Monday, 27 April 2015

Barcelona in Black & White

Images of Barcelona, but in good old black and white for a change. Because you have probably already seen hundreds of holiday snaps of Barcelona before, so here is something different.

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Black and White photos of Barcelona by Andie Gilmour

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Berliner Bär reist um Spanien!

My Teddybär has been off on his holidays ... to Spain! He has sent me back some selfies he took on his i-Phone. I hope you will share his enjoyment!


Here is Teddy at Tegel airport, Berlin, ready for his big adventure. Gute Reise Ted!

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


At Barcelona he shares an apartment with his new Spanish friend, Coco.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Bäääääärcelona! Teddy outside Gaudi's Casa Milà building.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Chilling out on Barcelona beach.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Pretending to be a living statue on La Rambla.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


After walking all the way up La Rambla, Teddy needs to soak his feet.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Relaxing in the evening with a glass of sangria.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Teddy goes climbing above the city of Xàtiva near Valencia.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


He finds an interesting old castle in the hills of Xàtiva and goes and explores.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Visiting the city of Valencia.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Back on the beach again, in the Parc Natural d'Albufera.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Teddy is photographed just before getting on a high-speed Renfe AVE train for a journey from Valencia to Madrid.

Renfe AVE Class 102, photo taken by Andie Gilmour in Valencia station


These trains can sure go! The top speed of the 'Pato' (duck in Spanish, because of its strange 'bill' at the front) is 330km/h, or 205 mph.

photo showing the Renfe AVE Class 102 cruising along at 300km/h, taken by Andie Gilmour somewhere between Valencia and Madrid.


Soon Teddy is in Madrid, outside the Royal Palace.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Teddy with the symbol of Madrid - a bear (of course!) eating from a strawberry tree.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Teddy takes a ride in a cable car into the Casa de Campo park.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


Teddy poses with his favorite Spanish artist outside the Prado museum.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


All too soon, Teddy has to fly back home. Just time for one last go around the baggage carousel.

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour


On the S-Bahn on the way home. Hope you had a good time in Spain, Ted! (He nods - yes he did!)

photos of Teddybär in Spain by Andie Gilmour

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Deutsches Kino - Das Salz der Erde


I'm categorizing 'Das Salz der Erde' as 'Deutsches Kino' because its director is German film-maker Wim Wenders, famous for (amongst many others) the visual poem to Berlin 'Der Himmel über Berlin' ('Wings of Desire'). But 'Das Salz der Erde' is not a film in German, but in French, Portuguese, and English. And it isn't shot in Germany, but mostly in Brazil at the home of renowned photojournalist Sebastião Salgado. It is however an example of how New German Cinema (Neuer Deutscher Film) has evolved from its early beginnings in the art-house cinemas of Europe in the last century, under the direction of the likes of Herzog and Fassbender (and Wenders), into a truly international affair that touches everybody.

'Das Salz der Erde' is a documentary about the life and works of Sebastião Salgado, a photographer who's lens has recorded some of the worse excesses and tragedies of humanity across the globe: famine, war-zones, genocide, hell-hole life and work environments, the desperate migrations of thousands. It is a wonder he can close his eyes at night and not be haunted by what he has witnessed.

We as the film-goer witness for ourselves these events through the view-finder of his camera, with a succession of some of his stunning black and white photographs. Meanwhile Salgado's disembodied head explains the background to the images as if he is looking at the photo whilst also looking out at us.

The images in turn shock us, or make us gasp in awe, or bring us close to tears, or sometimes make us look away. The subject of most of them are humans displaying a common humanity we can empathise with, even if we cannot comprehend the difficulties they strive against.

Wim Wenders is such a consummate documentary maker (check out for example 'Buena Vista Social Club' and 'Pina') that you barely notice his presence guiding the film and Salgado's narrative as he (Salgado) leads us through his life. Wenders is also an amazing photographer himself, and his eye for the perfect image is at work selecting and displaying Salgado's photos for just the right amount of time.

But contrast Wenders' direction with the contributions by the film's co-billed director Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, who is Sebastião's son. I am sure that Wenders had a compassionate reason to create this film with Juliano, but to be honest, whilst the son did bring an insider's angle of Sebastião's family life that Wenders could not, Juliano's parts of the film seemed surplus to requirements.

I think that the film is titled 'Das Salz der Erde' because it focuses on the lives of plain, simple, good, honest people, all be that they are living in extreme situations. People like you and me, not international celebrities or leaders of nations. The vast number of people who make up the world, and have to suffer the consequences of the headline-makers. But I am also reminded of the ritual of spreading salt on conquered land to symbolically curse it's rehabilitation. Salgrado's photographs often seem to show humanity as a curse on the Earth, rather than a blessing.

Wender's film would be altogether too bleak an experience if it wasn't redeemed by an extraordinary later phase in Salgrado's life. At the depths of his own depression and disgust with what he had seen, he turned to wildlife and landscape photography. No less depressing you might think, given the impact of Man on destroying the environment, but this in turn led Salgrado to conceive - at the inspired suggestion of his wife Lélia Wanick Salgrado - in turning the land his family had owned and see die in Brazil back into rainforest. This remarkable project has succeeded in creating in just 15 years an amazing sustainable eco-system where once there was dry, barren earth. Sebastião and Lélia have founded the Instituto Terra to continue the project and to pass on the knowledge, and hope, that they have discovered.

A breath-taking film, then, full of emotion and poetry as well as a journey through the life of a remarkable photographer. A must-see for anyone interested in photography, or in humanity. Which must surely be most of us.

By the way, we watched 'Das Salz der Erde' at the Neues Off Kino in Neukölln, Berlin; a marvellous jewel of an independent cinema, well-maintained and just large enough to feel like a real cinema whilst small enough to make you feel part of a film-lover's community.







Saturday, 4 April 2015

Easter Peace March in Berlin

It was heart-warming to discover that the tradition of an annual peace march is still being kept up. I fondly remember going on Easter CND peace marches in England in my youth, and the camaraderie of linking hands  at Aldermaston and Greenham Common.

This year around a thousand people marched through Berlin under the motto Die Waffen nieder (Lay down your weapons) and was particularly focused on the escalating crisis in Ukraine.

A great event, though not sure about the giant model of a dove on a car-roof heading-up the parade - it was rather naff!

More about the march on RBB (in German).