Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #88 – Chaos

Outside, the sun is shining and the birds are singing – it is a beautiful morning in my garden. For this week, I had already chosen Chaos, not knowing how well this would apply to what many of us are living in right now. Thinking about it this early Spring morning… it all feels unreal. But, the world is still standing, and the sun is still shining.

First, we want to send our heartfelt wishes to blogger friends all over the world, those who are quarantined and those who are not yet there. May we soon see an end to the spreading of the Corona virus. In this fearful situation, we are all grateful for the contact and support made possible via internet and blogging.

If you need further help with handling your thoughts on this pandemic situation, please visit Cindy Knoke . She gives sensible and expert advice.

My life is organized chaos. – Kathleen Kennedy says. And maybe that is what Life really is – so, how do You look upon, and handle, Chaos?

The word Chaos originally refers to the void state preceding the creation of the universe or in the Greek creation myths. Chaos in modern use, in the sense of ”complete disorder or confusion”, first appears in Elizabethan Early Modern English.

Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos. – Mary Shelley

I always think that women are the chaos managers of life. – Teresa Heinz

– Something my own experiences tell me is – true!

Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories. – Walter Benjamin

We will have a total chaos without books, literature, and library. – Anne Waldman

Using chaos as a creative force – might be a challenge. But, yesterday I watched the Swedish ”Culture News” program, where an Italian/Swedish author and an Iranian producer talked about the Corona situation in their countries. And yes, it was a heart warming program where I was really amazed at people’s creativity!

A video clip showed musicians and actors using their quarantine to paint, to learn another instrument or a new foreign language; to read books they otherwise wouldn’t have read. And some said they used this new ”free” time to spend it with their kids. Also interesting, was that Italians were allowed free use of internet on their cellphones.

Anything worth doing good takes a little chaos. – Flea

But I like the chaos. As long as it’s happy chaos.  – Ayda Field

 

Let us focus on the possibilities, staying on the right track. Maybe nothing will be quite the same again – but let’s hope this chaos is the beginning of something new and positive.  Maybe these quotes and images will release some more of your creativity for our journey together on this bumpy road…

Feel free to interpret Chaos any way you want – what it looks like, how you cope with it, how you work on it, what you will do when everything calms down, etc. We are looking forward to Your version of Chaos!

Many thanks to our guest host, Miriam of The Showers of Blessings, and her beautiful challenge – which gave us so many reflective reflections!

Have you seen these:

Elizabatz – clever and fun at the museum.

Klara – a very artistic post.

Rupali – amazing quotes too to go with her images.

Sandy – sandyjwhite – Puddle art.

 

As usual, Tina, Amy, Patti and I value your creative responses and thoughts. Thanks for joining us, and above all, Stay safe! On March 21, your host will be Amy of The World is A Book .

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #87 – Reflections

We welcome another guest blogger this week, Miriam of The Showers of Blessings.  She suggests we find reflections to share.

Believe it or not, but I found myself in some of mine…even though I never do selfies.

Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
Charles Dickens

Today, International Women’s Day, we might just change his quote a bit…and put in woman and women too.

Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?

― Charles Bukowski

Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him?

Bill Watterson 

Bewilderment increases in the presence of the mirrors.
Tarjei Vesaas,

When do I see a photograph, when a reflection?
Philip K. Dick,

A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.
Henry David Thoreau,

 

These images were made in Iceland, Stettin, Copenhagen, Bilbao, Norway and Switzerland. As usual, click to enlarge.

For the rest of March, we will follow the usual schedule – and stay tuned for next Saturday when the host is me, Leya!

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #79 – A Window With a View

Keep creating new windows from which to look at your world. Never accept your current view of the world as the only view. Let new awareness help you to alter your view and motivate you to be the force of change in your life.  – Don Shapiro

A window can stand for so many things… and windows are attractive to any photographer. This time, Amy’s inspirational choice is A Window With a View. My windows offer very different ideas of a window view – depending on the perspective, who you are, where you are and maybe how you are.

Set wide the window. Let me drink the day. 

Edith Wharton

Windows hold a different dream for each of us.
Anthony T. Hincks 

If you want the people to understand you, invite them to your life and let them see the world from your window!

 – Mehmet Murat ildan

You have the nicest window, you know? None of the others can even compete. It´s not flashy like the others, or bleary,  your window gives of this nice, quiet light.

Banana Yoshimoto

Open the window of your mind. Allow the fresh air, new lights and new truths to enter.

Amit Ray

 

These windows were found in Italy (Rome), Georgia (Tbilisi), Iceland, Poland, Sweden, Bhutan and Scotland. (My own old favorite, is in the header here. )

Thank you for sharing so many, very special spots last week! We hope you join us this week for Amy’s inspiring “A Window With a View” challenge.  Just add your link to her post. (Links from the Reader are not working correctly.) Use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you.

As always, Patti, Amy, Tina and I thank you for your continued support. Hope to see you again next week when Tina is our host for challenge #80!

 

 

Another Masterpiece – Chernobyl

“We are dealing with something that has never occurred on this planet”

My husband and son just returned from Chernobyl last week – very taken with the 2 day tour and all the haunting sights. We all watched this series together this week. If you have not seen it yet – please do.

Among my friends, I have one of the first men who detected and reported the heightened radiation level in Sweden. He still remembers the chills along his spine in that moment. And I remember well when we all got the information from media. (The reindeer up north were forbidden food for many years after…) In February the same year, Olof Palme was murdered…Was this the beginning of the end of the world?

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, Soviet Union suffered a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and as far as Scandinavia and western Europe. Chernobyl dramatizes the story of the 1986 accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and the sacrifices made to save Europe from the unimaginable disaster.

The number of lives lost are estimated to somewhere between 4000 and 93000. The official number from Russia is 31.

 

It recieved  a total of 10 Emmy Awards. Brilliant acting and as we all know – reality is more chilling than fiction. You cannot stop watching…despite the horrible scenes.

Craig Mazin and Johan Renck have created a masterpiece, in large part on the recollections of Pripyat locals, as told by Belarusian Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich in her book Voices from Chernobyl. Material also from the scientist Valery Legasov (superbly played by Jared Harris), the deputy director of the Kuchatov Institute brought in to aid cleanup efforts.

Watch it.

Contemplate the future, and the cost of lies.

 

 

Thursday Thoughts – Marken

Welcome to Marken, a village in North Holland, the Netherlands. This 2000 – inhabitant – village makes up a peninsula that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Because of its originality as a former small fishing town, it was considered a relic of the traditional native culture that would disappear as the modernization of the Netherlands gained pace.

In fact, the town’s history has allowed it to form an identity that’s unique in all the Netherlands.

Until 1957, Marken was an island in the Zuiderzee. In isolation from the rest of the Netherlands, it developed an independent culture – its own architecture, dialect, dress and more – that it still maintains, despite the closure of the dike that once separated it from the mainland Netherlands. When passing these characteristic wooden houses, you will reach the harbour, but similar houses can be found everywhere in the village.

Walking out on the pier, I feel summers might get hectic with all the tourists… but, let us not think about that now…

Let’s keep strolling along in the sleepy, rural tranquility. Life seems to have a pace of its own here – and somehow, I know why there were so many Dutch master painters centuries back… Had I been a painter, I would have spent weeks out here – immersed in all the colours and the rural beauty with canals, birds and farm animals.

 

 

Thursday Thoughts – Trying to Photograph My Dogs…

We set out in the early morning to enjoy the stillness and the bird song – I thought I might get some photos of the two boys together too…Totti hates the camera, but Milo tries to be

…complaisant. Not always succeeding, but, he helped checking out the bird houses …

…even if they were still empty, no guests arrived yet. A couple of weeks more is needed.

When spring arrives, they both need hair cuts often – but still get warm and thirsty.

Some advice from me – never turn your back on your motif…and never try to shoot without warning! Totti and Milo knocked me down and showed their best, wet and friendly approach…A very foggy lens emerged from this attack.

Here they are finally posing, after some hours of digging and running in muddy waters.

Well, which shot did you like best? My first favorite was the one of Milo alone – in the header. But after some hours…maybe the last one. After all, they are my sweeties!

Lens-Artists Challenge #37: History

For this week’s challenge, Patti has chosen History. At first I wanted to write about Riga, the capital of Latvia, whose history begins as early as the 2nd century. But inspired by a visit there, I have chosen a piece of puppetry history instead – an art form very much alive in Latvia.

According to Wikipedia, puppetry is a form of performance that involves the manipulation of puppets – inanimate objects, that are animated or manipulated by a human called a puppeteer. The puppeteer uses movements of his/her hands, arms, or control devices such as rods or strings to move the body, head, limbs, and in some cases the mouth and eyes of the puppet. The puppeteer often speaks in the voice of the character of the puppet, and then synchronizes the movements of the puppet’s mouth with this spoken part.

The earliest puppets probably originated in Egypt, where ivory and clay articulated puppets have been discovered in tombs. Puppets are mentioned in writing as early as 422 B.C.E. In ancient Greece, Aristotle and Plato both made reference to puppetry.

This art form occurs in almost all human societies where puppets are used for entertainment through performance, as sacred objects in rituals, as symbolic effigies in celebrations such as carnivals, or as a catalyst for social and psychological change in transformative arts.

There are many different varieties of puppets, and they are made of a wide range of materials, depending on their form and intended use. They can be extremely complex or very simple in their construction. The simplest puppets are finger puppets and sock puppets. Familiar examples of hand puppets are Punch and Judy. Marionettes are suspended and controlled by a number of strings, plus sometimes a central rod attached to a control bar held from above by the puppeteer.

In Riga, we just happened to walk past the puppet theater, went inside and met – Alexander! A charming young man who showed us around and tried to explain, in broken English, about the theater and the puppets. These special ones behind the glass were handled by him alone. You can see him at work as a puppeteer in the poster shot above.

Some more history of puppetry

Many types of folk art puppetry developed in disparate regions of the world, and some are still practiced today. In Japan, the sophisticated bunraku tradition evolved out of rites practiced in Shinto temples. The Vietnamese created the unique practice of water puppetry, in which wooden puppets appear to walk in waist-high water; this was originally developed hundreds of years ago as a response to the flooding of rice fields. Indonesian shadow puppets are another example of a long-held folk tradition. Ceremonial puppets were also used in several pre-Columbian Native American cultures.

In medieval Italy, marionettes were used in the production of morality plays by the Christian church. The famous comedic puppet tradition of commedia dell’arte evolved in the face of censorship by the church. Later, the plays of William Shakespeare were sometimes performed with puppets in place of actors.

In Sweden there is no great tradition of Puppetry, but it still exists as an art form for small children. In Latvia they have several performances every day. For both young and older children – and for adults as well. Do you have this art form in your country?

Nowadays the Art of Puppetry is experiencing something of a real renaissance all over the world, touching hearts and minds and engaging new spectators of all ages. Puppetry is a unique cultural treasure, which invites you to experience such a magical way of art that cannot be created or substituted by any other form of art. The task of our puppet theatre is to introduce this special kind of theatre arts in such a way, that the wonders of puppetry world would find their home in the heart of every child.

Vilnis Beķeris

General Director of Latvia Puppet Theatre

 

 

 

Finally, some history of the theater in Riga

The early beginnings of the Puppet Theater date back to 1942, when during the war the National Art Ensemble of the Latvian SSR ( Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic) was formed in the city of Ivanov in Russia. From there originates a group of puppeteers, whose shows were watched by evacuated soldiers and Latvian people. On the 4th of October 1944 the National Puppet Theater of the Latvian SSR opened, run by poet Mirdza Ķempe and writer and translator Jānis Žīgurs.

 

Thank you to Patti for letting us share so many things, events and places of historic interest. Welcome to join in the historic tour! And please don’t forget the tag Lens-Artists so people can find you in the reader!

 

 

 

Thursday Thoughts – Oaks and Hazel in All Directions

Have you ever stopped to look at a view from all directions – tried to memorize it and then photographed it? I think it makes me more firmly rooted. In the header – North.

An unknown country road on a sunny February day – no wind. East.

Three sides photographed now – West.

When I walked out in the middle of the road here, I felt I had at least three thoughts, besides how beautiful the oaks were:  I hope there are no cars coming… I wonder when this road lost its gravel? I wonder how many farms were connected by it from the start?  – Now I wonder what your thoughts might be? I love country roads – they hold a special place in my heart, so, how about you?

And finally, South.

How I love the naked winter trees against the blue sky.

 

 

Thursday Thoughts – Treasured Moments of Joy

Tonight, after a lovely day out, hiking and enjoying the sunshine, I was contemplating what really made me happy and in a good mood these last weeks. Do you often reflect upon what makes you happy? We should. At least reflection brings me more harmony.

To experience things together with my children is a great joy. In Umeå, we had some really bright and crisp days with much snow. The walks were gloriously fresh and beautiful. We laughed and talked and had Swedish ”Fika”.

My son and I had an excellent guide – his sister. Here admiring the sculpture ”Green Fire”

I loved seeing David without a skateboard too…but keeping his skate shoes on of course…

Two saints – for a day…

This bench was warm…I don’t know if it was because of the two saints sitting there, or… obviously it also could have been warmed up by its previous guests – who left two empty bottles in the snow…But I do believe the answer lies inside the concrete…

Meeting lovely people is another great joy. Umeå seems to be the place where many of them live… – this lady looked really sweet, and had left her home knitted mittens on top of the bag. It’s warm today, she said,  – last week we had – 25 C.

Passing by this balcony, we could not help stopping to admire the bird house. As the door was open, the lady came out and said hello – all smiles and waving to us.

”Imagine Peace”

Finally, I must return to the homely book store once more. It holds still another answer to what brought me great joy those days – Imagine Peace.