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Stamps and coins

Posted 2 March 2007 - Moscow (RU):

Our last entire day in Moscow and reading words finally starts to become a little easier (especially when you see logos that look very familiar.., see photo below). I bought some small souvenirs this afternoon and went to the post. I was expecting scenes similar to when I tried to carh traveler's cheques in Poland and the bank clerk claimed that my signature was fake.. This time, I got my stamps AND a few kopek (rubble-cents) coins that somebody had left on the desk. I asked whether I could take them, the answer was yes and the lady even gave me some other coins in addition. They're worth almost nothing but they will be a nice expansion to the foreign coins-and-banknote box, which is growing to be almost like a small collection.

(© Moscow - RU, February 2007)
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Russian issues

Posted 4 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Since last week's Moscow trip, I am keen to understand more about Russia and whatever is going on over there. Over the last centuries, ruling Russia has proved to be an almost impossible task. It seems like president Putin is at least able to restore the central power. He is managing quite alright in terms of giving Russia back its pride as the world's largest nation. At the same time, he is also putting in place internal structures that refer back to the old communistic era: cold-war rethoric, establishment of informant networks and re-nationalisation of formerly privatised companies. Russia is chaos in many perspectives. Revolutions and anarchy are considered state enemies number one and two.

Yesterday, counter-Putin demonstrations in Saint Petersburg were violently beaten down - just another memory of old Soviet times..

(© Berlin - DE, June 2002)
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Sín título

Posted 5 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Niels, 2 November 1978 - 5 March 2003

Enlightening from a distance
You reside in many a heart
Frank, forgiven, free
And forever young at last

(© Ede - NL, January 2002)
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Moscow streets

Posted 6 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Nice to hear so many people asking about my Moscow experience :) Sorry that the photos are not in yet, I gave the films to Jean to have them developed but don't know when I will have them back. While anticipating the arrival of the precious material, let me explain that the streets of Moscow are not scarier than most other European cities. People don't look meaner and there are not more homeless people in the city centre or people begging. Funny how in Holland you consider the police as 'friends' as long as you are not aware of having done anything wrong. In Moscow it's the other way around.. You'd prefer to get rid of some drunk person harassing you than having the police asking for your papers. Which Did happen to us one night but we got away with it because they could cash some money from our business partners...

To insiders, and especially 'state enemies' which still seem to exist in Russia, things seem a bit different. But this type of thing exceeds the Moscow city borders by far.

(© Berlin - DE, December 2005)
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Ménage ŕ 4

Posted 8 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Another photo used for public purposes :) The demo CD of a girl's band from The Hague called 4Some (website still under construction).

(© The Hague - NL, November 2006)
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Still can do

Posted 9 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Moscow photos are in and they Rock!! Happy to see I can still do it, in spite of some persistant doubts that my best photos datum from a longtime ago. I will post quite some of them during the coming week, along with explanations and stories.

Here's already some songs to get you in the right mood:
Leningrad - Billy Joel
Wind of Change - The Scorpions
Civil War - Guns and Roses

(© Moscow - RU, February 2007)
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Moscow in Stereotypes

Posted 10 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Here's another three photos from Moscow, all from our first day. Let me describe what's happening in all of them and why I find them so typical for Moscow.

The first photo shows the preferred dress code for Moscow people. Fur for women, uniforms for men. They incite respect and distance. Both the fur and the uniforms come in an overwhelming variety and there for sure is some ranking in it all that remains invisible to outsiders. The mobile shop in the background is also one out of many. In need of something to drink, eat, smoke... Place your head in front of the small window and try to get what you need..

Car crash.. No surprise if you read my earlier postings, driving in Moscow is hellish. But look at the cars, the one that drove into the red Lada is a modern car and it doesn't look very healthy anymore. What about the Lada? One little scratch but for the rest it looks like nothing happened.. 1-0 for the Russian tank.

One of many pathways in the snow. One other way of the individual being subordinate to the mass: you can take the typical pathway that everybody else walks or you'll be left slipping away and ending nowhere.

Tomorrow: Red Square and the Kremlin!

(© Moscow - RU, February 2007)
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Kremlin and Russian Elections

Posted 11 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

What day would be more suitable to post photos of the Kremlin than today.. Local elections are taking place in 14 regions and they represent the start of the voting process for all of Russia which should be completed by March 2008. It's promising to be a controversial procedure, allegedly aiming to keep Putin in power even though his second and last term as president will have run out by March of next year.

(© Moscow - RU, March 2007)
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Enter here

Posted 12 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Moscow, its buildings, its statues: they are all very much in line with the ideology of the former Soviet Union. They tend to make you feel small and insignificant.

Below are some photos of building entrances to illustrate the idea:

ITAR-TASS (the Russian news agency), Cinema "Russia" and the Russian State Library, with a statue of writer Dostojevski.

(© Moscow - RU, March 2007)
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Ces gens lŕ

Posted 13 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Some more people in the streets of Moscow.

Tomorrow: Facing the snow..

(© Moscow - RU, February 2007)
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Posted 14 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

As promised, these are the photos of Moscow people challenged by snow, mud and traffic:

(© Moscow - RU, March 2007)
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McDonalds and McPain

Posted 15 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Over the last month, I have collected quite some new McDonald's logos and also received some from all corners of the world. Thanks compadres Christophe (FR) and Jakob (AT) for fresh ones from Thailand and Japan!

Also worth mentioning, comedian Bart Chabot (photos on this log: 9 Feb 2007, 4 Mar 2006) just issued a new book called "McPain". The books are sold in hamburger bags.

(© Moscow - RU, February 2007)
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Du kannst mir einen Schuh aufblasen

Posted 16 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

I also updatumd another continuous project, the Relay photo project. It consists of taking photo of one person then having him/her select the next person to photograph and so on and so on. The photos in themselves are not very spectacular, but I hope the overall series will come out nice and that the people I photographed are happy with a nice print of the photo. In the end, I take photos of them when they do something they like..

I'm headed for Germany today for a quick hello in Hannover. And to reclaim my granddad's bycicle.

(© Delft - NL, January 2007)
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Train Nostalgia

Posted 17 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Travelling by international train... There's hardly any way of travelling that can be more romantic, spontaneous, exciting and refreshing. Still, in similarity with many other current trends, the freedom of travelling by train is rapidly being restrained. International train connections get cancelled, tickets need to be reserved in advance, and carriage seats are organised in such a way that people look away from each other rather than engaging in conversation.

When I was 12 years old (summer 1992), my world was hardly any bigger than The Hague and a few campsites in France. Back then, a friend and I cycled all the way to Hoek van Holland (this now is a routine trip that only takes 1h, to get there and back). Arriving there and cycling along the train station, we marvelled at unidentifiable carriages with strange signs and letters: it was the daily train to Warsaw - Minsk and Moscow. The train was just standing there and all it took, in our perception, to get to Moscow was embark one of the carriages.

The Moscow Express was cancelled in 1993 - followed in due course by day normal trains to Paris (replaced by Thalys in 1997), Prague, Copenhague, Zurich, Köln (replaced by ICE in 2001) and all normal night trains going in and out of the Netherlands. No more night train to Paris - adventure guaranteed - and Berlin.

Travelling to Paris by Thalys is certainly quick and comfortable nowadays. But you cannot just take it whenever you like to, if only because you need to wrestle through the 25 different rate plans for advance booking: Mezzo, Librys, Smilies and W else TF. Your seat will be allocated by a computer system, not by your own suspected sympathy for a fellow train traveler. About the same goes for travelling to London from Brussels (where you even need to check in) and many other international trains.

So far, only two trains have managed to escape this downturn in travelling fun: the ones to Brussels and Berlin. The latter even still requires the locomotive to be exchanged at the border.

Anyway, long story short: the photo below shows one of the few daily trains leaving from Berlin. The same train I took to get to Hannover yesterday. It datums back from my first years as a photographer (1998) and was shot on slide rather than negative or digital chip.

(PS I really should consider a big trip on the Transsiberian Railway..)

(© Barneveld - NL, 1998)
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Cultural Weekend

Posted 18 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

The weekend has been very culturally responsible: music, photography, literature... On both Saturday and Sunday I went to bookshop Paagman to attend presentations by Dutch writers. Below photo shows the signing session by Sjaak Bral (comedian) and Marnix Rueb, (spiritual father and drawer of Haagse Harry).

Then there was photography in the photo museum, which displayed photos of the Silver Camera Award, a Dutch press photo competition. I particularly liked the series by Joost van den Broek (click: Fotojournalist van het Jaar), because of their simple yet informative and convincing uhm.. nature.

Then there was music: Trouble Pass Me By in the Paard Café. For photos, click here.

(© The Hague - NL, 17 March 2007)
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Posted 20 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

This picture is the result of last Sunday's photo shoot. It will be used for a campaign promoting a new curriculum at one of Holland's best known universities: pedagogics. The image is bound to be transformed into a poster, which will be on display in many secundary schools in and around The Hague. I'll show you the final design of that poster once they have been printed and distributed.

(© The Hague - NL, 18 March 2007)
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Polder Faces

Posted 22 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

When I was browsing through old photographs (my favourite subordinate clause for the start of a blog post), I came across this one and instantly found a name for the project I intend to do during my next trip to Paris. Taking photos of Dutch tourists there, probably during the first week of May, when Paris is flooded with compatriots. The name of the project will be Poldergezichten, which in Dutch refers to both Polder Faces and Polder Views. Below photo shows kids cycling to school but I am aware they are difficult to discern in this small image..

(© Nieuw Vennep - NL, September 2006)
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Access denied

Posted 24 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Once created to (1) withstand atomic attacks (2) exchange information freely, the internet has started to spark concern among many nations' authorities. When I was in Dubai (Dec 2005, see posting 10 Dec 2005), I already noticed that some pages were inaccessible over there. The idea of internet censure now seems to flood the world. And if it's not about making complete websites unaccessible, people get 'eavesdropped' about their visiting behaviour. Read this to know more.

(© Washington DC - USA, May 2005)
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Europe today

Posted 25 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Happy European Birthday.. Today 50 years ago, the first treaties constituting what now is the European Union were signed (apparently on blank paper!!). What has happened since? We've got the Euro, a multiplied number of members, but no real orientation towards the future.. European politicians want Europe to become something which is not based on what it is today. Diversity is a key asset as long as it's not being filtered out of the European dream, as it is today. Back to the roots!

Below photo shows the Europe in the way politicians would be happy to see it. Organised around a strong Euro, but impossibly boring and without any authentic values. Almost like the entire city of Frankfurt...

Today 30 years ago, the biggest accident in airline history took place, involving a KLM 747 (like the one in the header of this page...) and a PanAm 747. They crashed in the fog over Los Rodeos Airport at Tenerife. The accident was caused by an incredible number of unfavourable circumstances. Only 61 people, all on board the PanAm aircraft, survived, 583 did not. The accident did lead to major security improvements in aviation.

(© Frankfurt am Main - DE, September 2004)
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Les 14 de Hollyhock

Posted 26 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Kick-off at 7 o'clock tonight for FC Hollyhock's summer season 2007! Throughout the season, on Mondays, PhotoLogiX will present all Hollyhock players one by one.

First in line is Mardi, graphic designer and guitar player in ordinary life but a true Rausdauer on the field.

Presenting second is Arnoud. Quick with the feet, Arnie is even a threat to the most solidly defending teams.

(© The Hague - NL, 26 March 2007)
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Na zdrowie

Posted 27 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Bialowieza is a small village in the Eastern part of Poland, right next to Belarus. It wouldn't have been very well known if it weren't located in the middle of one of Europe's most ancient and largest forests. The subject happened to come up during a conversation with a Polish business partner, yesterday. I wanted to look up below photo, then realised that it was not on my website! Even though it's one of my favourites (it's got light posts, people and a car, what else is needed..).

It IS now, so let me finish by posting a link to the region's famous bison/grass vodka called Zubrowka. Really do need to get to Poland some time soon somehow :)

(© Bialowieza - PL, June 2002)
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Prepared for peace

Posted 28 March 2007 - Düsseldorf (DE):

With spring arriving, the list of countries-to-visit is expanding again. I'm curious to see how much has changed in Northern Ireland since my visit 5 years ago. Below's a photo of what parts of Belfast looked like at the time - quite aggressive.. Thanks to the recent coalition of Sinn Fein and DUP, things should have settled down for a moment..

(© Belfast - UK, October 2001)
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Hello Sir, how can we help you today?

Posted 29 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Another trip to my beloved Estados Unidos lies ahead, to Florida this time. Miami is on the agenda for the second week of April. Looks like I'll finally have my maiden flight on a 747 :)

(© Hawaii - USA, January 2006)
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Photo fun

Posted 30 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

When I say I like photography, that basically refers to three main moments in photography:

1) The moment of pushing the button and knowing you caught something;
2) The moment you see a large photo print of it for the first time, or see it applied in a publication;
3) The moment you notice that the photo you took touches somebody and/or makes them think.

This week was especially good with respect to item 2 on the list. New large photos decorate the walls of our office in Hoofddorp, the photo I took for the promotion of a new suty curriculum at a professional university has been print and looks wonderful. Last but not least, the first Ruimte voor Helden ("space for heroes") newsletter was released yesterday. My contribution consisted of all black and white photographs in the newsletter and on the website.

(© Ruimte voor Helden)
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Maintenance work

Posted 31 March 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Neither exciting news today, nor sophisticated photos or events to talk about. I've spent a lot of time this weekend reorganising PhotoLogiX, although hardly anything of that is visible so far. The changes over the next few weeks will be subtle but hopefully useful.

(© Moscow - RU, February 2007 Photo by MMJ)
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