Random Sights and Diversions

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Hong Son Doong (reposted)

(Link to video corrected.)  I have in the past posted links to videos, particularly videos featuring exceptional outdoor and nature photography. It has been a while since any posts. I recently came across this extraordinary video shot largely with drones, in HD resolution, in what is sometimes considered the world’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong in Vietnam. (Make sure HD is on and watch fullscreen.)

This video was shot by Ryan Deboodt (click for Ryan’s website), who has apparently been filming in this area for a while. The photography and cinematography is excellent. The images of the cave are mind-boggling, but the views of all the flora are just beautiful. I was particularly impressed by the views which show (tiny) people exploring the cave, which helps to define the awesome scale of the place. With the added music, the video (about 6 min) is very relaxing.

Here is a terrific website about the Hong Son Doong cave with a wealth of information and information. Ryan Deboodt’s website features extraordinary still photography from the cave.


Landscapes of the American Southwest

“Landscapes of the American Southwest” is now available!  100 pages. More than 85 photographs. Printed on premium paper. Softcover or hardcover. Preview the book below.  Extra!! Now available in ebook edition for iPad and iPhone!


(I think the image quality in this Preview app is very rough. The quality of the printed images is MUCH higher!)



Reparametrization Site

I am thrilled to have accumulated so many followers and readers of Random Sights. Readers and followers of Random Sights may be interested in my other blog, Reparametrization: Culture Society Education Technology, which offers essays and news on topics in the intersection of culture, society, education, and technology.  It’s not updated nearly as often as Random Sights, but readers might find some of the essays interesting. All welcome to visit!


Illuminated Manuscripts 2

It is a rare privilege to be alive during one of history’s most exciting periods, a time that civilization and culture grow in leaps and bounds. Such a time was  1200-1350.

I have written before of the →exhibition of illuminated manuscripts of the gothic period at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. A most extraordinary exhibit, the Getty has mounted the show in two stages, rotating out many of the manuscripts on display for a whole new set. (Ah, the riches of the Getty to be able to do this!)  The exhibit has just recycled; the second phase runs until May 13. This exhibit is absolutely not to be missed.

From the Getty program:

Graceful figures set against shimmering figures of gold leaf, children playing boisterous games in the margins of the page, vividly portrayed scenes of heroic knights saving beautiful damsels in distress – all these elements and more can be found on the pages of manuscripts in the Gothic era. This period, stretching from 1200 to 1350 in Europe, saw the construction of soaring cathedrals and the first universities. Rapidly growing cities teemed with students, tradesmen, aristocrats, and churchmen, all of whom clamored for illuminated manuscripts. The types of books they coveted ranged from lavish prayer volumes and Bibles to illustrated scientific texts and romances. … Some of the most innovative and beautiful painting to survive from the Middle Ages can be found in Gothic manuscripts.

John the Baptist surrounded by Angels

The Romance of Tristan and Isolde

→Gothic Grandeur. At the Getty Center, Los Angeles. Through May 13.


Henry Moore

I posted earlier this week a series of Grand Canyon images and included the one with rocks that appear like a seated figure. I remarked at the time that it reminded me of a Henry Moore sculpture.

Here is the sculpture Seated Woman prominently exhibited at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The resemblance is indeed remarkable.

I have long had an affection for Henry Moore’s works – going back to the last 15 years or so of his life (Moore was born in 1898 in Yorkshire, England, and died in   1986. In my view, Moore was one of the 20th Century’s greatest artists. He is especially known today for the many huge sculptures – works of public art – found throughout the world. In many of these works, Moore worked to achieve semi-abstract depictions of the human form, especially the female body, and often the shapes of mother and child. Although massive, most of his works includes holes and other pierced or enfolded spaces, so that the work is much greater than just the stone or bronze but is actually the totality of the space it envelops. In remarkable ways, Moore’s works manage to manipulate space beyond just the shape of the work itself.

There are dozens of good books about Henry Moore’s work and life. I believe the best is this one, Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of The Henry Moore Foundation

HenryMoore.com is owned by someone with no connection to Henry Moore. →Henry-Moore.org is the website of the Henry Moore Foundation established by the artist on his Yorkshire Farm in 1977.

Three stories or things about Henry Moore have always intrigued and amused me. One is the fact that Moore used to walk the moors on his Yorkshire farm, and while roaming he would collect little stones, pebbles, rocks, sticks and twigs whose shapes interested him. Eventually, it would take three barns to hold his collection, but often those stones and pebbles and twigs formed the germ of ideas eventually to become a work of art.

The second story is about the fact that Moore lived in London during second world war. During the German blitz, Moore would huddle with other Londoners in the cramped quarters of the London tube and other underground air raid shelters. The experience of huddling en masse with fellow Londoners,  while endowed with a sense of the human spirit that was London during the blitz, also formed the basis for many of his large scale works that depicted human forms enfolding in on themselves, and groups of figures huddled together.

The third is the fact that Moore raised sheep on his Yorkshire farm, and he had a special liking for sheep. In 1972, as a gift to his daughter, Moore produced a lovely book of drawings and sketches of the sheep on his farm. I consider them among his most touching and beautiful works. That book is still in print, Henry Moore’s Sheep Sketchbook.

A Google search for Henry Moore images produces hundreds of images of Moore’s work.  It’s difficult to visit any major museum or city today and not see Henry Moore’s works, though I think the Getty Center here in Los Angeles has some of the finest.


Whither the Book?

Guest Contributor

This is a guest post by Jack Dzamba, from his blog, →Whither the Book.  Check out Jack’s provocative and thoughtful blog which includes many resources on new interactive media. Random Sights welcomes guest bloggers. Write one post or a series. Contact me through the blog if you are interested.

Whither the Book?

THE BOOK, both print and even current versions of the electronic reader, are already near artifacts. Book publishing is in the death throes of the last century, bound up in static, linear publications. At the same time, the technology of the new media has developed to such a degree of creativity and innovation that Alice Rawsthorn commented in the New York Times of November 28, 2010 that,

These devices offer thrilling possibilities for us to do much more than read words on a screen, and it is deeply disappointing that so few designers and publishers are embracing them.

At the same time, the Fine Art community, artists, museums, and developers have risen to the challenges and opportunities of new media. Tablets, smart phones, and the myriad of new apps enable artists and art lovers to experience art in the most comprehensive and dynamic ways. Just as the iPod changed the shape of the music industry, the Fine Art, and indeed the entire book publishing industry, is on the brink of a paradigm change. Can The Book adapt and survive?

More after the jump ...  Read More

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