THE VIEW FROM THE SHARD: RENZO PIANO’S GLISTENING CIVIC MASTERPIECE BY MONALISA CHUKWUMA

THE VIEW FROM THE SHARD: RENZO PIANO’S GLISTENING CIVIC MASTERPIECE BY MONALISA CHUKWUMA

London is a city of inspiration and imagination. … The Shard was about the “intensification” of the city. I wanted to create a public space where people could visit the building to experience London in a different way and to feel that they have discovered the spirit of the building. … The higher up you go, so the functions change, and you need less floor space, until you get to the very top, and there, I just wanted the building to kind of mingle in the air. It’s important that it breathes up there – that it breathes in the clouds. RENZO PIANO, Pritzer Prize-winning Architect and The Shard Architect The Shard is Renzo Piano’s glistening masterpiece at London Bridge. The View from the Shard is breathtaking, spectacular and addictive. At 310 metres, the Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe and the second tallest building in Europe – Moscow Mercury City is the tallest at 338 metres. My first photographs of the Shard were taken at the nearby Great tower Street on my way to meet my photography student, Elizabeth, who chose the Shard for her third photography lesson with me. From the moment you enter the ground floor of the Shard, you know that you are in for a sensational experience. There are no time restrictions, so you can stay as long as you like. Our lesson was for three hours, so we had plenty of time to explore. External Portrait of the Shard: Photographed from Great Tower Street, London The corridor to the first of the super fast lifts is illuminated with televisual galleries featuring...
FALLING IN LOVE WITH MALLARDS AT GOLFE DE SAINTES MARIES, MONTPELLIER BY MONALISA

FALLING IN LOVE WITH MALLARDS AT GOLFE DE SAINTES MARIES, MONTPELLIER BY MONALISA

Golfe de  Saintes Maries in Montpellier is the home of thousands of pink flamingos and countless of other waterbirds. I was at Golfe de  Saintes Maries to photograph flamingos but subsequently fell in love and ended up photographing Mallards [Anas platyrhynchos], mainly the male mallard.  Please see below some of my photographs of the male mallard with his distinctive bottle-green head and the dull brown female. You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird . . . So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing – that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something. RICHARD P. FEYMAN    Be like the bird in flight  . . .  pausing a while on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, yet sings knowing yet, that she has wings. VICTOR MARIE HUGO Evening Flight   What I saw was just one eye; In the dawn as I was going:                                                                                                                                     A bird can carry all the sky; In that little button glowing. Never in my life I went; So deep into the firmament.  HAROLD MONRO      ...
FRANCE’S SEMI-WILD CAMARGUE HORSES BY MONALISA

FRANCE’S SEMI-WILD CAMARGUE HORSES BY MONALISA

I was born loving two things – beauty and strength. The horse is an animal that is beautiful, strong and powerful; and inspires me to have more freedom, grace and courage in my life.  A large semi-wild horse herd lives in La Cacharel, Montpellier. The following images are from my 4-day photography holiday in La Cacharel. Many moments of this experience were both exciting and inspiring, with a new challenge or surprise at every turn. My best surprise was falling in love with Mallards – very beautiful birds in Golfe de  Saintes Maries on my first day in Montpellier. [I will share some of my photographs of Mallards in a later blog.] However, my biggest challenge was photographing a Stallion and a Gelding in vicious wind on my third day. The wind was blowing so hard and spraying sand into every where; my eyes, my ears, mouth, etc. I had to stand with my legs spread out to brace myself from its power.  But no matter what challenge each moment brought, I was determined to embrace it and to enjoy the wonderful experience of photographing and spending time with new friends, the beautiful horses and their equally beautiful ‘Les Gardians’ – the gardians of the Camargue, whose paramount consideration was the well-being of the horses. At challenging moments, I kept reminding myself of a quote by Anne Bronte – But he who dares not grasp the thorn. Should never crave the rose.  Whatever the weather, the horses showed no sign of discomfort, for they are comfortable in that beautiful and brutal landscape in which they live. A landscape that was...
FRANCE’S CAMARGUE HORSES BY MONALISA

FRANCE’S CAMARGUE HORSES BY MONALISA

I have many passions. Photography – Guilty, Film and theatre – Guilty, Cognac – Very Guilty. However, my overriding passion is riding and horses and more increasingly – the horse. I am happy to say that I have returned to riding in the past few months. I’ve just returned from a 4 day photography holiday in Montpelier – France, photographing the semi-wild Camargue horses.  It was an amazing and challenging few days, with many moments of pure magic. Please see below a couple of photographs I took at La Cacharel. I will be publishing a selection of images I took at La Cacharel and Saintes Maries in a few days. In the meantime, I would like to thank TIM MANNAKEE for organising this wonderful photography holiday and for showing me how to go trigger happy with my camera. A million thanks also to GILLY MANNAKEE, for making sure I was up each morning to meet sunset, for the wonderful picnic and for all the French translations. Tim and Gilly – you will remain dear to me for the greater future.            ...
ARTIST IN TRAINING: MY FASHION NUDE PHOTOGRAPHY MASTER CLASS WITH BRUCE SMITH BY MONALISA

ARTIST IN TRAINING: MY FASHION NUDE PHOTOGRAPHY MASTER CLASS WITH BRUCE SMITH BY MONALISA

We all know what makes a good holiday – excellent food, beautiful accommodation in a great location shared with beautiful people. My 5-day masterclass with Bruce Smith at the Cote D’Azur, Nice had all these ingredients, but it wasn’t a holiday. I arrived at Nice airport at 8.30 p.m. in very good spirits helped by the bottle of Cognac I’d been drinking on my BMI flight, compliments of a very generous steward. I  was very pleased to see Bruce, who was picking me and another photographer up at the airport. And in a few moments, we were headed to out Villa, where over dinner, I met the other photographers on the training.  After plenty of food and wine, I headed up to my room, where I fell asleep reading a copy of ‘Loving Garbo’ by HUGO VICKERS. Please see below a selection of photographs I took during this amazing week followed by my diary of the week. All the photographs are of KATHERINE M. “The camera can represent flesh so superbly that, if I dared, I would never photograph a figure without asking that figure to take its clothes off”. GEORGE BENARD SHAW      “Because God created it, the human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve its splendour and its beauty”. POPE JOHH PAUL II       “Art can never exist without naked beauty displayed”. WILLIAM BLAKE         “But for me, being naked out of doors and in the water is one of the best ways I have ever found to restore my sense of blissful innocence. It takes me back to that place of my almost...
A FASHION NUDE MASTERCLASS IN COTE D’AZUR WITH THE LEADING FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER – BRUCE SMITH

A FASHION NUDE MASTERCLASS IN COTE D’AZUR WITH THE LEADING FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER – BRUCE SMITH

I’ve just returned from a 6 day, 24/7 Fashion Nude Masterclass by one of the most talented Fashion photographers today – Bruce Smith, in Cote d’Azur, Nice. It was an amazing week. Please see below a photograph I took of the Divine KATHERINE M who was our model for this week. I will be publishing a selection of images I took in the 6 days and my diary of this outstanding experience in a few days.       In the meantime, I would love to thank BRUCE SMITH for sharing his world class knowledge on photography with us and for making this week unforgettable. I would also like to thank KATHERINE M – our model , OLGA ELITEE – our stylist and the other 4 photographers, who shared this wonderful experience with me.  Again this has strengthened my belief that collaboration is a valid practice for the successful creation of any body of art. Our work this week with the support of each other was outstanding. We were a very good team. Love, M...

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