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Lengthen your life: get lost!

Posted 2 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

I am not particularly fond of navigation devices in cars, and I especially dislike the stupidifying effect they have on the individuals using them. As it turns out, I am not the only one. Some Dutch man by the name of Jord den Hollander is sueing satnav-manufacturer Tom-Tom for making people stupid.

I don`t like the sueing part of the story because it makes me think of the US-of-A way of settling disputes. However, this stupidity claim is quite harmless and doesn`t stand a chance in court, which makes it back OK.

Anyway, what`s the big deal about all this navigation stuff? Well, it keeps people from using their own brains to think. Satnav-fans claim to know where they are wherever they are. In reality, they are continuously lost without having to care. They will get where they want, from A to B. Extend the example to a human`s life. How fast do you want to reach the finish? How do you calculate your `performance`? If anybody wins, is that the one who dies first because some stupid device told him/her the quickest way from A to B?

Think differently: don`t ask A2B questions, think in terms of directions rather than destinations, don`t use a Tom-Tom, enjoy getting lost, appreciate the unpredictable, do whatever you think you need to do before reaching your final destination.

(© St Andrews - UK, October 2007)
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Bunny in Barcelona

Posted 5 November 2008 - Barcelona (ES):

Lot`s of logistics going on behind the PhotoLogiX scenes! There`s people visiting, me visiting people, travelling to different cities in The Netherlands or to different countries every now and then. I am now in Barcelona, together with Pupu Jussi, a pet rabbit I was given by my Finnish friend Leena. I promised to photograph it at some point while here. You find the result below this post: Pupu Jussi and the football fans.

What else is new? I completed my application to become a speaker at Team Europe, tried to buy myself tickets to Paris on the ever-disappointing Thalys website (result: no tickets yet) for the Eurobarometer event that is taking place later this month. I had dinner at Argentinian Veronica`s place last night and upon my return at home, I will have an Italian guest staying over.

My attempts to like Barcelona a little more are starting to bear fruit. While walking from Arc de Triomf to Estacio Sans last night, I passed Kowassa, one of the coolest photo book shops I ever walked into. I also noticed that around cooking time, about 4x a day in Spain, there`s lots of nice fragrances to be captured in the air. Good stuff.

(© Barcelona - ES, November 2008)
(ps did you realise the red and blue shirts are not Barcelona ones?)
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Trains, frustration and hope

Posted 6 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

Trains are fun to travel on. Unfortunately, train companies are among the most backward organisations when it comes to user friendliness. For several times in the last 5 years, I have tried to book tickets to Paris online. So far I have never succeeded and my last attemps have - again - been unsuccessful.

I find it truly amazing how a wonderful project like Thalys and many other international train services get almost worthless fucked up web portals. Why is it not possible to buy e-tickets like it is on airplanes? Why does the website always stop working halfway a booking to then recommend you to call a 35cpm service number? Why are tickets on Thalys more expensive than plane tickets? Why is there no regular Thalys service between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, especially when taking the collaboration between KLM and Air France and their contribution to the Thalys project into consideration? Why are Interrail tickets not valid if there is no other way of reasonably getting to France without taking a Thalys train? (Only alternative to get from Holland to Paris: 8.5 hours with 3 changes)

In short, why take all the spontaneity and romance out of train travel?

Well, they also do nice stuff every now and then. Their Thalyscope magazine is usually nice to read and they sometimes present interesting projects with international themes. The photos on the train below (at Schiphol, this morning upon my return from Barcelona) form the result of a project by Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek. Title: United in Diversity - European Attitudes Nice idea, nicely executed.

(© Schiphol - NL, November 2008)
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Aim: elegant efficiency

Posted 10 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

Hello from The Hague. Things are going alright although I was not feeling too well during the weekend. Thought about it, added up the hours I spent working and concentrating on stuff, then realised it`d been a bit too enthusiastic doing so many things at the same time. I am going to reorganise myself a bit and make sure that I can work in an elegantly efficient way for the remainder of the year.

I also browsed through some photos which sort of revived the photography desire. Results of that will soon appear on this website. Photo below: quick snapshot of a random street in Amsterdam.

(© Amsterdam - NL, November 2008)
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Dark clouds

Posted 11 November 2008 - Utrecht (NL):

I haven`t been able to spend much time on photography over recent weeks, simply because I had too much other stuff to do.

While planning to attend the public Launch of the Mindz network, I found myself one hour of time to take photos, somewhere between The Hague and Utrecht. The changing weather always makes for nice settings and backgrounds, but during the only one hour I had available, it was dark most of the time. The sun only came out on the moment I had to catch my train to move on. But that at least produced one sunny picture then..

(© Gouda - NL, November 2008)
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Dutch autumn

Posted 12 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

The days are getting shorter and the sky darker. Dutch autumn.. Represented quite well in below photograph:

(© Gouda - NL, November 2008)
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Cycling home from school

Posted 13 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

Another photo from my one-hour excursion near the railway station of Gouda Goverwelle, earlier this week:

(© Gouda - NL, November 2008)
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Happy endings

Posted 14 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

All is well that ends well.. In that sense, last week proved to be great upon crossing the finish line.

I am starting to see the end of the photo exhibition that is supposed to be held in Luxembourg sometime early next year. Five more countries left to finish, which should be doable within a day.

The photos I took on behalf of Fontys Professional Universities a couple of weeks ago have now been processed and pasted onto the windows of their new building. Which is very close to Hollands Spoor Station, so anyone passing The Hague can view it from the train. One person has been added artificially, another one has been turned around to make it all fit in with the logo and all.

(© The Hague - NL, November 2008)
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Closer view

Posted 15 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

And here`s a closer view on the same setting, along with the program for next week:

Next week: Sanne`s birthday on Monday 17 Nov, Martin`s birthday on Tue 18, my own on Wed 19. To Paris on Thu 20 to attend the Euro Barometer event and get to speak to Ms Margot Wallstrom on Friday and Saturday.

Then onwards to visit my cousin near Lisieux on Sun, then to London on Mon and back home on Tuesday. I hope to meet up with some friends along the way.

(© The Hague (NL) - 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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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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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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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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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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Meeting European friends

Posted 25 November 2008 - London (UK):

Just like the Us Europeans trip, my current travelling activities because of work (commercial) and work (photography/journalism) allow me to go and see friends in many places across Europe.

Last week was another nice reunion week, as I stayed with Magali and Pauline in Paris, Arjan and Olivia in Normandy, followed by Sipke (photo below) in London. Between now and the end of the year, I haven`t planned any trips yet. The first one in the new year should have Berlin as its destination.

(© London - UK, November 2008)
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Above-street-level subways

Posted 26 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

Since photo activity is still rather low on the collection/production side (as opposed to the processing side), I am extending my UK trip a little by posting another photo of London.

I like it when subways travel above street level. Not only is the outside view much more interesting than the black side of a tunnel: it also helps provide sufficient light for photographing uninspired-looking fellow travelers. See also this photo I took in Paris in May 2007.

(© London - UK, November 2008 )
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Flying Dutchman

Posted 27 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

This is the plane that took me from London to Amsterdam on Tuesday afternoon. I`m not as scared of flying as I used to be a couple of years ago. I now try to take for granted that I will arrive at my destination, just like pilots and most of the fellow passengers do.

Which in turn allows me to enjoy (again) the observations of many wonderful land- and cloudscapes. During last Monday`s descent into Schiphol, our plane was surrounded by a 360 degrees rainbow-layered ring that moved along with us for a couple of minutes. I could also clearly identify the placed we passed: Meyendel, Katwijk, Noordwijk, Lisse, Nieuw Vennep, Hoofddorp and finally back on the clay soil after only five, but seemingly 30, days spent abroad.

(© Schiphol - NL, November 2008)
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Piano woman

Posted 30 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

Below is a photo of Sanne`s living room concert, yesterday in Utrecht:

(© Utrecht - NL, November 2008)
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