Cannes, Revisited ~ France

In the 1950s, the Festival became more popular thanks to the attendance of celebrities such as Kirk Douglas, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot, Cary Grant, Romy Schneider, Alain Delon, Simone Signoret and Gina Lollobrigida.

Marilyn Monroe is pictured on the poster celebrating the film festival’s 65th anniversary. Otto L. Bettmann took this photo of Marilyn.

May 16 marks the start of the annual Cannes Film Festival. In celebration of its 65th anniversary, Marilyn Monroe was chosen as the icon to grace the festival’s official poster, which also pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the star’s death.

Please see my Allure of Cannes post for photos of my first trip to Cannes.


Breathing Travel: My Photo Picks; Meaningful Scenes

Choosing a favourite photo is not an easy task so I am bending the rules a little in my coursework at Breathing Travel | MatadorU and featuring three meaningful shots taken on a recent trip to Southern California, as well as a bonus image from Spain.

I am open to your critique of the shots as this is part of the learning experience so please share any feedback if you can; I am developing a thick skin.

Here goes….

I like taking night shots, though struggle with them because I am always shooting from the hip. (The tripod hasn’t had a test run yet). This first shot, of the Capitol Records building, was taken on our final day in LA enroute to the airport. I jumped out of the car to take this photo; I tried to keep a steady hand though I was shaking in my boots for standing in the middle of a downhill sloping road.

To me, the photo is symbolic of the the music industry in its heyday; the architectural design is meant to resemble a stack of records on a turntable. I also like the lit up Patron Tequila bottle, advertised in the background.

The second image was taken at Westwood Memorial Park. It is symbolic of Old Hollywood. It is in the memory of an icon that will never be forgotten. “We are all stars, and we deserve to twinkle” – Marilyn Monroe

The third image is of The Cafe at the Getty Villa in Malibu. I like this shot for a couple of reasons. It was taken at one of my favourite museums. Secondly, in composing this photo, I was drawing inspiration from the talented photographer, Julius Shulman.

This last image – a bonus shot – was taken with my Sony Cybershot of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I was scrolling through photos today and really liked how the cranes seemed to mimic the towers of the church. A cool juxtaposition, I thought. Gaudi’s masterpiece is due for completion in 2030 (or thereabouts).

Vintage Inspired California

Sweet life. A never ending stretch of palm fringed coastline. Rolling waves. Salty fresh air and long sunny days. Bougainvillea wrapped terraces. Glorious Pacific Ocean sunsets, from Aliso Viejo to Zuma. A gold-lit horizon. Cocktails served against infinite water views. This is Southern California.

Stretches of grassy spaces. Laguna’s steep cliff faces. Mountains overlooking a beautiful Malibu beach. Santa Monica and its famous Pier. The twinkling lights of a widespread LA. Winding hikes through Runyon Canyon. Ah, those uphill climbs! Don’t despair – they’re worth the million dollar views, once you get to the top.

From Hollywood Hills to Beverly Hills. Immaculate gardens and imaginative homes. Clean architectural lines and ranch designs. All things retro-inspired. Traditional colonial Spanish styles: elegant archways and terracotta tiles. Deck chairs, cabanas; lunch served poolside. A climate that inspires outdoor living. Such a sweet life.

The eternal glitter of The Golden Age. Silver screen and Technicolour. Hollywood stars – always remembered, never forgotten. The glamour and the rock’n’roll.  The music; the movies; and, the awards. A place of Oscars-worthy moments. The buzz of the paparazzi. The bustle of the press – the who’s who, and the best dressed. The show goes on.

Inspired, this is Southern California in monochrome style, with a splash of colour. Enjoy!

Keith Richards and Ron Wood, Los Angeles, CA, 1979 ~ Copyright Henry Diltz

Capitol Records in LA, 1959 ~ Unknown

Night: New Host International restaurant at Los Angeles airport, 1962 ~ Photograph by Ralph Crane

Los Angeles Development Boom, 1953 ~ Photograph by J.R. Eyerman

Actress Martha Hyer talking on the phone in the living room of her luxurious home, Beverly Hills, 1959 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

The two photographs below show a “A landmark image in the history of modern architecture: Julius Shulman’s nighttime shot of Ann Lightbody and Cynthia Murfee in Case Study House No. 22, the Stahl residence in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Sunset Boulevard. Architect: Pierre Koenig. The photo, taken with a Swiss-made Sinar 4×5 view camera, is a double exposure: Seven minutes for the background, then a flash shot for the interior, the house lights having been replaced with flashbulbs.”

Julius Shulman photographing the Stahl residence

Night time shot of the house, 1960 ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Rosen House In Los Angeles ~ Photograph Michael Rougier

Segel House on Carbon Beach, Malibu ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Marilyn in Malibu, 1962 ~ Photograph by George Barris

Malibu, 1938 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisestaedt

Malibu, 1961 ~ Photograph Allan Grant

Seaside Home, CA, 1945 ~ Photograph Nina Leen

President Richard M. Nixon's Residence In San Clemente ~Photograph Arthur Schatz

Actress Singer Doris Day driving Universal Production Dept. golf cart as she waves at a saluting security guard at Universal's movie lot , 1963 ~ Photograph John Dominis

Street set used in production of movie westerns on Paramount Studios ranch, Hollywood, 1937 ~ Photograph Margaret Bourke-White

Gregory Peck at Universal City construction site, 1963 ~ LIFE magazine

Actors (L-R) Gregory Peck, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Sophia Loren, Doris Day (back to camera), Cary Grant, Ronald Reagan and Dorothy Malone listening to director Parker during rehearsals for 30th annual Academy Awards

Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, David Niven during a break from rehearsals for 30th annual Academy Awards show at the RKO Pantages theater, 1958 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

Natalie Wood & Warren Beatty at Academy Awards, LA, 1963 ~ Photograph by Allan Grant

Audrey Hepburn wins Oscar for Best Actress in Roman Holiday, 1953 ~ Unknown

Photographers with Grace Kelly and Marlon Brando, Oscars winners for Best Actress & Actor at the 27th annual Academy Awards ceremony, RKO Pantages theater, 1955 ~ Photograph by George Silk

The 1958 Governors Ball; Elizabeth Taylor with her first Academy Award for Butterfield 8 in 1961 ~ LIFE magazine

Actor Paul Newman as a guest on Hollywood Diary Program, 1958 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

Alfred Hitchcock with the MGM lion, 1958

Looking east towards Hollywood and Vine, LA, 1945

Hollywood Blvd, 1953

I love Los Angeles. It reinvents itself every two days. ~ Billy Connolly

New Host International restaurant at Los Angeles airport, 1962 ~ Photograph by Ralph Crane

'Beatles' arrive at airport on 2nd US tour, LA, 1964 ~ Photograph by Bill Ray

John Lautner’s Chemosphere house, 1961 © Julius Shulman J. Paul Getty Trust

Interior of Segel House (shown previously) ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Actress Bette Davis skimming through the morning papers, Beverly Hills, 1939 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Hollywood Guides, 1938 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Joan Crawford at home in LA, 1949 ~ Unknown

Palms, 1932 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Humphrey Bogart in his Hollywood Home ~ Architectural Digest

Hollywood Hills, 1938 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Hollywood -Night Beverly Hills, 1938 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Schwabs on Sunset Blvd, 1960

Drive-In Movie, LA, 1949 ~ Photograph J.R. Eyerman

Silvertop Hollywood Dawn, 1972 ~ Available at Michel H.Lord Gallery

Not Another Valentine’s Day Post ~ Black and White Inspiration III

Every day should be Valentine’s Day. Sounds like a cliché? Maybe, though you might just find some truth in this sentiment. Enjoy ~ with love.

Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life. ~ Leo Buscaglia

Milano, anni Cinquanta, 1950 ~ Photograph by Mario De Biasi

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. ~ Henry Miller

Scott Pommier

I want to know you moved and breathed in the same world with me. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in San Angel, 1940

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~ Pablo Picasso

Picasso and the loaves, 1952 ~ Photograph by Robert Doisneau

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. ~ Lao Tzu

Joanne Woodward showed off her Oscar statue with husband Paul Newman by her side at the Governor’s Ball in 1958

I have found that if you love life, life will love you back. ~ Arthur Rubinstein

Motion, 1930 ~ Photograph by Andreas Feninger

Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow. ~ John Lennon

Andy Warhol ~ Photograph by Dennis Hopper

I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best. ~ Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe in New York City, 1957 ~ Photograh by Sam Shaw

The most important things in life aren’t things. ~ Anthony J. D’Angelo

Seagulls ~ Photograph by chillbrook via

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. ~ Henry David Thoreau

New York City, February 1954 ~ Photograph by Andreas Feininger

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~ Howard Thurman

James Dean in NYC ~ Photograph by Dennis Stock

There is only one happiness in life — to love and to be loved. ~ George Sand

Wedding Day ~ Photograph by Antony Schuster

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and let it come in ~ Morrie Schwartz

Round Tower, Copenhagen ~ Photograph by Robert Floerke

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Inspiration: Shades of Black II

Life is like a good black and white photograph, there’s black, there’s white, and lots of shades in between. ~ Karl Heiner

Brad and Angelina, 2005 ~ Steven Klein

The Chrysler Building in Hotel Room, 1997 ~ Bonni Benrubi Gallery

Coffee Trip, 2011 ~ © of Brendan Comey via

Lost and Lonely ~ Thomas Hawk

'Bladerunner' ~ promotional photo

Rain in Martin Place, Sydney, 1937 ~ Sam Hood (State Library of NSW collection)

New York, Jan 1953 ~ Maloof Collection

New York: Chinatown Reflections ~ Matthew Goddard-Jones

Umbrellas of Belgrade ~ © of

The Reservoir in Central Park ~ Marina Chetner

Empty Streets of Paris ~ © of Brandie Raasch via

Marilyn Monroe and James Dean in NY ~ Photographer Unknown

Rural France ~ © of Jean-Pierre de Greef via

Le baiser de l'Hotel de Ville, 1950 ~ Robert Doisneau

Coming in from the Cold ~ © of Karen McRae via

Gone for 24 Hours: A Wintry Escape to Atlantic City, NJ

Fringed by an eternal ocean, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk is sublime in wintertime. In the morning, it’s yours to enjoy, shared with only a few other souls and felines. Relaxing in the sun with a pristine Atlantic Ocean view, breathing in the salty sea air, melting away any niggles brought about by daily stresses, I think this is the perfect escape from New York City.

I had arrived to Atlantic City (AC) with preconceived notions, my mind filled with cliches. Previous word associations with the place included gambling, casinos, rowdy tourists, a beach, Jersey Shore. Having just returned from a trip there, I can tell you that AC proved me utterly wrong; I’ve thrown all stereotypes to the wind. Now I think of it as a never-ending stretch of beautiful beach fronted by a glorious Atlantic Ocean, where one can pass the time without a care in the world.

In a similar vein to Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover and the New York Times’ “36 hours in…”, here’s how to spend a night & day in Atlantic City, from my point of view.


6pm: Arrive in Atlantic City. Stay at The Trump Taj Mahal’s Chairman Tower. Located at the northern end of the Boardwalk, it is one of the most spacious hotels to stay in. The path from the main lobby to the Tower rooms wind along a sea of escalators, under chandeliers, past mosaics, shops, and restaurants. It’s dazzling, in a good way.

Pause and take in the view from your hotel room –  it’s impossible not to, given the wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows usher in a cascade of flickering city lights below.

Lights and reflections: from 93rd floor of Chairman Tower

8pm: Dinner at Trattoria Il Mulino. Carpaccio, risotto al frutti di mare, salmone livornese, arugula & prosciutto pizza – it’s all delicious Italian food. For kicks, add oysters, prosecco, tiramisu, limoncello – so good! A frosted windowed wall separates the kitchen from the dining room. but the staff’s hustle and bustle is always on show. Located on the lobby level of the hotel, the restaurant hardly feels as if it is steps away from the casino floor.

Trattoria Il Mulino

11pm: Casino Territory. Slot machines, Blackjack tables, Baccarat. Not a huge gambler? Just enjoy the table activity, and admire the Indian-inspired interior design: arched ceilings, mirrored interiors, gilded fringes, and crystal chandeliers. Have a nightcap – you’re here for one night, after all.


7.30am: The amazing, stunning, glorious, delightful, breathtaking morning view.

Yes, this befuddled sentence makes complete sense when you wake up to a blur of the Atlantic Ocean and a pink- and blue-streaked sky. Because it gets so dark in winter, this morning view comes at a surprise. You’ll feel the sudden urge to grab your coat and head outside. But first, coffee!

“You and your pink sky…” from Sex in the City, Season 5, Episode 3

Order fresh-brewed coffee and pastries and watch the sun rise. If you simply can’t wait, grab a Starbucks coffee and croissant from downstairs, leave your things with the 24-hour bell desk, and make a beeline through the casino and out onto the brightly lit Boardwalk. Breathe in that fresh sea air.

A Boardwalk perspective

9.30am: Relax. Put your feet up and recline on a bench along the Boardwalk. In winter, the beach draws a few wandering souls, puffy seagulls, and lazy alley cats, who sleep  under the boardwalk in the cooler months. Originally built in 1870 as a temporary structure to protect hotel interiors from sand, the Boardwalk underwent about five restorations before it was finally completed. At 4-miles long and 24-feet wide, the Boardwalk’s loveliest features are its Parisian-inspired lamp posts and the herringbone floorboards.

This part of the Boardwalk is defined by Steel Pier. Opened in 1898, the pier was the first of its kind to be built on iron pilings and steel girders. At one time, a visit to the pier required full evening dress and an admission ticket, which allowed  for 16 hours of continuous entertainment. Today, the Steel Pier exists as an amusement park, but because it goes on hiatus during winter, I cannot speak to its admission prices. What I can tell you is that the park makes for a beautiful view from the Boardwalk, especially with its Ferris Wheel set against an ocean-blue sky.

Steel Pier, reflected

Steel Pier – a southern vantage point

10.30am: The Beach. Pathways from the boardwalk lead to the beach, which is quite deserted in winter. It’s the ideal spot to meditate on the gently lapping waves, breathe in the salty sea air, and take in the day’s still beauty, as you crunch across seashells. If you like the ocean, this is a great season to enjoy it.

View – under and through the Steel Pier

Wandering soul

11am: Strolling. head south along the boardwalk to admire decades-old architecture,  ice cream and apple dumpling kiosks, and undulating sand dunes.

Ice cream kiosk – empty

“Isn’t this amazing? It’s like a postcard from the twenties…” Carrie Bradshaw

Your stroll along the boardwalk will likely be interrupted by a rolling-chair pusher, who will ask if you’d like a ride. These rolling chairs, imported from the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876, debuted on the boardwalk in 1887, to provide the weary walker with a respite. A ride would make sense on a really cold, rainy day. Otherwise, it severely limits photo opportunities.

A rolling-chair pusher

Taffy Time. Stop for some salt water taffy at Fralinger’s. Buy lots and save some sticky treats  for later. How did salt water taffy come about? After a storm swamped an AC candy store in 1883, it dampened the taffy supply. But instead of tossing the candy, the combination created the salt-water taffy that everyone loves today.  My favourite flavours are watermelon, peach, and sour apple.

Fralinger’s, on the Boardwalk

Set installation on the Boardwalk

Reflect. Pause at the Korean War Veteran Memorial, located near the arch in Brighton Park. Here, under an eternal flame, you’ll see 822 engraved names of New Jersey soldiers, who were killed or are still missing in action.

Behind the memorial you’ll notice one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in AC — The Claridge. Opened in the 1930s as “The Skyscraper by the Sea”, it hosted Marilyn Monroe when she was grand marshal to a Miss America pageant. Once one of the last pre-casino hotels, The Claridge is now owned by Bally’s Atlantic City.

The Claridge (right)

The Claridge – up close

Game Trivia. The Claridge stands by Park Place, an area made famous by Charles Darrow, who invented Monopoly (1929).

A little further on, you’ll come to ‘The Pier Shops at Caesars’. Walk through, shop, and head for the outdoor deck, where you’ll see a 280-degree view of the Atlantic and the Boardwalk. Everything from here looks miniature. You’re livin’ on the edge.

Down the line and on the edge

Voluminous cloud cover

Boardwalk, further south. Boardwalk Hall (right)

12.30pm: Lunch. The mobile kiosks are closed in winter, meaning you’ll have to make do with a casino buffet or a restaurant chain. It’s a good excuse to head to Johnny Rocket’s for a burger and fries.

1.30pm: Boardwalk Hall is a beautiful example of Roman Revival and Art Deco architecture. Built in 1929, it was once the largest freestanding building in the world, and initially used as a convention centre until WWI turned it into an army training facility.

The hall has hosted Miss America Pageants as well as Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 presidential nomination during the Democratic National Convention. This convention took place one year after Kennedy’s assassination, and a statue of President John F. Kennedy stands directly in front of hall. Today, the hall is a concert venue.

Boardwalk Hall

Kennedy Plaza’s seats:  This space contains an amphitheater for outdoor concerts. It was used as a speaking point by politicians.

2pm: Photo Opps. Head toward Trump Taj Mahal. Take photos of what you may have missed along the way.

Civil Rights. At Central Pier (an amusement arcade), turn onto Martin Luther King Blvd, when you’ll spot the Civil Rights Garden, a public space designed by Larry Kirkland. It is defined by 11 granite columns inscribed with quotes by American civil rights activists, and a sculpture of a hand and bell set in the middle of a pool.

Entrance to the Civil Rights Garden

2.30pm: Back Streets.  You’ll walk through a poor neighbourhood, past a lot of churches, motels, and storefronts that wouldn’t look out of place on Route 66. The dazzling casinos aren’t far away.

3.30pm: Victorian Houses and Lucy the Elephant. Hop in the car and drive south along Atlantic Avenue towards Margate. Gawk at the beautiful mansions along the way. Large balconies, turrets, and spires – there’s some striking architecture here.

Mansions and summer houses, lining the beach

At #9200, you’ll see Lucy – The World’s Largest Elephant, built in 1881 as a gimmick to attract potential buyers to Margate, which used to be called South Atlantic City. Lucy has been completely restored – at a cost of nearly $2 million — and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Described as “the oldest surviving example of a unique form of zoomorphic architecture, and the oldest roadside attraction in America, Lucy is open to the public during the warmer months. 4pm: Shopping. Head back down Atlantic Avenue, towards the Atlantic Expressway, until you see the town’s outlets. Avoid their dedicated Lot as paid street parking is closer.

5.30pm: Back to NYC. Bid adieu to AC’s wintry wonderfulness and plan a return trip in summer.