I (insert word here) LA

Make of this what you will, but I love LA.

The picture was taken of a poster on the exterior of a vacant store on Lincoln Boulevard; opposite Superba Food + Bread in Venice Beach, where the coffee* is hair-raising good. It gave me a much-needed jolt.

*Brewed with beans by Heart Roasters in Oregon.

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Salt Water, Malibu

Malibu is one of the most beautiful places to visit for uninterrupted views of the water; where the eyes can rest their gaze on the infinite horizon. Listening to the waves crash before lapping the shore is at once soothing and invigorating. Worries dissipate; everything feels lighter.

There’s a quote by Isak Dinesen that reads: ‘The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.’

I completely agree.

The view of Malibu Pier from Nikita restaurant

The view of Malibu Pier from Nikita restaurant

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A Riesling dwarfs El Matador

A German Riesling dwarfs El Matador

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From Russia With Love Locks

If you’ve scheduled a cruise along the Moscow River, you’re likely to come across Luzhkov Bridge — a pedestrian walkway lined with iron trees decorated in hundreds of love locks. Apparently this area is a popular backdrop for wedding photos but the only people I saw posing under the blazing sun were snap-happy tourists.

Whatever the season, it is a very cool sight to see. You can get there on foot, about a twenty-minute walk from the Kremlin; by metro; or by chance, as I discovered it after visiting the nearby Tretyakov Gallery.

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

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Moscow’s Stunning White Nights, Russia

As with all things last minute, paperwork processing delays had me push my trip to Russia back by a week. This meant I missed touring Moscow with my mum and sister; instead tacking it on after our sojourn in St Petersburg. Alas, I travelled solo.

I have a soft spot for Moscow. The capital moves at a faster pace than St Petersburg, which is located an easy four hour train ride away on the speedy Sapsan. She buzzes like New York but her grand squares and wide boulevards allow breathing room to appreciate the vast historic surrounds.

Some of my most memorable moments were spent gazing through hotel windows and strolling by the Moscow River, listening to the sounds of the city while watching the sun set way past its usual bedtime.

View of Red Square from Hotel National

View of Red Square from Hotel National

The Red Square

The Red Square

St Basil's Cathedral

St Basil’s Cathedral

Volleyball in Gorky Park

Volleyball in Gorky Park

Fountains in Gorky Park

Fountains in Gorky Park

St Basil's Cathedral

St Basil’s Cathedral

Supermoon

Supermoon

Moscow River sunset

Moscow River sunset

Bontempi at Red October Factory

Bontempi at Red October Factory

Church of Christ the Saviour

Church of Christ the Saviour

Moscow River

Moscow River

The setting midnight sun

The setting midnight sun

White Nights in St Petersburg, Russia

I met my mum and sister in St Petersburg, Russia, just as June rolled into July; when the glorious White Nights were are their peak. The sun hardly slept — sometimes it napped under a blanket of clouds — and when the moon showed its face, it shone as bright as a beacon. The historic city was always illuminated and teeming with life, but its wide open spaces allowed for pause and reflection. I was awake throughout.

St Isaac's Cathedral

St Isaac’s Cathedral

View of Hotel Astoria and St Isaac's Square from the cupola of St Isaac's Cathedral

View of Hotel Astoria and St Isaac’s Square from the cupola of St Isaac’s Cathedral

Pigeons at Alexander Nevsky Monastery

Pigeons at Alexander Nevsky Monastery

The grand Petrodvoretz, the Tsar's Summer Palace

The grand Petrodvoretz, the Tsar’s Summer Palace

On the birch tree-lined fringes of the Gulf of Finland at Petrodvorets, the Tsar's summer palace

On the birch tree-lined fringes of the Gulf of Finland at Petrodvorets, the Tsar’s Summer Palace

Boating along the canals

Boating along the canals

Me, dwarfed by the palatial Hermitage

Me, dwarfed by the palatial Hermitage, the Winter Palace of every Tsar and Tsarina since Catherine the Great

Midsummer night light streaming through at 10pm

Midsummer night light streaming through at 10pm at Petro Palace Hotel

The moon by St Isaac's Cathedral

The moon by St Isaac’s Cathedral

David Hockney Is Back in LA…

… and he’s working.

In a recent Harper’s Bazaar news piece he discusses his upcoming exhibition, titled “The Arrival of Spring”, set to open in New York’s Pace Galley on September 5, consisting of works created on the iPad.

Yes, iPad.

The author of the article, William Boyd, writes that the show consists of a series of iPad prints, “some very large, of his favourite spots around Bridlington and, more significantly, a collection of charcoal drawings, showing the eponymous arrival of spring in the wood, lanes, and byways of East Yorkshire.”

Hockney is a self-professed technophile: “I do think the iPad is a new art form. Much better than a lithograph.” He goes on to express his thoughts about the absence of drawing classes in art schools: “It’s criminal. Drawing teaches people to look.”

I’m not sure how I feel about the iPad as a visual medium. Is it ok for an established artist like Hockney to exhibit such works, but not the other way round? Similarly, if photographer Annie Lebovitz exhibited a series of Instagram photos in a gallery, would that be ok?

And, is it true that art schools teach drawing any more? Thoughts?

From the September issue of US Harper's Bazaar

From the September issue of US Harper’s Bazaar

Social Media: The Winogrand Effect

I read an interesting article in New York magazine by Jerry Saltz titled, “Photographing Through The Cracks: Garry Winogrand captured America as it split wide open.” It discusses an exhibition of the street photographer’s work currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The last paragraph stood out because it made me think about the future of art; the formal study of photography; the role of curator; and social media’s role in propelling a new generation of self-taught photographers. Here’s the quote:

“The whole world is now filled with incredible images–especially on Instagram and other social networks–that owe something to Winogrand’s, documenting life, change, and all the rest. Yet the art world and museums are not. Instead they tend to show oversize, very still pictures or images that investigate formal properties and ideas of display and presentation. I love many of those pictures, but what’s happening online on social media deserves far more serious scrutiny than it’s getting. If the art world doesn’t admit more of this sort of deceptively casual-seeming work, the outside world will reject more so-called art photography than it already does. That’s a divide that we don’t need to reestablish and widen.”

Thoughts?

St. Isaac's Cathedral, photographed in July during a trip to St Petersburg (with a Nikon)

St. Isaac’s Cathedral, photographed in July during a trip to St Petersburg (on an angle with a Nikon and prime lens. I should add that my sister took amazing photos of the same cupola with an iPhone.).