Against the background of the debate about squalor and brutality of the USA’s immigrant detention centres – and whether they constitute ‘concentration camps’, a debate I might engage in sometime – it is worth remembering that America has a long history of mass detention camps. Among the most notorious were the internment camps for Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. ‘The Japanese race’, observed General John L DeWitt, head of the US Army’s Western Defense Command, and a key figure […]
This essay, on how we often interpret the news through the lens of what we want to see, was my Observer column this week. It was published on 9 June 2019, under the headline ‘Fake news will thrive as long we are happy to see only what we want to see’. If a gorilla walked right in front of your eyes, you wouldn’t miss it, would you? Actually, half the country probably would. In a classic 1999 experiment, psychologists Christopher Chabris and […]
Categories: Philosophy & Ethics, Photos, Race & Immigration • Tags: assisted dying, central park five, christopher chabris, daniel simons, ethics, euthanasia, fake news, invisible gorilla experiment, noa pothoven, racism, usa, when they see us, wilding
While in Australia, I spent a couple of days on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. It’s a beautiful coastline, with some spectacular geological features. The first part up to Apollo Bay hugs the coastline and makes for an exhilarating drive. But beyond Apollo Bay, you can barely see the ocean from the Great Ocean Road. This is where many of the geological features are – The Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, etc – and you nip off […]
I’m in Australia at the moment, giving a series of talks in Brisbane, Melbourne and Bendigo. The events have been terrific, with outstanding audiences and discussions. My Observer column this week (published on Sunday, and on Pandaemonium next week) will reflect some of the discussion. So, this week these is no usual Friday/Saturday post. Instead, a couple of photos taken on a flight between Brisbane and Melbourne at sunset. Back to normal (I hope) next week.
The museum seeks to engage visitors without sentimentality and ready-made answers by creating spaces of encounter, memory and hope. So said architect Daniel Libeskind about his design for the Jewish Museum in Berlin. It’s a remarkable place, moving and haunting in a way I’ve never known a museum to be, succeeding in giving form to Libeskind’s vision. It does so not through its exhibits, though there are some, and very moving ones, but through its use of space and form […]
Categories: Culture & Books, Photos • Tags: architecture, berlin, daniel libeskind, gedenkstätte grosse hamburger strasse, germany, holocaust, holocaust memorial berlin, jewish museum berlin, jews, memorial to the murdered jews of europe, museums, nazis, peter eisenman
The Côte de Granit Rose runs along the eastern Breton coast from Plestin-les-Greves to Louannec. It’s quite unlike the rest of the coastline in Northern France. As the name suggests, it is formed of rose-coloured granite, and along sections, particularly north of Tréguier, the rocks are eroded and folded into fantastic sculptural shapes, abstract and otherworldly. .
I published a post a while back on the brutalism of London’s Southbank. That brutalism looks very different at night, darkness giving a different shape, as it were, to form and colour. Most of these photos were taken about a week ago, though a couple are from my earlier post.
It’s a tiny chapel in the tiny hamlet of Kermaria-an-Iskuit, in Brittany. It was built in several stages from the 13th to the 15th century. The entrance porch is adorned with striking statues of the apostles. And inside is the only danse macabre fresco that survives in France. The danse macabre is a late-medieval visual allegory about the universality of death. It depicts death, usually personified as a skeleton, leading people from all walks of life – pope, emperor, king, bourgeois, […]
It’s a tiny church in a Normandy hamlet that we stumbled upon almost by accident. But, dramatically perched on the cliff edge, with views along the northern coast of France towards Calais, it’s not difficult to see why the Église Saint-Valéry in Varengeville-sur-Mer has attracted so many painters. Claude Monet painted it dozens of times (the one above is simply called ‘The Church at Varengeville’); Pissarro, Corot and Isabey are among others who have depicted it too. Apparently when the […]
‘My prime concern was with values – what did we value in South Africa, how did we get to those values and how did we express those values,’ David Goldblatt observed. ‘I was very interested in the events that were taking place in the country as a citizen but, as a photographer, I’m not particularly interested, and I wasn’t then, in photographing the moment that something happens. I’m interested in the conditions that give rise to events.’ David Goldblatt, who died […]
Kőszeg is a small Hungarian town almost on the Austrian border. Its roots lie in the 13th century, and it is suffused with history, and full of architectural gems. Its churches are historically fascinating, being witness to shifting religious alliances and affiliations, and often strikingly beautiful. I did not, unfortunately, have the chance to visit many. The two here are St James’ Church, built at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries supposedly from the remnants of a demolished […]
Loud, brash and self-confident. I love Newcastle. It is also a photographer’s dream. Dotted throughout the city are architectural gems. And a stroll through the city centre along the Tyne, with its glorious succession of bridges, each framing the next, and both banks framed by striking buildings, Victorian to postmodern, is a visual feast. I was in Newcastle most recently to take part in the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival discussion on Rethinking Civilisations at the Sage Gateshead. I had, […]
London is interlaced with a network of old canals and hidden rivers. Walking the network is a treat, providing a new perspective on the city and its history, especially for a photographer. The waterways are lined with buildings that reveal surprising colours and shapes. And, of course, there are reflections and distortions aplenty. The photographs here are from a recent walk in east London from Limehouse to the Olympic Park in Stratford, along the Limehouse Cut and the River Lee. The […]
The Yellow Water billabong. Quiet and serene, it lies on the East Alligator River in the Kakadu National Park in Northern Territory in Australia. In the heat of the day, it feels relatively ordinary. At daybreak it is magical. Watching sunrise, enshrouded in a mist that adds enchantment to the light, and seeing the mist give way to wonder and colour and crocs and snakes and birds and flowers is simply glorious. Together with Uluru at first light, and the […]
It must be one of the most photographed of modern buildings. Yet the Sydney Opera House still elicits a gasp of awe every time one sees it in the concrete. Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s expressionist masterwork is a remarkable melding of form and function, and of architecture and engineering. It is also a wondrous evocation of the imagination. The story of the Machiavellian politics that surrounded its construction, and led eventually to the resignation of Utzon from the project, and […]