These two wooden sculptures in the medieval collection of Prague’s National Gallery housed in the Convent of St. Agnes appear to be in frank discussion. They could be marveling over Agnes, who as youngest princess of the realm sidestepped two engagements and founded a convent in 1231. Or they could be swapping stories of their original hair, eye and lip color. More than half of all sculpture in the medieval period were wooden and sculptors touched up their creations with artful lowlights.
Pismo Beach in California is a popular spot for tourists and local surfers. There is a clifftop path that runs the length of the north side and ends at two swings with gorgeous views. Kayakers here are often treated to migrating and feeding whales. In the fall of 2020, one beach away in Avila, two kayakers were inadvertently tasted and ptoo-ied out by a humpback — likely exciting and confusing for all three of them.
Built for 250 patients, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in the state of West Virginia in the USA housed more than 2,500 at the height of its capacity. Construction design was based on the Thomas Kirkbride plan whereby the building itself was meant to have a ‘therapeutic’ effect on patients. The institution opened immediately after the American Civil War. The doors closed on what had become the Weston State Hospital in 1994.
The graceful movements of Thai dancers entertain the Siamese royal court and night-market tourists. A fabulous addition to the elegance and precision of the performers are specialized costumes. Depending on the dance, performers might wear six-inch-long brass nails or specialized decorative headdresses.
Center of the Universe
Like a mountain that holds up the sky, the handle of an umbrella supports its dome, or so goes the mythology of the Buddhist umbrella. This golden parasol from Chiang Mai’s Wat Doi Suthep is a symbol for the exalted person whom it would protect from the heat of suffering and desire.
In 1916 an avant-garde photographer from New York fell in love with a schoolteacher in the Texas panhandle. The passion of Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe is a modern American romance. Intense and complicated, their union produced beautiful and unforgettable art, his black and white photography and her images of flowers.
The Smart Way to Travel
In Hong Kong, ferries glide back and forth on Victoria Harbour. Well-known as one of the world’s financial centers, this city of seven million is also one of the most densely populated — and apparently most intelligent — on earth. Studies routinely rank Hong Kong as the city with the highest IQ scores.
These novice nuns in Burma are on their way to a morning bath. Many Burmese families send their daughters for a religious education in the warm summer months. The “Thilashins” live together in compounds near wats. Numbers of resident nuns can double in summertime.
One with Nature
Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya was once the thriving cosmopolitan capital of Siam (Thailand). The reign of Ayutthaya ended in 1767 when Burmese troops sacked the city and carried away its treasures. The remains of temples, palaces and statues artfully permeate the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site located about an hour outside of Bangkok. In the severe flooding of 2011, this particular statue in the base of a tree was underwater for weeks.
Twilight in Kowloon
Nathan Road on the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong is a major shopping thoroughfare. At twilight, there is a rush to work, home from work, or out to meet friends. Fewer tourists visit this area than neighboring Hong Kong Island. The picture was taken from the second floor of a double-decker bus whose route terminates at the Star Ferry pier on Victoria Harbor.
A Palace, a Bus and a Man
Bus 203 runs by the Grand Palace in Bangkok many times per day. These commuters are so used to the view that they do not watch one of Thailand’s most popular and revered sites flash by.
Find this and other photos in the 180 photographs exhibit presented by the American embassy and now touring Thailand.
Graffiti of a Photo
This graffiti art on the side of an apartment building is one of many things to see on the mile-long trek along the High Line in New York City. A converted elevated train track in Manhattan hosts one of the city’s most visited and celebrated parks. Botanists, artists and people watchers are drawn to this green area suspended over the old meat-packing district. The art is based on an original photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt from August 1945.
Love and Suspension
The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic image of New York City — accessible, functional, beautiful. At 130 years old, the bridge has withstood the installation of a nuclear bunker, plots by terrorists, and the heights and depths of human emotions. It draws lovers, jumpers and 150,000 commuters every day. The bridge also bears the weight of padlocks fastened by couples whose steely declarations of enduring love include throwing the lock’s key into the East River.
An Anonymous Neighbor
The National Museum in Bangkok houses incredibly interesting items, including royal funeral chariots, historical dioramas, ancient sculptures, and traditional costumes and games. The second most important Buddha in Thailand, the Phra Buddha Singh, sits in the Buddhaisawan Chapel. Wandering through the chapel with its mixture of old and new, I took this photo of one of the smaller buddha figures next to its more famous neighbor.
An Irresistible Path
Some paths draw you in no matter where they are headed. This idyllic beach in New Zealand was deserted in the middle of a chilly summer. What is it about the first page in a notebook or the beginning of a path that is so inspiring? Possibilities or perhaps the thrill of discovery? Whatever it is, it gets our hearts and our minds racing a little bit faster.
Coming in for a Landing
Stretch up on your toes with your hands in the air, and your fingertips might just brush the cool metal belly of an aircraft. Gravelly Point near National Airport is exhilarating — windy, noisy and visually thrilling. Watch the planes approach along the gentle curve of the Potomac River and pass over your head with landing gear extended. Then listen carefully for the sound the air makes. A cross between flapping sails and an inhalation, the wind zips up the space left by jet engines.
In Bagan, Burma, it is easy to take a beautiful photo, but difficult to take a unique one. At the Shwezigon Pagoda, this watermelon seller walked by at just the right time.