Category Archives: Weekly Photo Challenge

On the Move Until…

…an obstacle encountered on the road presents a photo opportunity.

Cows Heading Home in Zambia Photo Jorg Albrecht
Cattle rush hour in Zambia.
Sharing the Road in Southern Spain photo Sara Lynne Moffatt
Heading out for lunch in southern Spain.
On the Road in Kyrgyzstan Photo Jorg Albrecht
Lost in Kyrgyzstan.

“More than ever, the moments of our in-betweens are photo-worthy and shareable.” Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

Photography: Jörg Albrecht (1, 3), Sara Lynne Moffatt (2)

 

A Swiss Spring Day

Sunshine, good company and the sweet smell of a freshly mowed pasture – my idea of the perfect ingredients for a leisurely Sunday hike (or wanderung in German). Plus, a great opportunity to capture the essence of a Swiss spring day for this week’s photo challenge.Hello photo Jorg Albrecht
Hello, spring! Hello, world!
Along the Path photo Jorg Albrecht
Fabulous hiking trails, like dark chocolate and flavourful cheese, are everywhere in Switzerland. According to one website, the distance covered by hiking trails is almost as great as that covered by roads (60,000 vs 72,000 kilometres). The trails run across farm fields, through orchards and parkland, and up, down, around and even through the Alps.
Apple Orchard photo Jorg Albrecht
Apple Blossoms photo Sara Lynne Moffatt
Peaking over the Fence at the Cloister photo Jorg Albrecht
Our afternoon hike took us past the Kloster Notkersegg. The monastery, nestled in the hills above the city of St. Gallen, dates back to 1381. The building we see today was completed in 1720.
Fields and a Stone Fence photo Sara Lynne Moffatt
Through the Gate photo Sara Lynne Moffatt
Along the Wall photo Jorg Albrecht
Classic Swiss Farmhouse and Barn photo Sara Lynne Moffatt
The picturesque countryside is dotted with impeccable housebarns…
Spring Chicken photo Jorg Albrecht
…and inquisitive farm animals, all meticulously cared for by farming families.

As picture perfect as it appears, Switzerland’s farming community is in a state of decline. Its traditionally small family farms are unable to compete with the global trend towards large-scale corporate farming. Many Swiss farmers rely upon government subsidies, direct payments and protectionist food import regulations to survive. The future of farming in Switzerland is uncertain. Fewer young people consider farming a viable career and Switzerland’s farms are being consolidated or sold for non-agricultural use.
Farmer and Daughter St Gallen Hike photo Sara Lynne Moffatt
A Farmer and his Daughter photo Sara Lynne Moffatt
On a day as beautiful as this one, the wise words of the Persian philosopher, mathematician and poet Omar Khayyam come to mind, “My friend, let’s not think of tomorrow, but let’s enjoy this fleeting moment of life.”

To see more signs of spring, check out other bloggers’ links here.

Photography by: Jörg Albrecht (1-3, 5, 8, 10 ) and Sara Lynne Moffatt (4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12) .

Georgian Letters of Protest (and Hope)

For this week’s photo challenge from The Daily Post on “Letters,” participants are asked to consider how an “image might convey something bigger: a snapshot of how we communicate with one another, even if we don’t speak the same language.”

While I can’t communicate in the Georgian language, the powerful imagery of the banner shown below prompted me to seek out its meaning.

Save Old Tbilisi Photo Jorg Albrecht 120 res v2

Save Old Tbilisi. Photo Jörg Albrecht

The balcony’s elegant scrollwork is reminiscent of the gently curving lines of the Georgian script. The clenched fist and bold graphics suggest the words have something to do with resistance and strength. Thankfully, as I learned, the banner’s message is stronger than the decaying ironwork that displays it.

Save Old Tbilisi Photo Jörg Albrecht 120 res

Decay and protest in Lado Gudiashvili Square. Photo Jörg Albrecht

The banner hangs on one of the crumbling classical late 19th century buildings bordering Tbilisi, Georgia’s Lado Gudiashvili Square. In 2011, information about a radical redevelopment plan for the Square and its historical buildings surfaced. As part of the government’s misguided ongoing campaign to “clean-up” the city to attract investors and tourists, modernization of many areas of Tbilisi had already resulted in the destruction of architecturally important buildings.

News of the Square’s pending redevelopment prompted a group of concerned citizens to establish an “Occupy Gudiashvili” movement. They organized peaceful protests, urging the government to stop the destruction of the buildings and start reinforcing and restoring them. Then, in May 2012, while no building permits had been issued and city officials denied approving the controversial plans, the demolition of one architecturally significant Gudiashvili Square building, known as the “Blue House,” seemed to be illegally underway. The “Occupy Gudiashvili” group continued with their protests, garnering considerable media attention for their cause.

The Square’s radical redevelopment has, for the moment, stopped, “…the Austrian owners have now pulled out, thanks largely to public pressure and the exposure of alleged corruption within the Tbilisi Development Fund. Today the Fund now owns Gudiashvili Square, although it remains leaderless.”

Tbilisi Old City Photo Jorg Albrecht 120 res

An early 20th century building near Lado Gudiashvili Square, Tbilisi, Georgia. The monumental Kartlis Deda or Mother Georgia statue is visible in the distance. Photo Jörg Albrecht.

The presence of historical buildings give us a visual connection to our roots. They encourage us to learn about history and use that knowledge to create a favourable future. As a child, I was intrigued by the sleek futuristic world presented in the TV show The Jetsons. As an adult, I’m saddened at the thought of losing old world charm and craftsmanship. Many cities have successfully modernized without destroying their connection to the past.

The future of Tbilisi’s many historical neighbourhood’s remains uncertain. The გაამაგრე გუდიაშვილის protests, like the buildings’ decay, continue. If, like me, you see the value in preserving historical architecture, consider joining the efforts to save old Tbilisi.

To view other participants’ submissions for this week’s “Letters” photo challenge, please visit the links posted here.

 

Additional Reading:

Newsflash from Tbilisi: Demolition of the Lermontov House
Tbilisi Architectural Heritage Group
Tbilisi Destroys its Past: The Old Town is Transformed
Tbilisi Forum for Architecture
Tbilisi, Where Restoration Means Redevelopment
The Georgian Alphabet: A Gallery of Specimens (georgiasomethingyouknowwhatever.wordpress.com/)