Can listening to classical music improve your life?

Woman in yellow listening

Can a daily dose of classical music change your life? It sounds like an impossibly grand claim, but in my case, the answer has been a resounding yes. And January — so often a miserable month of discarded resolutions, debts and diets — is arguably the perfect time to dive in to a new sonic soundscape in all its rich, diverse wonder.

We are a music-making species — always have been, always will be. We are also a music-exchanging species: long before lovesick teenagers started curating mixtapes for each other, or digital streaming services enabled us to swap favourite tracks, we were communicating and connecting through music. We evolved as humans by coming together around the fire after a long day’s hunter-gathering, singing songs and telling stories through song. That’s what our ancestors did; that’s how they made sense of the world; that’s how they learned how to be.

Full Story: BBC News

The Pioneering Street Photographer Who Taught Diane Arbus

Lower East Side (man), New York

In the summer of 1934, a young woman named Lisette Model took a break from her life in Paris to visit her mother and sister in Nice. While there, she borrowed a 35-millimeter camera from her sister, Olga, and took it to the Promenade des Anglais, an upscale stretch along the Mediterranean seaside that was popular with a moneyed crowd. In the line of Model’s keen (or unforgiving) sight, the men and women lounging in the promenade’s comfortable chairs became so many sitting ducks.

The nascent photographer lifted the camera to her eye and captured them in a series of images that draw out the awkwardness of their well-fed, well-dressed bodies and the fascination of faces modeled by age, which appear almost grotesque, but also striking, even sculptural. “You cannot imagine how fantastically boring it can be to look hour after hour at a beautiful body,” Model once said, referring to a stint studying painting in Paris and working from live models. “But an ugly body can be fascinating.”

Femme au Voile

Full Story @ Artsy

What Obama’s Photographer Learned About Travel

During his eight years as the chief official White House photographer for President Barack Obama, Pete Souza, the former director of the White House Photo Office, traveled to all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Those trips added up to more than 1,300 flights on Air Force One and nearly 1.5 million miles.

“My job was to basically tag along with the president and visually capture the professional and personal moments in his life,” said Mr. Souza, 62, who was also the official White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan.

He shot almost two million images during his tenure with Mr. Obama, and his new book, “Obama: An Intimate Portrait,” released in November, has 315 of the most memorable ones. Besides the tension-filled shot of Mr. Obama and his advisers in the Situation Room during the Osama bin Laden mission, there are several pictures from the president’s travels including an image of him with his family in front of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro at night in the fog and a picture of him looking at the Great Wall of China.

Below are edited excerpts from an interview with Mr. Souza.

Full Story @ New York Times

Shooting down the idea of free stock photos

I was recently alerted to stock photo website PixaBay by my photographer friends.

PixaBay offers royalty-free photos from its contributors, that anyone can use, manipulate and distribute without the need for permission or any attribution to the artist.

While I personally cannot fathom the thought of giving away my photos for free, I think PixaBay contributors probably want some exposure or love the thrill of seeing their photos being used instead of just getting “likes” on Instagram.

It sounds like a great deal for those in the advertising and marketing industry who need photos for their promotion collaterals.

You know, when things sound too good to be true, they usually turn out to be false. But in this case, it is actually true.

Full Story @ The Straits Times

“This Family’s Hilarious Photoshoot Went Viral Due to Some, Uh, Heavy Retouching”


Over the weekend, Pam Zaring shared the final, retouched images from her recent family photoshoot in St. Louis, which made her family look like — for lack of a better description — soulless, razor-toothed creatures who emerged from the nearby lake.

Zaring said the photoshoot happened back in May, and it’s apparently taken this long for the photographer to figure out how to edit them. After nearly a year, this is what she was sent. Brace yourselves.

Full Story @ Cosmo


Meet the Chinese sports photographer still going strong at 79

Hong Nanli stands just 153 centimetres (5ft) tall and at 79 years-old this indefatigable grandmother is almost certainly the oldest working sports photographer in China, if not beyond.

It makes her a minor celebrity in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and macho and in which many of her peers are less than half her age.

But it is not just her fellow journalists who snap selfies with her at sports matches and press conferences. Players and coaches also often seek her out because she cuts such an incongruous figure.

Full Story: South China Morning Post

A frequent traveler asks every hotel he stays in for a ‘unique drawing of Godzilla’ upon arrival — and it proves what you can get away with if you just ask


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It’s no secret that there are tricks and tips frequent travellers should use to try and snag a cheap flight — and there are plenty of ways to enhance your hotel experience, too.

For most people, this involves trying to get a bigger, better room or perhaps a bottle of champagne — but one man has made a habit out of asking for something a bit more unusual.

Patrick Feary, communications strategist at Hotelchamp — a hotel startup which helps hotels personalise their guests’ stays — travels all over the world for work. However, instead of asking for luxury perks, he asks for one specific (yet optional) thing from every hotel he stays at — a “unique drawing of Godzilla” to be in his room upon arrival.

He’s made the request to roughly 20 hotels so far — and three have obliged.

Full Story @ Business Insider UK

“Wreck-It Ralph 2 Gets an Official Synopsis & New Image”

Ralph and Vanellope journey to the world wide web in a new image and synopsis from Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2. Disney’s animation department found a new hit in 2012 with the release of Wreck-It Ralph. While it may not fit the typical idea of a video game movie, Wreck-It Ralph dived deep into the history of gaming to tell a wild story. Starring John C. Reilly as Ralph, Sarah Silverman as Vanellope, and Jack McBrayer (Fix-It Felix), the heartfelt film was a critical hit, making it no surprise when sequel talks began.

Full Story @: Screen Rant

Inside Bali’s most Instagrammable hotel

When you think of quintessential Bali accommodation, a cosmic paradise with life-sized monopoly pieces and pop-art futurism probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. But that’s exactly what you find behind the doors of Luna2, an out-of-this-world studiotel (studio + hotel = studiotel) in Bali.

Named after the first spacecraft to land on the moon in the late fifties, British founder and designer Melanie Hall centered the hotel on nostalgia, futurism and fun — which is spotted everywhere from the lobby to the pool.

Full Story @: New York Post