For the first time in my life, I went to a football match!
I really like the egalitarian principles that are at the forefront of the supporters of the St Pauli football team ethos. In a nutshell, as far as I can gather, it’s outspokenly anti-fascist and pro the equal treatment of men, women, migrants, hetero and non-heteronormative folk, all races… everyone, basically. That’s not something you often see promoted in football culture. And those are values I am totally down with. So I figured, if I was going to see a football match, I would like to see these guys play. And, you know, it helps that I know someone involved 😉
And I didn’t just spectate! I helped unfurl a ridiculously large banner of Hamburg that spanned the bottom to the top rows of seats. Sadly, being under the banner means you can’t take pictures of how it looks to the rest of the stadium. But it got a positive reaction from the crowd and when I saw pictures afterwards it looked great. At the same time, at the beginning of the match, there was also a guy who had made a cardboard ship with a steering wheel and several accompanying birds and cardboard ships, shouting through a loudspeaker. Him I got some pictures of! Though having been told St Pauli fans don’t take kindly to having their faces publicised, I made sure to pick an image where no-one can be identified.
I am also happy to say, that St Pauli won against Bielefeld 1-0. So maybe our efforts helped 🙂
Coming from a home with an abundance of cats, I can’t help but love them. All independent bundles of fierce, cute, furriness, I just want to be friends with all of them. All. Of. Them. So Greece was wonderful in that way. Cats everywhere and cuddles abounding.
There is a darker side, however, A lot of these cats are strays and not all of them are in the healthiest of conditions. I saw an older woman feeding the strays on one of the islands, which I thought was lovely but I’m sure many cats are not so fortunate. There is even a rumour that the Greek government had so many stray cats and dogs, they had a campaign to poison them in order to clean up the streets for the Olympics in 2004. Horrible, I know! If you click on this link you can read more about it and also find out where you can donate and help take care of our little furry friends.
There are a whole ton of churches in Greece. They may not be big, but they are EVERYWHERE! From the tiny, almost cubicle like, to the majestic ancient churches placed seemingly haphazardly in the middle of Athens’ shopping centre, to the striking cathedrals, you’re never far from a temple in this country. Interestingly, for me at least, is the fact that the national religion is Greek orthodox, which makes the churches unlike the Protestant and Catholic places of worship I’m familiar with at home.
The Greek Orthodox church was established in 1054 AD. At this time, Christianity wasn’t officially tolerated and so ceremonies were held in houses. I feel that this may help to explain the proliferation of tiny churches, dotted all over the landscape. Whereas in Europe we tend to have one large church, on many of the Greek islands you would have numerous smaller ones instead, sometimes just consisting of one room with an altar and pews. I’m not particularly religious but I imagine those who do attend these services are imbued with a wonderful sense of intimacy and community. That’s not to say that they don’t have cathedrals though! As opposed to the elongated cross layout of most Western churches, the orthodox cathedrals seem to fit the cross form into a square shape, generally with a perfectly geometrical dome on top. They maintain a sense of intimacy though, by separating the space inside the church into smaller areas. In the older churches these can really be very small!
What I particularly like about the churches and the photos is the contrast of white with blue. White to keep the building cool and reflect the glaring sun, which contrasts deliciously with the blue of crystal clear skies. It might seem like a cliche, but on the islands in Greece you see this everywhere and the colour palette is very soothing to the eye. For me, I think the Greeks were truly brilliant designers!
A little while back, at the end of 2017, I went to Greece for the first time. (Thank you to everyone who made it such a wonderful trip!) I hadn’t edited any of the pictures from that trip yet, so to get me into the mood I thought I would have a little play some of the pictures from that trip which have strong colours and shapes. One thing led to another… and it was bright.
Bernatek Footbridge, otherwise known as Kładka Ojca Bernatka, is located in the former jewish ghetto of Krakow. It opened in 2010, connecting the districts of Kazimierz and Podgorze, replacing a previous bridge which was dismantled in 1925.
Since September 2016 it features an installation by Jerzy Kędziora called “Between The Water And The Sky”. The installation is comprised of 10 iron acrobatic figures, who balance themselves on wires crisscrossing the 130m long bridge. As the wind blows the figures sway to and forth in the wind, giving the impression that they are consciously balancing themselves on the precariously thin wires as trapeze artists made of flesh and blood do. These balancing acts are a recurring theme in Kędziora’s work, he says “I feel these balancing sculptures have a very deep meaning and are not merely decorative pieces. I believe they stimulate people to think. I believe that society needs free thinkers.“
Personally, I feel that the sculptures look beautiful here. The setting of them in amongst the wires of the footbridge, looking out across the river which separates the formerly jewish districts, is perfect. It makes me think of the frailty of human existence, as well as the beauty of art in its many forms. The way it connects us and symbolises how we as people, whether jewish, muslim, atheist or more, have so much more to unite us than separate us.
So, my favourite form of transport in Sri Lanka has to be the train. Not just there, to be honest, anywhere. I love train rides. To me they are the most romantic form of transport. I love this slow, languid type of travel, it has this quality that you just don’t get with aeroplanes or cars, it’s almost like stepping into a book. I love how you get to see the world rushing by, people going about their daily business, all whilst in a chair with a good read, perhaps some music on your mp3 or some good company. And whilst I did read a lot on those long and slow journeys, I also met some interesting and very friendly Sri Lankans. I met a head nun on the way back from Kandy and we shared biscuits and impressions of Germany and on my journey to Jaffna, I sat with some university students who helped me try local snacks being sold by street food vendors on the train. Lovely times!
Anyway, as well as the trains there were also plenty of bicycles and even a boat or two I got to travel by. By the way, the guys holding umbrellas on the boat are not doing so because of freak rainstorms, they’re doing it to protect themselves from the scorching sun. It’s really strong out there on the ocean! There were plenty of cars, buses, mopeds and tuk tuks too, but they seemed a little too mundane to take pictures of. I even got to drive a tuk tuk! But that’s probably more than enough of my transport related stories…
I edited these pictures using black and white split tone effect. I know that I have experimented with this before, but never using the raw image processing feature in photoshop. I have been using this more and more as there is just so much more detail and nuance in raw images. After all the regular work I do for raw images, I carefully selected the greyscale mix, adding colour hues for the shadows and highlights, some selective brush work to draw focus to particular areas in the images and then finally cropping. To add even more depth I then played with the levels and in some even did a little stamp/corrective work.