Sunday, May 31, 2009

A conversation between the 2 of us

I gave you the cd with your photographs on it, didn't I?
Did you?
I did ... didn't I?
I don't know, let me look, I don't remember.

Silence as we wonder who has lost whose mind.

Oh wait, you mean this one right in front of me?
Why yes I do.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Entrance to an Art Studio, Antwerpen

Wild crazy days of photographing railway employees, artists, and archers ... then today, a spot of calm as I entered the alleyway of the artists here in Antwerpen.

I want to be worthy of a studio space there one day.
It's heaven, truly really.

Friday, May 29, 2009

On a small break between photography sessions ...

Yesterday I was in Brussels at the NGO yesterday, talking about a photo collection I'm putting together as an exhibition for our August office move and today finds me at work on the photographs for an exhibition that opens 6 June ... it's a wee bit busy here.

This morning I photographed 2 chefs at work, an 81 year old woman making lace, 3 pensioners playing cards, a matchbox collector before taking a break. I head back there soon.

Tomorrow I have a photo shoot with an artist at art school in the morning, then an eel festival to attend in the afternoon.

It's all about this 'Public Self/Private Self' exhibition.
I'll let you know how things go and post the collection here once it has been finalised.

Tot straks.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dance Lessons

Dance Lessons, originally uploaded by - di.

I loved photographing this impromptu dance lesson the other day ... these two were pure delight!

The dance student observes

The dance student observes, originally uploaded by - di.

Cameo Artist, Napoli

Cameo Artist, Napoli, originally uploaded by - di.


The quintessential Palestinian experience,” historian Rashid Khalidi has written, “takes place at a border, an airport, a checkpoint: in short, at any one of those many modern barriers where identities are checked and verified.”

I know how frustrated some of my readers become when I blog about the plight of Palestinians but it's how I was raised. You find the courage to speak out if you think something is wrong hoping, that if the roles were reversed, there would be someone somewhere, speaking out on your behalf.

New Zealand divided itself over apartheid in South Africa during the famous 1981 South African rugby tour of New Zealand.
For 56 days in July, August and September 1981, New Zealanders were divided against each other in the largest civil disturbance seen since the 1951 waterfront dispute. More than 150,000 people took part in over 200 demonstrations in 28 centres, and 1500 were charged with offences stemming from these protests.

It's in our nature to speak out, perhaps to make up for our colonising past or perhaps it's having an understanding of the consequences of colonisation, that wound that rarely heals ... who knows.

But maybe it's enough if I simply quote someone else writing of the plight of Palestinians, locked out of or into their country that is slowly being erased.

“In this place, adds Robyn Creswell, “connection” turns out to be only another word for separation or quarantine: the loop of airports never ends, like Borges’s famous library. The cruelty of the Palestinian situation is that these purgatories are in no way extraordinary but rather the backdrop of daily existence."

And if you're wondering what inspired this post, then visit Laila's blog - over at

I have no idea what history will make of the world's acceptance of this truly horrible situation.

Found ...

Tyne Cot Memorial Cemetery, Belgium, originally uploaded by - di.

Back in April and out on Flanders Fields, I promised to take some photographs of New Zealand commemorative stones with the names of relatives for friends back home in New Zealand.

It has taken me altogether too long to organise myself to the point of processing, downsizing and emailing those images however it happened today and I was so delighted to find this image.

Flanders Fields fairly shone under rare deep blue skies, alternating with the puffy white cloud scene you see in this scene.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Alittle giddy but is a good giddy, I think ...

I returned to Belgium 3 days ago and just in time to participate in deep-cleaning the apartment ready for our much-loved guest who flew in yesterday. Deep-clean because for the first time in my life, I've run into 'the problem with ants' problem ...

Yesterday I leapt out of bed at 8.10am, ran to my phone in the lounge worried that I had slept through any urgent phone calls our guest might have made as she landed, knowing she would be on the 9am airport bus ... all going well.

She hadn't needed to call and we arrived at the bus stop ahead of her, delighted to see her after so long apart. We dumped baggage and headed out to Ruben's House for a lunch at the delicious restaurant just next door to the painter's place. Unbelievably, we were bathed in sunshine and I actually had to take shelter under the shade of a big umbrella.

Next on the list was a quick visit to Hans Anders, the optician with a fantastic deal on glasses and sunglasses at the moment. Gert and I both needed new glasses, my lenses are so scratched that I am visually challenged with or without my spectacles these days.

And tea, two large packets of Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea leaves were purchased from the little tea shop in the city centre.

I slept deeply last night.

This morning dawned and I was prowling around at 6am after falling into my bed at 9pm, something I rarely do.

The New Zealand lamb was prepared, roasted and removed from the oven, then the potatoes, kumara (sweet potato) garlic and onions were dropped into the meat juice to cook. I do believe I made one of my best gravy's with the resulting bits and pieces.

Simon and Paola arrived with their children and today was one of those lovely days where you get to spend time with some of the very best people you know. Vanilla ice cream accompanied Gert's speciality dessert - cherries in a slightly thickened sauce to finish the meal ...

Tomorrow is another day.
Let's see how things go.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Herculaneum to Vesuvius, Naples

Herculaneum to Vesuvius, Naples, originally uploaded by - di.

At the bottom of the photograph you can see the ancient city of Herculaneum, buried by Mount Vesuvius back in August of A.D.79, under more lava than Pompeii.

Then there is an almost seamless joining of ancient to contemporary, with the new city built on top of the buried city in some instances and there, in the top third of this photograph is the mighty Mount Vesuvius.

I took some comfort in the fact that we weren't living in the 'red zone' and that we would apparently survive Vesuvius exploding but still ...

Italian cyclists spot Bella Napoli - H3 in the park

This photograph still makes me laugh ...

I was photographing the antics of the Bella Napoli H3 crowd, post-run and 'antics' kind of captures the spirit of playfulness going on. I looked round and my camera captured these guys who were obviously stunned enough to stop their bikes as they rode through the park. And you can see the laughter on the face of the guy just coming into the shot.

Oh those crazy crazy Hash House Harriers!

Friday, May 22, 2009

This was kind of delicious ...

I didn't follow American Idol and was just catching up with the Adam Lambert phenomena when I discovered this ... Mark will laugh.

Portrait of a camera-shy photographer ...

Flanders Fields, 2009, originally uploaded by - di.

Gert snuck up on me while we were out on Flanders Fields last month, Gary ... writes this laughing woman.

I'm comfortable with this kind of portrait - the 'caught unawares' style.

I know how to make everyone else relax in front of the lens, just not myself.

And home again ...

Counting games, originally uploaded by - di.

I told Gert that I like flying these days.

He replied that he might buy me an ankle bracelet, one that beeps whenever I try to leave the country. Laughing, he explained that he thought my dislike of flying had kept me home more than he had expected ... if I liked flying, well who knew what the new schedule would be.

It's less than 2 hours to Italy, maybe he's right, writes this smiling woman.

I landed in Belgium yesterday, was picked up and whisked off to a family BBQ. It was a delightful way to return ... 23 celsius, blue skies, red wine, fantastic food and good company.

At first I resisted and left my camera packed up but about halfway through I had to go get it and a few hundred photographs happened disturbing quickly.

I had a beautiful photograph of Mamadou dancing with little Miss Four and one of Raf bbq-ing pineapple. A beautiful one of little Miss 4 and Nikki but permission permission, I must get permission.

Last night I slept like the dead, falling into my bed about 9.30pm. Today it's blue skies and cleaning ... a most delicious guest arrives from America bright and early tomorrow and I have a family photography session booked.

It's all very exciting!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A little bit about travelling with Di

I've often toyed with writing my reality over, or as well as blogging the photographs I take along the way.

I travel on a wing and a prayer and sometimes the universe is laughing at me and the wings ... well they do their best.

Tonight in Rome it was all about whether I had enough money to
- pay the hotel - check
- pay the train to the airport in the morning - check
- get dinner tonight - probably not
- catch the bus home from brussels airport - probably not (how was I going to tell Gert that last one?)

But ... this isn't cause for panic. I'm lucky, apparently I internalise everything which allows me to carry on and work through the tricky situations I often find myself in.

It's silly things like having enough to pay my VAT every 3 months or having Oxfam take their automatic donation out of my bank account which sometimes sends me into a financial speed wobble. It's committing to adventures or just life in general before I have the money or ... alternatively, just after I've completely run out of money. This happens often too.

But life has a way of working out and I've just discovered I can afford dinner tonight and that my long-suffering husband is able to bail me out on the hotel bill. I could have done it but only just and I am hungry tonight.

I'm a terrible creature who is compelled to wander ... from the time I could first climb the wooden gate at home. Everyone knew me back then and would take me home to my mum or phone her. These days it's more difficult to find someone who knows me and is happy to escort me all the way home.

Sadly, I just opened my email here ... but even that was a saga of Di proportions. It took some time to realise that I needed to go downstairs for a cable because that free wifi isn't in every room - some rooms need an internet cable ... and yes, it just happened that they did have a travel adapter for my American laptop because I replaced the one I lost in Napoli with the wrong type for the plug here in Rome.

I'm laughing at myself as I write this but as I was saying, the sad thing I discovered as I opened my email now was a request for a photography session in Naples. If only...

So don't imagine me rolling in cash when I travel, I'm usually about 3cms from sleeping in the gutter and eating from rubbish bins but for kindness of friends who give me couches and apartments and houses to rest in.

There, how's that for a truth.

Ciao from this bemused woman who has arrived in Roma!

Love, originally uploaded by - di.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cameo Factory, Napoli

Cameo Factory, Napoli, originally uploaded by - di.

The guys here wanted to sell me a cameo.

I had to explain I was a New Zealander, that life was all about the photography and I had no money.

Loved this scene in his little store up there on the top of the hill though.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Red Dress Runner spots Beer Near, Naples

Red Dress Runner spots Beer Near, originally uploaded by - di.

There's a whole terminology that goes with Hash House Running ... beer near is just one of many.

Don't even ask me to tell you what a WBF is ...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

This was meant to be ...

This was meant to be a long post about why my lovely hosts are feeding me American junk food but I was so tired I failed. Basically it's all about them finding out that I had been curious about Twinkies and then deciding that I should try all of those terrible-wonderful foods but the heat and making our way around Naples is energy-sapping and at the moment I'm about to enter the pre-dinner drinks stage (a very nice Italian red, as per every evening). Actually I'm eating very healthily too, as per the olives, tiny bread slices and oil dip that just appeared next to my elbow here and the experiences have been purely delicious so far.

Tomorrow is the gnocchi lesson with Anna.
I adore Anna. I met her in Rome when she was travelling with Tonya and Jack and she promised a gnocchi lesson if I came to bella Napoli. And so I did.

I promise better quality posts after I pull this tired body of mine back together.
Buona sera from sunny Napoli.

Guess, originally uploaded by - di.

The Archeological Museum, Naples

Today we wandered into the archeological museum here in Naples and discovered the most remarkable things ...

This is a fragment of a list of the citizens of Herculaneum AD 65-70, in case you were wondering.

28 celsius, a humid heat here.
Hope your weekend was truly delicious.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bella Napoli - H3

Hash House Harriers, Naples, originally uploaded by - di.

Ciao from Napoli ... writes the woman eating pizza and drinking red wine for ethnographical reasons this evening.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen, an American, a Canadian, one New Zealander and various other crazy people ...

We're off to run in the Neopolitan sun ...

Well actually, I'm the photographer and as such I have created an illusion of a kind of Hippocratic Oath, whereby as photographer, there are things I just don't do, running when documenting Hash House Harrier outings.

It's sunnny ... a soft breeze on a hot day over here in Naples and I'm having a truly delicious time.

Ciao for now!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today in Naples ...

There was the baby shower at the beautiful apartment overlooking the islands below Naples ... the one where I met some lovely people, an Australian included.

There was the long conversation with a couple of Canadian military guys while I was working on photographs taken at the baby shower and later, of the children and the bubble-blowing session on the balcony here.

Then there was that long table, outdoors and loaded down with Neopolitan bbq brilliance and red wine.

It's 22 celsius as I write this down at 23.28pm.
It has been a lovely day here in this land that I love.

Facts taken from a book titled tutta napoli state that naples takes up 11,727 square kilometres in total municipal area, that there are 4,059,196 inhabitants in the province, that the population density is 8,566 people per square kilometre.

There are 5 universities, 17 shipping lines using the port, 3 catacombs, 64 consulates, 7 national museums, 14 municipal libraries
and the list continues ...

A.D.79 at least ...

As a New Zealander, from a country with a 200 year old material proof kind of history, sculptures from A.D. startle me into stillness sometimes.

I loved this one, the muscle definition on his belly and the confidence of his pose ... a glimpse of someone from someplace long ago.

I was wondering why photographing sculpture so fascinates me but it's probably all about the fact that someone has captured a slice of a life and it's there for me to study without anyone complaining about paparazzi.

Wandering in the ruins of someplace ancient ...

Herculaneum stairway, Naples, originally uploaded by - di.

Living American in Italy ...

I'm having this whole dual-cultural experience here on the edge of the city of Naples ...

My lovely hosts are a American/Canadian couple and it just so happens that they have offered me access to the yummiest snack food.

I was finally able to complete my ethnographic work into the whole Twinkie thing, only the second time I've eaten that disturbing little treat in my life. It's not available down in New Zealand, despite reading a million Archie comics while growing up ... Archie comics that carried Twinkie adverts, making the kid that I was a little curious.

This morning, realising I was a complete innocent abroad, Tonya and Sammi set me up with a PEZ machine. Yes, that me was me eating PEZ sweets from a penguin.

Tuesday night and I arrived to real American hamburgers, delicious with the bright orange Velveeta slices, the ones that might not be good for you but taste like they could be.

I finally had Root Beer yesterday but couldn't finish it, finding it too similar to drinking liquid liniment ...

It's research work really. I've been reading of these things forever and a girl gets curious. Today holds the promise of a can of cold Dr Pepper and there are cheeseballs (not seen since New Zealand) in the big jar on the bar. Oreos and York peppermint patties live over there too.

My morning coffee is this interesting mix of percolator coffee and Hazelnut Coffee-Mate however, this morning, as I passed by the Unrepentant Wanderer in the kitchen, some Baileys may have been poured into that breakfast coffee of mine ...

Life on the road. It's a tough and difficult journey sometimes ... ;)

Ciao from this kiwi living a Neopolitan/American kind of life.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Taverna, Herculaneum, Naples

Taverna, Herculaneum, Naples, originally uploaded by - di.

Apparently lunch was never eaten at home back in those A.D. days in Herculaneum (or Ercolano) and this was one of the local restaurants.

There's a book I hope to find before leaving here ... Pompeii, by Robert Harris.

Herculaneum, Naples

Herculaneum, Naples, originally uploaded by - di.

Herculaneum was the Pompeii I didn't know about before today.

I did a little research and read that Herculaneum was still being repaired after an earthquake back in A.D.62 when Vesuvius erupted in the August of A.D.79, burying it under more lava than Pompeii.

Evacuations were started in 1709 by a Prince Elbruf, who was apparently more about stealing objects found than preserving the Roman town. The exciting thing about this fossilised city is the fact that it was a seaside resort for patricians and its construction was more elaborate than Pompeii.

I hope to have captured something of the elegant beauty I felt as I wandered the empty streets of this ancient city.

I loved this room ...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vesuvius, through the haze of a bright Naples day...

View of Mount Vesuvius, Naples, originally uploaded by - di.

The beauty of any flight, after all, is that, as soon as we leave the ground, we leave a sense of who we are behind. The four walls that marked and enclosed our lives this morning grow smaller and still smaller, less and less distinct, till finally they disappear altogether in the grid of the houses all around. We rise and rise through the clouds, into a blue stillness, and the very 'we' and 'I' that seemed so urgent when we awoke become as remote, as hard to take seriously, as that house, far, far below, now invisible.
Pico Iyer, from Sun After Dark.

Out walking this morning, I had this - my first view of Mount Vesuvius. Apparently we're not in the red zone if it erupts. So bright outside, I shall be stalking this volcano in the days ahead ...

Granita limone in Monte di Procida, Naples

Writing from Naples ...

Stressed by all I had done and some bits I had failed to do, I left the apartment a little shaky yesterday morning, really hoping that for the first time in 3 days, the trams would be working properly.

Almost everything on my to-do list was done much as was possible anyway.

The trip to Naples went like this: a tram to the airport shuttle bus in Antwerp city, shuttle bus to Brussels airport, a plane - less than 2 hours to Rome (and 49euro each way), then onto the airport express train - 11 euro and 22 minutes to Rome central station then ... she takes a deep breath, onto the fast train to Naples, well under 2 hours and voila, I arrived in Naples - 11 hours after leaving home.

It looks like another crazy beautiful city, Istanbul-style. The taxi ride seemed like a small ethnographical taste as we drove across the city doing things the Neapolitan way, which was kind of like sitting back and relaxing on a galloping horse.

Tonya met me and drove me up to her mountain-side home and there I was fed delicious American burgers, had my glass filled with Italian red wine and met some really lovely people.

It was a nice beginning.
We're off wandering soon, 25 celsius at 8am.

Ciao from Italy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Saturday morning photo session ...

Laughter in the playground, originally uploaded by - di.

In a happy combination of the lovely Canon EOS 5D mark II and a beautiful little girl and her mum, I'm truly delighted with the results of last Saturday's photography session.

Everyone Else ... by TISM

I thought there were some who would enjoy this video ... just some, perhaps not everyone.

The animation was created by Bernard Derriman and the song was by an alternative Australian rockband, TISM

I hope you're more successful than me at getting this out of your head afterwards ...

Happy Monday.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lost photographs recovered ...

I wrote a panicked depressed post about losing an external hard-drive earlier, then deleted it ...

The good news is, 10.30pm and it's found again.
Gert came home and voila, the photographs were recovered from a sulky hard-drive. Highly technical issue ... turn it off, turn it on again and there they are.

Tonight I didn't photograph the Flemish prime minister but I did get to photograph a Belgian MP and various other delicious folk at a wine and cheese evening and then ended the evening in intense conversation with a lovely Croatian woman who I will photograph one day soon in her 16th century medieval crossbow costume.

There's a group of them, and there was a conversation about some kind of traditional pipe-smoking groups. More to follow one day ... after Naples I guess.

I cleaned my desk today, I put all my 'to-do' lists together on one list and almost died of panic however I am getting there finally.

I fly Tuesday morning, tomorrow promises two options ... things will either flow seamlessly and I will achieve all or it will be a nightmare of late everywhere and things left undone.

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


I think of my mother sometimes, a little annoyed that she's no longer here to just phone because I am thinking of her, I have things to tell her, then it's so sad when I remember again...

Odd things make me think of her.

Our balcony garden. It's under construction ... a twinkle in the eye, a wrinkle in the wallet. I told Gert of mum, explaining that if she flew in from New Zealand she would make the balcony garden her project and we'd be left with something quite stunning.

My parents loved gardening ... dad still does but mum died back in 1999 and I miss her. She was so full of life, in ways that I didn't really understand until later. Sometimes we need distance to see our parents as individuals, with lives and dreams of their own.

In retrospect I see that my mother was fearless ... or perhaps it was that she wasn't afraid to do things that scared her. She did things ahead of her time and moved onto the next thing as she grew. She married my father back in '63 and they had 4 kids. They bought a house and made it our home, creating a constantly changing garden of vegetables and flowers; we buried our pets there over the years.

Back then, Dad was a plasterer, painter and paperhanger. He was perfect for her ... she would have a decorating idea and he would come home to a paperless room and a wife with a plan for his weekend. It makes me smile to remember some of her surprises. She was cute like that and completely shameless about whatever it was that she had done.

Mum was a mother but she did other things too ... she worked as a grounds-woman at the school next door to our place, she loved driving the tractor that mowed the massive grass areas in our old school. She worked in a sheepskin factory for a while and then, as her children and confidence grew, she went back to school for secretarial qualifications ... shy and uncertain of self in a strange way, she did things anyway. She was rapt when she was hired by a government department.

She never stopped being our mum, in her way, and her way was special ... a little bit like her cooking, which was memorable. My friends seemed to love coming over to my place .. much to my teenage embarrassment, and she helped them when they organised a couple of surprise birthdays for me or perhaps they were her idea, I don't know for sure. My boyfriends came over and hung round too, enjoying the sweet fun of her.

I was a year married when she informed me I was pregnant meanwhile I was imagining mononucleosis again ... and later she came to visit me as a new mum, told me that I was doing well and left on the same day. It took a long time to forgive her for that but I understand now.

She was so full of life when they told her the cancer was terminal. She was working plans to explore the world some, and she'd always had this dream of living in a house next to the sea.

Her liver had been paining her a little and my mum, who liked the occasional gin, asked me if I thought it might be the alcohol. I laughed at her then, my mum never drank enough to do any harm to her liver.

We had just over 3 months with her after that ... chance found me living at home for a while, living between two towns and two families - the old and the new. I was finally earning my university degree when she began dying. I was lucky to be there in those days.

She became defined by her 'dont worry, be happy', trying for smiles from those who were already mourning her loss.

When she died her farewell filled the church ...there were people who really cared about her; it would have surprised her I think, she was like that, not understanding the impact she made.

She had planned her own funeral and almost devastated us with some of the music she chose ... Queen almost destroyed me, played full volume in the local Catholic church.

I was given my first speaking engagement ... farewelling my mum, following her instructions not to single out anyone for special thanks because there really were too many people to thank, she didn't want to forget or undervalue anyone. I worked on that speech for hours on the night before the funeral ... had computer crashes, memory failures ... strange unexplained things, each time I tried to break her rules and just thank her doctor or some other person who had been so important.

That was mum ...

Someplace Else

Imagine if she didn't really die
That it was her I saw this morning
at breakfast, by the window that
looked out over the bay.

That our pain was imagined, and
her pain was a nightmare of mine.
That this morning I woke up and
remembered she lived someplace else.

Or maybe I just caught a small glimpse of her heaven
A cottage, with a big window and a view out over the sea.

Note: I should have mentioned this was first written in 2006 and I reposted it, missing mum immensely yesterday.

Today ...

Hands, originally uploaded by - di.

Alarm at 6.30am ... a tram strike meant that meeting my client's train was going to be fraught. I left the apartment early and waited 45 minutes for a tram, arriving moments before her and her beautiful little girl.

I found a new park here in the city of Antwerpen and we hung out there with the camera for an hour or two. Photos processed, this new camera astounds me with what it has allowed me to learn ... and voila, this is the only one I feel I can post without asking permission but I'm smiling and it's not just about Naples.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Ludo Van Campenhout, MP and Alderman

Ludo Van Campenhout, MP and Alderman, originally uploaded by - di.

One of my photographs is being used in the upcoming election campaign.

A bit of a battering (or, needing a free personal assistant urgently)

Boccadasse, Italy, originally uploaded by - di.

You know when you're just out-running disaster in terms of work needing done well ... today I feel like that house in Boccadasse.

I was correcting and mailing out the work newsletter but can't because the remote server is too slow and it's like running in mud.
Solution, go to work Monday and do it all because ... today I begin work on the exhibition photographs and have to be in this Antwerpen city this afternoon and not the city of Brussels.

I have to pick up my Belgian driving licence and it's a tricky trip via public transport.

I've just set everything up for tomorrow's 9am family portrait session.

I need to write to Peter and tell him I loved his photographs of New Zealand, apologising for not quite getting to the email I intended to write but I'm almost done with the Rome photographs that will travel to Naples with me on Tuesday.

And then there's the problem of the Hash House Harriers Rome photographs ... just exactly what did I do with them after I mailed them out. I ran out of space on my hard drive in Istanbul and deleted some things I thought I was done with but don't worry, I've worked out how to deal with that, Tonya but I had to think some.

I need to post soprano, Carleen Ebb's photographs today. They're processed and on cd, it's just getting over to the Post Office - a long-standing problem for me. Just ask my little sister and her daughters ... I am the stuff of non-posting legends.

I need to phone the hotel to pay for the room in Rome on the way home from Naples ... there's a train journey I wanted to write about so I'm landing in my beloved Rome and catching the train to Naples. The new website needs that particular story but then, I need to get across the city via metro or taxi ;) Here's to the story remaining ordinary.

Must pack, must process photographs, must convince my daughter that being my p.a. has undreamt of benefits, then dream up said benefits.

I hope you're more organised in your world
Happy Friday.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My girl

My girl, originally uploaded by - di.

Crazy beautiful Rome

Crazy beautiful Rome, originally uploaded by - di.

Dance all around the world, Blerta

My people are a strange people ...

Sadly, there were probably no drugs involved in the making of this youtube.

There was no reason for the beautiful but somehow exquisitely mad dance scene on this youtube moment BUT the point of posting this was to put an old favourite out into the world.

Blerta was a New Zealand band, our first crazy 70s band in an uptight sometimes puritan land. Actually Blerta was an acronym - Bruno Lawrence's Electric Revelation and Traveling Apparition but of course you say...


An Artist in Piazza Navona, Roma, originally uploaded by - di.

I land in bella Roma on Tuesday ... heading for Naples on the train.

Those who know me can imagine the huge happy smile.

Piazza Navona, Roma

Piazza Navona, Roma, originally uploaded by - di.

Work in Brussels today.

I have some delicious projects coming up with them. A small exhibition in September and all kinds of other photography-related happenings.

The newsletter will go out tonight or early tomorrow morning .

Hmmm and tomorrow I start working on the June exhibition photography in the city.

It's okay here in the flatlands today.

Found on an Istanbul street

Found on an Istanbul street, originally uploaded by - di.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Postcards ...

Remembering Rome, originally uploaded by - di.

Today I took time out from everything else and called in at the print shop to price postcards for the exhibition at work in September and placemats, part of this June exhibition display.

I had a sample of each made up and was so childishly delighted with my first ever Di Mackey postcard. So delighted.

I only had 4 printed this time but I can see this is going to become a future feature.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Parlez-vous kiwi?, Blogger

A fellow kiwi called by and commented on my blog a couple of time, curious I wandered on over to Parlez-vous kiwi? and enjoyed what I found over there.

She's a New Zealander with her very own French man and as I was reading through her posts, I came to the youtube you see at the end of this post, with a write-up about the French government sinking the Greenpeace ship called Rainbow Warrior in a New Zealand port in an operation codenamed Opération Satanique…

You see, she was taking her man back to New Zealand and had to warn him of the two subjects he couldn't mention to kiwis as a Frenchman. The second subject was the Rainbow Warrior incident. She explains: a ship of the environmental organisation Greenpeace, which was active in supporting a number of Greenpeace protest activities against seal hunting, whaling and nuclear weapons testing during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was all about promoting peace. Two French agents, in 1985, bombed the Rainbow Warrior, killing a photographer on the boat in the act. The French govt initally denied any involvement and jumped on the “terrorist act” bandwagon.

When two of the French Agents were caught in NZ (posing as married couple ‘Sophie and Alain Turenge’), a police investigation ensued and both pleaded guilty to manslaughter and 10 years in jail. However, come 1986, and a political deal between French President and NZ President, the Frenchies agreed to pay NZ$13 million in return for the two French agents to be jailed in their own country.

You can read more of that particular post here.

I might have written about the Rainbow Warrior sinking here and ummmm here too.

And to my delight, she had also posted this youtube song, marking the 20th anniversary of the incident.

out wandering, originally uploaded by - di.

Out wandering with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II

out wandering ii, originally uploaded by - di.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Anna and Sami, Rome

Anna and Sami, Rome, originally uploaded by - di.

Remember wanting an ice cream this much ...

Piazza Navona, Rome

It was a day of magic light, people and mood that March day in Piazza Navona.

As I checked over the huge version of this image, I was quite taken with the way the light was almost making his hand translucent.

Did I mention I love Rome ...

Piazza Navona, Rome

Piazza Navona, Rome, originally uploaded by - di.

I loved this one, the more I looked, the more I saw.

There are even bubbles floating about ...

A Roman, originally uploaded by - di.


Rome Bubbles, originally uploaded by - di.

I was working my way through my Rome series, checking levels and found this ...

Naples is on ...

A last minute idea on how to afford travelling this time and I fly next week ... writes flying on a shoestring as usual, Di

So today is the first day in front of me and I have promised to have the 500 Rome photographs processed and ready to take to Naples with me. I have a 2.30pm interview with a restaurant owner in the city and I need to start working on the exhibition photography today too.

This morning I sent last month's invoice to the NGO, having begun this month's newsletter over the weekend. I priced out an exhibition for them, and then I worked on an English text for an exciting new online business that I will write up on the new website.

It's 10.11am as I write this.

Last night I finished processing the New Zealand soprano, Carleen Ebbs, Flanders Fields photographs at midnight, so they will be mailed today, and Jessie is working on a beautiful Communion card for the friends whose daughter I photographed last weekend. They were pleased with their photographs.

Sometimes ... just sometimes, writing it all down here helps me to focus, so to speak but let's see it.

There are distractions ...
In researching the island of Ischia just now, I discovered Truman Capote ... I may need to make time for him too.

Hope things are good out in your world.
Tot ziens.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Communion, Belgie, originally uploaded by - di.

In Belgium, children take their First Communion at 6 and there is a small celebration marking the moment.

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to photograph the daughter of friends in her Communion clothes while I was in Ieper and this was a particular favourite from that day.

Simone Bitton, Film-maker

Salon interviewer: He says to you that it's important to resist something that you know is wrong even if you know you will not succeed.

Simone Bitton: Yes, yes, and it's a lesson, it's a lesson. You asked me before about naiveté. What does it mean, naiveté? Does it mean that if you are not sure that you will succeed that you will not fight for freedom? Is that naiveté? If so, maybe we should hope that more people will be naive in this world.

Raquel sent me a link to a Salon interview with a Moroccan-born Jewish filmmaker who spent many years in Israel and now lives in France

This tempted me and I believe it will be another film I need to seek out in the weeks ahead, along with Waltz with Bashir .

In this new documentary, Simone conducts a philosophical and cinematic inquiry into the death of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American activist who was killed under ambiguous circumstances in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip in March 2003. But the political firestorm that followed Corrie's death, which saw her beatified as a martyr for peace by some on the left and demonized as a terrorist enabler by some on the right, is virtually absent from the film.

Thank you Raquel.

An interesting article

This ancient nation with its own unique cultural heritage is dying," he said later the same day. "The situation inside Tibet is almost something like a death sentence.
The Dalai Lama's words, extracted from Pico Iyer's article titled A Hell on Earth, in the NY Times.

Growing up, watching The Diary of Anne Frank year after year on New Zealand television, I knew that my adult world would be so much better than the world that had allowed the Holocaust to occur.

One of the most difficult things to accept as an adult has been that 1. it's not a better world and holocausts are occurring even as I write this and 2. it's all but socially unacceptable to speak out about them.

Lovely people, Lovely dinner party ...

There were 8 at the table, Belgians in the ascendant outnumbering the kiwis by 2. The Italian and British came in at one each and I, for one, had the loveliest time.

We had the most interesting mix of life experiences and stories. There was the woman, once a Belgian judge now a writer and historian. There was the wildly interesting WW1 historian, who plays many administrative roles in a small village in Belgium and is much loved by the people of the commonwealth round the world and his delicious wife. And then no gathering here is complete without Simon and Paola, just in from a most excellent adventure Mauritius.

It was the first night I haven't worked on photographs and exhibition ideas or any other thing needing my attention. It felt like my first time off in a long time actually.

We started with Tavas, a Cypriot stew, with Persian Chicken (my favourite since forever) as back-up for anyone not wanting the steak, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, oregano, cinnamon cook in their own juices and groundnut oil.

Dessert was the kiwi pavlova, with vanilla ice cream and a thick cherry sauce.

It was a good night.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Mr Istanbul Dog, originally uploaded by - di.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Baimurat Allaberiyev, Singer

This story made me smile over in Britain's Independent newspaper: Baimurat Allaberiyev doesn't look like a pop star. He's 38 years old, but looks well into his forties, and his creased, leathery face hints at a life of sadness and toil. For the past two years, the native of mountainous Tajikistan has lived near Kolomna, a provincial Russian town just outside Moscow, where he earns a paltry salary stacking boxes in a supermarket. Two of his front teeth are missing after Russian skinheads took a dislike to his Asiatic features earlier this year and attacked him, unprovoked, while he was sitting on a train.

But things are changing for Mr Allaberiyev, and the Tajik labourer is on the cusp of unlikely stardom, thanks to a bizarre course of events that is part Susan Boyle, part Slumdog Millionaire.

He's here too.
If searching youtube, you're looking for Таджик Джими .

Exhibition, June 2009

It was confirmed today, next week I begin work on a new exhibition here in the city.

I'm delighted, as they also accepted the idea of my title 'Public Self/Private Self'.

Work starts next week and I will have a month to document, then design, produce frame and/or print other works ready to hang or place for the month of June.

I'll be one of a number of artists from various disciplines working with a business owner in the area, each of us having our own space in an separate shop and/or whatever other space we have permission to work in. And for now, let's just say, I'm particularly excited by my choice of location.

I'll try to remember to create a gallery of the exhibition images on my new website once all is complete.

Tot straks, from this smiling kiwi photographer living in Belgie.

The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, originally uploaded by - di.

It is now certain, for example, that Mehmed the Conqueror had build the two Bedestans which were to serve as forerunners to the Grand Bazaar - the first in 1461.

A small taste of a tiny section of the bazaar: To the left of a little kiosk there is a door with glass wings on either side; descending the two steps you arrive at the antique section of the Bedestan; on sale here are objects in copper, bronze, every sort of souvenir to tempt the visitor; it is a field of exploration criss-crossed like a chequer board, in which the lanes meet and intersect endlessly. Stoves, braziers, weapons armour, ikons, carpets, embroideries, rings, ancient coins, porcelain vases, objects fashioned in silver, all kinds of treasures are to be found here.
Çelik Gülersoy, from A Guide to Istanbul.

A shop in the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Grand Bazaar II, Istanbul, originally uploaded by - di.

I love wandering in Istanbul's bazaar ... there are hundreds of small shops like this in the labyrinth of this ancient sprawling 'shopping mall'.

Described as follows in an old but famous guidebook written by Çelik Gülersoy , a Turkish lawyer, historical preservationist, writer and poet.

It is not simply a building nor a market nor even a district that we find facing us now but a city a separate urban area with its own alleys and throughfares and streets a labyrinth of shops and passages in complicated interdependence, always fascinating to explore.

I chose the word 'labyrinth' before reading him because obviously this is only word that comes close to capturing something of this amazing bazaar - the largest oriental souk in the world