The Elgin Marbles

Chances are, followers have heard of the Elgin Marbles.

The EM are not marbles, in the round spherical sense. They are marble statues and other marble antiquities that were looted from certain Greek temples at the start of the 17th century. The related dispute between Greece and Britain hits the international headlines with some regularity. The EM dispute is a complex international dispute, but MB has written a short play on the subject, to enlighted followers on the various intricacies, as is his wont:

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Qatar Art Exhibition

MB got invited a few days back to an art exhibition at the Qatar Fine Arts Association Building which is based at KATARA village in Doha. The event was very multi-cultural with artists from many countries, all living and working in Qatar, each presenting a single piece of work.

Big thanks to the Ishtaiwi family, whose mom was one of the exhibitors, for MB’s invitation.

















It’s the weekend

Last weekend MB went to the ballet Cinderella. The same Cinderella who fled the ball before midnight and left her slipper behind. Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – A face in the crowd

A face in the crowd.

The Appearance of Christ Before the People or The Apparition of the Messiah is a famous painting by Russian artist Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov. (1806 – 1858). The painting hangs in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and MB had to good fortune to visit the gallery and view the painting during his May 2017 trip to Russia’s capital city (where he grabbed a few shots!).

There are many faces in the crowd by the banks of the River Jordan in the famous painting, which depicts many stories from the Bible; John the Baptist, Apostles John, Peter and Andrew, and others. The artist has also included a self-portrait in red headgear sitting not far from John the Baptist who has his hand and staff raised in the direction of Christ. For further info on the painting, take a read of the Wikipedia link.

Herewith: two shots of the painting from MBs trip, both giving a sense of scale and size of the painting which took the artist 20 years to paint.


Moscow – Tretyakov Gallery

MB has already given followers a photo post on the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. So he doesn’t intend to discuss it further in text. Just click on the link to get the Wikipedia info on it if you wish to learn more. The stories behind many of the paintings are fascinating. And if you are ever lucky enough to visit Moscow please do not miss it.

Some photos to give you all a flavour:


Weekly Photo Challenge – Delta (Change)

Transitions/Change/The Passing of time.

It’s either a sign of MB’s personal ignorance of the art world or ignorance within Western countries generally of Russian history and culture (MB is not sure which), that he had never previously heard of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow until his Moscow visit of a few days back. The gallery houses the largest collection of Russian art in the entire country and was originally donated to the State by an art-collecting merchant called Pavel Tretyakov (in 1892).

Tretyakov’s donation comprised some 2,000 works of art at that time, but the collection has now grown to some 150,000 pieces, including some sculptures. The gallery itself is overwhelming, as are many of the paintings which are huge in physical size. MB got lost a number of times in the gallery such is its extent, and its labyrinth layout. The paintings generally portray famous characters or aristocracy figures from Russian history, famous moments of Russian history, and many religious themed paintings.

MB gives you all one such painting from the gallery, appropriate for this week’s photo challenge from many aspects MB is thinking, which depicts the arrival of Jesus to some of his followers. MB heard the full description of the painting on his gallery audio guide but sadly forgets most of it by now. MB remembers that some of the characters have just emerged from the Jordan River following their baptism by John The Baptist, and four of the future apostles appear on the left side of the photo (in beards & one with red hair).

MB will post a follow-up post on the Tretyakov Gallery in the coming days. Big thanks to Russian friend NK for organising the visit and many others over the weekend. MB Os U!


Sunday Shot – No Comment

MB will henceforth give a regular ‘Sunday Shot’ to followers, which will be slightly abstract in nature. He will say no more.


Foto Friday – Still Life


Weekly Photo Challenge – Solitude


In yet another quite brilliant piece of lateral thinking, MB takes followers away from the predictable lonely landscapes and dramatic desolation that many will offer for this weeks photo challenge.  Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Tiny


MB & daughter MB2 attended an exhibition of works by street artist Banksy in Amsterdam last week. Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Rare


It’s not often you will see an elderly Muslim gentleman standing beside a Western lady with a low neck-line. The lady has some Arabic influence however, as she is sporting an intricate henna tattoo on her face & neck, almost like a veil, which must please the Muslim gentleman no end!




A stroll around the souq

Souq Waqif and surrounding streets. Doha, Qatar. 05 July 2016.


That was the week that was

It’s the end of another Middle East week and the Friday/Saturday weekend looms large. Seems like it was only a day or two back when the week actually started. This last one just zipped along for sure. Maybe the older you get the quicker the weeks fly by. The end of your time gets closer and time speeds up it seems.  Maybe it’s something to do with Einstein and his waves. Einstein’s always coming up with stuff to explain stuff it seems. When he was alive at least. But back them nobody had a clue what he was on about. Just like now. E=MC2. Ya right.
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Weekly Photo Challenge – Life Imitates Art

Life Imitates Art

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” – Oscar Wilde

There are not so many good places to wander about with your camera in Qatar. But the Souq Waqif is one of them and is one of MB’s favourite spots in the locality. Lots of interesting subject matter floating around down there, and being a bit of a tourist haunt, nobody takes much notice of camera geeks doing camera stuff.

Just before Christmas, MB was wandering around the Souq and one of the Souq artists caught his eye. Or rather, 2 of his sketches caught MB’s eye. Interesting that both are of young girls and both come from different fields of ‘Art’, namely Photography & Painting. MB notes that many in the ‘Art’ world do not consider ‘Photography’ part of the world of ‘Art’. But that’s a discussion and debate for another day.

The sketch top right is a representation of one of the most famous photographs in the history of photography, called – Afghan Girl. It appeared as a cover photo of National Geographic magazine in June 1985. The photo was shot in a Pakistani refugee camp one year earlier, and the photographer never took note of the girl’s name at the time. Her green eyes and the intensity of her stare were striking, and the sketch, with respect, does not do justice to the original. The photo, by Nat Geo photographer Steve McCurry, was shot with a Nikon film camera, and is often compared to De Vinci’s painting ‘Mona Lisa’.

McCurry tracked his subject down in 2002, in a remote village in Afghanistan. The subject of the shot (Sharbat Gula, of Pashtun ethnicity) was unaware of the fame of the photo, albeit she remembered the photo being taken, as it was one of only three times in her life that anyone had taken a photo of her. The search for her became a TV documentary and also featured in Nat Geo magazine in April 2002.

The sketch to the left of ‘Afghan Girl’ is a sketch of one of the most famous paintings in the world, called – ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’, by famous 17th-century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. It sits in a museum in the Hague since 1902.


Another deadly shot by MB!


10 Random Shots – December 2015


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