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28/02/2011

Bode Museum, Berlin, Germany


This is a photo of the Bode Museum, one of the group of museums on the Museum Island in Berlin, Germany. The museum, a historically preserved building, was designed by architect Ernst von Ihne and completed in 1904. Originally called the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum after Emperor Frederick III, the museum was renamed in honour of its first curator, Wilhelm von Bode, in 1956.

25/02/2011

Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Laos (Lan Xang - Million Elephants - "The Kingdom of a Million Elephants")


This photo was taken in Laos.
The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus), sometimes known by the name of one of its subspecies, the Indian Elephant, is one of the three living species of elephant, and the only living species of the genus Elephas. It is the largest living land animal in Asia. The species is found primarily in India, Sri Lanka, Burma and parts of Nepal and Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Buthan and Sumatra. It is considered endangered due to habitat loss and poaching, with between 41,000 and 52,000 elephants left in the wild. Asian elephants are rather long-lived, with a maximum recorded life span of 86 years.
The elephant was symbolic of the ancient kingdom of Laos, known as "The Kingdom of a Million Elephants".
Historically Laos used to be called "Lan Xang", which translates to "The Land of A Million Elephants". The name was established in 1354 by King Fa Ngum because the old capital of the Kingdom was Luang Prabang and it was surrounded by large grazing pastures for wild herds of elephants. Also elephants were used as the principal engines of war and a transport for the Lao Royal Family back in ancient times.
Asian elephants loved Laos as their home because the country used to have extensive forest and crops and a sparse human population. However, due to modern day wars and bombs which have scared the elephants away as well as forests being cut down resulting in less food for them, the elephant population in Laos and our proud national heritage is dwindling fast.
Elephants were a dream for every elephant lover visiting Laos, but today they are scarce. Laos is now thought to have only 700 elephants left in the wild.
Elephants will always be an important part of history and appreciation to Lao people because these large beasts was a vehicle for transport and work for centuries. The 3 headed Elephants were contained in a Lao flag during the monarchial times that represented Lao unity between Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Champassak.

22/02/2011

View from observation deck of the GE Building ("Top of the Rock"), Manhattan, New York City

This photo was taken from the observation deck atop the GE Building, dubbed "Top of the Rock", which reopened to the public on November 1, 2005. It had been closed since 1986 to accommodate the renovation of the Rainbow Room. The deck, which is built to resemble the deck of an ocean liner, offers sightseers a bird's eye view of the city, competing with the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building. It is often considered the best panoramic city view, if only because it offers a view of the aforementioned Empire State Building, which cannot be seen from its own observation deck.

21/02/2011

Che Guevara, Guerrillero Heroico ("Heroic Guerrilla"), Alberto Korda

This is a photo of a street poster which I have stylized with digital alterations.
Guerrillero Heroico ("Heroic Guerrilla") is an iconic photo of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara taken by Alberto Korda. It was taken on March 5, 1960, in Havana, Cuba, at a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion and by the end of the 1960s turned the charismatic and controversial leader into a cultural icon. Korda has said that at the moment he shot the picture, he was drawn to Guevara's facial expression, which showed "absolute implacability" as well as anger and pain. Years later, Korda would say that the photo showed Che's firm and stoic character. Guevara was 31 at the time the photo was taken.

Emphasizing the image's ubiquitous nature and wide appeal, the Maryland Institute College of Art called the picture a symbol of the 20th century and the world's most famous photo. Versions of it have been painted, printed, digitized, embroidered, tattooed, silk-screened, sculpted or sketched on nearly every surface imaginable, leading the Victoria and Albert Museum to say that the photo has been reproduced more than any other image in photography. Jonathan Green, director of the UCR/California Museum of Photography, has speculated that "Korda's image has worked its way into languages around the world. It has become an alpha-numeric symbol, a hieroglyph, an instant symbol. It mysteriously reappears whenever there's a conflict. There isn’t anything else in history that serves in this way".

The Che Guevara clothing and fashion accessories trend or "Che chic" is a fashion trend phenomena which has attracted attention from the media, political commentators, and Cuban American activists, due to the popularity of the T-shirt design, Che's political beliefs, and the "ironic" nature of buying a t-shirt depicting a Marxist icon. As op-ed commentator Chris Berg has noted "Ironically, Che Guevara's longevity as a cultural symbol has been thanks to the very economic system he sought to destroy".

20/02/2011

Cloister, Cahors Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Cahors), France


This photo was taken in the Cahors Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Cahors), a Roman Catholic cathedral and a national monument of France in the town of Cahors, Midi-Pyrénées. It is an impressive example of the transition between late Romanesque architecture and the Gothic. A door on the right of the choir gives access to the Flamboyant Gothic-style cloister, built in 1504 by bishop Anthony of Luzech. It has scenes of everyday life and a Madonna.

19/02/2011

Heather (Calluna vulgaris) Moorland, North Yorkshire Moors National Park, England


This photo was taken in the North Yorkshire Moors, a national park in North Yorkshire, England. The moors are one of the largest expanses of heather(Calluna vulgaris) moorland in the United Kingdom.

17/02/2011

Wolwedans Camp, NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia


This photo was taken from the Wolwedans Camp, in the NamibRandNature Reserve, Namibia, one of Southern Africa’s largest private nature reserves, which originated as a dream of extending the desert frontiers through the integration of a large number of former sheep farms. The aim was to develop a sanctuary free of fences, so that the wildlife could once again roam in their habitat unhindered.

15/02/2011

Pointe du Raz (Beg ar Raz), Ile de Sein (Enez Sun), Brittany, France


This is a photo taken from the Pointe du Raz, a promontory that extends into the Atlantic from western Brittany, in France. It is named after the Raz de Sein, the dangerous stretch of water between it and the island of Sein (Enez Sun in Breton). It is a dramatic place of crashing waves and strong winds.

The island of Sein, lying on the sea routes going south from the English Channel, is well known for the dangers of its waters, the Chaussée de Sein, a vast zone of reefs stretching more than thirty miles from east to west, requiring numerous lighthouses, beacons, and buoys. In the past, it was also known for its wreckers.

During World War II, all the men of the island, a total of 124 between the age of fourteen and fifty-four, embarked on their fishing boats for England where they joined Charles de Gaulle's Free French in London after hearing de Gaulle's call to resistance in his appeal to the French on 18 June 1940. In 1946, the island as a whole was admitted into the extremely select Order of the Liberation for this feat and its residents were exempted from paying income tax, a privilege they enjoy to this day.

08/02/2011

Suvarnabhumi (ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ) Airport (BKK), Bangkok, Thailand


Suvarnabhumi Airport (ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ meaning 'Golden Land'), also known as (New) Bangkok International Airport, is the international airport serving Bangkok, Thailand. It was officially opened for limited domestic flight service on 15 September 2006, and opened for most domestic and all international commercial flights on 28 September. Designed by Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn Architects, the airport has the world's tallest control tower (132.2 metres / 434 feet), and the world's third largest single-building airport terminal (563,000 sqm / 6,060,000sqf). Suvarnabhumi is the 5th busiest airport in Asia, having handled 40.5 million passengers in 2009, and is also a major air cargo hub.

07/02/2011

Pantheon Portico, Rome, Italy


This is a photo of the Pantheon (adjective meaning "to every god"), a building in Rome, Italy, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome, and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD. The nearly-contemporary writer (2nd-3rd c. AD), Cassius Dio, speculated that the name comes either from the statues of so many gods placed around this building, or else from the resemblance of the dome to the heavens.
The building is circular with a portico of three ranks of huge granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment opening into the rotunda, under a coffered, concrete, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres (142 ft). A rectangular structure links the portico with the rotunda. It is one of the best preserved of all Roman buildings.

06/02/2011

The Pond, Central Park, Manhattan, New York


This photo was taken from The Pond, located at the south east corner of Central Park (Manhattan, New York), near the entrance at Grand Army Plaza.When Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Central Park, they imagined an immediate reprieve from the city’s streets. The Pond became a serene escape, just feet from Fifth Avenue.
The two modern towers (750 ft - 229 m) at the background are from the Time Warner Center (construction began in November 2000, following the demolition of the New York Coliseum), and a topping-out ceremony was held on February 27, 2003).

04/02/2011

Kulala Wilderness Camp, Namib Desert, Namibia


This photo was taken in in the heart of Namibia's Namib Desert, at Kulala Wilderness Camp, a 10-bedded camp situated on the 46,000-acre private reserve near Sossusvlei.

03/02/2011

Santorini (Σαντορίνη), Cyclades (Κυκλάδες), Greece (Ελλάδα)


This photo was taken in Santorini (Σαντορίνη), Cyclades (Κυκλάδες), Greece (Ελλάδα).
Santorini is a volcanic island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast from Greece's mainland. Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. A giant central lagoon, more or less rectangular, and measuring about 12 by 7 km, is surrounded by 300 m high steep cliffs on three sides.