Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blair at War

BBC's News at Ten tonight ran a fascinating piece on an exhibition currently running at the National Portrait Gallery entitled Blair at War: Photographs by Nick Danziger. (A quick Google search revealed this is the same Nick Danziger behind Danziger's Travels!)

In March 2003, as Tony Blair took the final steps towards leading the nation to war with Iraq, award-winning photojournalist Nick Danziger and Times Literary Supplement editor Peter Stothard were given thirty days of unprecedented access to the Prime Minister and his closest aides.

On display to the public for the first time, Danziger's portraits tell the candid story of a decisive time in Britain's political history. Revealing the inner circle of the political players in Downing Street, at Camp David and in the power corridors of Europe, these portraits provide a poignant insight into Blair's hopes and fears as he took on a sceptical electorate, the Labour Party, Jacques Chirac and ultimately Saddam Hussein.
The collection comprises some exceptional black and white photographs of which a couple particularly stand out: 1) A shot capturing Blair reclining in an office chair mid-telephone conversation with Alastair Campbell's ghostly presence revealed via a reflection in a mirror and 2) a wonderfully captured portrait of Blair in eclipse with a shadow eliminating half his face seemigly staring into a mirror, only to reveal that the supposed reflection is George Bush in person!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Onions in the Souq

Onions in the Souq, Fez, Morocco ©Tauseef Mehrali 2006

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mauritania's 'wife-fattening' farm

Reading this recent BBC story reminded me of the observations of my old Arabic teacher during his sojourn in Mauritania, learning classical Arabic. He was amazed at what constituted beauty in Mauritanian culture as compared to well-established Western norms - an aesthetic relativity of sorts.
Obesity is so revered among Mauritania's white Moor Arab population that the young girls are sometimes force-fed to obtain a weight the government has described as "life-threatening".

A generation ago, over a third of women in the country were force-fed as children - Mauritania is one of the few African countries where, on average, girls receive more food than boys.

"Iraq is a wonderland for apocalytpicism"

Juan Cole's perspective on recent events in Iraq.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Top 21 International Films. Discuss.

A list put together by a friend of a friend. Pan's Labyrinth and Cache are very worthy inclusions.

  1. Fateless (Hungary/Poland)
  2. The Clay Bird (Bangladesh)
  3. Paradise Now (Occupied Palestinian Territories)
  4. Tsotsi (South Africa)
  5. Osama (Afghanistan)
  6. City of god (Brazil)
  7. Spirited Away (Japan)
  8. Children of heaven (Iran)
  9. Moolade (Senegal)
  10. Pan’s Labyrinth (Mexico)
  11. Etre Et Avoir (France)
  12. The Edukators (Germany)
  13. Life Is Beautiful (Italy)
  14. Almost Brothers (Brazil)
  15. The Colour Of Paradise (Iran)
  16. Whale rider (New Zealand)
  17. Cache (France)
  18. Au revoir, les enfants (France)
  19. Central Station (Brazil)
  20. The motorcycle diaries (Argentina)
  21. Abandoned (Hungary)

9 days to go!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Iran's Giant Shoe Box of Faded Photographs, Full of the Unexpected

A fascinating article from the New York Times on the evolution of photography in Iran, especially under Qajar auspices.

"The photographs also reveal the king's taste in women: his wives were plump and often had black, bushy eyebrows and dark, thick mustaches."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Proving a point

Just to completely eradicate any hint of idleness on my part: Pay to see me cry.

Leo gets published

The travel feature from this month's emel magazine proves I'm not completely idle.

Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5.

Sponsor my other half...or else!