photography (179)

Wonderful Houses Around the World

Yesterday I read in the paper that sales of children’s books are booming, due to schools being closed. This brought to mind our one and only children’s book, Wonderful Houses Around the World, by photographer Yoshio Komatsu and artist Akira Nishiyama.

There are 10 photographs by Yoshio of homes in different parts of the world. All the homes are built of natural materials — earth, wood, thatch, sod, bamboo, and stone.

Each photo is followed by a watercolor drawing of the inside of that home, showing the children and their parents going about their everyday activities: food gathering and processing, cooking, sleeping, working and playing.

The book is timely in this day and age: it shows what people do in their homes. Timely also because it’s great educational material for kids being home-schooled: look at what what kids your age are doing in other parts of the planet.

Yoshio is my favorite photographer of homes in the world. Not only are the homes invariably soulful, but his composition and lighting are perfect — and he has a knack for making people feel comfortable, so that the homeowners look natural, often laughing.

The book is $12.95 and you can order it through your independent bookstore, or from:

Note: We have a money-back guarantee on all of our books (no matter where you buy them). If for any reason you are dissatisfied, call us and we’ll return the full purchase price plus shipping. No need to return the book.

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Reflections on the State of This Blog

I’ve been doing this blog since 2005 — 15 years. Over 5½ million page views. Over 4 million unique visits. I was most active in 2012-13, when I was getting about 3,500 page views a day.

But as the years went by, I posted less and less. I started putting up photos on Instagram a few years ago; it’s a photographer’s dream, except for the Facebook factor (like the increasing ads). I put in a lot less time blogging world these days, partly due to Instagramming, partly due to the fact that I have to concentrate on books to keep us afloat.

The best way for you to keep up with what’s going on around here these days, and with me, is to get on my GIMME SHELTER newsletter list. At this stage, with the social media blizzard, email is a form of communication out of the past that suddenly seems to have a new relevance.* I’m writing for a select group of people (latest count about 2,000), not winging it out into the socialnetworkosphere.

If you want to get on the list, subscribe with your email address here. I send one out maybe every 4-6 weeks these days.

*It’s not that “The old is new again.” It’s rather that the old is being looked at in a new light in this digital age, and being rediscovered for its relevance, its soulfulness, its imperfections.

Música del Día: Iko Iko, Dr. John: (Listen to his piano notes at very end of song.)

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Windswept Tree in Sonoma County

You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows here. This bay tree is in a field between Bodega Bay and Jenner on the California coast. I must have shot pictures of it half a dozen times; it’s always striking. Adaptability in naure. Going with the flow.

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Notes From NYC #3

Wrapping it up this morning, am at Grounded Coffee in West Village with latte/double shot and bowl of oatmeal. Getting picked up by Supershuttle around noon, thence to Newark and flying the friendly skies, albeit in the cattle car section this flight. The business class via frequent flier miles getting here was a dream, but not enough miles for the return…I’ve got to say, I really like United — service, airplanes, it’s an intelligent giant. Plus the United terminal at SFO is as good as it gets. Fast wi-fi, recharging stations, great art exhibit.

New camera I bought a Panasonic Lumix DSC-ZS100 at BH Photo Wednesday,. It’s small (carrying it in my fanny pack). It has a 1″ sensor and a 25-250 mm zoom, an extraordinary range for such a small camera (about the same size as the Sony Cybershot RX-100). Kevin Kelly has been using Lumix’s for years, and I’ve long been attracted to the zoom features. So I’m trying it out. Here are a few pics shot at maximum zoom.

Farm fresh food Last night I had dinner at Rosemary’s in the West Village, (after watching the Warriors at The Blind Tiger pub). “Farm fresh,” they don’t take reservations, super popular, usually long lines, but last night, Sunday, rainy, a bit cold (temp drop of 30 degrees from previous day, lots of tables, I sat at the bar. Good food, not as expensive as you’d think, They have a garden on the roof.

Getting around in the city:

(1) Uber works well, although the pool rides are sketchy. The drivers all seem personable compared to today’s cabbies, who seem a sour lot. Almost all Uber drivers use the app Waze to navigate; I downloaded it (free) and it’s really good for city navigation (for cars, not pedestrians).

(2) The blue CitiBikes are a huge success for going from point to point. No need to lock up at yr. destination, you use your phone to find drop-off point.

(3) Subways are in one sense a miracle, that you travel so fast under the city, but many of NYC’s lines are in dire shape.

(4) On foot: I probably walked 3-4 miles a day, using the app Citymapper, which is brilliant.

Friendliness of natives: I can’t get over it. I got into conversations with a ton of people in bars, restaurants, park benches. I invariably give people one of our mini books — a great conversation starter.

Venues: The Village Voice is gone, and Time Out magazine has morphed into a free and lame advertising mag, so it’s really hard to find music, among other arts. My friend Kim turned me on to Pollstar online, and it seems to be the best thing, but nothing like the The Village Voice was (or SFWeekly still is in SFO).

Photos: NYC is a photo wonderland for me. I’ll post some in the following days.

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Notes From NYC #2

Yesterday had an early dinner at EAK Ramen (thanks, Mark), 469 6th Ave., rich ramen along with Kawaba Sunrise Ale. This morning I took the subway to the East Village and went to Abraco, thanks to tip from my friend Doug. Unique coffee shop, great coffee and pastries, long lines that never abated, no stinkin laptops allowed, wonderful place, good vibes, latte as good as it gets. When I left, I gave the manager, a cool guy who was moving around with alacrity and humor, a mini-copy of Tiny Homes. When I was out in the street, he ran out and said: “Lloyd, this is brilliant.” So good when people get it.

I walked around the corner, and there was Do Kham, a Tibetan shop with elegant things in the window. Serendipity at work. I went in, and everything was just right. The owner, Phelgye Kelden, is a former Tibetan monk, who has assembled a shop of totally wonderful things. His specialty is Tibetan hats, which he designs, and which have been featured in Vanity Fair, Elle, and other major fashion magazines:

I had vowed not to buy anything on this trip, but, ahem…a beautiful wool scarf, a necklace of prayer beads, a rock carved with Om Mani Padme Hum: “Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), Om Mani Padme Hum, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.” So as I walk around today, I’m chanting it to myself.

It’s been hot and muggy this week here, like it usually is in August. (Global warming is a hoax, right? )Walking along St. Mark’s place, I spied St. Dymphna’s Pub, and it looked authentic, cool (in both senses), and I went in and had a pint of Guiness and talked to the bartender and the guy next to me, a director of plays, and a native of Philly about a variety of subjects as we watched Serena Williams in the French Open. A good restaurant? They recommended Cafe Mogador, across the street, Moroccan, and crowded, and good.

I’ve finally learned to overcome shyness when traveling and ask-ask-ask. I think 90% of the places I’ve eaten, visited, or had coffee at on this trip were by following recommendations of friends and strangers.

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