Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Richard Nabarro

Richard Nabarro is a graphic designer and illustrator based in the UK. A busy man it seems; not only does he have his own work on the side that he handles, but he is also the official photographer - his main passion - for the illustration collective, Crim. Some nice work there as well. Check it out. (I especially love the work done on the fine and speciality paper house, Fedrigoni UK. Oh - and the LSTN#3 polaroid artwork. To have designed a unique piece for each track... what fun!)

Akos Major

The ever-so-humble "amateur photographer" Akos Major - from Budapest, Hungary - takes some of the most hauntingly beautiful photos I've ever seen. Between his work and that of another photographer from Iceland that I know of - I'll try and post some of her work soon - I'm amazed by the minimal landscape compositions that they capture and share with the rest of us. At the moment, he only has his Behance portflio up to share his photos... can't wait for more on an official site.

Jean-Sébastien Rossbach

The gothic brilliance of illustrator J.S Rossbach. His style is something akin to a cross between that of Frank Frazetta and H.S Giger. I love the work he's done on his Merlin books... I'd love to try and get more of a preview through its pages. If anyone knows something I don't - let me know.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway

I don't think I've ever posted before on this blog about any books that I've read... and since this may just be the first, it's only fitting that the book in question is one that I thoroughly enjoyed. "The Gone-Away World" by Nick Harkaway was a rollicking good read with a fantastic twist; and a brilliant new slant on the whole "apocalyptic post-war earth scenario". (It's also worth mentioning that this is his debut novel. And what a cracker it is. I'm afraid he may have set the bar very high for himself...)

As much as I'd like to try and describe what the book is actually about (the book jacket does NOT do it justice) it's just too difficult. I mean, look what the author himself says:

"It’s really, really hard to describe to someone who hasn’t read it. I have trouble. So do most booksellers. It’s an adventure story, in that the characters have adventures, but not everyone who loves it usually likes that kind of thing. It’s a war story, in that there’s a war in it which changes everything, but it’s not a guns-and-naked steel story. It’s a love story, because people love, and they do crazy, wonderful, awful things for love – but… it’s not a romance.

And yes, as you may have heard, there are ninjas. Very few serious books have ninjas. This is one of them. It’s also a comedy, of course, because serious things are funny.

Beyond that, though, despite the fact that four billion people die and very awful things happen to our heroes, it’s a book which makes people smile. A friend of mine said it was like watching a seal play with a ball.

See how that might be hard to describe?"

One thing is sure though, I'll be keeping an eye out for any other books by Mr Harkaway.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

If it looks like a duck...

This last Sunday morning our church's Sunday School put on a play for all the adults and parents entitled, "Solomon, the Supersonic Salamander." Catchy I know. It was based on a verse from Proverbs (I confess I forget which one) and taught about how to choose the right friends. One of the songs the kids sang made me remember something I’ve been meaning to write about for some time now – funnily enough it's something that also has to do with a Sunday School lesson I taught a few weeks back.

The song the kids sang in the play was all about how one can be smart, and yet dumb at the same time. And the lesson that I taught to the kids was about the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. How do these two fit together? I’m glad you asked.

The song in question spoke of how, no matter how "smart" in terms of the world one may be – doctorates, degrees, wealth etc – all these things are of no value other than what we make of them while alive. They have no eternal value. Whereas, making sure that your soul is saved for all of eternity is a pretty big thing. I mean, if that’s not no. 1 on your “To do list” … you need to prioritise! Here's the rub though; the idea of accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and the only way to be made right with God, is so abhorrent to some, so “beneath” their level of intelligence, that they fail to see the simplistic truth of the matter. They make it out to be a "catch", that there must be another more smarter and convoluted way. Preferably something that has to do with the status and achievements they’ve spent years and years investing in.

The sad news is – there isn’t.

But the good news is that, yes, it really is that simple. That’s why Jesus spoke so highly of the faith of a child.

"But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Luke 18:16-17; NIV)

"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3-4; NIV)

I mean, before God, we are all as children. To not see yourself as such is pretty egotistical… Yes, adults are smarter than kids. But in some ways; dumber too. Tell a child the only way to Heaven is through the saving grace of Jesus Christ on the cross and they’ll believe you. Tell an aged adult the same, and they’ll try and rationalize another, different way, one of their own manufacture and liking. Because as adults, we’re so full of pride and don’t want to be seen as children, we see things the way we want to see them, regardless of what they actually say. And that’s the problem. We’re smart in some things, but dumb in the way of others. When it comes to God, most kids have doctorates... whilst us “adults” in comparison can barely read…

And this is exactly what the problem was with some of the people who saw Jesus raise Lazarus back from the dead. Jesus waited four days before travelling to the tomb of Lazarus. Everyone in the area knew of the funeral and when exactly Lazarus had died. So when Jesus arrives and promptly makes Lazarus walk out of the cave with his burial clothes still on... there were quite a few witnesses. You’d be forgiven for thinking a number of conclusions that could be drawn from this act:

1) There’s something uniquely special about this Jesus guy. He just brought someone who’d been dead for four days back to life. When last did anyone manage that?!? This quite a neat parlor trick, indeed!

2) Considering what he’s just done and the reputation that precedes him for all his wisdom and the other miracles he’s been performing throughout the Israeli countryside, there must be something unique about him after all, that quite possibly...

3) He is the Son of God he’s proclaiming to be; the promised Jewish Messiah that they’ve all been waiting for.

To be fair, there were some who thought exactly those things. They saw Jesus, they heard Jesus, and they believed in him when he claimed to be the Messiah, based upon the evidence they had before them. (Their thinking was that; if it looks like a duck, talks like a duck, walks like a duck... well then - it's a duck!)And yet… and yet… there were others who saw the exact same things, heard the exact same stories, had all the same evidence that those who believed in Him had – and yet they saw something else. They saw someone that needed to be stopped, killed even.

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

"What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."

He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
(John 11:45-53; NIV)

How can this be, you may well ask? How could they not see Jesus exactly for who he was claiming to be? The answer is: you believe what you want to believe, and no amount of evidence wil change your mind if it goes against what you will accept as the truth - regardless of whether it actually is or not. So you see: Smart… but dumb.

There are some people who are so smart in some matters, yet they are so dumb in others. They may be brilliant in scientific or mathematical arenas, but terrible when it comes to people skills (Kind of like the character of Bones in the series of the same name, played by Emily Deschanel. One of my wife's favourite TV shows). Maybe you know everything there is to know about the New Testament, know all about Jesus, and yet still see him as a prophet, or a wise sage - other than as God's only Son, the Savior of Mankind.

Jesus once said, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29; NIV)

All the evidence is in. There is, nor will there be anymore. People that cry for further evidence of God and Jesus don’t realize that they don't need anymore… all the info and evidence is there already. The matter of their concern is not for want of evidence... but rather, their acceptance of what it declares. The Bible is the greatest historical document ever. The death and resurrection of Jesus as real as ever. Essentially these people are saying, "I don’t like this evidence and truth of what it says, bring me more that will convince me further that I’m right and you’re wrong". I say that, because no amount of evidence will ever be enough to convince someone of something they deep down don’t want to be convinced about. The choice is unfortunately, as always, up to us.

What do you see? Whom do you say Jesus is? And are you able to accept the answer, even if it goes down a path you may not want to originally go down?

The people of Jesus' day saw Lazarus raised from the dead and afterwards, some believed and some didn’t. Jesus Christ himself died and rose again… and the result was still the same. Some believed. And some didn’t. Which are you?

Monday, September 6, 2010

It's not your camera... The iPhone fashion shoot

These photos were shot with a Canon Sony Nikon ... Apple?

For all of my complaining that the little point and shoot I use sometimes is exactly that... have a look at what you can achieve with an iPhone, provided you have the right lighting. And stylists. And model. Oh, and retouch artist. But still, point proven I think.

Enjoy the video on how it was done. Thanks to FStoppers for the inspiration.