Compassion in the midst of violence

Photograph by Lefteris Pitakaris/AP
An Egyptian anti-government activist kisses a riot police officer following clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, January 28, 2011.


Portrait of a Lady

Portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi by Platon, 2010

The fascinating story behind the photograph.


Winter Birds

all photographs by Mario Giacomelli

It's been raining for two days. From Paris my friend Daniel sent me some beautiful music by Ray LaMontagne, which seems to fit the mood these last two days. I've been listening to one of the songs in particular, called "Winter Birds," with these lines:

The stream can't contain such the withering rain,
And from the pasture the fence it is leaning away
The clouds crack and growl
Like some great cat on the prowl
Crying out, "I am, I am" over and over again

The winter birds have gone back again
Here the sprightly chickadee, gone now is the willow wren
In passing greet each other as if old, old friends
And to the voiceless trees it is their own they will lend...

Though all these things will change the memories will remain
As green to gold and gold to brown
The leaves will fall to feed the ground
And in their falling make no sound
Oh my lady, lady, I am loving you now

All the verses in the song speak of changes and the transformation wrought by time, and the need to love the here and now. Just the song for a winter day such as today.


Let England Shake

Screen shots from Seamus Murphy's The Last Living Rose, a series of 12 short films he directed to accompany PJ Harvey's songs on her new album, Let England Shake

PJ Harvey, photographed by Seamus Murphy

"England has a complicated relationship with the past, its island status, its relationship to the land, geography and tradition. Contemporary England springs from a history of colonial adventures, military ambitions and industrial prowess. It is also defined by its waning power and military role in modern politics. At times, it can be a very odd place.

To open myself up to a country I live in but rarely get to shoot, I went on a road journey during one of the worst winters in living memory. I approached England as I would a foreign country, travelling alone with little equipment. I documented my experience in reportage style, using available light and real-life situations – this time with sound and pictures. I normally have the still and silent image as my universe."

Seamus Murphy

I have always appreciated people's connection to the land in which they live. This connection has nothing to do with patriotism, but a profound and real understanding of the conditions that make up the land.


Winter in California

It's hard to believe that it's winter here. The grapefruit and orange trees are laden with fruits and the camellias are flushed with flowers. Compared to New York, where everything is still buried under the snow, such abundance seems almost miraculous. I spent a blissful hour in the garden alone.