In the last month, Frida and I took a trip to Venice with our advanced art and design class. As you know she and I are fond of portraiture, but because my focus this year is in architecture, I decided to take a closer look at the architectural personality of Venice.

St. Mark’s Bell Tower, located in the center of Venice’s most popular Piazza San Marco, which stands nearly 100 meters tall is something of an icon. What was once a lighthouse for shipping was first built in the 12th century and continued through the 16th century. The tower has a structural frame made of solid square brickwork with a pyramidal spire atop it and a golden angel that acts as the building’s crown. It was built upon reflection of the Roman concept as shown in its harmonious lines and proportion.

Just across the Piazza is St. Mark’s Basilica, the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, which is one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. The cathedral sits adjacent to the Doge’s Palace, and was only the private chapel for the Doge until 1807, when it became the city’s cathedral. It’s opulent, glimmering gold mosaics is distinguishable from a mile away and is itself a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, it’s even been nicknamed the Church of gold.

On the Venetian island of Burano, founded by the Romans during the Barbarian period, each home or building is painted a different color. Long ago, Burano was home to the fishing industry and it used to be the island’s biggest business, whereas now it is known for its production of lace. Since fishermen came in and out of the island’s harbors, it is said that the houses were painted in order to be easily identifiable in the fog for the fishermen at work. Burano is now an incredibly popular tourist destination simply because of its distinguishability.

Along Venice’s Grand Canal, at the Ca’Sagredo Hotel, is an art installation hugging the building’s 14th century walls. The installation is titled “Support” and is a pair of 5,000 pound white hands as intricate and detailed as your own. The hands are symbolically holding the hotel from falling into the water as there has been much speculation as to how climate change will take its toll on architectural history like in Venice. The hands are powerful and beautiful. They put a contemporary twist on a centuries-old city meant to address a growing social issue.

Design your blog - select from dozens of ready-made templates or make your own; simply “point & click” - Click here

Likes

Comments

With growing up in Dubai, not only have I become exposed to a new culture, I have also come eye to eye to the extreme social divides that take place. Middle class... there is no such thing in a place liked Dubai. Underwater hotel, artificial luxury islands and the worlds tallest residential building. With millions of dirhams rooted in the oil empire, Dubai is working hard to become the richest, the biggest, and the best. But- behind the transition from desert to gold, are lots of cheap workers in horrible living conditions.

The small Emirate Dubai, one in seven in the United Arab Emirates was half a century ago a small port in the Persian gulf that attracted gold traders, smugglers and pirates. Emirates residents, most beduins, still lived in tents. Same thing for the neighbours, Abu Dhabi. But then one day, it all turned black in the eyes of the ruling sheikh’s and in the sand they found the black gold, and it was after this nothing would be like before again.

95% of all workers in Dubai are migrant workers, if you exclude the state employees, who are, in principle, only locals. And of the nearly 3 million that migrated to Dubai to work is one out of five construction workers. These are the people that make Dubai the worlds fastest growing city, and have moved closer to one billion cubic meters of sand to build artificial islands. On top of these islands, more projects are to come come, artificial lagoons, artificial canals, artificial beaches, and so on. Only on the pal Jumeirah itself, 40,000 workers are situated. Adjacent to this artificial island is the Dubai Marina, Dubai’s largest construction site right now with hundreds of skyscrapers competing with each other in height and exclusivity. The workers, in turn, appear like ants as they crawl around the skyscrapers hundreds meters up in the air as they stand on the tops of the buildings, and on mall bridges they are lifted up and down the longest facades to secure window panels.

It is late afternoon and construction is about to end for the day. As time goes by, the roads are filled with workers in blue overalls. In long lines they stand and await their turn to get on the white buses to take them to the camp in which they live. The journey takes them straight into the desert on multilane highways. It is a long ride, and when they finally arrive in their work camps, it is dark. The contrast with Dubai is strong. The clean and paved Dubai baths in light. There are an estimated half million people workers at the camp, yet there are only a handful of small shops, the rest are endless rows of large concrete boxed with floors in each. Almost everyone in the camps come from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Many are illiterate.

​ 21 year old Samer has a sad look on his face, but is happy to talk to me about his life. He works with construction, nine hours a day, seven days a week and has a monthly salary of 750 dirhams (150 dollars). Like many others, he has signed a contract that binds him to the company for several years. Often he and his colleagues are forced to work overtime, usually without compensated pay. ‘’This is not a life. The job is not good at all and the salary is very low. At the same time the owners we build for are making a fortune of our work. It happens that we get a day off sometimes, but it is not so often’’. Because of their contracts, they get to see their family on average 1 time every 2 or 3 years. They share a room with 12 other people. AC? Buy it yourself they say. Food? Costs money. In the end, there is not much left.

Likes

Comments

I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Orissa, India with a few of my classmates on a global service trip. We worked with an organization called Gram Vikas, which operates to find a solution to sustainable living for citizens of India. One of their main focuses is the construction of private toilet and shower facilities, along with clean water access, and education.

We visited a couple of villages that had received and continues to receive support from the organization, to see that they've actually made real, crucial improvements to the lives of rural village members. These are some of the beautiful faces I had the pleasure of photographing while I was there.

This is a woman we met nearby to where we were staying who spoke to us about coming out of her shell once Gram Vikas had made an impact on her village. She said that before change had been implemented, women in the village, including herself, were made to feel small. But now she cares and contributes greatly for her village, and her husband has taken on the role of village leader as well.

This woman I did not actually have the opportunity to speak to as she was rather shy, but she allowed me to take her photo as she sat to cool down on a baking afternoon in Orissa.

This little boy was the youngest son of a family who had invited us in their home during one of our village visits. He was very quiet and serious, but attentive to our presence, never leaving his grandmother's side. Afterwards, my peers and I were invited to participate in a village discussion on top of an elevated temple-like foundation to introduce us to the functionality of village life under the management of the organization and how locals have reacted and adapted to change.

These three smiling faces are some of the students from the Gram Vikas school. They were sitting on a short ledge overlooking the boys volleyball game.

This was my second time visiting India, the first was two summers ago doing similar service work. I was ecstatic to find out that my school was offering a trip there because I had been yearning to return ever since the moment I left. India, to me, is one of the most incredible countries to visit on the planet and I would highly recommend it to anyone. My first experience there was eye opening beyond belief and exposed me to so many different elements of life that I am so grateful to have experienced.

India is beautiful, not necessarily because of its geography, but because of its unified culture. It's the faces of India, which signify the real, raw beauty within the country that make it what it is. These are just some of the photos I took which I think exemplify that statement.


Likes

Comments


''ALRIGHT GET READY TO MARCH WITH ME'' she yelled to the crowd as they all gathered up around the monument ready to march. This was in Milan a few weeks ago at a Women's March. There were men and women, black and white, young and old. It was beautiful to see all of these people gathered for one sole purpose and their enthusiasm towards their photos being taken.



Less than a hundred years ago, the general perception was that a woman’s intellect was so weak, that their health was to be threatened if they were required to think too much. Women did not attend regular school, they attended so-called “girls schools” where they prepared for their presumed one and only task in life: to take care of the household or to be good wives to their future husbands. Thankfully, this view has changed and we have such political activism to thank for.



As a Swedish citizen, I also need to thank the fact that women in Sweden today are asserted certain privileges when they turn 18. We can vote, we can apply for all professions, will no longer be let go if we were to get pregnant, we are allowed to take birth control, we are allowed to take the decision regarding abortion, and lastly there is a law on violence against women, it is no longer allowed to abuse or rape women in marriage, which previously was not a an issue. To think that a man, controlling a country such as the United States, and a much larger and broader aspect of people has taken the decision not to let women choose for themselves or have any control over their own bodies. This speaks for itself. There is no possible way to argue against feminism, its power, and how extremely important it is.



I am proud of what I witnessed at this march, and how so many people were gathered from so many different countries. This shows more broadly how we all are greatly affected by this. We have come a long way even though we still have a long road ahead of us, and seeing marches like this one makes me extremely proud to be a part of a community that shares these same values. Let us compare it with running a race and being in the lead, even though one might have come a long way to get there, we will need to continue and fight until we have reached the finish line completely. This will be a long, hard-fought journey. Before we are all the way there, there needs to be serious changes in our society.



Women now, as previously mentioned, go to a regular school and work. Although, the old view still lingers and still makes itself prevalent in many ways through society, how women are spoken to, referred to, and interacted with. Feminism is a women’s battle, because we live in a patriarchy, which means that we live in a gender powered structure where we, women, are lower ranked as human beings because of our sex. Men sit on top of most of the political, religious, social, and economic power. For this reason, we must simply focus on women’s issues as there are still many women that need to gain their rights and opportunities for it to be possible to achieve gender equality.



I will end this with saying pussy grabs back, and that us men, women, and children need to keep fighting.


Likes

Comments

This is a photo I took of my brother, Matthew, in New York City on a little ledge we found in Central Park. I wanted to do a post about him because he has a really interesting and rather wonderful life story for a person at the mere age of twenty five. My brother has forever been passionate about polo, and by the age of about fourteen he had made a career out of it. He began travelling; living abroad, and playing professionally for a number of highly regarded teams. As an athlete, always on the move, he didn’t really have a chance to catch up with himself. His childhood was, what I consider, far from normal. He’s lived on his own for the majority of his life, in far away countries like Argentina and France, and as a teen, he needed to mature quickly, which influenced me greatly as he is in fact eight and a half years older than me.

It was right around when Matthew turned eighteen, that he realized he hadn’t exactly thought out his future realistically. He had envisioned himself playing polo for the rest of his life, one of the most dangerous and most exorbitant sports there are. So, after much careful contemplation, he moved back home, to Los Angeles, and finished up high school a year behind his peers. Shortly afterwards, he attended community college only to discover a newfound passion for sustainability and green living. From there, he transferred to Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied international sustainable development. And now, he works as the head of the sustainability department at a prestigious firm located in Nashville, Tennessee. He may be in a suit and tie during the day, but he has not, and will never, lose touch with his passion for polo. He currently has a string of seven horses with him in Nashville that he is in the process of training to play professionally, and he plays games on the weekends.

The reason I wanted to describe my brother’s life is because he has always quietly encouraged me to follow my dreams. And as a high school student in the process of thinking about college and my own future, it’s always something nice to be reminded of. I know that most of our readers are probably around the same age as Frida and me, and I just think it is incredibly important to know that you are capable of more than just one thing, you do have more than one chance to get it right, and the world truly is your oyster. This time in our lives is hard and messy and complicated, but we have the rest of our lives to do our best to be successful as well as never losing touch with what we are genuinely passionate about. My brother is someone I look up to, someone who I love, listen to, and who I trust. His lifestyle choices have been extraordinary and he has always taken tremendous leaps to achieve his goals, something I hope I can do and that we can all follow.

Likes

Comments


In October, 2016, we got the opportunity to travel to a unique village and explore yet another place in this world. We visited a small village, called Kritou Tera. This village was located far from the airport, and far up in the mountains. From the second that we landed and greeted our bus drive, we could feel the positive and relaxed energy both from our driver and the people around us. This was special, as it was both mine and Paloma's first time visiting Cyprus. After about two hours traveling in this buss that rolled backwards instead of forwards the first uphill.. (yeah, you get the picture) we were greeted by a couple that took care of the kitchen facility at the place we stayed at. Her and her husband wake up at 7 every morning, go to their restaurant, which they refer to as their second home, and prepare breakfast for all students visiting this place. This is their way of making a living in this village. This village sure was a mystical place, with a total of 50 people situated in the area. It was impressive to see how they had built up their own little civilisation in the village, even with the lack of resources and money. They had small shops that were run by the people living there, an old woman selling jam from the back of her house and other people trying to find a living by being innovative. A whole new world that opened both mine and Palomas eyes.

I met a man. The building you see behind him is his store, and how he makes a living for himself in his village. Everyday he sits outside his store, with the sun shining in his face, with great hope and gratefulness for the little things he owns. Eye opening and truly amazing to communicate with this man in different ways than speaking as one usually communicates, we communicated by smiling at each other and greeting each other, as he did not speak English.


Likes

Comments

This past summer I spent three weeks in Morocco with a program called Rustic Pathways as a participant in an advanced photography expedition. I travelled to several different places throughout Morocco, some of which include Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Chefchaouen, Midelt, Merzouga, Ait Benhaddou, and Marrakech. It was while I was travelling that I had the opportunity to meet and discuss critical issues within Moroccan culture and society with natives, both young and old. A huge and crucial component of photographing people is approaching them and actually speaking to them. Every portrait that I took on that trip required that I speak to that person, whether it was through translation or if they miraculously spoke English. I even picked up some simple Arabic phrases along the way.

Both photos of the older man and woman were taken in the same location, a remote village in Ourika. They invited our group of young photographers into their farmland where they allowed us to take their pictures. We were accompanied by a large following of people, most of them children eager to know what we were all about. One of the best parts of the trip was interacting with children because of our mutual fascination with one another. This family owned farmland had been theirs for a great number of years and produced a variety of different brush, vegetables, and prickly pears.

The two young men pictured, one against a pink wall and the other leaning against a palm tree, I met in Fez late one evening and scheduled to see them again the next day. Both of them are in their early twenties and have dreamt of visiting America, so it was very exciting for them to meet a group from all parts of the United States. They were hilarious and incredibly charming, eager to get to know all of us. We spent the entire day photographing them and chatting about American culture vs. that of Morocco.

When I rode through the Sahara, via a camel’s back, there were a great many opportune photography moments for me, both of which of the actual desert itself and of our camel guide leaders. Each of these men seemed to nestle themselves so casually perfect against the Saharan sand. The photo that I have posted form the Sahara features a man leaning against one of our camels, waiting patiently for our group to take our photos and continue our journey into the desert. Although there wasn’t much getting to know these men, we sang and danced with them late into the night as a kind of cultural exposure. Music has a tendency to connect people even when they cannot communicate with one another, and that is exactly what happened to us.

Likes

Comments