Underwater Meuseums

Pictures taken underwater are all about breaking barriers in some cases. We all want cool pictures, yeah, but it is also about getting uncomfortable, without a specific expensive camera it can be tough. Getting in the water and making the most out of this fragile time frame that allows for the most captivating setting to be utilized. I was able to take some photos with an iPhone 6 protected by a case made by Lifeproof©. It works! Thanks to that case we were able to capture some moments playing under a mid sized ocean cruiser in the Channel Islands.

A place to plan to go soon is off of the coast of Spain to an actual Underwater Museum. Yes, and it is slightly creepy but it is more breathtakingly beautiful. Jason deCaires Taylor has made several lists for his work including this website which list the top ten underwater photographers in the world.

http://www.topteny.com/top-10-best-underwater-photographers-in-the-world/

“Jason deCaires Taylor is an award winning underwater photographer, underwater naturalist and he is also a qualified diving instructor. He is the creator of the first underwater sculpture park in the world and it was founded in 2006 to be considered by National Geographic as one of the top 25 Wonders of the World. Jason deCaires Taylor aims to encourage marine conservation and environmental awareness through his underwater public art projects. He transforms his art or sculptures from dead objects to living coral reefs by submerging them in the ocean.”

If you enjoy seeing underwater art check out @underwaterwednesdays on instagram as well. They were so kind as to feature one of my ameteur photos and they have something new and inspiring every week.

Cheers to those underwater creatives!

                        

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The Happiness that is Costa Rica

Pura Vida or Pure life is a saying that I had hardly heard of before I began considering traveling to Costa Rica to see what the surfing was like. I was looking for a great place to surf with warm water that hopefully wasn’t a tourist trap. Costa Rica has some of the most outstanding surf spots in the world along with the most diverse ecosystem in the western hemisphere. Monkeys, crocodiles, scorpions, parrots, dogs and dolphins all live here.

I traveled to Costa Rica alone for my birthday in order to escape the city life and to surf. I did not know anyone else who had been there, and my family thought it could be dangerous to travel to Central America alone but this was something I needed to do. It is one of the things I think all women need to do once in their lives, travel alone. Dominical, the place I chose, is a small dirt road village of about 200 people. Home of the Costa Rican national surf competitions. Many surfers around the world frequent here as well as the music and yoga culture to make the beach a dance floor during the Envision festival.

My first experience as I got off the plane was being greeted by my driver, a laid-back bleach blonde Costa Rican native, let’s call him Toad. He greeted me to a van that made me a little weary at first, but I decided to trust in the Universe… and the girl on the phone at the hotel who sent him. By one hour in the drive we were both singing Red Hot Chilli Peppers songs cruising down the highway and he asked me to move to Costa Rica to be in his band. I wasn’t going to do that but a lot of girls did move to Costa Rica after the first time they visited. I soon found this out. After all of the singing in the car I made it safely to Dominical and Toad was alright in my book.

I experience so much here that enriched me. I had an iguana who hung out on my front porch. I came home to a group of crabs dancing outside my door. I had a scorpion crawl above my table at lunch. We caught our own fish, swam in crocodile infested rivers and surfed amazing waves.

The locals never really went inside their homes unless it was to sleep, there was really no need to. All of the restaurants were outdoors and the sunsets were the most beautiful I had ever seen, the water was water was a constant 82 degrees.

Here live the happiest dogs in the world. The dogs here do not have owners, but rather the community takes care of them the same. Leaving food out in different places and letting them sleep, well, wherever.

Blankets and hand woven tropical articles of clothing hang from lines connected to palm trees in a maze to give tourists something to spend their money on.

There are many places in the world where we could go and realize that people are so much happier than us with so much less. Most unnecessarily, we go against the grain, stress ourselves out and destroy our bodies to achieve what we think success might be. We end up with bodies that we don’t feel good about, poor health, in a nice car and a big house to show everyone.We are told that this is the definition of successful. We know deep down inside what we love, but we are scared of doing it. Many times we are afraid of going after our calling because it seems unconventional, or it might make less money. That takes away our sense of self and our unique identity?

We can easily fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others, which unfortunately is easy to do now with social media. We compare ourselves with our friends and colleagues’ personal marketing campaigns for their identities.  It resembles a secret competition to check in with each other and see where normal people are supposed to be in life. The humor is, others are going through the same struggle.

What I have learned from those people who live in Costa Rica, who don’t have big houses and give surfing lessons for a living, live in small cottages and have no masters degree is that they are happier than most people I have met with access to all of those things because they have friends that they see every day, they get exercise and they eat good food. Let us not forget that they have dogs running around everywhere. They are surrounded with an appreciation for natures forces and embrace all other people who come from around the world that want to spend time with them. There was no exclusion in this community. These are the things that matter. This is why I beleive that Costa Ricans are so happy.

Why Torino is my Favorite City in Italy

Visiting a different country it is truly the most enriching valuable experience. Growing is about gaining new perspectives, and we have to take ourselves out of our comfort zones and go to places we have never been before in order to truly gain that new perspective. Many people wait until they are old enough and have saved enough money to travel safely, unfortunately, by then they cannot do the things that they want to do because of life circumstances or it is not as enjoyable because they cannot use their bodies as well anymore, not having the energy or the curiosity of seeing a new part of this beautiful world we live in.

I am not into seeing huge tourist attractions but rather parts of the world that inspire help me learn more about myself and other cultures. I wanted to show a little bit of a place that touches my heart because of the interesting people and history that it has. This place is Torino, Italy, a city in the Northern Piemonte region. Of all of the other cities in Italy that get attention, I figured that this places deserves just as much.

The culture runs thick in Torino. It’s roots derive from native inhabitants (Taurini) in the 3rd century BC, but it was the Romans that provided the name, Augusta Taurinorum, and it’s peculiar streets with a grid pattern still visible now are found in Rome as well, as they are based on the roman camping (castrum – The latin term used for an original Roman fortress in the earlier periods of history).Torino was the first capital of Italy before it was moved to Florence and then Rome. This region is now the home of Italian names such as Fiat, Ferrero (makers of Nutella) and Lavazza. Torino was the home of and hosted such legends as Primo Levi, Alexandre Dumas, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Friedrich Nietzsche. In 2006, Torino was endowed as the home of the Winter Olympics, deeming Torino the Sport Capital of Italy. Adding to its depth of history, the Holy Shroud, an artifact that many people believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, resides in the Cathedral of Turin.

If there ever was a place to transform you into a food and wine snob and make you go off of your sworn-in Paleo Diet then this is the place. It’s amazing what won’t kill you if you eat it in Europe. Italy will raise your standards in men, food, wine, history and lifestyle…and not in a lavish way, but with an appreciation for genuine on many different levels.

FEEDING YOUR SOUL

In Italy, you can go to any hole-in-the-wall and it’s still going to be high quality. Because Italy has a ban on GMO’s, everyone gets to live better knowing or not knowing that their food isn’t full of things they don’t need. In Torino, it’s really easy to find animal products coming from the Alps, which means that they breath fresh air and they get to roam free in luscious and mineral rich land. There is no worry that the animals have been mistreated or the food isn’t good enough. Down to the honey with its rich mineral earthy taste, everything has substance.

Negroni sbagliato – An amazing cocktail with absinth, aperol and vermouth. This is not your normal negroni and it was only 5 Euros.
Colomba pasquale A typical italian sweet dish prepared during Easter, made of flour, eggs,butter, sugar, candied orange and an almond frosting on top.
Colazione italiana– Honey and pastries from the mountains, fresh coffee… this is how Italians do breakfast. They also have large lattes only in the morning and do not down obscene amounts of coffee during the day. If they would like a pick me up later on, it’s usually just an espresso.

P A S S I O N

 L I V E S      

 H E R E ……

There is no lack of chivalry here. Torino is full of lovers of all ages. It could be the romantic setting for the lucky ones who have found this treasure of a city to spend with their significant other. Personal experience has shown me that it is easy to see the happiness found in life from the simple things here, and from each other.

Best Gelato I think I have had in my life. #ruined
Best Gelato I think I have had in my life. #ruined

There is also a lot of passion for futbol here because there exists strong emotion and culture wrapped up in the history of these rivalries.

Juventus and Torino FC are the big futbol rivals in Torino. In the 1940’s Torino FC was believed to be the best soccer team in the world. In 1949, they tragically crashed their plane against the Basilica di Superga walls in the hills of Torino because of limited visibility, killing the entire team. Pictured below people are crowding the streets to celebrate the first time Torino FC beat Juventus in 20 years.

Picture taken in the middle of Via Roma, the most important street in the center of Turin. A couple kisses with people walking by.
Picture taken in the middle of Via Roma, the most important street in the center
of Turin. A couple kisses with people walking by
After 20 years, finally Torino FC manages to beat Juventus FC, prompting fans to get in the streets and celebrate. An old FIAT 500 stops in the middle of the road and gets surrounded by chanting fans.
After 20 years, finally Torino FC manages to beat Juventus FC, prompting fans to
get in the streets and celebrate. An old FIAT 500 stops in the middle of the road and gets surrounded by chanting fans.

B  E  A  U  T  Y 

     Being from San Francisco, I have seen many eccentric and creative things, but walking through Torino, I found Golden Gate Park’s European twin. Life is abundant in Parco del Valentino. Outdoor cafes, picnicking, sunbathing, riding bikes, young love and families.  There is a free outdoor fitness center for everyone to use. Yes, free. People do not have to pay to get healthy and there are initiatives to create a rich and healthy environment for everyone here. Even if there are plenty of gyms in Torino, it is not uncommon to find free fitness centers outdoors in the parks. Extra bonus for Torino, a lot of walking plus free outdoor fitness centers! There are also hikes just fifteen minutes away in the hills that have stunning views of the Alps overlooking the city and will definitely get your heart pumping.

These guys have been hogging the bench all day.
These guys have been hogging the bench all day.
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Parco del Valentino – This is the brother to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. People lounge, read, love and sunbath. Italians love their sexy tan skin!
The Alps are always visible from the city if the sky is clear and they are amazingly huge. It will take your breath away.
The Alps are always visible from the city if the sky is clear. Overlooking Torino on a sunny day, the sheer massiveness adds an energy to the air and coaxes you into the world of winter sports, reminding you that you are in Northern Italy.

Old arcades and docks became a nest for the city “movida” (party) on the River Po, with several clubs and bars, heavily popular during the hot season.

H I S T O R Y

Torino has much to offer, from it’s origins dated more than 2,300 years ago to more recent days, especially with World War II history. From a bunker on display where residents would go to hide during German bombings, to the original King and Queen of Italy’s castle, almost everywhere you turn it’s a time capsule of events that have shaped our world today.

Parco della rimembranza - A huge public garden situated in the hills surrounding Torino. It hosts more than 21.000 trees and has walkways, trees and commemorative poles to honour and remember (“Rimembranza”) all soldiers who died fighting for Italy.
Parco della Rimembranza – A huge public garden situated in the hills surrounding Torino. It hosts more than 21.000 trees and has walkways, trees and commemorative poles to honour and remember (“Rimembranza”) all soldiers who died fighting for Italy.
Faro della Vittoria - Built in 1928 for the 10th anniversary of World War I victory and all soldiers who died to achieve it. The statue hosts a lighthouse and stands tall on the hills of Torino, facing the city. Underneath it, walkways, trees and commemorative poles create the Parco della Rimembranza.
Faro della Vittoria – Built in 1928 for the 10th anniversary of World War I victory and all soldiers who died to achieve it. The statue hosts a lighthouse and stands tall on the hills of Torino, facing the city. Underneath it, walkways, trees and commemorative poles create the Parco della Rimembranza.
Fontana del Frejus - This fountain was built to mourn all the workers perished while building the Frejus tunnel at the end of the 19th century, a strategic infrastructure that connects Piedmont with southern France running under the Alps. Ancient locals believe it represents the black heart ( a dark and mystifying place) of the city for several reasons: it's position is adverse towards the sunset, this square used to be the place for public executions, the angel on top probably represents Lucifer and underneath the statue there is a door leading to the entire sewer city network, believed to be the gateway to hell.
Fontana del Frejus – This fountain was built to mourn all the workers perished while building the Frejus tunnel at the end of the 19th century, a strategic infrastructure that connects Piedmont with southern France running under the Alps. Esoteric believe it represents the black heart of the city for several reasons: its position is adverse towards the sunset, this square used to be the place for public executions, the angel on top probably represents Lucifer and underneath the statue there is a door leading to the entire sewer city network, believed to be the gateway to hell.
Notes to the future about what we have learned from the past at the Museo della resistenza. This museum, created in 2003, guides the visitor in a journey from 1938 and the racial laws and promulgations to the bombings in Torino and, in particular, to the Resistance (“Resistenza”) which managed to fight the germans and free Torino and the entire country from the now-enemies in war.
Notes to the future about what we have learned from the past at the Museo della Resistenza. This museum, created in 2003, guides the visitor in a journey from 1938 and the racial laws and promulgations to the bombings in Torino and, in particular, to the Resistance (“Resistenza”) which managed to fight the germans and free Torino and the entire country from the now-enemies in war.
Museo Egizio di Torino - The second most importan Egyptian museum in the world after Il Cairo in terms of number (3,300 showcased, more than 26,000 stored) and quality of the finest egyptian artwork. A time journey running back as far as the Predynastic Period of Ancient Egypt (prior to 3100 BC), including statues, stones, clothing, jewelery, papyrus, mummies and much more.
Museo Egizio di Torino – The second most important Egyptian museum in the world after Il Cairo in terms of number (3,300 showcased, more than 26,000 stored) and quality of the finest
egyptian artwork. A time journey running back as far as the Predynastic Period of Ancient Egypt (prior to 3100 BC), including statues, stones, clothing, jewelery, papyrus, mummies and much more.
The Cathedral of Turin - The Holy Shroud, an artifact that many people believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Cathedral of Turin contains The Holy Shroud, an artifact that many people believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. Many police officers and armed guards protect the church during it’s display and people are lined up for blocks to view it.

The Salt of The Earth – A documentary that takes you across the world evoking emotion and inspiring change

Nothing is more valuable or worth our time than moments that change our prospective on the world and inspire us to grow. Whether it be quality time with  friends or taking the initiative to educate ourselves  on a subject we didn’t know about before. It is something to think about how our world would be if we strived to be the best version of ourselves for the progress of the human race. We are capable of love, compassion, growth and things we might think impossible. We can have the life we want, as soon as we stop thinking only about ourselves.

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Sebastião Selgado is photographer and photo journalist that is known for his intense and captivating photos of the human condition all over the world. His photos can take us back to the beginning of time with his ability to find places in this world today that have been untouched. Salgado would spend decades at a  time in places with no contact with the outside world, immersing himself in environments overcome with starvation, genocides, war violence and famine. Traveling to over 100 countries,  Salgado has been able to rediscover tribes of indigenous peoples and live amongst those who have no records of existence since the Bible. Salgado is the founder of the Institute De Terra in Brasil where he and his wife had replanted an entire rainforest in the Valley of The River Doce as a project after much of the land in the area was devastated by a drought. You can click on the link here and see what has managed to be done within in 15 years with this project.http://www.institutoterra.org

Salgado’s last project Genesis, was devoted to inspiring those to see how important it is to protect the world we live in.

This is a documentary that is inspiring, moving and may inspire one to look at the world through different lenses. The link to the trailer is below.

We can take a picture that communicates, one where we can see the problems and the people from around the world. We show the people of Bangladesh to others so they can understand them. I have tried to bring about better communication between people. I believe that humanitarian photography is like economics. Economy is a kind of sociology, as is documentary photography. – Sebastiao Salgad

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Serra Pelada Mine Worker in Brasil 1986 

Mine Workers- Sebstião Salgado

Zo’é Women in the Amazon Brasil

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Sebastião Salgado, Fallen worker: A fire fighter from the Safety Boss team knocked unconscious by a blast of gas from the wellhead, Kuwait, 1991

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Giant tortoise on the Galapagos Islands

Blinded by Sandstorms and infections, this woman waits for food distribution, Mali 1985.

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Refugees in Korem Camp, Ethiopia

Sources: http://www.icp.org/exhibitions/sebastião-salgado-genesis

There is a Bansky on view in SF and it’s Free

Destroy Capitalism

Capitalism has a reputation for commodification in many forms. When the public takes action to work against a capitalist society,the ideas and support generated are various and creative, hidden mostly in literature, academia and the arts.   An anonymous artist for over 20 years named Banksy  is popular for his graffiti work and prints that  usually have an anti – war, anti- capitalist viewpoint to provide and mock the current state of society as he sees it. Banksy has become one of the highest selling artists, and the most famous graffiti artist today through his controversial pieces spotted in city streets around the world. Since Banksy’s success as a street artist, his works have turned into profitable pieces that are sold for up to 7 figures to private clients which raises a  question  among common critics whether Banksy has become a part of the Capitalist system that his work is inspired to ridicule. Banksy is not a capitalist, but rather, his art has been commodified by capitalists.

Banksy is a stencil graffiti pop artist who’s identity goes unknown. Anyone can see Banksy’s stencil art, which enables him to reach a large audience and to make strong statements. City officials have the power to paint over works or allow them to stay. Even when his  art is destroyed, it draws attention to political issues. The drama that follows after his art have caused people all around the world to be mystified by evidence of his presence, and commodifying his art as valuable pieces to be  obtained. Art galleries and private sellers take advantage of this and when able to, sell his work for over hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Banksy made most of his money through a couple of documentaries, one, “Exit through the Gift Shop” which highlights the graffiti artist Mr. Brainwash and his rise to fame though pure hype shows Banksy’s attitude toward the commodification of an art form. In 2007, the day after Sotheby’s London sold three Banksy works, all of which soared above predicted values into the six figures, the elusive and anonymous British graffiti artist updated his website with an image of an auction house, the people in the room bidding on a picture with the written words “I Can’t Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit” (Rham).

Bansky’s work usually is done on buildings so that they can be seen by everyone and not be sold or stolen. Despite his original efforts to prevent his work from becoming commodified, art galleries continue to  excavate his work and auction pieces of his off. Sometimes they actually cut pieces out of the buildings that he paints on. Not all art galleries and exhibitions intend to sell his work, some, like the company 836M from San Francisco, do it purely to save his art from being destroyed or stolen so that it may be enjoyed by others for free. 836M started a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund the excavation and shipping of the Haight Street Rat that appeared 5 years ago over the Red Victorian Hotel. It is now publicly displayed through July at a San Francisco art gallery for free viewing (McWilliams).

His work and his stories are live examples of capitalism at work which is yet another statement and example of the society we live in today that he expresses through his art. Just like an activist on television or a teacher in a school, Banksy spreads the message of the perversion of capitalism and the rule of the commodity in our society today among other things.

Find the Haight Street Rat  on display at 836M Studio for free

Haight Street Rat Photo Courtesy of http://www.StencilArchive.org

836 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

GALLERY HOURS: 11am – 4pm (Wed, Thurs, Fri)

http://www.836m.org/

Gathering solid facts about Bansky is rather difficult, in fact, all of the assumptions about his work and his reasons could be false. I have been able to gather information from pieces of other articles and sources online and post the sources below.

Rahm, Danielle. Banksy: The $20 Million Graffiti Artist Who Doesn’t Want His Art To Be Worth Anything. http://www.forbes.com/sites/daniellerahm/2013/10/22/banksy-the-20-million-graffiti-artist-who-doesnt-want-his-art-to-be-worth-anything/ 22 October 2013. Last accessed on 18 May 2015.

Author: unknown. Stencil Revolution. http://www.stencilrevolution.com/profiles/about-banksy/ Last accessed on 18 May 2015

McWilliams, Molly. http://www.sfweekly.com/exhibitionist/2014/12/18/banksys-haight-street-rat-is-coming-home-to-san-francisco. 18 December 2014. Last accessed on 18 May 2015