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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Travel: Wall art in Cuitadella

August 3, 2015 Leave a comment

Spotted this clever piece of wall art, an extension of Vermeer’s Milkmaid, whilst in the beautiful city of Cuitadella in Menorca …

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Travel – Auschwitz and Birkenau Nazi extermination sites in Poland

May 30, 2015 4 comments

No words can fully explain the horrors and inhumanity that took place over three long years (1941-1944) at the two Nazi Auschwitz sites in Poland. I have decided to let my photos speak for themselves as, having visited this week, I am still trying to come to terms with the horrendous atrocities committed on the soil of Europe by a ‘Christian’ nation which had experienced both the Enlightenment and the Reformation.

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The stark juxtaposition of the bright clothing of the school parties and the sinister watchtowers and buildings of the Auschwitz 1 Nazi extermination site in southern Poland.

How was it possible that IN THIS PLACE – KL Auschwitz and KL Birkenau – 1.1 million people were gassed to death in truly hellish circumstances?

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These two camps are on a vast scale. Both were designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly and as efficiently as possible, Auschwitz 1 is on the site of an old Polish army barracks, with its large and substantial brick built buildings.

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Camp 2 at Birkenau, 2 miles away, was built on a far larger scale with hundreds of wooden buildings (resembling chicken sheds) in rows and rows stretching far towards the horizon. Now all that is left are the skeletal remains of the brick built chimneys and fireplaces, with the woodwork having long since rotted away.

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The Auschwitz complex had seven gas chambers and five crematoria. The first was at Auschwitz 1, operating from 1941. The gassing process (using Zyklon B pesticide) meant that it could take from between 15 to 20 minutes for these victims to finally expire, in a bare concrete room with a low ceiling, and with up to 2,000 souls packed tightly together as they died.

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WP_20150527_067What terrible things were seen from this actual window (below) in the early 1940’s? How must it have felt to look out at this fence and the guard post? Even today, the whole place has a dreadful sense of oppression, evil and malice.

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Personal possessions (below) – stripped and taken from those brought here for extermination – were collected, stored in huge warehouses (named ‘Canada’ on the maps) and then sold on by the Third Reich.

Here are some of the many, many enamel bowls and pots, suitcases, wicker baskets (my mother had one such) and the shoes stolen from the victims. The worst ‘exhibit’ was that of masses and mounds of tangled human hair, now grey and faded after all these years. I could not bring myself to photograph such a dreadful sight.

Each item represents a person, a family, a community. Weep as you view these pictures. This is truly awful.

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Birkenau camp is approached across the greenest of green Polish fields. The watchtowers give a sense of the horrors which lay beyond.

WP_20150527_107 (2)The entrance gateway to Auschwitz, known as ”Hell’s Gate’, and the electrified ceramic of the barbed wire fences.

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WP_20150527_096Birkenau was built by Adolf Hitler specifically as a place of extermination and execution. Victims came from over 20 nations (some as far away as the Channel Islands) – among them Roma people and Poles, but 90% of those murdered were Jewish. This is the horror of the Holocaust as commemorated so memorably at Yad Vashem in Israel today.

There is little left of the buildings today, but those that remain are a place of memorial. One can only imagine what life – and death – must have been like in the stench and filth of these dreadful huts.

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WP_20150527_094From the top of the entrance tower, some idea of the vast scale of this Auschwitz 2 camp can be viewed.

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WP_20150527_100The poignancy of this solitary silent railway track which, in 1944, led to the terror of the camp’s ‘unloading platform’.

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70 years on, let this sign at the Auschwitz camp speak as to the depths of the true horror perpetrated here, and of ‘man’s incomprehensible inhumanity to man’.

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For me, it was intensely moving to stand at the door of the tiny basement starvation cell (No 18) which had held the Polish Franciscan Priest, Maximilian Kolbe. I had read David Alton’s account of his sacrifice several years ago (Signs of Contradiction, Hodder 1996). Kolbe died in this prison cell after voluntarily taking another man’s place in a group of prisoners sentenced by the Nazis to starve to death.

David Alton also records, how to our shame, the British government in 1942 refused to grant asylum to 1,000 Jewish orphans, aged from 4 to 14. Denied sanctuary in the UK, all of them subsequently perished in Auschwitz. Alton goes on to say, ‘We are so familiar with the names of those who did speak out (like Kolbe and Bonhoeffer), it sometimes disguises the millions who did not. There were not many people prepared to be outlaws’.

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy. 

These photos were taken on a Nokia Lumia 920.

Travel – Santorini, Cyclades Islands, Aegean Sea, Greece

March 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Santorini, Greece

Santorini is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, 120 miles southeast of the Greek mainland.

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The inshore waters of Nisos Thira (Santorini) consists of a deep bay formed from the crater of a submarine volcano. Sailing and then anchoring in the crater is an eerie and unsettling experience.

Santorini - the volcanic Caldera

Santorini is what remains after an enormous volcanic explosion in 1650bc that destroyed the original single island and created the current caldera (volcanic crater) – a huge central lagoon measuring 7km by 12km, surrounded by steep 300m high cliffs on three sides.

Fira on Santorini

The main town is Fira, perched at the top of the cliffs, 1,000 feet above the bay. The volcanic rock of the cliffs is very dark, accentuating the beauty of the white and blue of the buildings in the town.

The town of Fira

Fira on Santorini

Beautiful Santorini

Photography – An autumnal afternoon in London, England

November 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Reflection: ‘As you open my eyes to the work of your hand’.

August 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Have you ever experienced song lyrics that go round … and round … and round in your head? I have – and it happened again recently with these beautiful and haunting words from Hillsong Church in Australia.

Why not take a few moments to enjoy the photo and then pause for some time with God in these words? Whatever you are facing at the moment, I pray that He may open your eyes to His hand in your life.

May hope rise within you and may God bless you as you seek Him now.

If my heart has grown cold
There Your love will unfold
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand

When I’m blind to my way
There Your Spirit will pray
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand

Oceans will part nations come
At the whisper of Your call
Hope will rise glory shown
In my life Your will be done

Present suffering may pass
Lord Your mercy will last
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand

And my heart will find praise
I’ll delight in Your way
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand

 Hillsong Church, Australia

Words: Ben Fielding

© EMI Music Publishing

Photography – Classic images of the Cornish coast, England

The Old Lifeboat Station, Polpeor Cove, Lizard Point,Cornwall

The Lizard – the most southerly point in mainland Britain

The extraordinary raised footpath of Chapel Lane on The Lizard

The Bishop Rock, Kynance Cove, Cornwall

Royal Navy Helicopter from RNAS Culdrose at Church Cove, Cornwall

Trinity House signpost, Lizard Lighthouse

Photography – Iconic images of Cambridge, England

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