Stories on Stones

Stories on Stones

At a time like this, when half the world is on lockdown because of the pandemic, when civility and decency and the very foundations of democracy seem at risk in the face of racist populism and rabid know-nothingness, when the planes are grounded and we can barely venture out of our houses, when our ‘advanced’ [...]

What to do in a lock-down?

What to do in a lock-down?

What to do in a lock-down? This is a question to myself, you'll be glad to hear, not another of those claims to instant expertise, sunny wisdom, righteous outrage or uniquely personal angst or fear that seem to be spreading around the globe with the speed and virulence of, well, a Coronavirus or a Donald [...]

Istanbul Archeological Museums

Istanbul Archeological Museums

Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, is as we all know a modern yet ancient and historic city planted at the crossroads of East and West. So it is not surprising, I guess, given its history and place, that the collection of antiquities held in the three institutions that make up Istanbul's Archeological Museums is quite extraordinary - [...]

The Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

The Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

The Basilica Cistern in Istanbul is an underground wonder, an engineering marvel, dating back to the 6th century. Guidebook photographs show serried columns eerily surrounded by water, echoed in their watery reflections. The water had been drained, unfortunately, when we were there, for repairs, so some of the magic was missing, at least to my [...]

A little girl and boy chatter away, oblivious to the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia

A little girl and boy chatter away, oblivious to the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia

My post last week tried to show something of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul - a glimpse, I hope, of more than just appearances - what does this look like? - but photographs that, perhaps, maybe, if I am lucky, encourage us to ask, what does this mean, what does it represent, what does it [...]

Rosendal, Eastern Free State – Four Black-and-White Photographs

Rosendal, Eastern Free State – Four Black-and-White Photographs

Rosendal, in the Eastern Free State, is a small village with big skies. Rob and I drove down on New Year's Day, from Johannesburg, taking our lives in our hands over the last twenty or thirty kilometres of dangerously potholed roads, a legacy of Ace Magashule's thieving and mendacious premiership of the province. Then you [...]

William Kentridge at the Norval in Cape Town

William Kentridge at the Norval in Cape Town

William Kentridge, as you perhaps know, is one of South Africa's foremost artists, and his spectacular exhibition of sculptures and artefacts at the no less spectacular Norval art museum in Cape Town is simply not to be missed. These images, in black and white, are less about representation of Kentridge's works than a form of [...]

The River Rance at Plaisance

The River Rance at Plaisance

The River Rance flows in a wide, shallow loop around the village of Plaisance, as if the village were a head asleep in the crook of an arm. We went down to the river, one afternoon; the day had been hot and Tom and Gabriel were in in a flash. Stones, fish, and deep tranquil [...]

L’Eglise Romane St Martin at Plaisance

L’Eglise Romane St Martin at Plaisance

The 12th century L'Eglise Romane St Martin dominates not only the small village of Plaisance in Aveyron but the surrounding valleys. No matter from where you approach the village, it seems, there is the squat Norman tower atop its hillside, holding dominion. We visited on a bright, sunny day - blue skies, green hillsides - [...]