Monthly Archives: December 2011

“She’s Behind You!” – The Invisible Victorian Mother

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To continue the nineteenth century theme, here’s a dilemma: when faced with this…

…in front of this…

…what would you do? Screaming child + camera lens = every parent’s nightmare. The modern solution usually involves a bag of chocolate buttons but two centuries ago they had better ideas. In an age where appearance was everything, the Victorians took decorum to new levels.

At first glance this may look like an ordinary photo of a ruddy-cheeked young chap.

But take a closer look behind the scenes and you can trace the shadow of a second figure: the mother herself, closely resembling a human-shaped, draped chair and clutching her troublesome child; an ingenuous solution to fidgeting. Admittedly some are less subtle than others…

…but the principle is always the same. Try and ‘spot the mother’ in the rest of these shots.

They certainly had the right idea, didn’t they? Check out the rest of the collection right HERE!

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I Can’t Believe It’s Not Photoshop!

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We live in a digital age where seeing is not necessarily believing. Two years ago ‘Avatar-fever’ swept the nation, reaching new heights of computer generation by creating a 3D world in which the viewer can partake (at the risk of a pair of fairly ridiculous glasses!) Nowadays we skew reality to our own satisfaction, measuring our happiness against that of our favourite flawless leading lady. Our endless idolatry demands various tools: botox, dumbbells, spanx… But the real irony lies behind the ideal we’re aspiring to. That sleek actress dripping in diamonds with heavenly curves that look like they’ve been sculpted by Michelangelo himself is as much an illusion as Madonna’s youth. And the secret behind these goddesses we place upon pedestals? Photoshop. Yes, that’s right, young girls worldwide worry their way through their teens, aspiring to a fake ideal that doesn’t even exist; an image that is the product of hours of digital mastery. In fact, so much of the material we view has been smoothed, shadowed and ‘beautified’, that when presented with the natural wonders of the world we inhabit our knee jerk reaction is cynicism. What a shame that we are no longer able to appreciate true beauty when we see it. Sometimes a fresh dose of reality itself is all the medicine needed to remind us of what our world was capable of long before we saw it through a computer screen. These ’21 images you won’t believe aren’t photoshopped’ are that very reminder. At first glance they may beggar belief but have a browse through the evidence and you will see that when it comes to natural beauty, our digital aid is obsolete.

The Mountain Range with the Dragon Tattoo

Surely the work of some computer whizz cashing in on the success of Sweden’s favourite crime trilogy? Believe it or not this is an actual lake in Portugal, formed many moons before the creation of the species that invented the computers.

A White Christmas

Britain may wince at a few measley flakes of snow but the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route in Japan receives up to a whopping twenty metres a year! If not for a very impressive snow-balancing-act, every day would be a snow day.

Seriously?

Yes, seriously. Well according to National Geographic, at least. This snap, taken by Robert B. Haas in the Gulf of Mexico, captures the moment a travelling group of flamingos unwittingly created a photographer’s dream.

My Favourite

Unfortunately the laws of science dictate that wood does not act like cement as this picture might have you believe. Instead, these footprints were moulded by a monk who stood in this very same spot to pray every day for twenty years.

For the rest of this mighty collection of ‘photoshop-defying’ photos click right HERE.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

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Love | Love Sculpture, Philadelphia | Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Love. A concept pondered by many a great thinker, philosopher and all round know-it-all. Type ‘love’ into Google and you’re greeted with a wealth of material ranging from the poppy to the soppy; everybody has an opinion.

The Beatles told us “all you need is love”. Dr Seuss’s revered wisdom states “you know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” Sophocles wades into the debate, declaring “one word frees us from all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.” Endless wedding congregations have been reminded of the infamous words of 1 Corinthians 13 verses 4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind…” I could go on.

If you’re feeling particularly brave you can try and make some sense of Woody Allen: “To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness.”

Now your brain probably hurts as much as mine, so maybe you’ll agree that four-year-old Terri’s nine word offering – “love is what makes you smile when you’re tired” – hits the nail on the head. We can philosophize all we want but nothing quite beats the black-and-white understanding of a child.

Keep reading and it all starts to make so much sense…

“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” Elaine – age 5

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy – age 6

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5

“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” Lauren – age 4

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” Jessica – age 8

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.” Chris – age 7

And to view even more youthful wisdom, check out the rest of the collection right HERE.

The Mother of all Huggers

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Meet Mātā Amṛtānandamayī Devī, better know as ‘Amma‘, or ‘the hugging saint’.

This woman has reportedly hugged a phenomenal 31 million people! Her powers of envelopment are so famed that her followers queue for hours just to enjoy a few seconds nestled within the folds of her indefatigable arms.

Born into a family of fishermen in Kerala in 1953, from an early age Amma used her powers of embrace to comfort those in need. Within her community it was not deemed suitable for a young teenage girl to have such close contact with strangers yet the hugging continued. Decades later and Amma is annually touring the world offering her open arms to anyone who wants them. And they flock in their thousands. At a rate of 3-hugs-a-minute, do the maths and a 20 hour queue is often the hefty price paid for a mere 20 second hug.

You may find yourself asking what all the fuss is about. Well, that question can be fielded to her millions of devotees. Dante Sawyer first met Amma in 1998 and has since dedicated his life to her work. He recalls, “You really experience a love that’s given completely, selflessly – it’s just like sunlight pouring out; it’s a love that doesn’t have demands of you.” American Stephen Parr simply adds, “once she hugs, you know.”

Cryptic? Yes. But maybe to locate the source of Amma’s popularity one need look no further than the action itself. A hug: “to clasp tightly in the arms, especially with affection”, “to cherish”, “to embrace”. The act of hugging is a universal source of comfort and Amma represents the pinacle of its abilities. The millions who journey across the world for a few moments in her presence seek the Usain Bolt of the hugging world. Amma’s embraces may have broken records of their own but strip back the slick website, the logo, and the army of followers and it boils down to where it all started: a hug. It really is that simple…