Aesthetics Brah

Japanese aesthetics, that is. Whenever I post pictures I get a good response, so here we go again — this is a sample of photos that I took in beautiful Japan:

Seeing red — Hozomon Gate, Asakusa

Seeing red — Hozomon Gate, Asakusa

Lanterns galore — street food in Asakusa

Lanterns galore — street food in Asakusa

Calm of night — Asakusa

Calm of night — Asakusa

Seeing double — Tokyo Skytree at night

Seeing double — Tokyo Skytree at night

Maid in Akihabara — colourful signs in electric town

Maid in Akihabara — colourful signs in electric town

Street art — in the side streets of Harajuku

Street art — in the side streets of Harajuku

Spidey senses — in the streets of Harajuku

Spidey senses — in the streets of Harajuku

Rilakkuma madness — Kiddy Land, Harajuku

Rilakkuma madness — Kiddy Land, Harajuku

Splashes of colour — along Meiji Dori

Splashes of colour — along Meiji Dori

Warriors — outside a sumo stable in Ningyo-cho

Warriors — outside a sumo stable in Ningyo-cho

Path of gold — ginkgo leaves blanket the footway in the University of Tokyo

Path of gold — ginkgo leaves blanket the footway at the University of Tokyo

Lights, camera, action — revellers at Womb

Lights, camera, action — revellers at Womb

From Another Time

Russia has held a deep fascination for me ever since I studied it in high school. There is something so beautifully tragic about the country. It’s impossible not to be moved by the story of Tsar Nicholas II, the devoted father yet woefully incompetent leader who presided over the fall of the imperial line. To be caught up in the grand ideals of Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks who completely overturned society through their bloody and singleminded ideological crusade. To be appalled by the quiet, ruthless ambition of Stalin and the immense scale of human suffering during his reign and in World War II. This is a country that has seen and endured so much.

I was extremely delighted to stumble across a gorgeous collection of colour photos of Russia in the early 1900’s (thank you, Facebook!). This was in the calm before the storm of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution. The photographer, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, could only take black and white photos, but was able to create colour by combining the images taken with red, green and blue filters. Ah, the magic of light and colour. The results are stunning. Please go check it out and be transported to another place, another time.

Why I Love Sunsets

I’m a guy who goes through random fads. For a while in early 2011 I was really into photography. I came into possession of an old iPhone and downloaded Hipstamatic and Instagram and tried to be cool and arty. I even started a Flickr account and told myself I’d upload a new picture every day. Of course, that didn’t last long. One lasting positive I did get out of this passing obsession was an appreciation that photography is all about light. This insight served me well as I went travelling in the second half of 2011, camera in tow.

It’s hard to find a better time for light than sunset. And no, don’t give me any “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” business. I challenge you to find anyone who would prefer the harshness of the midday glare over the soft, warm hue of sunset (or sunrise).

Here are some reasons why I love sunsets:

1. It beautifully illuminates scenery and people

Rainbow over the water in front of San Marco, Venice.

Winter Palace and Neva River in autumn, St Petersburg.

The coloured towers and domes of the Kremlin, Moscow.

The first Iron Lady.

2. The colours are richer

The view from Ørestad metro station, Copenhagen.

A warm summer evening at the Louvre, Paris.

Walking down Manning Road, University of Sydney.

3. You can play with shadows and silhouettes

The view of Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn, New York City.

Sunset on the Adriatic coastline, Dubrovnik

Mood: contemplative. At Copenhagen Harbour.

Speeding over the frozen alpine terrain at dusk, in Norway.