Sunday, April 29, 2012

Natural Colors. Green Etsy Treasury

I'm in this lovely green treasury created by Chiffon Art on Etsy. Green is one of my favorite colors.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day 2012

This is a beautiful video of our amazing planet, produced by the people of "The Secret" in honor of Earth Day.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Massoud Hossaini, AFP, Wins Pulitzer For Best Breaking News Photography

Agence France Presse (AFP) photo journalist Massoud Hossaini has won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for best breaking news photography for his devastating photo of a wailing Afghan girl surrounded by carnage after a suicide bombing at a Shiite shrine on December 6, 2011.

The photo, which captures the horror and the anguish of mass death, was captured by Hossaini as he stood feet from the blast. 70 people were massacred and injured that day including many of  the young girl Tarana's family.

According to Hossaini:

''I was just looking at my camera when suddenly there was a big explosion,'' he said.

''For a moment I didn't know anything, I just felt the wave of the explosion as a pain inside my body. I fell down on the ground.

''When the smoke went away I saw I was standing in the centre of a circle of dead bodies.

''They were all together on top of each other. I was standing exactly where the suicide attacker had been.''

Hossaini said he was in ''shock'' and initially ''didn't know what to do''.

''I knew I should cover this, record everything, all the pain, the people running, crying, shouting, beating their chests, shouting: 'Death to al-Qaeda, death to the Taliban!'''

Hossaini said he turned to the right and saw the girl, Tarana, whose age has been given as either 10 or 12.

''When Tarana saw what had happened to her brother, her cousins, uncles, mother, grandmother, the people around her, she was just shouting,'' he said.

Not everyone appreciates this kind of journalism, and in some ways it does make one question the appropriateness of flashing a camera in certain situations, but it's also important to make sure that we serve as witnesses to the horrors in the world.  In spite of photographic evidence of the Nazi Holocaust, there are still those who claim it never happened. Imagine not having proof.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Muslim Art Student's 'Bra Photo' Causes Controversy

Find anything offensive in 24-year-old Sooraya Graham's photo of a Muslim woman in a niqab (full face veil) holding a fancy bra as she folds laundry? Other than the niqab, which I find troubling, the black and white photo itself is quite striking, but certainly not offensive. At least not from an artistic point of view. But Graham, who is a fine arts student at a Canadian university in Kamloops, British Columbia, has found herself in the middle of a controversy over her photograph. Apparently, the large photo (which was being exhibited at the university) was ripped off the walls by a university staffer after some  Muslim students complained. The irony?  Graham, herself, is a veiled Canadian Muslim, and simply wanted people to know that women who wear the veil are also human.

“You often see the stereotype of the veiled woman being oppressed. We all wear the same undergarments, do laundry, go shopping. I was leaving it open-ended for others to interpret the photo in their own way.

"What I really wanted to do with this image was (create a situation where) maybe some students or some faculty members would walk by and have the chance to have some time alone to stare at the veiled woman."

"So that maybe one day, when I walked down the hallways or encountered them around town, it wouldn't be such a shock to see me."

 It's ironic that a photo attempting to humanize women (who are dehumanized by wearing clothing that literally covers them from head to ankle, save a slit for the eyes) would offend fellow Muslims.  One would think that her efforts to create an understanding would be welcomed, but obviously not. 

At least Graham understands freedom of expression, which is not something that is common in countries where women are forced to wear the niqab.

"Even though some people want to silence those thoughts or make them go away, we live in Canada where as long as we're not hurting another individual we have that right to express ourselves."

"There are things I encounter in the world I don't like or I don't agree with, but I would never take something down."
The photo is now hanging in the campus gallery, but still causing controversy amongst fellow Muslims, and the Saudi Embassy funded Saudi Education Center in Kamloops has voiced its objections.

She's fortunate to live in a country where it's her choice to wear the niqab and not a mandatory requirement, and that she has the freedom to express herself freely.  Her Muslim sisters in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan don't have that freedom.  The photo is fine, it's the veil that I'd like to rip off her face.

Sources: HuffPo Canada, National Post, CBC

Friday, April 6, 2012

Up Greek Tourism Project- Video

This is a beautiful Greek tourism ad that utilizes portraits of people in an animated mosaic of famous landmarks and symbols of Greece.  A must see.  Very cleverly done. 

What's even more interesting is that it was produced by the Up Greek Tourism, a voluntary collective of Greeks around the world who funded the project through crowdfunding to promote Greek tourism. The electronic billboard will remain in Times Square, NYC for 30 days.  They wanted to raise a minimum of $15,000 for the campaign, but managed to make $20,352 from over 330 private individuals, many of whom were from outside Greece.

Not all the artistic team are Greeks, however, but apparently they are all volunteers.

Art direction, visual design by Charis Tsevis, Animation by Despo Potamou, Music by Ted Reglis
Photos by the hundreds of the UGT supporters