A museum tour

Ladies in White - Musee d'Art et d'Histoire de Geneve  #mahgeneve

My numerous visits at Parisian museums reminded of an interesting fact that homo sapiens would not die not having music, or art. However, it is in the nature of human beings to express and to contemplate others’ expression through art.

Being in Paris, I had the chance to see such expression throughout history. Just start with the Renaissance, in which artists, philosophers and scientists (European) suddenly discovered the old glory time in Rome and in Greece, through the translation from Arab (golden age) books. They started to study painting, science, philosophy rigorously. Scientific method started to take form. This is definitely one of the most important discovery in our history. In art, Italian painters started to paint the real life with such an artistic, but realistic style. This school of thought led to French Classicism. Definitely David, Ingrid are among the best representative (Musee du Louvre). The rigidity of Classicism, combining with the rebellious spirit of young artists in Paris created Impressionism. Form were still there, but expressed in much more ‘libre’ style. Details were not important anymore, as we can see in Monet’s or Renoir’s work (Musee d’Orsay, Musee de l’Orangerie). Then come the late Impressionism movement, in which Cezanne would be an excellent example, where form became the center point of expression. Innovation in artist mind as well as in artist’s materiel leads painting to a new level of abstraction (Musee d’Orsay). But we can still see a painting of Cezanne and realize what he draw without much of hesitation. The cubism school takes the initatative formed by Cezanne and create a mind-blowing painting, so they thought. Picasso and Bragg’s work in these years can be seen at the Pompidou (Centre Pompidou). And from that, avangarde art became something completely detached from human vision and conventional perception. Overtime, it involved more and more provocative and absurd ideas, not just abstract. Monochromes of Yves Klein, or Pollock’s drip-painting are few of some exceptionally famous of the movement (Centre Pompidou). Contemporary arts evolve into many other schools. A painting of a well-defined form, or even Painting it-self, has become too main-stream…

In the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

* The first picture on top was taken in Geneve Museum of Fine Art, I call the picture “Ladies in White”. The second picture right above was taken in the Boston Museam of Fine Art, which has a strong collection of Impressionism, Pissaro, Monet, Renoir, even Bazille. This particular picture is however the Classicism section. The third picture at the bottom was taken at MOMA in New York, les Demoiselles d’Avignon of Picasso. This one is call “S’observer”. None of these pictures is from Parisian Museum.

S'Observer #picasso #moma

Photography with a cellphone

Compared to a DSRL, the camera of a cellphone lacks a lot of features. For instance, it is impossible to change the aperture, which limits the variation of depth of field. But it does not affect the choice of composition, of subject and of light (in most case). And cameras of advanced (read “expensive”) smartphones have comparable and even higher resolution than a standard amateur or semi-pro DSRL. Moreover, a smartphone is, by definition, a mirror-less camera in automatic mode; as a consequence, it inherits all the benefits that hardcore fans of mirror-less are arguing: small, mobile, etc…

The previous reason is particularly true for me. After having a 2kg lens, I only use my DSRL for special occasions, for example during my trip to exotic places or to take a profile pictures for US embassy. Other times, I use my smartphone, a Samsung J3 2016, to take pictures. It has been fun. I run often near the Leman lake in Lausanne, and with my cellphone, I have been able to capture some exciting moments into photo. Here is a 1-2-3 series taken recently of the bank of Leman lake,late afternoon in a winter day after the rain.

1. Winter water
Leman lake after a winter rain.

2. On the way to Leman lake

Leman lake after a winter rain.

3. Together
Leman lake after a winter rain.

Strasbourg – carrefour européen – European crossroads

1. La magnifique cathédrale

An artist at Strasbourg

2. Invraisemblable Contraste de la Petite France et ses résidentes

Une bronzée de Strasbourg (Explored)

3. Europe, Europe – une belle idée, un super projet

Parlement européen - European parlement

#Note: This article belongs to the Trilogy series. In each article of the series, three photos are used to illustrated a country or a city that I have visited, based on their quality and on the story that they tell. I fully understand that this idea is on the edge of being ridiculous, for it is impossible neither to generalize the nature of a city and a country based on my humble and limited experience, nor reduce the their rich characters into three, the series is here to give a very personal opinion on the places that I have been to, and that I love. And in the hope of being useful.

Le contraste du Tech

Le contraste du tech

La photo a été prise en 2010 par moi-même lors d’un stage d’étude au Vietnam. Avec cette photo, je tiendrais à faire comprendre le mot « contraste » dans le sens figuratif. La photo montre une femme qui vend des fruits dans la rue, tout en utilisant un smartphone. La barre située devant la femme est un « don ganh », un outil utilisé pour porter les « quang ». Dans l’arrière-plan, on voit bien un distributeur de billets. Les contrastes sont au cœur de cette photo. Le premier, et plus direct, est le contraste entre les outils qu’utilise la dame, la barre de bambou et le téléphone. Le premier est un outil qui est utilisé depuis des générations au Vietnam, tandis que le dernier est une invention du 21ème siècle. Ce premier contraste dévoile le deuxième, un contraste que tous les pays du Sud sont en train d’expérimenter : le contraste entre « l’ombre du passé », avec les moyens de production peu efficaces, basée sur le travail des petits commerçants et paysans locaux, avec un mode de vie plutôt tranquille, et « la lumière du futur », représentée par des outils modernes, fabriqués par des multinationales, impliquant des chaînes logistiques globalisées, qui permettent la communication instantanée, donc une vie rapide et connectée.

Ces contrastes ne sont en aucun cas une menace pour la population locale. Au contraire, c’est un signe d’optimisme. Malgré la nostalgie d’une vie tranquille du passé, on n’oublie pas que c’était aussi une vie dure, dans une société fermée et ultra-conservative. Dans les pays en voie de développement, il y a une véritable soif de progrès, de modernité et de connexion avec le reste du monde. Paradoxalement, c’est dans ces pays-là, comme le Vietnam, que les nouvelles technologies sont adaptées le plus rapidement. Comme montré sur la photo, la dame n’est pas triste, elle sourit. Un sourire portant bien l’espoir d’un futur lumineux.

Enfin, la scène de la photo est pour moi un message fort : l’avancement de la science et de la technologie pourrait apporter des bénéfices aux gens même dans les coins les plus obscurs du monde. La participation des chercheurs et ingénieurs à l’amélioration des conditions de vie des gens en difficulté n’est pas réservée seulement à ceux qui se déplacent sur place, mais aussi à ceux qui travaillent tous les jours dans les laboratoires.

Sigma 18-35 F1.8 : The Mother of Lenses

Spring color

I was given as gift for my PhD graduation a lens, the Sigma 18-35 f1.8. I was asked to consult several options, and this was the one I like the most, but it was quite expensive, I did not expect to receive it at all. It was a real surprise for me !

This lens is amazing. It can be used as a macro lens (we need to be close to the subject though), a wide angle lens for landscape picture, a portrait lens (again, need to be close to the subject). It has all the focal lengths for daily use, and it is a high quality for serious-amateur photography. It is designed for APS-C sensor, so the real focal length is around 30-55 on my Canon 500D, and it covers all my need. It is heavy, give a good feeling for handling, especially considering that Canon 500D is made of plastic and very light.

Apparently, this lens has a focus problem, a small portion of my pictures are out of focus, and on the Internet others also reported this problem. Besides, it doesn’t have IS, meaning that a good picture without tripod for me requires an exposure time of at most 1:30, but it has a very wide aperture, so even in low light, it is possible to find a good compromise. Again, this is an APS-C lens, hence it could not be used in case of an possible “upgrade” to full-frame devices, however, such possibility is quite low, I have made up my mind and chosen to be extremely happy with my current gears, because they satisfy very well my need and my capacity as photographer, and a full-frame gears (lenses + bodies) would be at the same time too expensive and too heavy for my capacity.

I would like, when I have a house for myself (at 30 and I still live a student life in collocation 🙂 ), to print some of my best pictures to decorate my library, and I find that the current quality can be printed in big format (60 cm x 80 cm), and I am happy with that.

Here are the two pictures during my first trip using the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 with my old Canon 500D. A macro and a landscape. Thank you for reading.

Leman lake in Spring