Friday 28 August 2015

When photographers start crying ...

“For the first time in my life I saw my colleagues - photographers and journalists - crying because of the situation.”
Georgi Licovski

"It was really terrible, really terrible."
Georgi Licovski

Licovski has seen much in his life. Born in Macedonia, he has been working as a photographer for the European Pressphoto Agency since 1991 when the Balkan crisis, the Kosovo crisis, the Albanian humanitarian catastrophe and the Macedonian war started (via). When talking about his recent assignment, he told TIME that spending the day taking pictures of refugees crossing the border of Greece to Macedonia made him cry for the first time while working. (via)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14(1):
Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

Vivian Maier, Barbara Bordnick, Philippe Halsman, paparazzi and Eli Wallach taking pictures. Normal situations, none of them crying. There is nothing normal about war or not granting asylum. Licovski's photograph of asylum seeking children at the Greek border: link

photos (Vivian Maier) via and (Barbara Bordnick) via and (Philippe Halsman and family) via and (paparazzi) via and (Eli Wallach) via

Tuesday 25 August 2015

"Europe fails when egos prevail."

"Europe for me is and always has been a community of values. This is something we should be and yet are too seldom proud of. We have the highest asylum standards in the world. We will never turn people away when they come to us in need of protection. These principles are inscribed in our laws and our Treaties but I am worried that they are increasingly absent from our hearts.

When we talk about migration we are talking about people. People like you or I, except they are not like you or I because they did not have the good fortune to be born in one of the richest and most stable regions of the world. We are talking about people who have had to flee from war in Syria, the ISIS terror in Libya and dictatorship in Eritrea.

And what worries me is to see the resentment, the rejection, the fear directed against these people by some parts of the population. Setting fire to refugee camps, pushing back boats from piers, physical violence inflicted upon asylum seekers or turning a blind eye to poor and helpless people: that is not Europe.

Europe is the pensioners in Calais who play music and charge the phones of migrants wanting to call home. Europe is the students in Siegen who open up their campus to accommodate asylum seekers who have no roof over their head. Europe is the baker in Kos who gives away his bread to hungry and weary souls. This is the Europe I want to live in. (...)

What we need, and what we are sadly still lacking, is the collective courage to follow through on our commitments – even when they are not easy; even when they are not popular.

Instead what I see is finger pointing – a tired blame game which might win publicity, maybe even votes, but which is not actually solving any problems.

Europe fails when fear prevails. Europe fails when egos prevail.(...)"

Excerpts taken from Jean-Claude Juncker's beautiful call for collective courage (via NewEurope)

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photograph via

Monday 24 August 2015

Quoting Desmond Tutu

"Isn't it amazing that we are all made in God's image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people?"
Desmond Tutu

"And every human being is precious."
Desmond Tutu

"We inhabit a universe that is characterized by diversity. There is not just one planet or one star; there are galaxies of all different sorts, a plethora of animal species, different kinds of plants, and different races and ethnic groups. God shows us, even with a human body, that it is made up of different organs performing different functions and that it is precisely that diversity that makes it an organism. If it were only one organ, it would not be a human body. We are constantly being made aware of the glorious diversity that is written into the structure of the universe we inhabit, and we are helped to see that if it were otherwise, things would go awry. How could you have a soccer team if all were goalkeepers? How would it be an orchestra if all were French horns?"
Desmond Tutu

"I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place."
Desmond Tutu

"Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another."
Desmond Tutu

::: A must-see(!!): Desmond Tutu in the Craig Ferguson Show: watch...
   Part 1/4
   Part 2/4
   Part 3/4
   Part 4/4

photos via and via and via and via and via and via and via

Saturday 22 August 2015


"It seems like I have found the right words for this situation, which is no words at all."
Raoul Haspel

Austrian visual artist Raoul Haspel very recently released "Schweigeminute", one minute of silence to call for a peaceful protest against the Austrian refugee policy and to support the people who are currently staying in the "massively overcrowded Traiskirchen refugee centre south of Vienna" (it was built to house 1.800 people and is now home to more than 4.500) (via and via).
The track comprising 60 seconds of total silence costs 99 cents and can be downloaded via Google Play Store or Amazon. It has been played by several radio stations in Austria and Germany and, according to iTunes Austria, has become number one. All proceeds will help the people in Traiskirchen who were forced to leave their homes (via).

"My personal short-term goal is that tonight in Traiskirchen... people don't have to sleep in wet beds without shelter with their kids having not enough food, water, warm jackets or toilet paper.(...) This is unworthy of our European idea and our self-understanding as human beings."
Raoul Haspel
The refugee camp in Traiskirchen has been highly criticised by its mayor, by the Austrian Human Rights League, by the United Nations Refugee Agency, by Amnesty International, ... (via). According to the latter, Austria is violating a range of conventions on human rights in Traiskirchen (via).

Thursday 20 August 2015

"Mouvement pour la liberation des femmes" captured by Magnum photographers

In France, two circles developed independently. One was created in 1967 as a subgroup of the social-democratic women's organisation "Movement of Democratic Women". The other one developed in the intellectual and political climate of the new University of Paris-Vincennes and appeared in the course of 1968. Both groups finally met in summer 1970, the year they declared "Women's Liberation: Year zero". In fact, the event (a demonstration in Paris in August 1970) they planned together was retrospectively regarded as the birth of the French women's movement (Schulz, 2014).

Above: Simone de Beauvoir at a Women's Liberation demonstration in Paris in 1971, photographed by Gilles Peress

Above: Women's Liberation demonstration in Paris in 1971, photographed by Gilles Peress

Above: Women demonstrating for the right to work in Paris in 1975, photographed by Jean Gaumy

Above: Women's Liberation, May 1st & Women's March & Feminist Movement newspaper "Le Torchon brûle", 1971, photographed by Martine Franck

Above: Yvelines, Versailles, French Conference For Women's Liberation, 1970, photographed by Henri Cartier-Bresson

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- Schulz, K. (2014). Feminist Echoes of 1968: Women's Movements in Europe and the United States. In: Gilcher-Holtey, (ed.) A Revolution of Perception?: Consequences and Echose of 1968. 124-147, Berghahn Books
- photographs via and via and via and via and via and via and via; copyrights by the respective owners, for more see

Monday 17 August 2015

Vincent Price About Prejudice

“In art, religion, and politics the respect must be mutual, no matter how violent the disagreement.”
Vincent Price

Vincent Leonard Price (1911-1993) communicated his socio-political stance when he concluded the episode "Author of Murder" of the series "The Saint" on NBC Radio on 30 July 1950. Price called racial and religious prejudice a form of poison and asked US-Americans to actively fight against it (via).

Ladies and gentlemen,
poison doesn’t always come in bottles. And it isn’t always marked with the skull and crossbones of danger. Poison can take the form of words and phrases and acts: the venom of racial and religious hatred. Here in the United States, perhaps more than ever before, we must learn to recognize the poison of prejudice and to discover the antidote to its dangerous effects.
Evidences of racial and religious hatred in our country place a potent weapon in the hands of our enemies, providing them with the ammunition of criticism. Moreover, group hatred menaces the entire fabric of democratic life. As for the antidote: you can fight prejudice, first by recognizing it for what it is, and second by actively accepting or rejecting people on their individual worth, and by speaking up against prejudice and for understanding. Remember, freedom and prejudice can’t exist side by side. If you choose freedom, fight prejudice. (transcript via)

These words are even more beautiful listening to them (1 minute): LISTEN

photographs of Vincent Price cooking and eating via and via; a 50th anniversary edition of Vincent and Mary Price's "A Treasury of Great Recipes" published in 1965 will be released this September - much to the joy of countless chefs since it is regarded as "one of the most important culinary events of the 20th century" (via)

Friday 14 August 2015

Born this day ... Ethel L. Payne

“I stick to my firm, unshakeable belief that the black press is an advocacy press, and that I, as a part of that press, can’t afford the luxury of being unbiased . . . when it come to issues that really affect my people, and I plead guilty, because I think that I am an instrument of change.”
Ethel L. Payne

“Had Ethel Payne not been black, she certainly would have been one of the most recognized journalists in American society.”
The Washington Post, editorial 1991

Ethel L. Payne, "First Lady of the Black Press", was born on 14 August 1911. The first female US-American commentator employed by CBS (via) and first black reporter to cover the Vietnam War (via) was particularly known as "one of the civil rights movement's most visible chroniclers for Afrian Americans". Payne worked for the Defender for more than 25 years (via), a weekly of about 130.000 in the 1920. In the South, only few black US-Americans dared to get it and since it was banned in some towns, its editors collaborated with so-called Pullman porters (via), former slaves who worked on sleeper cars on railroads and who were until the 1960s exclusively black (via). The Pullman porters stored bundles of the Defender in their personal lockers and dropped them off at barbershops and churches along their routes. Ethel Payne happened to be the granddaughter of slaves and the daughter of one of these Pullman porters (via). She passed away in 1991.

"Payne’s journalism invoked none of the angry name-calling fashionable in the news media today. Rather, she brought only one weapon with her when she gained access to the halls of power on behalf of her readers. It was to ask questions that others were not asking. And she got answers." James, McGrath Morris, biographer of Ethel Payne
On 7 July 1954, during a press conference, Ethel L. Payne - then Washington correspondent for the Chicago Defender - asked President Dwight D. Eisenhower a question nobody else had asked before.

- Payne: “Mr. President, we were very happy last week when the deputy attorney general sent a communication to the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee saying that there was a legal basis for passing a law to ban segregation in interstate travel. . . . I would like to know if we could assume that we have administration support in getting action on this?”
- Eisenhower: “You say that you have to have administrative support. The administration is trying to do what it thinks and believes to be decent and just in this country, and is not in the effort to support any particular or special group of any kind.”

A reporter switched the subject but the room remained startled by Eisenhower's brusque reply. After the news conference, Eisenhower stopped calling on Payne. A columnist wrote that Payne's question had irritated the president (via).
“It was just unheard of for blacks to be standing up and asking presidents impertinent questions and particularly a black woman.”
Ethel L. Payne

photographs via and (with soldier in Vietnam) via and (with Kennedy) via

Thursday 13 August 2015


The Vienna University of Technology was founded in 1815, has more than 26.000 students, and is ranked as one of the best universities (via). Both its real excellence and its mission "technology for the people" (via) are put into practice by the Faculty of Informatics' project Welcome.TU.code. The initiative was launched by researchers, teachers and students to offer computer workshops for young asylum seekers, particularly unaccompanied minor refugees (via).

The workshops keep the teenagers busy who at the same time can acquire computer skills which again are required for a great many jobs. In addition, computer basics are necessary as the internet is often the only medium to stay in touch with the family left behind (via). According to Prof. Hannes Werthner, Head of the Electronic Commerce GroupInstitute for Software Technology and Interactive Systems, and Kathrin Conrad, student at the Faculty of Informatics, this project aims to produce positive signals, to welcome these young people in Austria and to set an example by showing that different approaches to integration are possible. This summer, more than 50 teenagers mainly from Afghanistan, Syria, and Somalia take part in five workshops (via). The workshops are led by psychologically trained students who teach in more than ten languages (via).

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photograph via
For more photographs of women in mini skirts at huge computers see

Wednesday 12 August 2015

"The new sort of lady author is always photographed in bed and must exercise in a bikini"

In 1969, "model-turned-author" Jeanne Rejaunier published her first novel "The Beauty Trap" which became a bestseller and sold over one million copies (via). The LIFE photo essay "What it takes to be a lady author anymore" showed Rejaunier posing for photographs that capture "how a woman should promote her literary work". The essay contributed her success to her beauty rather than her literary talents: "Just possibly because she smiles so prettily on the book jacket (the back and the front of the book) The Beauty Trap is now in its fourth printing." (via)

Caption from LIFE (above):
"Jeanne Rejaunier is a lady author, as you can plainly see - the new sort of lady author is always photographed in bed."

More captions from LIFE (below):
- "A lady author must swim a little. Jeanne appreciates the water. She lives in a Hollywood apartment and doesn't have a pool of her own yet, but she uses one belonging to a friend whenever she wants."
- "A lady author must commune with nature. There isn't an awful lot of nature to commune with in Hollywood, but Jeanne does her best with a rake and leaves, both borrowed from her apartement house. The Victorian dress is brand-new."
- "A lady author must have her own billboard. There is a special thrill, Jeanne admits, to seeing yourself on a Hollywood billboard. Now that her face is well-known, she often visits bookstores and boosts her novel's sales."
- "A lady author must exercise in a bikini. Writing a minor bestseller is sedentary work, but when promoting one a lithe figure is very useful. This contraption strengthens the stomach muscles and fitures of speech."

photographs via and via and via and via

Monday 10 August 2015

Women's Suffrage in Switzerland

In 1886, women officially started claiming their right to vote in the Swiss city of Zurich. Decades passed and in 1959, the cantones of Neuenburg and Waadt agreed to introduce women's suffrage by a popular vote. In the 1960s, Geneva, Basel and Tessin followed, in 1970 Wallis and Zurich. In 1971, Switzerland attempted again to introduce women's suffrage on a national level, two thirds of men agreed. But it was only on 27 November 1990 that the last bastion, the Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, officially accepted women's suffrage, or rather, was forced to accept (via). Even today, Appenzell Innerrhoden is described as "tradition-conscious", as a canton easily being irritated by changes and new developments. Despite its lowest unemployment rate in Switzerland (i.e. 127 unemployed persons) and although only 1554 "foreigners" are living in the canton with a population of 16.000 inhabitants, populists worrying about "massive immigration" are quite successful (via).

Above: Man in Zurich distributing pamphlets and holding the message "The man = Head of Family. Hence 7 Feb No" on 5 February 1971, two days before women's suffrage was introduced at the federal level in Switzerland

Above: "Men-Brothers-Sons save/protect us from politics. Our world is our home and so it shall remain. Therefore NO to women's suffrage ... Female citizens who trust their husbands." Zurich, 1947

Above: "Not without suffrage", Zurich, 1959

Above: Roof in Zurich, a woman and two children prepare banners for the anniversary of women's suffrage

Above: "Henpecked husbands take revenge at the ballot box", Bern

Above: On 2 February 1966, women protest for the end of "men's dictatorship"

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photographs via and via and via and via and via and via

Friday 7 August 2015

Expo Milano 2015

"Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" is the theme of  Expo Milano 2015. Why this choice? About 870 million people are undernourished, about 1.3 billion tons of foods are wasted every year.
The site of Expo Milano comprises an area of 1.1 million square metres, an exposition garden with more than 12.000 trees, a canal and two wide avenues with the pavillions of the participating countries. There are also four thematic areas and nine Clusters (for countries that do not have their own pavillions) which bring together countries that have a relationship with a specific food (e.g. rice, coffee) (via). 145 countries and three international organisations (United Nations, European Union, Caribbean Community) are the offiicial participants. In addition, civil society organisations and representatives of the corporate world participate (via). In case you are interested, there are a great many live shows so it could be a good idea to check the schedule before going to Milan.

"When talking about hunger, the only acceptable number is zero."
United Nations

The theme for the United Nations' participation in Expo Milano is "The Zero Hunger Challenge. United for a Sustainable World". In 2012, the UN launched the "Zero Hunger Challenge" aiming to create a world free from hunger (via).

"In many countires (sic), women represent the backbone of the agricultural sector and food systems and make up the bulk of the work force in the primary sector. Women also play a key role in guaranteeing food security for the whole family: when women suffer from hunger and malnutrition, so do their children. Over 19 million children are born underweight each year. This is often a consequence of their mothers’ inadequate nutrition before and during pregnancy. Despite this, around 60 per cent of those who suffer from chronic hunger are women. This is due to the fact that women often do not have equal access to resources, education and income generation along with having a minor role in decision-making." (literally via UN Expo Milano 2015)

"Despite the fact that women play a key role in agriculture, livestock and fishery activities worldwide, many of them have unequal access to land, financial services, education, training, extension services, markets, decision making processes and technology. Promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality is crucial to winning the Zero Hunger Challenge: if women were to have the same access to productive resources and investment and income opportunities as men, productivity and family income would increase significantly and nutrition and health would improve at the household level. Evidence also shows that increasing women’s access to education and improving their overall welfare can have a major impact on their own nutrition status and that of their children." (literally via UN Expo Milano 2015)

photographs by Gianni Berengo Gardin via and via and via and via

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Maccabi Games 2015

“Where Jewish athletes were excluded from the Olympic Games in 1936, thousands will send a message for tolerance and openness and against antisemitism and racism this summer" (via).

The so-called "Jewish Olympics" took place from 27 July to 5 August in Berlin with more than 2.000 athletes from more than 36 countries competing in 19 sports. It was the first time that the European Maccabi Games were held in Germany. A great many stadiums where the games took place were originally built by Nazis for the Olympic Games in 1936 (via), games from which Jewish athletes had been excluded (via).

"Holding the Maccabi Games in Berlin is a very important sign. We will be able to highlight that Jewish life is part of German society and that Jews have not been chased away."
Leo Friedman

The Maccabiah Games are now held quadrennially; the first time they took place in Israel in 1932. They are open to Jewish athletes and Isreali athletes regardless of religion and organised in four divisions: Juniors, Open, Masters, and Disabled (via). The European Maccabi Games are also held every four years, two years after the Maccabiah.

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photograph via

Monday 3 August 2015

Tommie, John, Peter & 1968 Olympic Games

"If I win, I am American, not a black American. But if I did something bad, then they would say I am a Negro. We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight."
John Carlos

There have been a couple of scandals and controversies in the history of the Olympic Games. One of controversies was caused during the 1968 Olympics when the two black athletes Tommie Smith (gold medalist) and John Carlos (bronze medalist) raised their black-gloved fists on the podium while the US-American national anthem was played during the medal ceremony in Mexico City. Australian silver medalist Peter Norman (1942-2006) wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in solidarity. Smith and Carlos received their medals shoeless wearing black socks to represent black poverty. Smith's black scarf was a symbol of black pride. Carlos had his tracksuit top unzipped to show solidarity with blue collar workers in the US; his necklace of beads was "for those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the middle passage". No matter if the salute was a "Black Power" salute or a "human rights salute", it surely was "one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games" which soon became front page news (via). Their salute became one of the most memorable events of the twentieth century in the history of sports (via).

When Smith and Carlos left the podium, they were booed by the crowd. Avery Brundage (1887-1975), president of the International Olympic Committee, ordered both suspended from the team and banned them from the Olympic Village. At first, the US Olympic Committee refused but later expelled them from the Games because Brundage threatened to ban the entire US track team. The same Brundage, by the way, had made no objections against Nazi salutes when he was president of the US Olympic Committee in 1936. Smith and Carlos were highly criticised, media coverage was negative and their families received death threats (via). Peter Norman was reprimanded by the Australian media and the Australian Olympic authorities. In 1972, he was not sent to the Summer Olympics in Munich despite his qualifying times. Neither was another male sprinter sent there (via).
Decades later, in 2008, Smith and Carlos received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award which is part of the "Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award" for their action (in 2015, the award was given to Caitlyn Jenner for showing "courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years" (via)). Today, Smith and Carlos are honoured with statues, exhibitions, airbrush murals, films and songs (via). In 2012, the Australian Parliament decided to officially apologise for doing wrong to Peter Norman (via).

The Australian Parliament's apology:
"The order of the day having been read for the resumption of the debate on the motion of Dr Leigh - That this House:

(1) recognises the extraordinary athletic achievements of the late Peter Norman, who won the silver medal in the 200 metres sprint running event at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, in a time of 20.06 seconds, which still stands as the Australian record;
(2) acknowledges the bravery of Peter Norman in donning an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge on the podium, in solidarity with African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who gave the ‘black power’ salute;
(3) apologises to Peter Norman for the wrong done by Australia in failing to send him to the 1972 Munich Olympics, despite repeatedly qualifying; and
(4) belatedly recognises the powerful role that Peter Norman played in furthering racial equality - Debate resumed by Dr Leigh who moved, by leave, as an amendment - Omit paragraph (3), substitute:
(3) apologises to Peter Norman for the treatment he received upon his return to Australia, and the failure to fully recognise his inspirational role before his untimely death in 2006; and Debate continued." (literally via)

"They asked Norman if he believed in human rights. He said he did. They asked him if he believed in God. Norman, who came from a Salvation Army background, said he believed strongly in God. We knew that what we were going to do was far greater than any athletic feat. He said, 'I'll stand with you'." Carlos said he expected to see fear in Norman's eyes. He didn't; "I saw love."
Martin Flanagan

"There's no-one in the nation of Australia that should be honoured, recognised, appreciated more than Peter Norman for his humanitarian concerns, his character, his strength and his willingness to be a sacrificial lamb for justice."
John Carlos

"He was a devout Christian, raised in the Salvation Army [and] believed passionately in equality for all, regardless of colour, creed or religion – the Olympic code".
Paul Byrnes about Peter Norman

"In terms of Peter Norman, he expressed verbally his idea of human rights. When he got on the victory stand he was wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights button symbolizing his belief in human rights. Not symbolizing his belief in black rights in this country, but in human rights, which included the black rights. Tommie Smith and John Carlos had the same button on, therefore that tied him with the belief in human rights. Now, this man ran a great race. He ran a race of authority, especially the last six meters, to become a silver medalist. When he got back to his country, which also had problems with blackness, especially with the aborigine congregation, he was not received very well. I think he was vilified because he stood on the victory stand with a button on. There was nothing that he could do to make the country understand that he was not guilty."
Tommie Smith

"When I saw those two guys with their fists up on the victory stand, it made my heart jump. It was beautiful."
Margaret Bergmann-Lambert, German high jumper who was prevented from taking part in the 1936 Berlin Olympics because she was Jewish

"In that moment, Tommie Smith, Peter Norman, and John Carlos became the living embodiments of Olympic idealism. Ever since, they have been inspirations to generations of athletes like myself, who can only aspire to their example of putting principle before personal interest. It was their misfortune to be far greater human beings than the leaders of the IOC of the day."
Akaash Maharaj, member of the Canadian Olympic Committee

"A lot came to mind on the victory stand, in nanoseconds. From the time I got involved until that particular raising of the fist in solidarity. From getting no jobs, my belief in humanity, both civil and human, and I had to say something because, you know, I believed. You can run, but you cannot hide, and this was all part of my belief then and is still now. I have a responsibility. I was on a mission. It was a Tommie Smith mission to bring forth the need for America to change. To change its policies, in terms of equality, to change its policies in terms of equal rights, and the right of all people in a country which the constitution has promised to protect. Very simple."
Tommie Smith

“It (a protest) was in my head the whole year. We first tried to have a boycott (of the games) but not everyone was down with that plan. A lot of athletes thought that winning medals would supercede or protect them from racism. But even if you won the medal, it ain’t going to save your momma. It ain’t going to save your sister or children. It might give you fifteen minutes of fame, but what about the rest of your life? I’m not saying that they didn’t have the right to follow their dreams, but to me the medal was nothing but the carrot on a stick.”
John Carlos

“We wanted the world to know that in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Central Los Angeles, Chicago, that people were still walking back and forth in poverty without even the necessary clothes to live.The beads were for those individuals that were lynched, or killed that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the middle passage. We were trying to wake the country up and wake the world up to.” 
John Carlos

"I had no idea the moment on the medal stand would be frozen for all time. I had no idea what we'd face. I didn't know or appreciate, at that precise moment, that the entire trajectory of our young lives had just irrevocably changed."
John Carlos

photographs (1-3) by Jeff Kroot via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via, copyrights by the respective owners