Archive for Europe

The Discerning Eye of Photographer Margaret Bourke-White


PNG2JPGMargaretBourkeWhitew365h244 A photographer has the unique ability to call the right shots in politics, history and entertainment.

Bourke-White, Central Moscow with antiaircraft gunners-1941

Her head tilted slightly to the left, her keenly intelligent gaze on the rapidly darkening horizon, Margaret deftly clicked some knobs into place on her Leica and breezily waved over one of the handful of suave, mustachioed Muscovite gentleman vying for her attention. "Vladimir! Do be a dear and strike a distinguished pose at the balcony rail so that I might check my focus?" Seconds after Vlad gratefully obliged, the siren she had been expecting careened shrilly into the genteel atmosphere, prompting the glittering hotel guests to obediently scoop up wraps and vodka tumblers and drift languidly back into the suite. Margaret adjusted one more tripod-mounted camera and her elegant auburn up-do,  then cooly slipped through the French doors herself. As the ponderous blackout curtains settled into place and the first barrage of German bombs rained down on Moscow, she smiled inwardly at the knowledge that her automatic exposure timers had assuredly recorded the dramatic event. Now here's a woman who looks forward … just the ticket for photography and passion. The Bourke-White  images range from the macabre to the divine - just like life. She got the shot.  margaret-bourke-white-the-louisville-flood

Few American pioneers of photography or photojournalism can lay claim to the panache or the professional legacy of the dauntless, daring Margaret Bourke-White ... particularly few women have a prayer of doing so. Many artists adventure, yet a scant handful participate in history. Over the wide-ranging course of her career, Margaret was in turn torpedoed in the Mediterranean, strafed by the Luftwaffe, stranded on a remote Arctic island, nearly eviscerated along with a German airfield near Tunis, obliged to enter Buchenwald with Patton, thoroughly blitz-bombarded in Moscow, and fished out of the chilly waters of the Chesapeake when her chopper crashed.

Margaret Bourke-White ~ Gandhi To Be Continued.

Margaret Bourke-White photograph.

Margaret Bourke-White photograph.


Footlose in the Cotswolds Travel Guide


England Cotswolds

From YouTube:

David and Debra's new film ~ find it on Amazon UK ...running 220 minutes!
Probably the most complete travelogue of the Cotswolds you will find... Visit the info page:

Explores the Quintessential Cotswold Region; the landscape; the popular towns and villages; the gardens of Kiftsgate, Hidcote & Sudeley Castle. Featuring the GWR Steam Railway, the Cotswold Motoring Museum, The Mechanical Music Museum. Local events include Cheese Rolling at Coopers Hill, Robert Dover's Original Olimpick Games, Woolsack racing at Tetbury. Includes 6 walks in this fabulous region region, some of which are on the Cotswold Way. All the best of England on 2 DVDs. To be aired on Oxford & Southampton TV in 2014


Austria: Vienna: Getting Close to Vienna



Come to The Political Carnival and see the world every night! (or almost)

This video about Vienna is from a series of travel videos made by

From YouTube

Published on Jun 16, 2013
Get close to Vienna, Austria! From riding one of the world's oldest Ferris wheels to planning revolutions in cafés, this travelogue shows you the spirit of Vienna and how to get the most out of your trip.

This travel series brings you closer to the cities you thought you knew. You'll discover the local vibe while meeting and making friends with locals, going on an adventure and getting the most out of your trip and destination.


Mary Cassatt, Part Deux of the artistes' Fascinating Art History

Cassatt, The Pensive Reader

Cassatt, The Pensive Reader

Continued from Part One.

Cassatt became bosom bows with another talented young American, Elizabeth Jane Gardner, who was actually the first woman to ever exhibit at the Paris Salon. They often studied and painted together in the Louvre, which served as the sort of social and artistic venue denied them by the male-dominated, avant garde Paris cafés.

Soon after she got the nod from the Salon, it became apparent that yet another schism was taking place in the larger Paris art community. Visionaries Edouard Manet and Realist movement patron Gustave Courbet had started to pull away from traditional values, always a controversial path. This particular period was marked by works that evinced a new level of social commentary, the American Civil War was by no means the only conflict of note. Courbet was daring.

Cassatt, Sketch for 'Francoise in a Round-Backed Chair, Reading

Cassatt, Sketch for 'Francoise in a Round-Backed Chair, Reading

One of his works would not be exhibited until over one hundred years after their origin, the female genitalia-centric Origin of the World. By 1870 the signs of the upcoming Paris Commune were unmistakable, and Cassatt returned to the States for a time. She was tremendously creative, but by no means a radical. Her work remained quite conservative despite the influence of her less traditional teachers and peers. Alas, pauvre Courbet would live the last years of his life in exile in Switzerland.


Cassatt, Trying On Dress

Cassatt was not pleased to be back in Pennsylvania in the summer of 1870. One cannot spend their days traversing the cobblestones of Montparnasse and the Rue de Rivoli one month, and happily downgrade to Altoona the next.

Cassatt's work, even though placed in well-known New York galleries, was not leaping off the walls and into the homes of those who dictated the art preferences and market of the day.

Her father rather pettily showed his disapproval by refusing to bankroll her art supplies, and grudgingly providing room and board alone.

His daughter showed none of the expected interest in finding a suitable young man to marry, nor in abandoning her 'hobby' and settling down. She counted the days and weeks until she could return to her chosen home of Europe. An opportunity arose to live in Chicago and work, and she availed herself of it without hesitation. Tragically, the Great Fire of 1871 robbed her (and the world) of many of her early works.

Girl With a Banjo, by Cassatt

Girl With a Banjo, by Cassatt

It was by no means the greatest time to be an American living in the United States. Carpet Baggers headed South, slaves headed North, and politics was everywhere. Cassatt despaired of being crative in that atmosphere, and became so discouraged she threatened to quit painting. She was rescued however, by a commission of the Bishop of Pittsburgh. He asked her to set herself up in Parma and copy key Correggio works for the Church (a common practice, the 'reproduction' of Masters' paintings by young, cheap talent).

Cassatt sailed off with delight, in the last months of 1871. She spent eight extremely happy and productive months there, then moved on to Spain and studied at the Prado. Velázquez, Murillo, Titian, and Rubens were all available for her eager eyes and brushes. She added Spanish to her growing list of fluent languages, merrily visited Paris, Belgium and Rome, and became more and more fleshed out as an artist.


Mary Cassatt The Conversation 1896

Spanish Dancer Wearing a Lace Mantilla was her first Spanish-influenced work, but by the time she decided to move permanently back to Paris her closest friend and most frequent model arrived to join her ~ her beloved sister, Lydia Cassatt.

In 1874, the two sisters established a studio and an apartment in Paris, and entered the artistic life of ex-pats with great fervor. Both young women were frank to the point of rudeness, and never held back an opinion. For Mary, this offered her the rare freedom of not being overly concerned with critics or what her artistic peers thought of her.

An enviable level of independence, that. Later in life it was that brutal honesty that spurred her to describe Monet's Water Lilies as 'those glorified wallpapers', and to deem Picasso 'dreadful'. It's a shame that she and Julia Childe were not of an age, I feel that they would have been fast friends.

To be continued ...