London welcomed in 2014 with a spectacular multi-sensory fireworks display on the banks of the river Thames. Special effects included fruit flavours and smells. I recorded the fireworks from Storey’s Gate in Westminster.
London New Year fireworks 2014 video, Storey’s Gate
I was very lucky to be invited by a friend to the UK film premier of “The Artist” at the Royal Albert Hall on the New Year’s eve. This sweet and charming black-and-white romantic comedy, set in the 1920 – 30s, pays homage to the silent era and moves the audience with its storyline and music.
Elizabeth Jones and Eugenie Absalom at The Artist live in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall
The most awarded French film in history, this silent movie by Michel Hazanavicius, was screened with London Symphony Orchestra and featured music by Ludovic Bource.
A unique black and white magic, an extraordinary choice of film sets at Hollywood actors residences, a brilliant act by Jean Dujardin as The Artist, George Valentin and Bérénice Béjo as Peppy Miller and the film’s music by French composer Ludovic Bource, reflecting the spirit of Hollywood, blended together in a star quality performance, full of joie de vivre.
These charming inflatable Christmas figures of Santa Claus and a Snowman in front of a house in Collingham Road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are helping to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
My Christmas pic of the illuminated House of Fraser store in Oxford Street was published in Le Figaro article “Shopping a Londres pour les Galeries Lafayette” on the December talks to buy House of Fraser between French department store group Galeries Lafayette and its British counterpart House of Fraser.
Christmas art show “Lights in the Winter” at La Galleria Pall Mall in the Royal Opera Arcade brought together 28 artists from 14 countries. The exhibition Opening Night saw “High Time” CD launch by singer songwriter Frazer Kennedy. My photos of Frazer Kennedy were used on the “High Time” CD cover and in CD booklet.
Western Christmas is in full swing, but Orthodox Christmas did not arrive yet. It is celebrated by Russians on 7 January. It is a bank holiday in Russia. Russians celebrate the start of a new year with a 10 days break, starting on 1 January. It includes New Year holiday on 1 – 5 January, Russian Orthodox Christmas on 7 January and weekends in between. Celebrations continue on 14 January, on the Old New Year day in Russia. Video below features a quick glimpse of the Divine Liturgy at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and All Saints in Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge.
Pandemonia Artist’s Talk, presented by fashion designer and tutor Flora McLean, took place at the Royal College of Art on 14 November 2013. It provided insights into the story of Pandemonia character and its rise to fame over the past several years.
Dressed in a pink with brown latex dress, completed with a whirl of yellow inflatable hair, white gloves, brown purse, high heels and dark glasses, the artist shared with students an engaging story of success of Pandemonia character.
“It is great pleasure to be here”, – started Pandemonia, “because many years ago when I applied for MA Printmaking, the Royal College lost my portfolio. I actually had to do my interview without my work and I didn’t get in. My portfolio turned up at Chelsea instead. This is what could happen to you”, – concluded Pandemonia to giggles in the auditorium.
“When I did my Fine Art Degree”, – continued Pandemonia, ”I did printmaking. At the time printmaking was seen as a kind of a third rate art, third rate to painting and sculpture, like it wasn’t really fine art. But I thought that printmaking was the most modern and most powerful of the mediums”.
Pandemonia was interested in advertising, in things like archetypes, patterns of thoughts and ideas, and especially images of an exotic woman.
Working on the image of an exotic woman, Pandemonia looked at the evolution of human body and female form in particular, from classical ancient cultures till nowadays. “Bodies are objectified these days. It is society that is imposing on the body, it is not the other way around,” – said Pandemonia.
The artist worked on the ideal body shape in order to bring about a kind of a photoshopped image into real life.
In 2000 the ideas came together. As unlikely as it may seem Pandemonia used Venus and Cupid painting by Lucas Cranach as a prototype of Pandemonia and inflatable dog Snowy, that is accompanying its owner on every occasion. According to Pandemonia, Snowy is a great thing to have. Dogs always break the ice. Everybody likes Snowy. “It is very useful, it is like to have a device,” – said the artist.
Pandemonia is very much into new media. It helps the artist to create his own narrative. Pandemonia set up a blog, focusing on fame, luxury and celebrity. Working in a gallery does not bring the same result to a performance artist as being a walking art work.
“I tried different locations. Different locations mean very, very different things, ” – continued the artist. “Pandemonia doesn’t really work in a club environment. It is sort of carnivalesque, but it works in isolation. At a carnival everybody is dressed mannerial, but it is like a safe box. Pandemonia doesn’t work this way, it is separate.” Pandemonia image is not outlandish in nature, it is a prototype, the way it was designed by the artist.
You can come across Pandemonia at fashion shows, art evenings. The very first fashion show Pandemonia went to, she was seated at a front row. And it is always the case.
Pandemonia and Eugenie Absalom at the RCA Lecture Theatre in South Kensington.
Pandemonia Artist’s Talk took place in Lecture Theatre 1 of the Darwin building in Kensington Gore, South Kensington and was attended by art and fashion students.
Visit my DEMOTIX column to view photos of Pandemonia Artist’s Talk at the Royal College of Art.
Fashion in Art Space exhibition of haute couture dresses by the famous Russian designer Valentin Yudashkin started in the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum in Moscow. It is a double celebration of Yudashkin’s 50th birthday and the 25 years of his artistic career.
Over quarter of a century, Valentin Yudashkin has created more than fifty fashion collections. Each one is a revelation. His best creations are on display in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts since the 15th October 2013.
This extraordinary display showcases Russian style in all its glory, splendor and lavish exuberance as designed by Valentin Yudashkin. Organza, crinoline and rhinestones blend harmoniously with ancient Greek and Roman statues and look as a splendid addition to the Renaissance paintings in the museum.
This year Embassy of the Netherlands opened the gates for the first time in its history. On Saturday, 21 September visitors were treated to a comprehensive tour of the abstract style diplomatic mission and a cup of Dutch coffee.
The monumental red brick facade of the seven storey 19th century building is in contrast with its brand new bold and bright abstract interior design by Dutch artists. The interior designer of the Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs and her colleague who is in charge of the Netherlands Government Art Collection took part in 2012 renovations at the embassy.
Classic black and snow white colour leather outfits were complemented with luxury red, screaming pink, pale lemon, ivory, deep purple and navy blue leathers. Slashed skin tight trousers and skyscraper heels completed the sexy look of long legged models.
UK accessories label Age of Reason brought in a playful, punk twist to SS14 fashion collection at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church with its pure silk, chiffon and cotton scarves known for definitive luxury finish and artful colour combinations.
“Streets of Dreams” video by Eugenie Absalom. Click on the cover to watch the video.
“Streets of Dreams” official music video with Frazer Kennedy singing his catchy 2006 song on one of the roofs in Earls Court went live on YouTube on 15 August 2013.
The video was shot across central London and features streets and buildings of Kensington, Westminster, the City of London and Camden, including Notting Hill, The Boltons, Kensington Palace Orangery, Victoria Memorial, the Floral Crown in St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace Gardens, The Gherkin, King’s Cross, roof graffiti in Earls Court, “Sensational Butterflies” exhibition at the Natural History Museum, as well as Trafalgar Square fountains and the South Bank by night and the tube.
Frazer Kennedy Butterfly artwork by Eugenie Absalom, 2013.
“Streets of Dreams” video director and camera: Eugenie Absalom.
Special thanks to artist from Italy Giacomo Sonaglia for a kind permission to use the image of his painting “Mother Nature and the Four Elements” in the video.
For the first time since Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation Day in 1953, a spectacular Coronation show at Buckingham Palace brought together an array of royal dress, robes, uniform, jewels and diamonds as part of the State Rooms Summer Opening 2013.
“The Queen’s Coronation 1953″ exhibition (27 July – 29 September) is celebrating the 60th anniversary of this historic event. Royal regalia, paintings, photography and recordings recreate the atmosphere of that extraordinary State occasion that has remained essentially unchanged for the past 1,000 years.
The crowning of the Sovereign is an ancient ceremony. For the last 900 years it has taken place at Westminster Abbey. Before the Abbey was built, Coronations were carried out at Bath, Oxford, Canterbury, etc.
The Palace’s Ballroom houses a grandeur and sumptuous display of elaborate gowns and uniforms, worn by the senior royals and The Queen’s Maids of Honour at coronation. The centerpiece of the show is the Queen’s white satin Coronation dress, created by the British couturier Norman Hartnell. The design incorporates an iconographic scheme of embroidered national and Commonwealth floral emblems in gold, silver and pastel-coloured silks, encrusted with crystals, pearls and sequins.
The Dress embroideries were are arranged in three scalloped tiers with a pointed waist. Each tier, together with the edge of the skirt, were embellished with a border of gold bugle beads, diamantes and pearls. The skirt has a slight train and was reinforced with horsehair crinoline – a woven fabric made of a mixture of linen and horsehair. It ensured that the skirt would not lose its shape under the weight of embroideries.
What can be more inspiring for a freelance journalist than to see and hear a fellow NUJ member, who happens to be in a multi-million category and have a chance to ask him questions?
Martin Lewis, founder and editor of MoneySavingExpert website and of ITV’s Martin Lewis Money Show, shared hints and tips of his skyrocketing career with freelancers at NUJ meeting in London. It took place at Friends House in Euston on 8 April.
At the meeting Martin Lewis described his progress from a small personal website and e-mailing his now famous “Martin’s Money Tips” to a database of 700 – 800 contacts in 2003 to becoming the owner and editor-in-chief of the biggest personal finance website in the UK with the audience of over 13 million monthly users and 7.65 million receiving his money tips e-mail.
“No one can pay to be on my website,” – said Martin Lewis. The MoneySavingExpert website generates income through affiliate links. It is editorially independent, with a bigger Forum than Twitter. ”We must always write what is best for our users,” – he added.
There is a great deal of personal research going into all the material, published on MoneySavingExpert.com. ”If you go back to personal finance journalism when I started it was about stocks and shares, occasionally mortgages and gas and electricity ….that was a bit radical… And it was all about getting quotes from somebody in my industry.”
The key to his online success is unique content. ”When I write, I always write in the first person. People want to see the whites of the eyes of the journalist who wrote it. I do not work off press releases. I do my own research. It’s called journalism, ” – concluded Martin Lewis.
In September 2012 he sold the website to the MoneySupermarket.com Group for £87 million, while he remains editor-in-chief of MoneySavingExpert.com.
Martin Lewis has his own prime-time ITV programme - The Martin Lewis Money Show. He is also resident expert on Daybreak, Lorraine, This Morning, Radio 5 Consumer Panel and Radio 2 Vine and more.
Eugenie Absalom and her photography at Eternal Eve 2013 exhibition in London.
Eternal Eve 2013 international contemporary art exhibition is under way at La Galleria Pall Mall in central London between 11 and 16 March. The show is celebrating spring holidays of the 8th March and Mother’s Day. Paintings, sculpture, digital art and photography were put together by curator Zina Bercovici to pay tribute to a woman in the contemporary society.
Female form is open to artistic interpretations. It is displayed in a variety of shapes, techniques and styles. Eternal Eve 2103 display combines figurative works and abstract works, representing women as seen by both male and female artists from 10 countries: UK, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Russia, Ukraine, France, Italy, India, Sweden and South Africa.
My photographs include: ”Galina” that shows the first female artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet Galina Stepanenko, sitting against the backdrop of a Moscow view from the window of a ballet studio, “Model” digital art work, inspired by designer Fred Butler SS12 collection presentation at London Fashion Week 2011, “London Icons” photograph of the four London icons: red telephone box, double decker bus, black taxi and Olympic mascot statue in Strand, “Bee” image and my photograph of a young ballerina, having fun in Green Park during the London Olympics 2012.
Eternal Eve 2013 exhibition video to Delilah by Sir Tom Jones at the Diamond Jubilee Concert.
La Galleria Pall Mall is inside the Royal Opera Arcade, just off Trafalgar Square and Pall Mall at 30 Royal Opera Arcade, 5b Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 4UY. Eternal Eve 2013 dates are: 11 – 16 March 2013.
View my photos of the Eternal Eve 2013 exhibition preview at La Galleria Pall Mall on 11 March.
Russian artist from Norwich Gena Ivanov happened to be among the visitors of Eternal Eve 2013 exhibition preview. He came up with this oil portrait of musician Oleg Lapidus, who played saxophone and clarinet on the night.
Exhibition Day by Gena Ivanov, oil on canvas with musician Oleg Lapidus at La Galleria Pall Mall.
Photos of my photos at La Galleria Pall Mall during Eternal Eve 2013 exhibition on 11 – 16 March 2013.
I came across amazing body cast sculptures of Louise Giblin ARBS at the Collective of Women Artists exhibition preview at the Royal Opera Arcade (ROA) Gallery in London.
Her works represent a unique combination of skill, innovation, striking detail and creative approach to depicting her subjects. Some of her famous sitters include Olympic heroes Kriss Akabusi MBE, Sally Gunnell OBE and Paralympian Darren Leach, who’s limited edition casts in bronze, copper and aluminium are currently displayed at the Collective of Women Artists show. Exhibition dates are 5 – 15 March 2013. The ROA Gallery is inside the Royal Opera Arcade, just off Pall Mall.
Another surprise of the exhibition preview was the chef, called Sarah-Jane Victoria Brookes. Sarah-Jane from Mayfair was serving us cooked snacks with style, appropriate for an elite art event. The funny bit came when I learnt about her background as a nuclear physicist.
As conversation went on we left the gallery and stepped outside. There is Ducketts book store in the Royal Opera Arcade next door to the ROA Gallery. I noticed “Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB” book by Alexander Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko in its window.
Amazingly, Sarah-Jane happened to be at the same hospital as Alexander Litvinenko at the time of his poisoning, just two wards away from him. She had a surgery for appendicitis at the time. There was an old lady in the ward, separating her from Litvinenko. The old lady died and they brought a coffin for her. But they must have confused the rooms and the coffin ended up in Sarah-Jane’s ward. She still has a very special memory of that incident and a story to tell.
Eugenie Absalom in floral skull head piece at LFW AW13, BAKU London.
New London restaurant, called BAKU after the capital of Azerbaijan, hosted a series of fashion shows during the London Fashion Week AW2013. I visited two catwalks: by Soho based Italian designer Nico Didonna and Norwegian designer Nina Naustdal from Chelsea. The decadent interiors of the Knightsbridge restaurant created an impressive backdrop for shows and receptions: with mirrors, white chandeliers and art on the walls.
Nico Didonna presented his chic and glamorous Autumn Winter evening collection alongside innovative menswear to Jazz music on 15 February. Calm Jazz sensations blended with Crepe Jersey, silks and cashmere and culminated in spellbinding movements, that showcased the female form. Double cobalt blues with gold metals, seductive reds, soft leathers and luxurious wool offered a unique, quality choice for a discerning client.
British Bulldog Pavarotti watched Nico Didonna catwalk with a kind of interest from a front row seat.
Chelsea based designer of Norwegian origin Nina Naustdal presented her Autumn Winter 2013 Gold collection at BAKU on 18 February. Inspired by raw diamonds, her collection featured exotic shimmering animal print gowns and stunning separates in vivid colour palette, classically tailored in silk, chiffon and velvet with leather detail.
Hundreds of thousands descend on central London each winter for traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, the largest outside Asia. This year was not an exception, in spite of rain and wind. The actual date of Chinese New Year varies year after year, but always falls between the end of January and mid February. The Year of the Snake celebrations took place in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square on Sunday, 10 February 2013.
Due to constant rain throughout Sunday, hundreds of umbrellas were the only thing to be seen in every direction. I still managed to take photos of the Chinese Lion dance in Soho, Trafalgar Square Chinese New Year celebrations and incredible red Soho lanterns.
First edition of the London Art Biennale took place at the Chelsea Old Town Hall on 23 – 26 January 2013. It showcased original paintings, sculpture and drawings by 140 artists from 40 countries. Charity art auction on 23 January brought together art lovers and collectors for an art party in the magnificent 19th century Victorian mansion in King’s Road.
Organised by the one of the most established and long-standing contemporary art galleries in London, Gagliardi Gallery from Kindg’s Road and the Chianciano Art Musem, the London Art Biennale 2013 celebrated variety of styles and forms of contemporary art from around the world.
Biennale opening night saw a charity art auction, conducted by the former Chairman of Bonham’s Auction House Nicholas Bonham. Proceeds of the auction went to End Polio Now charity and the Salvation Army Chelsea branch. Lots included an original drawing by Andy Warhal, male suit sketch by Giorgio Armani, acrylic on canvas by the youngest professional artist in the world Aelita Andre, who was born in Australia in 2007, and other celebrated artists.
Snow in London is a bit of a rarity. It only comes once in several years and causes havoc and chaos, leading to transport disruption, school closures and power cuts. Photos of London in snow give you a good idea of what London does not look like most of the time. But as everywhere else on the planet snow brings romantic atmosphere and a touch of magic to London streets, historic monuments and parks.
Snow 2013 stayed in London for less than in week. As a photographer I felt blessed on this very special occasion of seeing red London icons turn white, which created a perfect monochrome setting for imagery.
Photography during snowfall is a tricky business. Camera is getting wet and fingers are freezing. Capturing snow flakes is a skill in itself, without much chance of perfection in London. I did what I could without causing too much damage to my camera or to my fingers.