Friday, September 26, 2014

St Bartholomew at the Duomo di Milano

Photos © 2014 Rob Castro

The statue of St Bartholomew draped in his own skin can be seen inside the Duomo Cathedral of Milan.    Made by Marco d’Agrate in 1562, it was originally not intended to be inside the cathedral.  It is believed that the saint was skinned alive.

When I first saw the statue, I was fascinated that it looked like a depiction of an alien from some science fiction movie.  Then an Italian woman next to me excitedly tried to explain what it was.  At first I couldn't understand what she was saying until I realized that there stands a man before me.  He is without a skin.  His every vein, artery, muscle, every fiber and tendon and tissue of the human frame are represented in minute detail.  At his back, his bearded head hangs.  He is carrying in his own skin. A hideous thing just thinking of the agonizing pain that he had gone through.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Duomo of Milan (series)

Photos © 2014 Rob Castro

The massive Duomo of Milan is a sight to see - inside and outside. As one will see in the photos I took, each facet is an artwork by itself. I'm told that the cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete.Even now, work on rebuilding it is still going on.

The outer structure is made of pink marbles. Depending on the time of day, it can look like beige or pink.

I decided to go B&W on this series. Whenever I visualize strong forms, I tend to render the photos in B&W. Honestly it was not my original idea. Outside the cathedral there were posters documenting the rebuilding of the Duomo,  And they were all fabulous B&W. So I borrowed the concept, and it seemed to work well.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite verses found in the Apostle Peter's first epistle: "As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5)" I wonder if the builders of the cathedral were thinking of this passage. As one can see, sculptures of saints embellish the walls. The saints are the living stones being built up as Christ's church.

If my orientation is correct, the man should be beckoning towards west, which would be Spain and Portugal. Anything farther would be the New World, the Americas. Why was he pointing in that direction?  Perhaps, it is where the missionary journey should head to.  Or it could be as simple as beckoning the people to come inside the church.  I think I am reading too much.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Belek! Belek!"

© 2014 Rob Castro

In the Old Medina at Fes, if you hear "Belek! Belek!" behind you, stand aside because a heavily-laden donkey is bearing down on you. I was told by a local store owner that the word Belek comes from the root Bel, which means the mind. Hence, literally the cry of "Belek" is calling your attention - or calling to mind. More fascinating for me is that Moroccans don't have the letter B in their alphabet that to my untrained ears I hear "Puh-lak" instead. Our local guide warned us that if we don't heed, then we will be "Fuh-lat" or flat.

Taken at Fes, Morocco.


A Night at Madrid

This is at Huertas in Madrid - a stone's throw away from Museo del Prado.  Huerstas is cool at night.  Everywhere you go is a Tapas Bar, left right front and back.  One of the guys at the bar enticed me to watched a Flamenco show.  He said that his bar is the oldest one to have shown Flamenco dancing.  He was obviously not a very good liar.

 I really loved Spain.  A lot of history and very laid back.  The Spaniards are lazy and they take siesta from 2pm to 5 pm.  So the stores are close around that time.  One would be fortunate to find an open restaurant.  But it's nice place.  The city becomes alive after 9pm.  This is fiesta time.  People including kids sleep 6 hours at the most. 

 The weather was gorgeous when I was there.  Our last day was in Madrid and our tour group - all 50 of us - got entangled with the demonstrators at the city while on the way to our farewell dinner.  At the end, there were tear gas and rubber bullets flying.  Quite exciting.  

More stories to come.

Nana and Petrocz

Her dog Petrocz was too smart for his own good.  As Nana posed for the photographer, she didn't realize that the dog had painted graffiti on the wall behind her.

Hope your day is going well.

[Shot with the X-pro 1, 35mm lens at Szentendre, Pest County.]

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Inday ng buhay ko (The woman of my dream)

Nevermind the heat
Coming off the street
She wants to party
She wants to get down
All she wants to do is
All she wants to do is dance
And make romance
All she wants to do is dance
[All She Wants To Do Is Dance, Don Henley]

She was definitely on something.  I have been staring at her for the last few minutes as she kept dancing and singing to the crowd at the market.  Some were laughing at her.  But many just ignored her.  Finally, she saw me taking pictures of her.  She came closer and performed for me.  I never understood a word she said but I knew she wanted some money in return for her performance.  I gave her Php 20, and she seemed happy with it.  I was glad that I was there to capture her.