A two-hour bumpy ride from Uyuni across Bolivia’s high plains will take you to the small town of San Vicente. At the entrance to this remote settlement is a sign that proclaims: “Welcome to San Vicente. Here lie Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid.”
In the world of abstract photography some very dramatic images can be produced. However, it takes a different way of looking at our world to identify the abstract photographic opportunities that surround us. It relies on our ability to sense more of the shape, colour, lines and curves that we see, rather than the actual […]
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It’s one thing to keep the mummified body of a thousand year old pharaoh or a monk in a glass case in a museum, and another to stuff the dead body of an African warrior and display it like a trophy along with wild animals. As recently as eighteen years ago, you could have seen him at the Darder Natural History museum in the city of Banyoles, near Barcelona, Spain. He was about four and a half feet tall, slightly stooped, shoulder raised, with a spear in one hand and a shield on the other. His charcoal-colored body was covered by a small orange loincloth wrapped around his waist. For the better part of a century, generations of Europeans gaped at the half-naked body of this nameless African bushman, who was known only as “El Negro” or “The Black Man", before an international protest forced the Spanish government to send him back to his homeland in Botswana for a proper burial.
The sun is the hottest when the clock strikes one in the small town of Seringapatam, not far from the city of Mysore, in present day Karnataka, a state in India. Colonel Arthur Wellesley, who was leading two army units of the British East India Company, knew that the defenders of the fortress of Seringapatam would be taking a break for refreshment at this hour. That’s when he planned to strike.
Sometimes a house just needs to be moved no matter what’s the cost. Usually, these are historic structures that are in danger of demolition or flooding and has to be relocated to a safer spot. A professional house mover will first dig around the foundation of the house, raise it on hydraulic jacks, mount them on wheels and then roll them down the street carefully to the new location, typically a few hundred meter away or a few miles at most. At other times, if the structure permits and the relocation distance is longer, the house will be dismantled brick by brick, transported to the new location and reassembled in place. According to an article on HowStuffWorks, it’s possible to move houses this way across the country for hundreds of miles. But imagine moving a house for over 3,600 miles and across an ocean from one continent to another? That happened not once but twice during the 1920s.
The following video created by an archivist at Cornell University’s Library, New York, shows a 1925 copy of Rudyard Kipling's "Kim". The book appears to be a typical hard bound with a decorative spine and gilded fore edge. The person handling the book in the video then holds the block of pages between the thumb and the rest of the fingers and bends it to fan out the edges slightly. All of a sudden, a lovely painting of a landscape pops out of the book’s edge.
Soil is typically brown, but when mixed with the right minerals in right quantities, it can yield a fascinating range of colors. You can see such coloring in the walls of the Great Canyon in Arizona and the desert in Utah, but in some places the colors are such extreme and varied that it’s almost surreal.
In the remote mountains of northern Albania are villages where there are women who live and act like men. They have short hair, wear baggy pants, and have a male name. They drink and smoke in the company of men, carry guns, and take up manly livelihoods such as shepherds or truck drivers. But they are not transsexuals or cross-dressers. These women have chosen to lead a man’s life not to express their sexuality but to escape the oppressive dominance of the patriarchal system. They are called sworn virgins or burrnesha.
For more than four thousand years, on the Loess Plateau in northern China, people have been residing in caves known as yaodong, which is Chinese for “house cave”. Some of these cave dwellings are carved out of the hillside, while others are dug vertically down to form a sunken courtyard from which rooms are excavated horizontally. The latter is the most unusual of which few equals exist in this world. The pit houses of Matmata in Tunisia come the closest.
In mediaeval England, when feuds were violent and justice swift and brutal, it was common for castles and mansions of the powerful and the wealthy to have secret chambers or hidden passageways that allowed the owners to hide or escape from pursuers in the event of a surprise attack. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the number of such secret chambers and hiding-places increased sharply, especially in the houses of the old Catholic families.
All around the Muslim world, mosques have a typical architecture characterized by a minaret, a dome, arches and mosaics or stucco decorations. These design elements were brought by the Arabs when they migrated and took control of foreign lands through conquest. But in areas where the spread of Islam was more gradual, brought by merchants and traders, mosque architecture conforms more to vernacular design determined by local skills and availability of materials. Nowhere else this manifests more than in West Africa. The mosques here vary from simple roofless enclosures serving the function of places where the community could gather and pray, to magnificent buildings.
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