Thursday, June 20, 2013

NicePhotoMarathon 2013.....

Twelve photos, twelve themes, twelve hours!! Would you be up for the challenge?? Two hundred of us keen photographers certainly were as we eagerly took part in the 8th annual NicePhotoMarathon held on  Saturday June 8th from 9am – 9pm organized by J.Jerrik and his team from JJ Photo in Old Nice. The rules of the contest were simple – advance 20 Euro subscription, register by 9am on the day, collect your memory card, Tram pass, and T shirt, check back to base at 1pm and 5pm to get your card stamped, and then return by 9pm with your 12 final shots on the memory card sequentially in the order that the themes were released – no cropping, no photoshopping, no alterations of any kind……

 Simple right?? Well certainly the organization was simple – smooth and efficient, fun and friendly, but the themes themselves were far from simple, and immediately set up a real testing challenge for the day (especially for an Anglophone like me struggling with the subtle nuances, double-meanings and connotations of the French language!!) Here they are in the order they were announced (1-4 at 9am, 5-8 at 1pm, and 9-12 at 5pm)
1)      Abstraction
2)      Sixties
3)      Pilier de Bar  (Bar Fly)
4)      Degun   (Nobody)
5)      Double Face
6)      Grosse Chaleur  (Big Heat)
7)      Rituel
8)      Decadrage (Outside of the Frame)
9)      Trainee(s)  (Trails or prostitute)
10)   Le monde a l’envers (The World Upside Down)
11)   Recreation
12)   Mon numero de participation (My participation Number)

For those of you who may be struggling a little like me, “pilier du bar” is a barfly (who had to be found at 11am in the morning), “degun”is Nicois slang for “personne” (nobody), decadrage is where the main subject is outside the frame, “grosse chaleur” does have a sexual connotation of being “hot” and “trainee” as well as meaning a trail or track, is also slang for prostitute!! The last theme had me completely stumped as my number of participation was 1832, and the best I could come up with at the end of a long day was a very literal close-up of a velo bleu bike lock! But, I do have to say that the level of challenge did really get the brain working, and enhanced a really fun but tiring day…..

I am sure that there were some really interesting and creative photographs produced on the day, and the best will be displayed at the artspace MUSEEAAV from Thursday June 27th when the winners will also be announced at 6.30pm and awarded with their prizes. So, if you are a budding photographer, and keen to participate in NicePhotoMarathon 2014 why not go and take a look?? Remember, as a participant,  you will certainly get the T shirt!

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PS -  Can you work out which of these images goes with which theme??

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Shadow Shot Sunday 188 - Milan

Milan's Sunday flea market down in the charming Canal District along Navigli Grande provides this week's sequence of shadow shots - I was particularly taken with all these cool chairs although there was plenty of other stuff for sale...For more shadow shots this week, click HERE for Shadow Shot Sunday. Enjoy!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Weekend Reflections 30 - Milan

A couple of reflection shots from the charming canal district of Milan on a calm, Spring evening.....

For more reflection shots this week, check out WEEKEND REFLECTIONS - Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gallery Hopping in Milan.....

Milan has always been a magnet for visitors flocking for fashion and design, gourmet restaurants and lively bars and nightlife, but if you are a serious culture vulture it is also well worth sticking around for the galleries and museums that are perhaps not nearly as well known as those of Rome, Venice and Florence….

1)      Pinocoteca di Brera  ( (Entrance 9 Euros)
Top of the charts is this collection of old masters ranging from Titian and Tintoretto to Bellini and Caravaggio. Make sure you also see Mantegna’s masterpiece – “Cristo morto nel sepolcro e tre Dolenti” (Lamentation over the Dead Christ) and also wander through the art school to the magnificent ancient library which is free to visitors. The surrounding neighbourhood of Brera is one of charming cobbled streets and cafes perfect for lingering over lunch.

2)      Museo del Novecento ( (Entrance 5 Euros)    
Milan’s first Museum of Modern Art, this gallery has wonderful views of the Duomo from its floor-to-ceiling windows, and also houses a stunning collection of Italian art ranging from Boccioni and De Chirico to Morandi and Fontana as well as the work of Italy’s most significant twentieth century sculptor Arturo Martini. A temporary exhibition of Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints further enhanced the visit, plus the in-house restaurant Giacomo Arengario on the top floor also comes highly recommended.

3)       Triennale ( (Entrance 8 Euros)
Located in one of Milan’s few green spaces Parco Sempione, the Triennale is a permanent museum paying homage to Italian design. It is a funky, cool space filled with intriguing temporary exhibitions ranging from the design of safety equipment to masters such as Ponti, Alessi etc and photographic work. It has a great, buzzy café with the cheapest cup of tea found anywhere in Milan at 1.50 – a perfect place to take a breather. Nearby and also worth visiting is Castello Sforzesco which also houses a whole range of specialized museums.

4)      Museo  Poldi-Pezoli ( (Entrance 9 Euros)
This is a private art collection once home to the wealthy, aristocratic Giacomo family and it displays a vast collection of old masters with the star attraction being an exquisite Botticelli “Madonna and Child”. The works are displayed in a series of historically themed rooms such as the Black Room and the Dante Study.

5)      Villa Necchi Campliglio ( Entrance 9 Euros
A little off the beaten track, this 1930s villa restored and run by the Foundation FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) is a real gem and well worth visiting. Designed by architect Piero Portaluppi between 1932 and 1935, it was built for industrial magnate Angelo Campliglio, his wife Gigina Necchi and sister-in-law Nedda. Foundation volunteers conduct highly informative guided tours around this art deco jewel with its 1930s décor, design and additional art collections, notably the Claudia Gian Ferrari Collection of 20th-century Italian artworks.

After visiting all these galleries you will be in need of urgent refreshment, so my advice is head straight down to the canal area of Milan (Naviglio Grande – Metro Porta Genova) where a long row of waterside bars, cafes and restaurants await you. The atmosphere is lively and fun and you can partake of that delightful Italian tradition between 6pm and 9pm – Happy Hour Aperitivo whereby 10 Euros secures you a drink and unlimited access to a tasty buffet. If you are lucky enough to be in town the last Sunday of the month, head here during the day for the city’s largest antique and flea market (Mercatore Di Navigli –