Sunday, August 31, 2008
I took my camera along for fairy photographs but couldn't resist taking a series of photographs as the party swirled around me and I understood that it's an area of work I would love to get into.
Ensconced in a comfortable chair in a terrace corner, I took some photographs I'm really delighted with - a father and son bubble-blowing series, the faces of the girls hanging upside-down and mothers in moments of quiet reflection, quite unaware of the camera.
I don't have permission so I can't post any images but it was a truly lovely way to spend a Saturday.
Thanks to Simon and Paola for letting the gate-crashing grandparents in ;)
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
v-grrrl caught me at the end of that long day and made me smile long before the Australian red wine and Gert's sprained finger story made me laugh.
Today it was also about ice on my achilles, about pretty flower moisturiser on my grouchy feet, about looking up information for my time in Italy in October ... about relaxing, slowly but surely.
It was about so much that it is too much to tell.
I hope your day was a good one.
Oh, and Martin didn't phone me while I was wandering today however I phoned him ... promising I wouldn't blog about talking to Martin as I traveled, then laughing and saying that perhaps I would write this.
Thank you Martin, for answering the phone even when you can see it is me :)
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
How can you not love this?
Christine has some limited edition prints for sale over at her Etsy Store .
She wrote : I've posted a lot of new goodies on my Etsy shop today, including four Limited Edition prints. 25 each of four different images, 5" x 7" prints, shown above, signed & numbered. Enjoy!
You should :)
Tomorrow, after I drop the rest of signed exhibition images in at the photography shop to be printed, I'm returning to Brussels for a corporate photography shoot.
Meanwhile, Martin phoned as I rode the Amsterdam train home from Brussels tonight, checking I'd heard from the New Zealand musician coming to stay in a few days.
He plays whistles, harmonica, scottish pipes and the bodhran, oftentimes with the New Zealand band called the Wild Geese. Here's to him practicing the bagpipes out on my balcony.
I'm serious, I love the sound of them, although I'm curious to see what the neighbours think ...
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
It was the advertising for Borgerhart 2008 ... there was a couple of posters, some fliers and a letter explaining all. My name was there on that poster too, with directions to the exhibition you see advertised here.
A nice surprise ...
Monday, August 25, 2008
I'm just in from the city, phone-talking to Martin as I walked home from the tram. Inside and I poured a glass of red wine from the box (To to be read in a whisper: the Chilean red wine, Gato Negro, comes in 3L boxes. I discovered this while searching for a supply of the yummy French brie in France. If that's not a crime against French wine, I don't know what is but the price pleased me and I bought some.)
The wine was going to be about sitting down and relaxing.
It could be that Miss Four has a similar impulse in mind, I'm not sure but she headed out on the balcony, door open so that she could serenade me (and the neighbours) at a volume an opera singer would be delighted to achieve on that night when the microphone breaks down.
Then, just as things were coming together and normality looked possible ... the bolognese was on the table and 'BANG', the cooked spaghetti was all over the floor just behind me.
So we're just cooking another and I poured a new glass of wine ...
Sunday, August 24, 2008
We traveled into our third country this weekend, making the 40km trip across the border and into Holland to visit with friends and meet their new baby.
I've come home smiling after time spent with good people and with my clothes smelling of woodsmoke ... a scent that surely takes me back home to New Zealand.
As for the flowers, well they were just there on a table out on the veranda ... my camera and I couldn't resist.
I was photographing this little man's mum when he decided he'd had enough and I caught him leaving the scene with his bear.
After Thiepval, we raced through French countryside, running slightly late for our 3pm in Ieper (Ypres).
Racing through French countryside is fraught due to the 30 and 50km p/h they ask you to travel in the villages ...
But yesterday ... yesterday was also about finally photographing a friend's family out on Flanders Fields.
We wandered the ramparts of Ieper where the light became pure magic as time passed. I took more than 300 photographs, with Gert catching the moments I missed. And like almost every photo session, it was 'the best' photo session I've done ...
Yesterday I finally understood this thing about me and photography. Each session exists in a bubble that makes it 'the best'.
They took Gert and I out to dinner in Ieper's main square afterwards and it was a dinner of much conversation and laughter. We crawled in the door exhausted at 11pm after a truly excellent day.
Today we're off to visit a favourite old friend of mine over in Holland.
I'll let you know ...
It was one of those sublime days, and driving home just before 11pm, I realised that life is all about people and connecting. If money comes along at the same time, well that's lovely but I think it has to be more about the people you meet along the way.
We left home at 8am and drove through Belgium, heading for the French border following signs that led us towards Mons, Valenciennes, Cambrai, Bapaume, Pys, Grandcourt and finally, Thiepval Memorial near Albert.
We sold our car a few months ago. It was behaving badly and it's so very expensive to run a car here in the flatlands. We order a rental whenever we need one but can get most places by plane, train and tram.
The beauty of renting is that if they don't have the class of car you want (usually the cheapest with us) they upgrade. We were upgraded two levels this time and picked up a space-wagon, completely electronic, with a card for the ignition and buttons for everything.
We had fun with this new borrowed toy.
The Thiepval Memorial is a solemn place. A massive memorial in the middle of French countryside, listing the names of the 73,357 missing soldiers in that area Thanks Van.
There are hundreds of Commonwealth war cemeteries all over France and Belgium - a sobering sight as we traveled, as they reveal the sites of old battlefield hospitals - places where the dead were buried nearby because there was no way to get the boys home.
The death toll for WW1 leaves you wondering how anyone has had the stomach for wars since.
We wandered the memorial, impressed by the beauty of the silent, solemn place and tried to create a photo essay that captured it all for a New Zealand friend who lost his uncle way back then in that war.
Here's one of the series. I wanted to see how it looked with a film grain filter over it ...
Saturday, August 23, 2008
A year ago, I promised the loveliest New Zealand man that I would get to France and photograph the grave of his uncle lost in WW1.
I'm finally doing it tomorrow. So much has happened since the promise was made and it feels so good to be finally making the journey - hoping to recreate all in a photographic essay.
The route will be scenic, many French villages to see along the way, and we're heading home via Ieper (Ypres in French).
We're stopping there to catch up with and photograph a Flanders Fields friend with his family.
Here's to a good day ... for all of us.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Now imagine that one country has 3 Olympic golds, 1 silver and 5 bronzes and that that same country beat the hockey team from the country with no medals.
It could be that one person in this household doesn't find this amusing.
Not at all.
but I was too ashamed.
I've been working solidly since 8am and it's after 3pm now which explains why I'm still in pyjama pants and looking a disheveled mess.
However in that time I've picked up a delicious photo-shoot and made plans to travel to Italy in October for my birthday.
But my desk is a multi-layered mess of books and papers and glasses and more papers. It's horrendous, the worst it has ever been. I'll stop soon and clean.
But even better, lots of lovely people have said they will come to the art exhibition reception and in phoning a friend about his presence, I may have had the good luck to end up playing host to a New Zealand piper in September.
I hope so.
Gert has had to play P.A. at various points through the day, advising me on this thing and that, or being advised about trips to Italy and the possibility of the piper coming to stay.
It's rarely dull at his place but he's still laughing more than he cries.
Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
I borrowed this quote from Christine over at Swirly Girl.com
You might enjoy checking out the book she has just published.
An exquisite looking book titled Ordinary Sparkling Moments.
If you loved the quote or enjoy inspiring art, I recommend wandering over and having a peek into Christine's world.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
It seems that the reason for this ongoing problem might partially be about the fact that this kiwi creature forgets to constantly ice the offended tendon.
It seems that my excuse that I don't seem able to locate myself well in time or space is all very interesting but leaves my ongoing chronic tendinitis as my own fault ... not that my physio said that however constant icing would help it A LOT.
I worked yesterday. Just heading into the office creates a small bubble of joy that pops and sparkles as soon as I arrive.
The bad news is that I have far more work than I have hours and I brought a stack of it home to complete in the days ahead.
I'm off to drop off the last of my exhibition press kit stuff in a moment, then on to meet Peter for coffee. We have much to catch up on.
So much to do ... so very much to do in the days ahead.
Maybe I'll make that coffee with Peter a nice big glass of red wine.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Peter Niviozarlenga, borrowed from swirlygirl.
I picked up the exhibition posters and smaller fliers today.
The invitations arrive next week.
I pulled one of the A3 posters from the pile and hung it up on my noticeboard, just to remind it's all real and happening.
We're on track for setting up 3 September.
Gert has been managing all of the serious work, making a fabulous job of things like the press kit information and etc ...
Next week I commit to having the 15 photographs printed.
Friday, August 15, 2008
I needed that.
And as a result, today has been a day of inspired thinking.
I suspect a person has to become incredibly uncomfortable to grow and move forward, and perhaps to see what has been there in front of them all along ...
I'm moving forward.
More to follow.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Summer vacation in Europe is endless, our apartment is full of people - often the most amusing people in the world but spaces are few and far between.
And then I messed up on my tax payment, providing me with yet another financial challenge; an ever-present challenge during my 3 years in Belgium. So I'm thinking, that in order to put a positive spin on it all, I might just have to learn to view these years as the sorbet years ... the years when I cleansed my 'spending palate' and learned the fine art of appreciating any income I might happen upon.
But I have traveled and while much was either paid for as part of a photography gig or gifted by friends (as in the house in France), I do need to get serious about wifi here in the apartment and paying for the lens I recently fell in truly, madly, deeply in love with so I can get it onto my camera and working.
I have a summer outfit I've worn almost all summer, so I must do something about professionalising my 'look' (Shannon come back and help me) and while I've read some very good secondhand books, I really need to visit my first Belgian hairdresser one day soon and restore my hair to its Istanbul glory. I haven't been to a professional hairdresser since leaving Turkey ... gah!
Meanwhile ... I'm off to photograph a Flemish parliamentarian and city Alderman this afternoon. He needs his publicity portfolio filled.
Wish me luck :)
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Thomas L. Friedman
Curious about what made Thomas so mad ... click here.
Pippa was one of my very best friends when I flew away 5 years ago and even now, just hearing her voice on the phone fills me with smiles. She's one of those wild women who want to do it all ... she's a doctor, a clinical psychologist to be more precise but she meditates and drinks red wine, loves empty New Zealand beaches. She writes and has this distinctive laugh that makes others laugh with her simply because.
Last but not least, she's raising her daughter in their house by the sea. Her daughter who was just a small baby last time I saw them.
Reading the blog world and feeling a little bit lost, I realised how creatively lonely I'm feeling. There's no one around me doing what I'm trying to do at the moment ... no one to stay up late brainstorming and laughing with while sharing a bottle of red.
And I'm in need of laughter as I put together everything required for the exhibition. There's the press kit, the titles, the prices and information for the insurance people.
It was a huge struggle to locate/create/appreciate that photograph of me.
I asked Hugo if I might have Sandra Bullock stand in for me.
He didn't get back to me ...
It's bucketing down here ... storms off and on all day long.
My baby's birthday today.
Dinner tonight, a surprise that can't be written of here.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I only have this image, and the rest, saved as a very small jpg images. This is how it is at 100% ... I need to go back and do it all again.
It's almost 6am.
I woke just before 5am today.
I love these quiet mornings alone and willingly rise when they are a possibility, or a simple necessity.
I miss beaches and hills though. I miss being able to take my coffee out to the steps and sit looking out over the harbour.
Or opening the tent fly and breathing the New Zealand air that is so different to the air I breathe here.
So here I am ... 3 years living in Belgie.
4 years since I was last home.
(The photographs were taken from my funny little cottage on the edge of the harbour, Broad Bay, Dunedin.)
Saturday, August 09, 2008
I took it down simply because I didn't explain myself well and I was a little uncomfortable reading nice things about me. You see, I had been at the tearing-my-hair-out stage when I wrote and nobody should write 'help' posts from that point.
I was trying to find a way to sum up what I do in life, as I'm working on redesigning my blog so that I can do much more on it. A new name didn't seem like a bad idea but I didn't know how to sum up all that I do. The photography, the interviews and the wandering.
I did think about the idea of renaming the blog the Griot.
Yesterday, while reading my big 3.5kg Magnum book, Guy Le Querrec explained that his friends called him the griot, comparing him to the traditional African poet-musician who tells the people's story, and who also incorporates social criticism and humour in his songs, or in his case, his photography.
Anyway, my hair is intact, Mark is skiing in Queenstown, New Zealand and thanks Julie . Your comments were much appreciated and I'm still smiling over the 'Everything' song.
Friday, August 08, 2008
It's school vacation time here in Belgie and the need for a wifi modem is foremost in my mind. The modem that allows me to move to the bedroom 'office' at the other end of the apartment.
Madness and mayhem regularly reign here and today I've been more UN peace negotiator/psychologist.
I'm struggling with standing still in these days, there's no wandering although I do have some lovely photography sessions coming up.
Storms and rain ... an erratic summer, pretty much like those I grew up with back home in New Zealand.
Okay, a million things to do, perhaps I should unplug and go back to the other, internet-less desk.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Summer continues here (something not to be taken forgranted in the flatlands of Belgium). Autumn visits occasionally but only reminds me of erratic summers in hometown Dunedin. Meanwhile I walk this odd path between holiday and work, with one merging into the other quite without me intending it.
August is the month I work towards a 1 September blog launch, as well as my 3rd newsletter, both for the office. It's the month I select, enlarge, frame and work out description masterpieces and prices for my exhibition opening 5 September in the city. It's the month where I'm taking photography bookings, marketing my work, doing publicity shots for a city alderman and parliamentarian, and setting up a wifi modem for the apartment so I can work between the desk I have set up in the bedroom and here in the lounge. School vacations inspire this action.
Another project has been resurrected. Just before events began unfolding on K2, I had made the acquaintance of a British rock climber and asked if he might consider being a part of my climbing book. It's the manuscript I've mentioned occasionally here, the one that was about New Zealand climbers ... the one that could surely be finished with interviews from an international selection of climbers.
He kindly agreed.
I said thank you.
So let's see where that heads in the months ahead.
It's definitely an unfinished thread in this patchwork life of mine.
Everything seems to be fitting itself into the groove of photography and communication, which is as it should be when you realise the official name of my business is Di Mackey Word & Image.
It's taken some time and hopefully, one day, I'll make some money as a result. If not, I'm having fun anyway.
Oh, and in news that falls into the category of slightly wicked and irresponsible: I was offered a stunning and rather sexy 70-200 f4 L-series Canon lens for a price I can afford if I'm slightly irresponsible with my outgoing expenses.
I played with it at a family birthday party on Sunday and the photograph here is the result of discrete photo-stalking during party conversations ...
Tot straks from the kiwi living in Belgie
Monday, August 04, 2008
I finally located a fairly reliable source in the form of Nicholas Rice, a climber who was actually descending K2 as everything went wrong with the serac fall higher up at the Bottleneck.
He has a blog and has spent some time trying to find out exactly what happened by interviewing those who were there.
He writes: Below I will list the victims and what I gathered from first hand witnesses. The death toll sits at eleven now.
1. Serbian- Diran- Confirmed Dead; Fell below Bottleneck, Body Recovered to CIV by American Doctor, Eric.
2. Pakistan- Mehrban Karim- Confirmed Dead; Fell in Descent after Hugues Deceased
3. Pakistan- Jehan Baig- Confirmed Dead; Fell below Bottleneck during rescue of Diran
4. French- Hugues D’Aubarede- Confirmed Dead; Stuck above the traverse after Serac Fall cut the Fixed Lines
5. Irish- Gerard McDonell- Confirmed Dead; Refused to descend because he was helping the others that were injured
6. Korean- Park Kyeong hyo- Confirmed Dead- Serac Fall
7. Korean- Kim Hyokyeong- Confirmed Dead- Serac Fall
8. Korean- Hwang Dong Jin- Confirmed Dead- Serac Fall
9. Nepal- Pasang Bhote- Confirmed Dead- Died in Rescue of Jumich Bhote from Serac Fall
10. Nepal- Jumich Bhote - Confirmed Dead- Trapped in Bottleneck when Rope Cut by Serac Fall
11. Norway- Rolf Bae- Confirmed Dead- Fell in Descent with Serac Fall
Although I spoke with first hand witnesses regarding these names and events, there still exists a language barrier in some cases, and I can’t guarentee that all the facts are present. These are, however quite a bit more accurate than those based on hearsay. This evening, we still await the arrival of Marco, who was reportedly smiling in Camp II melting water, and resting. They sent a helicopter for him to get him from Camp II, however, turned back before reaching him because of deteriorating weather. I hope that the weather holds long enough so that he too can be evacuated by helicopter tomorrow, as the weather is forecast to be quite bad.
The Dutch team on the mountain have a website here and the Singaporean climbers are writing here.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
I found these candles in the beautiful old church in Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne and couldn't resist an attempt without flash.
It came into being as s a Benedictine Abbey back in 855 but wore other clothes too, as is the fate of these ancient buildings.
It was a beautiful place just to be ...
Gert and I were wandering through the beautiful village of Collonges la Rouge when I looked up and noticed this sculpture with the standard stunning old house as a background.
I'd like to return to the village one day, with time to explore and wander some more.
If Oradour-sur-Glane was about remembering the viciousness of a nazi past, then Collonges la Rouge was about peace and beauty, about survival, and the gentle merging of the past with the present.
You know, one of the things that forcibly struck me while I wandered the ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane was that nothing we often measure as having meaning in society had saved anyone.
The six people who survived, survived because they were lucky in where they were shot or in an opportunity they grabbed but nothing, not money, material possessions, career, beauty or position in the community saved people.
Ex-mayors died alongside the doctor and the village beauty and that tiny baby, those 2 little boys and the man's mother who was found in the arms of his wife.
I think that's what we often fail to understand when we read of genocides - the fact that neither cluster bombs, bullets, landmines nor soldiers take the time to assess beauty, bank balance, position or intelligence - they don't take the time to know the target. Collateral damage is the name given to that wedding party accidentally shot to pieces or the baby in the car.
Oradour-sur-Glane is an important memorial but I don't think it will stop the savagery, racism and violence in the world.
Friday, August 01, 2008
The ruins have been left as they were found.
The blue jug reminds you that there were people just like us, drinking the cafes.
The burned bicycles remind you of the 6 people cycling through the village ... the 6 strangers who were were murdered along with the villagers.
The burned sewing machines in every house make you wonder about the pride felt by each women as she created.
Oradour-sur-Glane is the village where 642 men, women and children were murdered by the Nazis on 10 June 1944.
To this day there is no universally accepted explanation for the massacre ...
Sadly, the existence of this village didn't do what was intended. It hasn't stopped other genocides from taking place. The Srebrenica massacre was all but televised, in terms of the world's awareness of events, and no one stopped the murder of more than 8000 Bosniak men and boys in July 1995 ...
And Srebrenica is just one of many since 1944.