Thursday 30 June 2016

Love. It Comes in All Colors.

"Love. It Comes in All Colors." was part of the National Urban Coalition's campaign to promote "racial" harmony. Political activists and celebrities from different fields participated in the TV commercial and print advertisement produced in 1970. The commercial showed a group singing "Let The Sun Shine In" and was broadcast during shows, for instance "The Ed Sullivan Show" (via).
Among the many celebrities was ... just have a look: third row down from the top, far left ... yes, ... Leonard Nimoy.

Here the clip (Leonard is in at :30 and at :35):

image via

Wednesday 29 June 2016

"In a way we are all kind of cousins."

"Travelling is breaking boundaries. To travel is to fuel that inner spark of natural curiosity that leads us to explore. Leads us to pursue new ways, and see the world in a different light every day. Discover new places. People. Faces. Gestures. A world of unexpected opportunities."

Together with DNA testing service AncestryDNA, ad agency &Co and production house Bacon, Danish flight comparison site momondo launched "The DNA Journey", an ongoing contest that encourages people to send in their DNA samples and win a trip to countries of their unknown origin (via). With this journey, momondo aims to make people understand that there are more things uniting us, than dividing us (via).

"Let's open our world.

We only have one world, but it’s divided. We tend to think that there are more things dividing us than uniting us.
momondo was founded on the belief that everybody should be able to travel the world, to meet other people, and experience other cultures and religions. Travel opens our minds: when we experience something different, we begin to see things differently.
To celebrate the colourful diversity of the world, we invite you to join The DNA Journey. We hope it will inspire you to explore your own diversity and discover how you are connected to the rest of the world."

And here the beautiful clip (although actors are said to be participating) with partly patriotic and nationalistic participants showing their reactions to finding out that they are part Turkish or 5% German:

photographs of Romy Schneider and Audrey Hepburn via and via and via

Friday 24 June 2016

How to convince your wife that a Volkswagen Station Wagon is the perfect vehicle

Do you have the right kind of wife for it?
Why won't your wife let you buy this wagon?
If you can sell her on this, you can sell her on anything.


Can your wife bake her own bread?
Can she get a kid's leg stitched and not phone you at the office until it's all over?
Find something to talk about when the TV set goes on the blink?
Does she worry about the Bomb?
Make your neighbor's children whish that she were their mother?
Will she say "Yes" to a camping trip after 50 straight weeks of cooking?
Let your daughter keep a pet snake in the back yard?
Invite 13 people to dinner even though she only has service for 12?
Name a cat "Rover"?
Live another year without furniture and take a trip to Europe instead?
Let you give up your job with a smile?
And mean it?


"It looks like a bus." "I wouldn't be caught dead in it."
Do these sound familiar? Your wife is not alone. It is hard to convince some women what sense the VW Sation Wagon makes.
Its chunky shape, for instance, allows it to hold more than the biggest conventional wagon. (Yet it is a good four feet shorter, and a lot less exasperating to park.)
She might like the easy way it loads. The side doors give her almost 16 sq. ft. for big supermarket bags, a baby carriage, etc.
The Volkswagen Station Wagon does not have to take anything lying down. She can cart home an antique chest, standing up. Or delicate trees from the nursery. (Wide things, too. It will hold an open playpen.)
She can comfortably pack in eight or more Scouts, with all their cook-out gear.
She can give the family some extra sun on the way to the beach. (Why no other station wagon has a sun-roof is a mystery.)
Even if the traffic is bumper to bumper on hot days, she will not have to worry about the radiator boiling over. There is no radiator, no water. (The Volkswagen engine is air cooled.)
She may get a kick out of beeping to the other women who drive VW Station Wagons. (They have a kind of private club.)
Or maybe she likes to see where she is going. (The VW wagon has incredible visibility on hills and curves.)
If these facts don't convince her, why not give up gracefully. (For this year, anyway.)


"Me? In that?"
When you take your wife to see the Volkswagen Station Wagon don't be surprised if you have to drag her.
"But it looks silly."
That's your first problem: you have to explain the flat face and square shape.
The front is flat because the engine is in the back. This eliminates a long hood and makes our wagon almost as easy to park as our sedan.
(There's only 9 inches difference.)
And the square shape holds almost twice as much as an everyday wagon. 170 cubic feet.
Once you coax her behind the wheel, be ready for something like this:
"But it's like sitting in a fishbowl."
She's right, it is. there are 21 windows. If she handles the family checkbook, you might show her a few numbers:
24 mpg on regular. 35.000 miles on tires. 4 pints of oil, not 4 quarts.
If you can sell your wife on the VW Station Wagon, consider yourself a star salesman.
We certainly will.

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images via and (1965) via and via

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Negritude: The Cure is to Become White

Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), Father of American Psychiatry, Dean of the Mecial School at the University of Pennsylvania and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, described "Negritude" as a mild form of leprosy "that included symptoms such as Blackening of the skin, big lips, flat nose, wooly hair, and smell." The cure was to become White. Since that was not possible, Blackness became "a patholigical incurable medical condition" (Randall, 2006).

- Randall, V. R. (2006). Dying While Black. An indepth look at a crisis in the American healthcare system. Dayton: Seven Principles Press
- photograph by Bruce Davidson via

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Narrative images: Continuing King's Mission

"It was May 12, 1968, just one month after a bullet silenced the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and thousands of people were pouring into the streets.

Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow, had called on Americans to join her in “a campaign of conscience” to uplift the poor. A picture from a news agency, which accompanied our (blogger's note: New York Times) article about her campaign, captured the scene from a distance, offering a wide view of the crowd in the nation’s capital.

Our staff photographer Don Hogan Charles took a different approach. He got close. He zoomed in. He focused on the individuals, not the multitudes, who gathered for the Newark leg of the demonstration. His image, published today for the first time, invites us to linger and to examine the faces.

Some seem hopeful, introspective and serene. Some look joyful and expectant. They are mostly women. (Mrs. King had called on “black women, white women, brown women and red women” to prod Congress to increase spending on poverty programs.) But there are men and children, too, people with lives and stories of their own, who decided to try to make a difference that day."

The New York Times

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photograph via

Monday 20 June 2016

World Refugee Day: Message by Ban Ki-moon

"Forced displacement has reached unprecedented levels, with more than 65 million people uprooted from their homes globally. New and recurring conflicts, and ever-more disturbing forms of violence and persecution, are driving people to flee in search of safety within their own countries, or to cross international borders as asylum seekers or refugees. Others are living in long-term exile, as solutions to protracted conflicts remain elusive. At the end of 2015, there were 21.3 million refugees, 3.2 million people in the process of seeking asylum, and 40.8 million people internally displaced within their own countries.

World Refugee Day is a moment for taking stock of the devastating impact of war and persecution on the lives of those forced to flee, and honouring their courage and resilience. It is also a moment for paying tribute to the communities and States that receive and host them, often in remote border regions affected by poverty, instability and underdevelopment, and beyond the gaze of international attention. Nine out of ten refugees are today living in poor and middle income countries close to situations of conflict.

Last year, more than 1 million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe across the Mediterranean, in unseaworthy dinghies and flimsy boats. Thousands did not make it — tragic testimony to our collective failure to properly address their plight. Meanwhile, divisive political rhetoric on asylum and migration issues, rising xenophobia, and restrictions on access to asylum have become increasingly visible in certain regions, and the spirit of shared responsibility has been replaced by a hate-filled narrative of intolerance. We see a worrisome increase in the use of detention and in the construction of fences and other barriers.

With anti-refugee rhetoric so loud, it is sometimes difficult to hear the voices of welcome. But these do exist, all around the world. In the past year, in many countries and regions, we have witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of compassion and solidarity, as ordinary people and communities have opened their homes and their hearts to refugees, and States have welcomed new arrivals even while already hosting large numbers of refugees. (...)

We must stand together with the millions of men, women and children who flee their homes each year, to ensure that their rights and dignity are protected wherever they are, and that solidarity and compassion are at the heart of our collective response."

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General message on World Refugee Day 20 June 2016

“It was quite a hot day. The policeman took his (or his colleague’s) wedding ring and played a game with the girl. He hid the ring in a hand and the girl was asked to guess which hand held the ring. They played together for a short while.”
Claus Fisker

photographs of Danish police officer playing with Syrian refugee girl taken by Claus Fisker near the German-Danish border in September 2015 via and via and via and via and via

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Access City Award 2016 ... The Winner is ... Milan

The Access City Award is the European prize given to cities that make daily life more accessible to people with disabilities or older persons (via). The award is part of the EU disability strategy "that aims at making Europe barrier-free for persons with disabilities". It encourages cities with a minimum of 50.000 inhabitants to take part, share their experiences and to improve accessibility. Since 2010, more than 250 cities have participated (via).

"On the top position, Milan was recognized for its consistent accessibility efforts, as well as its commitment to projects for the promotion of the employment of disabled people, and the support of independent living. Milan’s building standards are to be granted for promoting universality in design. The city stands for its impressive steps to improve accessibility made in the past, but also for its ambitious plans for the future." The second places was granted to Wiesbaden, the third to Toulouse." (via)

"In addition to its excellent and consistent accessibility efforts, Milan has also committed to projects to promote the employment of people with disabilities and to support independent living. Its building standards not only support accessibility and usability, but they also promote Universal Design standards, which aim to design products and spaces in a way that they can be used by the widest range of people possible. Milan is the winner of the EU Access City Award 2016, not only for its impressive steps to improve accessibility made in the past, but also for its ambitious plans for the future." (via)

The Beatles had their first concert in Italy - in Milan - on 24 June 1965. It was their only concert in Milan. When they arrived by train in the evening of 23 June, 3.000 female fans were waiting for them at the Stazione Centrale. Four Alfa Romeo took them to their hotel, hundreds of fans spent the whole night in and around the Hotel Duomo to be close to the Fab Four.
The next day, they played at 4 p.m. for about 7.000 fans and once again in the evening in front of 25.000 people. They played for a little bit less than half an hour at the Vigorelli (a place dedicated to American Football today). Tickets cost 1.000,- lire, those who wanted to be closer to the stage had to pay 2.000,- lire  (via and via).

photographs of the Beatles in Milan (1965) via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via

Monday 13 June 2016

People Are People

People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

So we're different colours
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Though I've done nothing wrong
I've never even met you so what could I have done

I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

Help me understand

Now you're punching
And you're kicking
And you're shouting at me
I'm relying on your common decency
So far it hasn't surfaced
But I'm sure it exists
It just takes a while to travel
From your head to your fists (via)


Depeche Mode's first hit single in the U.S., written by Martin Gore (it is one of his least favourite songs), released on 12 March 1984

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photograph via

Friday 10 June 2016

Born this day: Hattie McDaniel

"It was as if I had done something wrong."
Hattie McDaniel

"I have never apologized for the role I play."
Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel was born on 10 June 1895 as the daughter of parents who had both been born into slavery and were freed by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 (via).

For her role as Scarlett O'Hara's "Mammy" in "Gone With the Wind" (1939), she received the Academy Award in the best supporting actress category - the first black US-American to win the Oscar. The Academy Awards were held at the Cocoanut Grove at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles (via), the hot spot for celebrities, the place where six Academy Award ceremonies were held (via), a place with a strict no-black policy. After Fay Bainter's introduction ...
"I'm really especially happy that I am chosen to present this particular plaque. To me it seems more than just a plaque of gold. It opens the doors of this room, moves back the walls, and enables us to embrace the whole of America; an America that we love, an America that almost alone in the world today recognizes and pays tribute to those who give her their best, regardless of creed, race, or color. It is with the knowledge that this entire nation will stand and salute the presentation of this plaque, that I present the Academy Award for the best performance of an actress in a supporting role during 1939 to Hattie McDaniel." Fay Bainter
... and Hattie McDaniel's accepting speech, McDaniel was escorted to a small table set against a far wall, distant from the "Gone With the Wind" table where Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland and David O. Selznick were sitting. Producer Selznick "had to call in a special favor just to have McDaniel allowed into the building" which was officially integrated only in 1959 (via). The party-loving Academy Award winner could not go to any of the parties afterwards, either and celebrated elsewhere with other black castmates (via).

The movie premiered in Atlanta, without Hattie. Clark Gable threatened to boycott the premiere and decided to attend it only when McDaniel asked him to do so. During production, Gable said he would walk off the film if the "White" and "Colored" bathroom signs were not removed immediately (via).
"The Loews' Grand where the premiere took place did not have segregated seating. Black Atlantans waited four months until April to see it in a "colored" theater. Selznick recognized that his film could invite strong attendance among African Americans, and even thought that if black cast members came to Atlanta, they could help promote the film in black neighborhoods. Kay Brown, like the MGM distribution and advertising executives who planned the premiere, relied heavily on certain Atlantans for advice on many issues, including this one. The "Hollywoodians" knew they were way out of their depth on the "delicate" issue of race relations in the South. Most simply, they followed the advice the Atlantans gave them, which was not to include Hattie McDaniel in the festivities or the souvenir book. Regarding the latter, the rationale was that McDaniel's photo in the program might give some malcontent a basis for criticism of the film and the premiere, something they wanted to avoid. Besides, as guests of the city, the Hollywood folks thought they should follow their hosts' suggestions. Kay Brown put it well: "…while it was unfortunate to exclude Mammy, it was the wisest policy." They made an unsurprising choice in 1939." Matthew Bernstein

"I hasten to assure you that as a member of a race that is suffering very keenly from persecution these days, I am most sensitive to the feelings of minority peoples." David O. Selznick (Jewish-American producer)
Selznick, nevertheless, had to agree to redraw the posters removing all black faces as otherwise white leaders in the Deep South would not have allowed the movie to be shown in cinemas (via).

Segregation knew no boundaries; her final wish to be buried in Hollywood Cemetery was denied because of her skin tone. Jules Roth, a convicted felon and millionaire who had bought a 51% stake in the cemetery, did not allow her to be buried at Hollywood Memorial. The cemetery, too, was desegregated in 1959 - seven years after Hattie McDaniel had passed away - and on the 47th anniversary of her death, the cemetery's owner dedicated a cenotaph in her honour (via).
"I desire a white casket and a white shroud; white gardenias in my hair and in my hands, together with a white gard­enia blanket and a pillow of red roses. I also wish to be buried in the Hollywood Cemetery." Hattie McDaniel
During her career, McDaniel had been given the stereotypical domestic "Mammy" role at least 74 times (e.g. Disney's "Song of the South"). The representation of the archetype was the reason why she was harshly criticised by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that accused her of perpetuating negative stereotypes. There were, however, no other roles given to black women. Anything else would have been considered as threatening. "Gone With the Wind" insulted the black audience, picket lines were organised in various cities (via).
“I’d rather make $700/week playing a maid than $7 being one!”
Hattie McDaniel

Given these circumstances, the value of Hollywood's highest honour may be questioned. Her Oscar was, in fact, seen as valueless, went missing in the 1970s and is still missing today. But things can also be seen differently: According to W. Burlett Carter, the award would be worth half a million dollars now. And it is of much more than monetary value:
"It's a sad story but this Oscar represents a triumph for blacks — because we can look back and see that things really are so much better now than they were at that time."
W. Burlett Carter

More: The Atlantic Online
photographs via and via and via and via

Thursday 9 June 2016

Elvis, Racism & Rumours

"To Elvis people are people, regardless of race, color or creed."
Louie Robinson

In his early years, Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977) - who always believed in the breakdown of barriers - used to be a sort of hero in the black community. He publicly stated that he was listening to black blues singers such as Arthur Crudup; as a teenager he attended the church of a celebrated black gospel composer with a clear stand on civil rights. Others highly criticised him for embracing black music, for not being racist. Two Nashville music executives, for instance, demanded that Billboard stopped listing Elvis's records on the best-selling country chart "because he played black music." Elvis was "too no-class", too indifferent to the then usual social distinctions.

“The lack of prejudice on the part of Elvis Presley had to be one of the biggest things that ever happened. It was almost subversive, sneaking around through the music, but we hit things a little bit, don’t you think?” Sam Phillips  (Sun Records founder)
"Asked to characterize his singing style when he first presented himself for an audition at the Sun recording studio in Memphis, Elvis said that he sang all kinds of music — “I don’t sound like nobody.” This, as it turned out, was far more than the bravado of an 18-year-old who had never sung in public before. It was in fact as succinct a definition as one might get of the democratic vision that fueled his music, a vision that denied distinctions of race, of class, of category, that embraced every kind of music equally, from the highest up to the lowest down." 
Nevertheless, rumour started that Elvis had made a racist comment ("The only thing Negroes can do for me is buy my records and shine my shoes.") in Boston or on Murrow's "Person to Person" TV programme. The fact that he had never appeared in Boston or on Murrow's programme did not stop the rumour from spreading. In an interview, he told a reporter that anyone who knew him would immediately recognise that he could never have uttered those words. The rumour, however, continued (via). Elvis was accused of both not being a racist and being a racist.
“Let’s face it, nobody can sing that kind of music like colored people. I can’t sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that.”
Elvis Presley

Wonderful YouTube Clips:

::: Suspicious Minds (Las Vegas, 1970): WATCH/LISTEN (show gets better with every second)
::: A Little Conversation (movie "Live a Little, Love a Little", 1968): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Something (MGM Studios, 1970): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Little Sister/Get Back (MGM Studios, 1970): WATCH/LISTEN

photographs (Black Leather Stand-Up Showvia and via and via

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Muhammad Ali and the Vietnam War

“I Ain't Got No Quarrel With The VietCong...No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.”
Muhammad Ali

On 28 April 1967, Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army - not without consequences. Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title and his passport, was convicted of draft evasion (it took the jury twenty minutes to convict him), sentenced to five years prison, fined $10.000,- and banned from boxing in the United States for three-and-a-half years (via and via).

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”
Muhammad Ali

“I ain’t draft dodging. I ain’t burning no flag. I ain’t running to Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my rights here at home.
Muhammad Ali

“I can’t take part in nothing where I’d help the shooting of dark Asiatic people, who haven’t lynched me, deprived me of my freedom, justice and equality, or assassinated my leaders.”
Muhammad Ali

“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”
Muhammad Ali

"It is in the light of my consciousness as a Muslim minister and my own personal convictions that I take my stand in rejecting the call to be inducted in the armed services. I do so with the full realization of its implications and possible consequences. I have searched my conscience and I find I cannot be true to my belief in my religion by accepting such a call.
"My decision is a private and individual one and I realize that this is a most crucial decision. In taking it I am dependent solely upon Allah as the final judge of these actions brought about by my own conscience.
"I strongly object to the fact that so many newspapers have given the American public and the world the impression that I have only two alternatives in taking this stand: either I go to jail or go to the Army. There is another alternative and that alternative is justice. If justice prevails, if my Constitutional rights are upheld, I will be forced to go neither to the Army nor jail. In the end I am confident that justice will come my way for the truth must eventually prevail.
"I am looking forward to immediately continuing my profession.
"As to the threat voiced by certain elements to 'strip' me of my title, this is merely a continuation of the same artificially induced prejudice and discrimination.
"Regardless of the difference in my outlook, I insist upon my right to pursue my livelihood in accordance with the same rights granted to other men and women who have disagreed with the policies of whatever Administration was in power at the time.
"I have the world heavyweight title not because it was 'given' to me, not because of my race or religion, but because I won it in the ring through my own boxing ability.
"Those who want to 'take' it and hold a series of auction-type bouts not only do me a disservice but actually disgrace themselves. I am certain that the sports fans and fair-minded people throughout America would never accept such a 'title-holder.'"
Muhammad Ali

“The white man want me hugging on a white women, or endorsing some whiskey, or some skin bleach, lightening the skin when I’m promoting black as best. They want me advertising all this stuff that’d make me rich but hurt so many others. But by me sacrificing a little wealth I’m helping so many others. Little children can come by and meet the champ. Little kids in the alleys and slums of Florida and New York, they can come and see me where they never could walk up on Patterson and Liston. Can’t see them n—–s when they come to town! So the white man see the power in this. He see that I’m getting away with the Army backing offa me ... They see who’s not flying the flag, not going in the Army; we get more respect.”
Muhammad Ali, 1966

"His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognise today." Barack Obama
In 1971, the Supreme Court held that Ali's 1967 conviction had to be reversed as moral and ethical objection to war was as valid as religious objection (via). However, Muhammad Ali's stance had already cost him millions in endorsement money and the prime years of his career. It had also turned him into a national pariah since he had expressed his opinion before the anti-war movement gained steam. Politicians and newspaper editorial writers called him "the most disgusting character" (via). He became one of the most hated public figures and spent the next years "battling for his beliefs in court instead of the ring". Muhammad Ali faced public pressure to accept service and was given opportunities to apologise and join the military. When he declined, some of his allies turned against him - such as the Nation of Islam that disavowed him for "disappointing black war veterans". As time passed, the war became unpopular and support for Ali increased. "His view of the war became America's view of the war" and people wanted to see their hero back in the ring (via).

photographs via and via and via and via

Monday 6 June 2016


"More people believe in ghosts than believe in racism."
David Hekman (University of Colorado)

photograph ("Richard Nixon addresses a crowd while campaigning for president against John F. Kennedy in 1960. To his right is 10-year-old Tom Lemke, in a ghost costume that reads "Jack Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance" referring to Kennedy. Nixon called attention to the boy when he saw him in the crowd.") via

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Quoting William Shatner

"I find age such a foreign concept. I have to be reminded. I still have the extraordinary feeling of adventure, striking out into unknown fields."
William Shatner

"I don't know how to deal with being 80."
William Shatner


"Montreal is a very cosmopolitan, sophisticated, erudite, educated, glorious city today. But it wasn't quite that way when I was growing up there. There was a lot of anti-Semitism. And I had to deal with that in an area of the city that had very few Jews."
William Shatner

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photograph via