Monday, 30 September 2013

The (past) Week Around The World In Photos (Vol. 4)

One dress. One wedding. 19 wedding photo shoots. A ballerina dancing in a shower head. Icebergs made of ice cream cones and snow made of ice cream. Scroll down for more of this week's finds....

Like any other newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Salvage wanted iconic wedding photos on their big day (you know, the bride-and-groom-lovingly-gazing-at-each-other-while-the-sun-sets-in-the-background moment), even more so because the groom's a photographer. Unfortunately for them, the lighting conditions were so bad he decided to take some more snapshots the following day during sunrise and sunset. Mrs. Salvage's dress, a Maggie Sottero creation, was made to be folded to be whisked away to their remote Easter Island wedding.  The wedding dress traveled with them on their hiking trips in the Alps and China where Mrs. Salvage once again posed (Mr. Salvage obviously couldn't get enough of Mrs. Salvage in her wedding dress). Anywhere they went, passers-by were amused at what they thought to be a wedding photo shoot, which inspired the photographer husband to turn it into a project. The dress came with the couple in the next five years of their travels. They've been to 19 countries so far. That's one lucky dress! Whoever said a wedding dress is worn only once? 

Here, Mr. and Mrs. Salvage share some photos from their wedding album, or more appropriately, Mr. Salvage shares solo shots of his wife from their wedding album. 

Horse-riding in the Bahamas

Paddling in New Jersey

Playing ice hockey in Philadelphia

The missus shows how versatile her wedding dress is.

Paragliding in New Zealand

William Kass, another photographer, has his own very interesting project that's got him dolls as models instead of a wife. Using food and everyday household objects as backdrops, he buys dolls, styles them, and places them in imaginative settings or movie scene recreation. A work in progress, Mr. Kass has more whimsical projects up his sleeve and he's got them sorted down to the most minute detail.

Carnival performers on their grape stage

Shaving Brush Savannah, William Kass' favourite

A ballerina dances her way through a shower head while holding an umbrella

Real ice cream was used in the recreation of this scene from the movie 'Titanic', so lighting was strategically placed and timed so the ice cream wouldn't melt.

Divers discuss their dive into a coconut

Here's one to round off last week's photo-hunting...

How graceful these tutu-wearing men are. Yes, you read it right: MEN. The all-male dance group Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo performed segments from Petipa's Paquita in Berlin.

And if you missed my previous post called 'What's Cool?' where I gave my views on 'coolness' in answer to CoolBrands Council's recent list of top 20 coolest brands, click here to read, or scroll down. Thank you!

Have a good week everyone!

Look at Life in Minutiae by Joel Taylor, Metro, 26 Sept 2013
photos by: Jeff Salvage/Caters
One Dress, 19 Countries by Aidan Radnedge, Metro, 25 Sept 2013
photos by: William Kass/Caters
male ballerina photo by: EPA for Metro

Thursday, 26 September 2013

What's Cool?

So this year's CoolBrands Council's verdict is out.


Of the more than 10,000 contenders, Apple tops the coolest brand, at least in the UK, though it's not far from being the coolest globally. It's very timely that with the release of iPhone 5s and 5c last week and the new iOS 7, the Centre for Brand Analysis releases the list of 20 coolest brands.

Out of the 20, I own and use 9 of the brands (not an Aston Martin, silly), but I don't particularly feel they make me cool (I thought coolness rubs off?). In fact, my belief is if you own nearly 20 or all of them, you've bought so much into mainstream consumerism or you're spending too much time online, that makes you uncool.

That, or I'm just envious that I can't afford to have, use, and experience all of them.

 I think we can all agree that 'Cool' is subjective, personal, and open to interpretation. So when CoolBrands ran the online survey to 3,000 respondents, the concept of cool wasn't defined but rather, members of the public were asked to keep in mind the following guidelines when deciding what constitutes cool: style, innovation, originality, authenticity, desirability, and uniqueness. An 'expert council' composed of media, fashion, design, and entertainment personalities joined the polls. To see who they are, click here.

Here's my take on what makes a brand cool. 

  • Cool is apirational but not heavily influenced by popular culture or celebrity endorsements. Anything constantly and consistently thrust into the public consciousness to encourage mass consumption is uncool.

  • Cool is multifunctional, multifaceted, versatile, ergonomic, and time-saving. All-in-one makes less more.

  • Cool challenges the norm and deviates from mediocrity. Quality isn't compromised over quantity.

  • Cool is the alternative, especially when it's even better than the popular choice.

  • Cool doesn't ride the trends but sets it. It's even more cool when it ignores the trend.

  • Cool is understated yet still speaks volumes of it being covetable.

  • Cool is contrived, but looks effortless.

  • Cool doesn't make you feel you've been ripped off. Cool has its price justified by its intrinsic value.

  • Cool is not pretentious. It doesn't hide behind hype.

  • Cool is not a cliché. It always has something up its sleeve.

 Cambridge Satchel, Samsung, Instagram, Zumba, Lambhorgini, and Nespresso were just a few of the brands shortlisted. I have a Nespresso Magimix, I do Zumba, am getting fond of Instagram, and been thinking of replacing my Blackberry with a Samsung. While a Lambhorgini doesn't appeal to me as I associate it with some dumb footballers who are so far removed from the adjective classy, I thought Cambridge Satchel is one of the best bag brands that's recently been produced by the fashion world, mainly because the brand didn't really intend to hog the spotlight--and that alone makes the brand respectable. By the way, I'm not promoting them as  don't even have one, but it's now made my Chrismas wish list.

 Brands will be brands, but not all will cut the cool set, as judged by the public who purchase and use them. But we'll always have our own favourites.

What's your cool?

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Week Around The World In Photos (Vol. 3)

There are beauty contests, and there are beauty contests for a cause. But have you heard of the ugliness contest for a cause?

Presenting...the titleholder of the world's ugliest animal: the Australian/Tasmanian blobfish!

BBC News Science & Environment

 Eternally dismal, the blobfish, a gelatinous and inedible deep-sea fish, was crowned at the British Science Festival in Newcastle.

The Ugly Animal Preservation Society told BBC News that the traditional approach to conservation is egotistical, citing that only cute animals like pandas are protected. By having an official mascot for the organisation, they're hoping to raise awareness of the endangered plight of these aesthetically challenged but some adorable-looking creatures.

And some website was cheeky enough to compare a baby asleep on someone's shoulder with a blobfish.

A beauty, err, ugliness contest winner, is always flanked of course by the runners-up. Looks wise, would you say that the blobfish deserves the crown?

I think a Kakapo bird isn't too bad, but since it's a parrot that can't fly, it's considered an anomaly. This New Zealand native's days are numbered as there are now only 126 of them in the wild early last year.

 Don't you find this one really cute?! Very smiley with red gills. Or is that hair? It's called an Axolotl or Mexican Salamander. Its genetic defect (or blessing?) means it fails to go through metamorphosis and is able to regenerate lost limbs (it's sci-fi for real!). That characteristic is of great importance to scientists studying the healing process in relation to ageing and cancer treatment. With the abilities to not age and regrow, I wonder how they die?

Tadah! I had to laugh at the facial expression of this Axolotl. It looked like I caught it dumping. This could be a sexually mature one based on the colour variation.

The Titicaca 'scrotum' water frog which inhabits lake Titicaca in the Andes, is jokingly called as such because of its skin folds. The unfortunate name further induces giggles in the Philippines as the first four letters of the lake's name is literally translated into English as the male member.


Bad news for the Proboscis monkey males, the long and over-sized nose feature is gender specific. Endemic to Borneo, they're also called monyet belanda (Dutch monkey) or orang belanda (Dutchman) as Indonesians compared them to the Dutch colonisers who had similar large noses and pot bellies. All the Dutchmen I've met so far are all tall and slim, the colonisers may have been in town for awhile by the time the locals saw them, and adjustment to the new cuisine was wreaking havoc on their bodies. Just saying. 

Some didn't make it to the top 5, not because they're not as ugly, but more because they're not as endangered.

The pig-nosed turtle comes from northern Australia and southern New Guinea. Don't be fooled by the calm and collected demeanour of this poser as I read that they're known for their extreme aggression in captivity. How they display it wasn't mentioned though. I can't imagine a turtle suddenly up on its flippers or limbs or whatever you call them, and pinning you. But then again, there were the ninja turtles.

This one's not a runner-up and not even a contender, but I'll include it as I've not heard of an albino python.

Reuters for Metro
 Named Cheesecake, the albino python lives in a zoo in Manila, Philippines. Its hobby is to stick out its tongue at the paparazzi.

The animal kingdom is surely a hit with me this week and I do give a monkey's for these primates. 

AP for Metro

Iban, the milk-drinking 25-year-old bachelor Sumatran orangutan, stays at Ichikawa Zoological and Botanical Garden near Tokyo. I thought even his glance was regal. Someone commented that he resembles the X factor boss. The longer I look at Iban, the more I'm convinced.

Oh, look at these ones!

PA for Metro
This group of picture-perfect Indonesian macaques are huddled to keep warm in a Dublin Zoo. It will take some serious acclimatisation for this tropics-born group (I think I just described them like I would a boy band), even their real fur collars may not be warm enough.

While we are at the subject of the weird and wonderful, allow me to end this post with this Spring/Summer 2013 design by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada for Madrid Fashion Week.

The hilarious indeed wears de la Prada.

Does it come with a belt?

AP for Metro

Have a good weekend everyone! xxx

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Week Around The World In Photos (Vol. 2)

I know it's only Tuesday, so we'll call this 'The Week Around The World. . .so far.'

You do know her. Do you, really? Scroll down to find out....

But before that, take a look at this photo bomber, more appropriately called frog-o-bomber...

NASA can confirm the authenticity of this photo. Captured by one of the remote cameras that recorded the launch of the  Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Explorer in Virginia last week, the remains of the frog were not reported to have been found. But judging from the spread-eagle shocked pose of the unlucky amphibian, it wasn't a heavenly ending and no chance of resurrection. Just shows: don't be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A very expensive caffeine addiction. This silver coffee percolator was sold at Bonhams for £2,000. Made in Glasgow in 1900 a few years after the first percolators were made in America, it belonged to the wealthy MacDonald family. Etched on it was the motto 'My hope is constant in thee.'

Aahhh, how sweet. Politicians (and the Pope) get photographed holding children during campaigns and state visits, but French president François Hollande melts instead over humanoid robot Nao at the Élysée Palace. Nao is dubbed as a futuristic nanny, as featured on British TV's The Gadget Show. It interacts with babies and sings lullabies among other things.

Don't feel bad for Spaniard Francisco de Pajaro when you see him scavenging for rubbish in the streets of London. He does it for self-expression. When street painting was banned in Barcelona, he decided to move to England to find ways to do his art work. His art form was first seen in Brick Lane, East London last summer. These rubbish bags looked like they were holding on for dear life.

A thrown mattress has been made into a canvas by Francisco de Pajaro

Now, who are these bevy of beauties? Can you name them?

Supermodel Tyra Banks paid tribute to her favourite fellow supermodels, by posing as them for a photography exhibition in New York. The 39-year-old proved her A-list model status when she displayed her versatility copying the ladies, going through hair and makeup styling for up to four hours each. What's your verdict?

Tyra as Rita Ora's wifey Cara Delavingne

Tyra as former Mrs Jagger Jerry Hall

Tyra as Sports Illustrated babe Kate Upton.

Not quite. Side view maybe?

Tyra as Brigitte Bardot-esque Claudia Schiffer

Hmmm....more like J Lo to me?

Tyra as Cindy Crawford. Can't miss the beauty mark.

Tyra as Iman, otherwise known as Mrs David Bowie

I thought she was channeling diva Diana Ross instead. But then, she's not a supermodel--she's Supreme.

Tyra as party animal Kate Moss

And your guess is right: Tyra as larger than life star Grace Jones

Will the real Tyra please stand up?

Oh well, it's back to cold and gloomy ( as usual) in London again, I don't mind being in the South Island of New Zealand now aboard a Skyline gondola--cable car to you and me.

Have a good week everyone!

photo credits: Reuters & AP for Metro
NASA for Metro
Udo Spreitzenbarth

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Week Around The World In Photos (Vol. 1)

 A few years back, these were the two work essentials which gave me an excuse to putter around.

A lightbox and magnifying loupe via

Photographic slides via

One of the perks of being an editorial assistant was I was the first one to see photographic transparencies, otherwise known as trannies (yes, actually), sent by our pool of photographers--that is, when the editors were out and about in events and photo shoots. By the time they come back to the office, I already had my picks. Some made it for printing; some to the editorial cork board (our version of Pinterest). Some were saved in discs overwriting files after files until computers would no longer read them. Some I kept. Some were just plain rubbish. Those made the bin.

The lightbox and loupe were my lenses to the shoots and pictorials I couldn't go to. I got to know photographers through their visual compositions, aside from the type of film rolls they used to request from me (I've worked with some who refused to buckle down to digital photography until they really had to). Simply put, I just enjoyed and loved looking at photos before they appear on the graphic artist's editing screen.

The past few weeks, I've been posting interesting and humorous photos on my Facebook personal blog page found online and via my readings . I was inspired by a website called Messy Nessy Chic whose online finds are so eclectic, intriguing and gripping, I wonder if she made a pact with the devil in exchange for rare photos, snapshots and info.

I'm fascinated by photography and photos, albeit on the spectator side. Between words and pictures, the latter  have an immediate impact even with just a glance, and this my editorial roots understand.

So, to create a balance between posts that I've worked very hard to write and put together, and to hold the interest of other readers, 'scrollers and scanners' and occasional online surfers, I decided to migrate my Facebook page daily posts to Blogger and start a blog project which I'll call  The Week Around The World.

As much as I can, and when the prison called work doesn't get in the way, I will be sharing on a regular basis the photos that captured me for that week. Some of you who also check my Facebook page will see repeats so I beg you not to get sick of it. I'll occasionally use products of my amateur photography skills to feature scenes that nudge my curiosity and awe.

Shall we start?

This week around the world. . .

Testing The Tribute in Light in New York for the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

The skies over Crummock Water, Lake District, Cumbria, Northwest England, show first signs of autumn.

The Nocqua 2000 light strip took inventor Billy Rossini two years to develop. Fed up with surfing being only a daytime hobby for him, he was inspired by yachts he saw with underwater lights, while paddling through a Florida marina. The light strip doesn't affect the buoyancy of the board, can be used as an SOS strobe light, and is perfect for catching lobsters at night as they're attracted to the light!

For £750, you and a friend can dangle up the Bavarian Alps or a tree branch. The amount pays for a day's climbing tuition, a personal instructor who brings a safety harness and extra strength ropes, and breathtaking views. Campers up for more exciting pursuits can only bring a sleeping bag and basic dinner. For the same price, you can get holed up at The Ritz.

Planning on extending your house? Get inspired by this one from Guangdong, China. Literally took the meaning of building up.

No, they're not desperately queueing for a Birkin, Kelly or H belt. This is Project Bandaloop performing a facade ballet at the new Hermes boutique in Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA. Under the direction of Amelia Rudolph, the project is an aerial choreography of dance, sport, ritual and environmental awareness reminiscent of climbing & rappelling.

Havin' a bad hair day? Don't worry, you're not alone. Hers was so bad on a gig in Berlin last weekend, you wouldn't recognise this Icelandic pop star.

Still guessing?

You might recall her wearing this infamous costume, errr, evening dress.

 Thank you for looking!

PS. 'The Rules To Break' book giveaway is extended. All you have to do is click and read 'Which Rules Run Your Life?', leave a comment or email me via Thank you and goodluck!

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