Bulgaria: Mountains

Mountains are the soul of Bulgaria.  They are everywhere, inescapable.  They cradle monasteries, villages, small towns.  Houses are tucked in among the trees.  From a distance they look like soft dark green velvet and has been folded and folded.


Bulgaria: Ideosyncratic Glimpses

In the 1950’s I remember my father, who travelled a lot for work, would invite people over to see his slides.  These were always very long evenings with people asking questions about what they saw and I my father explaining.  We served carrot and celery sticks with some sort of cottage cheese dip, all very healthy.  The evenings went on and on.

You will be happy to know that this video only lasts a minute.  You don’t have to ask me questions but if you do, I will endeavor to answer.

The video is called ideosyncratic glimpses because I am not, unlike my father, trying to show you Bulgaria.  Instead, I am sharing with you moments that caught my eye.   Most of the pictures are things I have photographed before and I am so happy to find them again in Bulgaria that I take the picture.

Bulgarian Church Paintings

This August when I visited Bulgaria, I took some pictures of the religious paintings.  Since I didn’t use a cell phone, I observed the please do not take pictures signs.  My camera makes a very loud noise as the mirror swings back and forth.  None-the-less, I was able to take a few pictures.

The very contemporary Virgin and Child at the beginning of the video was painted by Teofan Sokerov.  He was privileged to paint the entire Patriarchal Church of the Ascension.  Unfortunately when he completed the project in 1985, the Church fathers decided they didn’t like the Virgin and Child so they never consecrated the church.  It is at the top of the enclosure of the Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Turnovo, the midieval capital of Bulgaria.

The brightly colored images are from the porticos of the Rila Monastery.  You may notice in some of the pictures that there are three levels, at the bottom, hell; in the middle, earth; and finally heaven at the top.

The remainder of the pictures are from the Church of the Nativity, an Ottoman era church in Arbanasi.  Once again the same division of space is followed on the iconostasis.  There are two really unique paintings, the wheel of life and the explanation of the trinity.

Union Square Subway station

When I went to New York City to study Chinese Medicine with the Daoists Jeffrey Yuen, I stayed at Union Square, East 14th Street and Broadway.  I would get off the metro in the evenings to be greeted by shifting musical sounds as I walked toward my exit.  This is my typical trajectory.

Whose Bike Should I Steal?

This video came about because I had two very nice bikes stolen with in weeks of each other, while I was in Holland about 8 years ago.  Even before that, I was struck by how all the bikes parked on the street looked more or less the same, your basic black bike.  When I would go to a pancake house on Sundays, there would be 1,000 euro bikes parked there.  Most Dutch people have several bikes of varying quality.  The worst bike can be left on the street for long periods of time but not the good bike.  It goes out for pancakes and returns to the safety of its home.  My problem was that I only like to ride comfortable bikes and the basic blacks were not fun to ride.

On this last trip to Amsterdam, I decided to photographs bikes.  Some are left by themselves giving a feeling of vulnerability.  Others huddle together in disorganized heaps  which seem to offer more protection.  Then there are massive bike parking lots.  When the sun is shining, the  handle bars look like waves in the ocean.

The picture of the two recycling men is really an aside.  They saw me taking pictures and volunteered to pose.  They add a happy note to the video.

At intersections, if you press the walk button, you will hear these beeps.  To me that is the emblematic sound of Amsterdam.  I would be hearing it all the time, therefore, it became the sound track.

My video is the first you see.  For some reason this time, I could not block the other videos.


via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8LCKF9VG2s

The Two Marias

The Two Marias were women who had lived in Santiago all their lives when it was a really small town.  They were loved and admired by many people.  When they died, the city put a statue of them in the Alameda park.  On a busy Sunday afternoon, many people stop and take pictures of themselves and friends with the statue.

Lately I have been just as interested in what I hear on the street as what I see.  On Saturday, I sat on a bench next to a woman who was talking angrily to a friend.  She never stopped to even take a breath.  I thought this would make a great sound track for something unrelated.  On Sunday I was in the park again and noticed how many people stopped to photograph themselves with the statue.  I started taking pictures of them. Then it hit me.  These would be perfect with the lady.  I’ll make the video but then I thought you have those videos of New York, Washington and even Patzcuaro which you have not yet made.  Do them first.  I thought again and decided to make this video while I was excited by the experiences.