the other hand, it's very annoying to travel FROM Gare du Nord. Prior to the almost hourly departures of the Thalys trains to Northern Europe, the station fills up with fellow Dutch people. It instantly kills any holiday feeling gathered during a stay in Paris (or further South). Just at the point where you think you mix up well with the French 'joie de vivre', you get painfully confronted with the agricultural kind of approach which is common use in Holland. People pretending every single place is their home or back garden, even without having a clue of whatever is actually going on. But I guess I'm like that too.. I too am proud to be Dutch and happy not to be French. (Photo: April 2004)

(© Paris - FR, April 2004)
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Posted 5 November 2005 - The Hague (NL):

The outskirts of Paris are on fire. For the last nine consecutive nights, there have been fights between youngsters and the police. All of this violence pretty much concentrates on the northern and eastern 'banlieue'. The place where I lived back in 2000, Boulogne-Billancourt, remains untouched so far. It's part of the better banlieue, bordering the chique XVI arrondissement.

All this and my upcoming trip to Paris next weekend made me think of uploading a photo of the apartment building where I had my tiny room. It's hidden behind the white van in the red dot. Une très petite chambre quoi..

(© Boulogne Billancourt - FR, October 2000)
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Posted 3 November 2005 - The Hague (NL):

One of the nicer things about photography is that it can make ugly things beautiful - although sometimes the opposite is true as well... The photo below does not require many explanations. It's a chair, a pretty ugly one to be more precise. No philosophy, just a chair. In an aesthetically flattering scene. (Photo: Arles- FR, July 2005)

(© Arles - FR, July 2005)
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Posted 31 October 2005 - The Hague (NL):

Most of Europe saw Daylight Saving Time (Dutch: "summer time") end yesterday early in the morning. Which by the way gave us one extra hour to pack our backs for the return flight from Rome. I always find the time change a complicated phenomenon. An hour back in time means getting up one hour later while it gets dark earlier. And so on. I can only remember by thinking of the time when I was working in the glass houses (cutting flowers) and how it got light one hour earlier sometime near November. Nevertheless, I always get very confused where time zones, GMT, DST and UTC are involved. Read some more on this topic in a very extensive article from Wikipedia on the Daylight Saving Time. (Photo: Paris, Porte de Bagnolet / April 2004).

(© Paris - FR, April 2004)
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Holiday Report

Posted 9 September 2005 - Cape Town (RSA):

Here's a quick updatum from South Africa.. I'm attending a conference about telecommunications, which is very exciting. Moyennement quoi. Yesterday afternoon, we had the pleasure to drive around for a bit, thanks to a fellow attendee form the conference. We should have some time available tomorrow too, since our flight out is only at 23h45.

I did not take any of my own cameras with me, but bought two disposable ones instead. I'm curious to see what the effect will be and how (if at all) I will publish them on this website. Anyway, I'm looking forward to spending some time at home :)

(© Auvergne region - FR, September 2005)
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