Monday, November 30, 2009

Patologia Lodzensis

If my posts about Lodz have not sparked everyone's interest yet, I refer you all to this excellent photoblog about my favourite city: Street Patography

(photo from said blog, taken by Negatyw )

That is all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

After changes upon changes, it's all more or less the same.

I remain a fan of Lodz. I arrived here in 2002 as a student, I stayed expecting steady employment (which, for various reasons, turned out to be a very silly expectation). I've seen this city change a lot in the last six years- I just wish I'd taken some photos in the first three, because some of the changes are stupendous.

Take this building:

101/366: Tangle

I am not certain of the story save that it was a tangled one- an attempt to demolish it turned into a reconstruction which took over a year. Today, in drearier weather, I took a photo of the result:

Fake windows

Yes, those are fake windows, and an extra floor. Not bad for a building that was supposed to be demolished, no?

Things do change in Lodz, although sometimes they stagnate for a very long time. I don't have any photos of this building when it was not yet condemned and held a pharmacy and fur cleaner, but at some point it was boarded up. A year or two later came the veil:

Sunday Ghost Town

It only covered the Southern side- the Western facade remained optimistic:

43/366: Hopeful

The veil was supposedly put up to keep fragments of brick and plaster from falling down on people's heads, but it gave the impression of a misty spell, or a Christo installation:

4/365: Veiled

But clearly the building was sick of waiting for the death sentence that never came. Slowly, as buildings will, it freed itself from its shroud.



Friday, November 20, 2009

Ex Navicula Navis

I've been to a lot of exciting places, but I really have to say I find Lodz the most interesting, colourful(sic!) and graceful subject for photography. So I just wanted to share a photo map of the pictures I took of Lodz this year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Of nightlights and getting excited

I follow a lot of people on Twitter. One of them is Wil Wheaton- I have a soft spot for the dude not only because he seems to complete the trifecta of being smart, funny, and talented, but mainly because my greatest fear is being disliked. This guy played a character that was deeply disliked by the majority of a very significant fandom and has come out of it a cheekily grinning winner, without any condition of regret- he's rightfully proud of his career and he's not a dick about it.

Yesterday as I was playing with sharp things, a link to Wil's latest blog entry came up on my twitter feed. You should go over there and read it for yourself but the title sums it up well:"Get excited and make things" .

And I thought, YES. Very good post, and it gave me heart. Because that's what I've been doing since I got back from California this September- getting excited and making things. I've not only been racing for a deadline with illustrations for a reprint of Betlejem, but also playing at another version of the gift I gave my parents for their anniversary last year. It was a little moonlit forest enclosed in an antique cabinet, with a battery-powered lamp stuck in the back for lack of electrical experience- something I have to dismantle now and rewire with an on-off switch so they can enjoy it better. In the meantime I made another attempt; to call it a nightlight probably describes it best:

288/365:Nightlight for young captains

My mother put it in the kitchen and switches it on from time to time. The inside is papercraft, the moon is lit up by an LED powered by two AA batteries. Overall not a bad job, though a lot of it needs improvement. I used a chisel to cut a hole for the batteries in the frame- the same chisel which I drove into my hand not once, not twice, but six times in the last three days.

Fearing for my life and limbs, I bought a Dremel tool yesterday along with a router attachment. It has already made it to the Hall of Fame of Best Purchases I Ever Made, right next to my bicycle, my Macbook and my camera. It is very helpful in creating what the nightlight project has evolved into, and what you can see a glimpse of in the photo below:

323/365: Getting Excited and Making Things

So I am getting excited and making things. As Wil calls for in his blog, I'm doing it right now, because right now is the best time to do it. I don't know if I'll ever manage to make these diorama nightlights nice enough to sell, or if anyone will ever want to buy them, or if this hobby can be in any way affordable, but I am having tremendous fun and will have good gifts for Christmas this year.

Pass it on, people: get excited and make things. Even if you lose a little blood and sanity in the process. ;)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quick update

I've updated the Published Illustrations section of my portfolio; you can now see pictures from all three books I've done right here.

The Berlin Wall photo I didn't find.

Radesh is lying on the parapet, staring at me with one critical eye- the other one is slowly closing as he falls asleep. Radesh is the cat, in case you didn't know. He will be upset later when I try to clean up the mess he's lying on.

So, non-sequitur, Flickr has recently called out for archival photos of Berlin and the Wall. I have one of those. I remember it well- in 1989 my parents packed the car and we rode across Europe all the way to a little blue house in Ruurlo in the Netherlands. On the way we stopped in Berlin, and took pictures of the Wall. In my six year-old naïveté I couldn't fathom how a government of responsible grown ups could ever come up with an idea as ridiculous as building a wall to divide a country in two. Such methods belonged in the sandbox, I thought. Of course I was more or less aware of the lack of freedom in Poland itself, but red-tape gagging and kidnappings by the Security Office still seemed like a more reasonable approach than BUILDING A FRICKIN' WALL in the middle of a city. What if you got caught on the wrong side? What if your house was in the middle of the barrier? HOW does one even perform an operation like that?

When we arrived in Berlin, I took a kick at the wall, and then my mother took a photo. I was wearing a red tracksuit. It was not the day of the collapse, but people were still crowding around the now useless eyesore, climbing through gaps, hacking chunks of brick off with axes and picks. It was a universally hated thing, a symbol of oppression and all things Evil, and it was good to be able to kick it, though my little kiddie shoes never made a dent.

I tried to find this photo and could not, even though I'm sure it exists. The album goes straight from a DDR retreat centre in the marshes to Paris, and Ruurlo. I don't know if we kept any of the negatives- bah, I'm sure we had our own chunk of the Wall itself, but where is it today? I want to shout out: I was there! and hold proof, but I can't. In the age of "pics or it didn't happen", it's dismaying.

So that's the story of the photo I didn't find. I did, however, find some cute pictures of myself as a child, which I now include for the amusement of my friends and to the annoyance of complete strangers who have found this entry googling for photos of the Berlin Wall. ;)


This Blog...

So this blog is new. I had one on LJ for a very long time, and hated to leave because of the comfort of the Friends Page (if you've ever used LJ you know what I mean...). But then I stopped reading the page. And then I stopped posting.

This probably isn't the tone I should take in a first blog post.

But this time, I'm coming in from a different angle. I've set up my first proper portfolio website at and needed something to match. Using blogspot was easier than trying to figure out wordpress or movable type's special css. My short-term memory doesn't allow for too much technical mumbo-jumbo. A week from now I won't even remember how I coded that website, though all of it (except the javascript for the slideshow ) is my own work. That's why I rushed this job, and that's why all the content isn't there yet. No worries, I didn't put any 'under construction' graphics, even in homage to the recently defunct Geocities that would have been very, very wrong...

In other words, welcome to my New Blog, which I will update frequently as it is now part of my personal happy network. Joy! Confetti!

And since it is Polish Independence Day today, and I am Polish (oh, yes) here is a picture of vintage war bicycles at today's parade. Yes, war bicycles, what do you mean you've never heard of those?


Note the mounted rifles:


And with that I say goodnight, happy Independence Day, Poland, and I'll see you tomorrow.

(I'm leaving the ridiculous 'Test Post' up below because Kat commented on it. Go visit Kat . She is funny and I like her.)
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