The photographer: Mimi Chakarova.

Guguletu township, South Africa, 2000.

When we enter to the personal web-site of Mimi Chakarova we see this photograph with the following interesting dialog:

Can I take you a picture?
For what?

To show others how you live.

Will they come here and make it better?
I don't know.. Probably not.
Why you want to shoot an old man anyway?

Because history is written on your face.

Go ahead if it pleases you.
What pleases you?
I don't remember.

Mimi Chakarova is doing documentary photography, but she has very nice aesthetics in here photographs. The following photographs are some of her photographs from the personal web-site.
Beijing, China 2005.Moldova 2004.
Moldova 2004.
Psychiatric ward, Srinagar, Kashmir 2003.
Delhi, India, 2003
Ghana, 2002.
Cuba 2001.
Port Maria, Jamaica, 1999.
From this screen shot from the video: Dubai Night Secrets we see Mimi Chakarova (right).

A short biograph of the photographer Mimi Chakarova is from here personal web-site:

Mimi Chakarova has been teaching photography at U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism for 10 years. Chakarova is the recipient of the 2003 Dorothea Lange Fellowship for documentary photography and the 2005 Magnum Photos Inge Morath Award for her photo work on trafficking in Eastern Europe, which she has reported on for the last four years.

Looking to Mimi in the photograph I was curious to find out her age which is not mentioned in her biography. Searching to internet if found also this biography:

When Mimi Chakarova's family left her native Bulgaria and migrated to Baltimore in 1989, the teenager felt alone and out of place. Desperate to find a niche, she saved her money, bought a simple point-and-shoot camera, and started taking pictures. "Baltimore was a very segregated town, both economically and ethnically," recalls Chakarova, now a lecturer in the Graduate School of Journalism. "My family was both poor and foreign, so we struggled. Since I couldn't speak English, I used the camera as a way to communicate." Her unique ability to communicate through photography has earned Chakarova the 2003 Dorothea Lange Fellowship. ...

So we read that Mimi was Bulgarian and in 1989 was teenager, thus today is around 30-35 years old. Also she has been grown up in the ex-communist regime of Bulgaria.

Watch the video Dubai: Night Secrets but also the amazing slide-show with photographs from Moldova (very beautiful photographs). The photographer combines excellent photographs with documentation.
An interesting quote of the interview of the photographer about her silde show "Moldova Price of Sex" is:

"To be successful, my photos must not only educate people, but motivate them to take action." Mimi Chakarova
Inside the video Dubai: Night Secrets we can see the film camera of Mimi Chakarova. It is a Leica M series (we cannot see the exact model).
This is an example of Leica M7 film camera. The body of this camera cost around 2.708€ and a lens for that body, ie. SUMMILUX-M 50 mm f/1.4 cost around 2550€.


14..16-Dec-2007: Odyssee youth hostel Berlin, Germany.

In this post we will see some photographs of the excellent youth hostel Odyssee in Berlin, Germany. In the first photograph we see the reception of the hostel and if we observe carefully we can see that the bar is consisting of a set of wooden boxes:
These wooden boxes were containers for guns and bullets! The building of the hostel (which is located to the east part of Berlin) used to be a factory of guns and bullets ;-).
All the hostel has very interesting decoration, and most of the walls have graffiti.
Every floor has different style of graffiti. For example here we see the graffiti of the second floor.All the hostel is very clean and well decorated:Interesting is the design of the heating system of the hostel that we see in the above photograph.

In this hostel the prices of the dormitories vary from 10-19€ and there are also available single/double and triple rooms (check photographs and prices at the web site of Odyssee hostel). In order to lock you luggages there are available metallic lockers. The hostel is located at ex-east Berlin and close to the hostel you can find a lot of Turkish fast-foods with cheap sandwiches. (general speaking the food in ex-east Berlin is cheaper that the west Berlin)!


7..9-Dec-2007: Stayokey youth hostel Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

A few days ago I was for a meeting in the Netherlands (Eindhoven), but I am stayed 3 extra days in Amsterdam. Many of the people that do not know me well, asked me where I find all the money and I travel so much. The answer is simple, if you want to travel on budget, it is not necessary to have a lot of money but being a little flexible. For example, in Amsterdam I have stayed at Stayokey youth hostel. The mixed dorm room there cost 22.8 € (the price includes a satisfactory breakfast). Here are some photographs from the hostel:
The above room is the breakfast place. From the windows you have directly view over the canal.
The dormitories are not something really special and not very clean. Some beds close by the window have a view over the canal.
Unfortunately, the shared areas of the hostel are few tables in font of the reception.
In each room there are available closets. In order to lock your luggages you need to have a locker otherwise you have to buy one for 3€ from the reception. Of course this does not apply to all Hostels in Europe. For example in Germany if you do not have a locker, you can borrow one from the reception. The Dutchs are trying from everything to earn money! :-)

This is not the best hostel I have stayed but there is a general problem with hotels in the Netherlands. Most of them are expensive without being so good. For example in Eindhoven I stayed at Holiday Inn where a room costs 190€ per night. The room had a dirty carpet, in the air you could smell the smell of cigarettes and I wasn't satisfied for some services (for example the internet was very expensive / 22€ for 24 hours internet).


Most professional photographers in USA prefer the film!?

Recently I read an article about an investigation of Kodak in America (the article is in Greek language from the site technews.gr), which shows that most professional photographers in USA (more than 75%) continue to use film instead of digital cameras! Specifically the article states:

"More than 2/3 (68%) of professional photographers prefer the film results than the digital technology, for a variety of reasons, such as:

- The film manages to captures more information on medium and large format film (48%),

- With film you can develop a personal photographic style (48%),

- Film capture more shadows and details (45%),

- Broad use of the film (42%) and,

- You can archive/store easier films (38%). ¨

Although I prefer the film (and particularly the black and white), before reading this article (which I would like to believe that it is telling the truth) I believed that most professional photographers mainly use digital cameras.

I would like also to have a digital full frame digital camera, but the good cameras are expensive. For example, the full-frame body camera of Canon EOS 5D is costing today 2060€ and the full-frame Nikon D3 is costing today 4650 €. (I want to have a digital camera as a second camera for taking color photographs.)

Note "full frame" are considered the sensors of digital cameras, which have the same size 36 x 24 mm of the 35mm film . If you mount a 50mm lens on a full frame digital camera body you have exactly the same view angle with a 50mm lens mounted on a film camera. If you mount a 50mm lens on an non-full frame digital camera (most digital cameras aren't full frame) you have a view angle of 70-80mm (depending on the size of the sensor).

In the article I read, that some photographers prefer black and white film Tri-X from Kodak. This film is an old technology b&w film with hard grain. This hard grain (=low resolution) for some photographers is not a disadvantage but and advance because of the artistic look.

The following photograph is enlarged version of photograph from a previous post (the film that was used was Ilford HP5/400ASA which is also old technology and hard grain, similar to Tri-X from Kodak):
If you look carefully, in the image you can see the grain of the film which is randomly distributed over the film surface. This effect some photographers consider it as a advantage. So, when you enlarge a film you can see the grain. From the other hand, if you try to enlarge a digital photograph you see just the pixels. The original image that the above image cropped from is:
Searching "film vs digital" in google, you can find several articles which compare film and digital cameras. Nowadays the prices of good digital machines are high and it is worth of buying a used film SLR camera - especially if you use black and white film where you can develop the film and have control to all the chemical photographic process. For example, a good used body of film camera such as the Nikon FM2 costs about 300-350 €. You can also find used a very good lens for this body, such as a Nikkor 50mm/1.4 lens in the price of 200€. The new Nikon D3 costs today around 4650€ (after 2 year it will have half prices -- an used it will cost even more cheap). So with 500 € as a whole have a good analog machine, which may have much better quality (or perhaps the same quality) with the new Nikon D3, which is costing today 4650 € (which in 2 years will cost half the current price -- and used body will cost even more less).
Link: Kodak: Most photographers prefer film (article 9th July 2007).


15-Oct-2007: Flea market close to metro Petrovsko-Razumovskaya, Moscow, Russia.

All photos are from the flea market located next to metro Petrovsko Razumovskaya in Moscow. The first 4 photos are probably more interesting. In the following "digital contact sheet" of the film you can see all the photographs from where the above 6 were selected:


22-Sep-2007: Stencil (Jopy) and a video-blog commercial on a wall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The link that you see in the center of the photograph is http://youtube.com/BeJTube (BejTube Chanell from youtube).

A few minutes ago, before uploading this photograph, I checked the above link by curiosity. It is a video-blog from two American girls. The period that I shot this photograph (22-Sep-2007) they were traveling to Europe and I suppose they were sticking these stickers with their logo wherever they were going.

Looking to their channel I see they don't have many visits. In their videos they try a lot to become popular. In example, in the video they try to dance sexy, they shake their bodies etc etc. ;-). Look the following video:

Shall I start also sticking stickers about my blog when I travel, in order to increase the numbers of visitors of this blog? ;-)


21-Sep-2007: Traveling by train from Den Haag - (via) Leiden - Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

I made the above photographs on 21 of September 2007, when I was traveling from Den Haag (via) Leiden to Amsterdam. The first 2 photographs are probably the most interesting, shot from the "1st floor" of the Dutch train. In the third photograph is interesting the figure of the woman between the two wagons. In the following color photograph we can see the interesting colors of the Dutch trains (yellow and blue).


15-Oct-2007: проект о.г.и. (proekt ogi) bar, Moscow, Russia.

This is an interesting bar that I visited in Moscow a few days ago. This bar is "проект о.г.и. (proekt ogi) " in Moscow. It is an underground bar, concert place and a book/CD shop.

In the above image we see the graffiti on the pavement outside, in the street indicating the way to the "проект о.г.и. ". Notice the symbol of the book in the graffiti. In the next photos we will see the bookshop inside that bar:
It is a very beautiful bookshop as you see. Also the people working there were very kind when I asked them to suggest me to buy some CDs of Russian music. Generally speaking the Russian read a lot of books. Inside the metro you can observe many people reading.
The decoration of the bar is simple and the atmosphere there is nice. Unfortunately the day that I visited this bar was not scheduled a live concert but I found the following live concert in that bar from youtube.com:
This is a live of the "Afro-Russian afrobeat orchestra "Compatriotes""! ;-)