Thursday, November 21, 2013

Geometric Patterns in Art and Architecture

Geometry is a fascinating subject - it can be as simple as a line drawn on paper, or as complex as string theory physics. It's like the "gateway math" for appreciating countless forms of art and architecture.

For this week's #Frifotos on twitter, the theme is #geometric. Oh the possiblities are endless! But for this post, I will keep it simple and showcase two forms of geometry: Plane geometry - flat shapes on a one dimensional surface (Art), and Solid Geometry - three-dimensional shapes (Architecture). Yes, I'm using mathematics as a basis for eye-candy. How better to cultivate inspiration for my 6th-grader to appreciate geometry and math? Enjoy!

Plane Geometry in Art:

Beaded Art of Southern Africa
Geometric patterns in Egyptian Box

Geometric patterns in textiles of Guatemala

Celtic Art of Ireland

Geometric Art in Mexican Tiles

Geometric patterns in textiles of India

Geometric Patterns in Moroccan Tiles

Geometric designs in pottery of Kenya

Geometric patterns in Greek Ceramics

Solid Geometry in Architecture:

Denver Art Museum, USA
Dali Museum, Spain

Step Pyramid of Sakkara, Egypt

Arches of Meknes, Morocco

Spokes of the London Eye, UK

Geometric living spaces in Lille, France

Guggenheim Museum, Spain

Nyatapola Temple, Nepal

And finally, there's that irresistably photogenic place where geometric art adorns geometric architecture (because this post would be lacking without these images):

Islamic detail of mosque in St. Petersburg, Russia

Window of Notre Dame Cathedral, France

Zelij Woodwork Ceiling, Morroco

Geometric Stained Glass Facade of Lille Cathedral, France

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin, Germany

Bhutanese Painted Architecture

Mosaic Arch in St. Petersburg, Russia

Geometric Mosaic Dome of Mosque in St. Petersburg,  Russia

I would be remiss in the subject of geometric architecture if I didn't mention the works of Oscar Niemeyer, whom I've blogged about previously. So I'll finish with a link to my Photographic Tribute to Oscar Niemeyer.

If you're on twitter, be sure to follow me @kymri to see more #geometric images (not included in this post!)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cuba Cubed: Instagram Travel Thursday Feature

Oddly enough, Cuba was the first destination from which I created and shared instagram photos with the world (having only started using instagram in January 2013). I expected not to have access to wi-fi or internet, and while there were days and hotels without, the Melia Cohiba in Havana provided it just as you'd expect in any other country. So while I didn't have roaming (a blessing really), I could still take pictures with my phone and share them later from my hotel in Havana.

In a new destination, I always start with the obligatory selfie and introduction:

"Cuba, you had me at "Dos gardenias para ti" (Ibrahim Ferrar) years before I ever laid eyes on you. At last we meet and I taste your smooth rum, smell your smoky sweet breath of cigar, and awaken to the best cup of coffee anywhere in the world. As if I could possibly fall any deeper, you throw in a shiny mint classic convertible car and the Caribbean sea. Done. Head over heels. In love."

"I have to admit, it is so tempting to use a retro or sepia filter on instagram for my posts from Cuba, but the fact is this country is so colorful that not even kodachrome can do it justice. The closest thing to authentic is #nofilter, and I want to share Cuba as I see it now. Remedios, Cuba."

"Quiet afternoon in the #UNESCO World Heritage city of Trinidad, #Cuba."

Well, no sooner had I declared that I wasn't going to use any IG filters, this happened:

"I almost never use filters on IG, but the road to Cuban tobacco farm Finca Robaina just begged for sepia."

That was an exception. Back to color:

"Tobacco leaves are hung to dry from poles in a barn at Finca Robaina, eventually to become fine Cuban cigars. #travel #Cuba #patterns"

Then came this moment:

"Don Alejandro's grandson, Hiroshi Robaina, lights for me a cigar which was rolled by his grandfather 9 years ago (he passed away in 2011). I cannot begin to describe how enjoyable it is to taste this fine aged Cuban cigar...."

Now, I'm not a smoker. I "tasted" a Cuban cigar in Cuba because I would not be opportuned with tasting one at home, and it seemed my experience of Cuba would be incomplete without this moment. It was more about honoring a host and his family than it was about the cigar. And as it turned out, this was my favorite instagram image and story of the entire trip.

My gradeschool daughter and several of her friends also follow me on Instagram. So a lasting impression of me smoking a cigar in Cuba was not going to sit well with me or my daughter. Later that day, I met a young girl on a nearby farm, and found out something very special which made the perfect story to cross cultures and identify with my daughter's peer group:

"Meet Lorelia, a 10-year-old girl living on a farm near Vinales, Cuba. She proudly shows off her nails she painted herself. Since I had showed her pictures of my daughter who does the same, this one is for my daughter and her friends on Instagram who share pics of nail art."

Eventually, I found the perfect souvenir of my Cuba journey.

"My Cuban camera, appropriately made of recycled green beer cans."

And because I quickly learned that everyone on instagram loves a good sunset....

"A local Cuban fishes in the waters along the Malecon as the sun sets in Havana, Cuba. #travel #sunset"

More on Cuba: Cuba From the Heart

To explore more travel blogs featuring instagram, check out the set of links hosted by ToDestinationUnknown, and follow the hashtag #igtravelthursday on instagram!