Present in China exhibition Che Photographer

Exposure Photographer Che, a collection of snapshots taken by Ernesto Che Guevara during his whole life, was presented today to the press in the capital, on the eve of its official unveiling at the Three Shadows gallery.

Camilo Guevara March, son of the Heroic Guerrilla and project director of the Che Guevara Studies Center, said that it is a kind of autobiography, because through those images can be interested to know what this man of legend.

Guevara March said complacency because China is the first country in Asia where comes this exposure, given the admiration and respect he felt the Che for this nation and its people. The show has toured more than 10 countries in Latin America and Europe.

The exhibition, which will be officially opened tomorrow with a ceremony in which participate the Moncada Cuban musical group, is headquartered Gallery of Photographic Arts Center Three Shadows (Three Shadows), located in Chaoyang District.

Jilian Schultz, director of International Programs at the center, said the emotion he felt when he discovered the artist Che, which considers it an honor and a pleasure. He noted that this presentation is the efforts of several countries like China, Cuba and the United States.

In his introductory remarks to the packed news conference, said Guevara March artistic and aesthetic value of the photographic work and even remembered his father worked as a professional photographer for the 1955 Pan American Games held in Mexico City.

He added that the snapshots show the various stages of the life of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, in snapshots of ancient civilizations like the Maya, people, people, projects of the Cuban revolution, places he visited as a representative of Cuba, including several Southeast Asian schools, among others.

He explained that despite his busy schedule and the short time available, the Heroic Guerrilla known worldwide as a space dedicated always taking pictures of subjects that interested him.

In today’s meeting, in addition to the local and foreign press, attended artists, diplomats, friends and admirers of Cuba charismatic man known in every corner of the world.

You Probably Couldn’t Survive In Oymyakon, The World’s Coldest City

What's it like to live and work in the coldest inhabited place on Earth? Photographer Amos Chapple shares his stories from the frozen cities of Siberia.

For most people, Oymyakon—the world's coldest permanently settled area, located a few hundred miles from the Arctic Circle in the Russian tundra—wouldn't be a top-of-the-list travel destination. But for New Zealand photographer Amos Chapple, it offered an opportunity he couldn't refuse. Working as an English teacher in Russia to support his travel photography, Chapple viewed a trip to Oymyakon—and its nearest city, Yakutsk (576 miles away)—as a chance to embark on a unique photography project.

"There's this idea that to be seen as a serious photographer, you have to seek out suffering in the world," says Chapple, who worked as a news photographer in New Zealand for years before branching into travel photography. "I wanted to take a photojournalistic approach to stories that are not negative, not nasty. I was looking for a headline that I could hang a picture story on, and coldest place in the world is a good example of that."

Temperatures in Yakutsk peak at around minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the month of January, but Chapple describes the city as cosmopolitan and surprisingly wealthy. Settled in large part due to an abundance of natural resources around it (diamonds, oil and gas are all plentiful), Yakutsk is an economically vibrant place. Still, it's extremely remote: six time zones away from Moscow, there is a small airport but no railway, and the town boasts but one major road leading in and out of it. Known as the "Road of Bones," it was built by gulag inmates under Stalin's regime.

During the Soviet era, the government paid workers bonuses to move to climatically unappealing areas. The promise of riches enticed thousands of workers to Yakutsk, where they mingled with the indigenous ethnic population, known as the Yakuts, and laborers who remained from the gulag system to turn the provincial outpost into a major regional city. Today, Alrosa—the corporate giant that supplies 20 percent of the world's rough diamonds—is headquartered in the region. Because of the city's abundance of natural resources, and its resident's extra wealth from working in the coldest city on Earth, Yakutsk is an expensive place to live in and to visit. Women wear a winter uniform of fur coats, which entice Siberian burglars even more than stashes of money, since they can be resold for thousands of dollars. "If you say that your family is Siberian, quite probably you are rich, just from doing pretty simple work," Chapple says.

It's also an expensive city to sustain: emergency fuel shipments to Siberian cities cost Russia an estimated $500 million per year. According to Clifford Gaddy, an economist with the Brookings Institution who co-authored the book The Siberian Curse, it would be less expensive for the country to simply fly laborers into Siberia to extract the natural resources and then fly them out again instead of paying to keep Siberian cities functioning. Building in Yakutsk is also challenging because the city is constructed on continuous permafrost—13 feet below the surface, Yakutsk's soil holds steady at 17 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter the temperature of the air. Normally, the soil (a combination of sand and frozen ice) is hard as a rock and nearly impenetrable, but around the edges, and when the ice begins to warm, the soil thaws to a powdery consistency. If a building is constructed on thawing permafrost—or the heat from the structure speeds thawing—its foundation can quickly become unstable. To account for this challenge, every building in Yakutsk is built on underground stilts.

Contrasted against Yakutsk's relatively cosmopolitan comforts, the villages of the greater Sakha Republic (of which Yakutsk is the capital) are frozen hamlets. To get to Oymyakon​, which set the record in 1933 as the coldest place on Earth with a temperature of minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit, Chapple had to travel for two days via a combination of shared vans and hitchhiking. At one point, he was stranded for two days at a gas station. "​I was eating reindeer meat for two days​," Chapple says, recalling the small cafe and teahouse, ironically named Cafe Cuba, that served as his sole option for food during that time. "Reindeer was the staple meat of the tundra.​"

Reindeer isn't the only thing that inhabitants of the coldest region on Earth eat, but their diet skews meat-heavy. Chapple also ate a dish of macaroni pasta and frozen chunks of horse blood, as well as a Yakutian specialty of thinly shaved frozen fish. "It's basically like frozen sashimi, and it's divine," he says. "Somehow the texture of the frozen fish, with the warm bits at the end, is very distinctive and delicious."

When he arrived in Oymyakon, whose population hangs at around 500 permanent inhabitants, Chapple was struck by the emptiness of the place. "The streets were just empty. I had expected that they would be accustomed to the cold and there would be everyday life happening in the streets, but instead people were very wary of the cold," he says. "It felt extremely desolate. It wasn't, but everything was happening indoors, and I wasn't welcome indoors." In the hours Chapple spent wandering the village streets, his main companions were street dogs or village drunks (alcoholism is rampant in Oymyakon).

Still, life in the village goes on. Schools don't close unless the temperatures fall below minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Farmers bring their cows to the village's watering hole—a "thermal" spring that stays a few degrees above freezing—then lead them back to their insulated stables. The thermal spring is the village's lifeblood, its entire reason for existence: reindeer herders would visit the spring in order to hydrate their herds, returning again and again until the village became a permanent settlement (Oymyakon literally means "unfrozen water"). 

Living in the coldest inhabited place on Earth does have some distinct drawbacks, however. Bathrooms are mostly outdoors, because indoor plumbing presents a challenge due to frozen pipes. Residents have cars, but must leave them running outside, sometimes overnight, so the mechanics don't freeze up. Even so, sometimes more extreme measures are necessary. "A guy I was staying with left his car running all night, but even so, in the morning, the drive shaft was completely frozen. Without any ceremony, he pulled out a little flamethrower, went under the truck and started fanning the bottom of his truck with a flamethrower," Chapple says. "It's part of the toolkit [for living in Oymyakon], a little flamethrower."

Photos From the Coldest City on Earth

Yakutian woman amidst the fog of city center – created by cars, people, and steam from factories, the fog is thick and heavy through the coldest weeks of winter. (Amos Chapple) 

As New England braces for what many have called a “historic snowstorm”, one city in particular has it even worse, and just about every single day. People in Oymyakon, Russia face frigid temperatures like no other place on Earth. Located just a few hundred miles from the Arctic Circle, Oymyakon is the world’s coldest permanently settled area, nestled deep in the Russian tundra.

New Zealand photographer Amos Chapple recently made an expedition to the region to document the daily life of its inhabitants. Chapple found that the residents of Yakutsk, the nearest city in the region, were surprisingly wealthy and described the city as cosmopolitan. The affluence comes from the plentiful resources around Yakutsk including oil, gas, and diamonds. But is it worth it?

The photos below document the obstacles of life in such bitter conditions (the average January temperature is a bitter -34 °Fahrenheit) as well as the strength and determination of the people who live there.

Working two weeks on and two weeks off, employees of isolated regional 24-hour gas stations are vital to ensure that the economy can keep running in spite of inclement conditions.

Statues of soldiers stand frozen in a park dedicated to the fallen of World War II.

It isn’t only people who have to deal with the dangerous conditions; a dog curls up to sleep and keep warm in the carpark outside of Café Cuba.

Constructed by gulagged prison workers and known as the “Road of Bones”, Russia’s Kolyma Highway is the only major land route into or out of Yakutsk.

A dog hesitantly makes its way onto the street near an icy bus stop in Yakutsk.

One of the first governors of Yakutia, this bust of Ivan Kraft stands covered in ice for the majority of the year.

Someone’s summer shoes hanging inside a shed in the Yakutsk suburbs, waiting out the long and frigid winter.

A swirl of steam and freezing mist surrounds a woman as she enters Preobrazhensky Cathedral, the largest in Yakutsk.

On a day of -63 °F, a woman covers her face with her mitten to protect it from the dangerous cold. In the background a statue of former Vladimir Lenin can be seen.

Ice-covered houses like the one shown here are common sights in the middle of Yakutsk.

There is no need for refrigeration at the public market; the frigid air ensures that the fish as well as the rabbit stay frozen and fresh until they can be sold.

Harvard University offers free online photography course

The Harvard Open Courses , of Harvard University , in partnership with offers a free online course on digital photography, lasting 10-15 hours.

Course modules can be accessed through the official site . Before performing the first access, the student must register onthe site Alison . 

The course covers the main topics about digital photography, including: exposure settings; reading the histogram; camera sensor work; camera lens; shooting processing using the computer software and others. Upon completion of the course, students will have dominion over the operation of digital cameras.

The course shall issue a certificate of completion for students who complete all modules and pontuarem 80% or more in each of the assessments.

If you work, study or have an interest in photography, do not miss this opportunity to increase their knowledge without leaving home!

Hubble’s High-Definition Panoramic View of the Andromeda Galaxy

This sweeping bird's-eye view of a portion of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is the sharpest image ever taken of our galactic next-door neighbor. Image credit: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler
The largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image ever assembled, this sweeping bird’s-eye view of a portion of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is the sharpest large composite image ever taken of our galactic next-door neighbor. 

Though the galaxy is over 2 million light-years away, The Hubble Space Telescope is powerful enough to resolve individual stars in a 61,000-light-year-long stretch of the galaxy’s pancake-shaped disk. It's like photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand. And there are lots of stars in this sweeping view -- over 100 million, with some of them in thousands of star clusters seen embedded in the disk.

This ambitious photographic cartography of the Andromeda galaxy represents a new benchmark for precision studies of large spiral galaxies that dominate the universe's population of over 100 billion galaxies. Never before have astronomers been able to see individual stars inside an external spiral galaxy over such a large contiguous area. Most of the stars in the universe live inside such majestic star cities, and this is the first data that reveal populations of stars in context to their home galaxy.

Hubble traces densely packed stars extending from the innermost hub of the galaxy seen at the left. Moving out from this central galactic bulge, the panorama sweeps from the galaxy's central bulge across lanes of stars and dust to the sparser outer disk. Large groups of young blue stars indicate the locations of star clusters and star-forming regions. The stars bunch up in the blue ring-like feature toward the right side of the image. The dark silhouettes trace out complex dust structures. Underlying the entire galaxy is a smooth distribution of cooler red stars that trace Andromeda’s evolution over billions of years.

Because the galaxy is only 2.5 million light-years from Earth, it is a much bigger target in the sky than the myriad galaxies Hubble routinely photographs that are billions of light-years away. This means that the Hubble survey is assembled together into a mosaic image using 7,398 exposures taken over 411 individual pointings.

The panorama is the product of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) program. Images were obtained from viewing the galaxy in near-ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelengths, using the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3 aboard Hubble. This cropped view shows a 48,000-light-year-long stretch of the galaxy in its natural visible-light color, as photographed with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys in red and blue filters.

The panorama is being presented at the 225th Meeting of the Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington.

NASA is exploring our solar system and beyond to understand the universe and our place in it. We seek to unravel the secrets of our universe, its origins and evolution, and search for life among the stars. Today’s announcement shares the discovery of our ever-changing cosmos, and brings us closer to learning whether we are alone in the universe.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

For images and more information about Hubble, visit: or

Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.

Happy New Year's from President of United Photo Press

Good evening to all present here tonight. We are grateful for the presence of All.

All these different individuals from UNITED PHOTO PRESS have their own values and norms, and together they form a multitude of Being, which is what we would like to discuss tonight.

We would like to talk about welfare. What does welfare mean to each of you? What makes you feel prosperous at times? Welfare is often based on matter. The welfare state and welfare states are slaves of the economy. If the economy is in decline, welfare declines too. As a result, welfare states − which are based on matter and on collecting matter − will become increasingly vulnerable.

The reason being that if matter disappears or diminishes, the welfare state will become shaky and cracks will appear. In fact, the first small cracks are already present.

The credit crisis has been perfect for the inhabitants of planet Earth. Again it shows that people are hugely dependent on each other. Everything that is based on matter and on the current economic model will become shaky. There are no securities anymore. Predictions cannot be relied on anymore, so where is welfare to be found? What is welfare based on? Know that every prosperous welfare state will become very vulnerable − not only for attacks but also for credit crises.

Whatever may happen, your current system of norms and values will change. The credit crisis has shown that countries are very much dependent on another. Even countries that do not have any ties can influence each other. Mass production and everything that has to do with the economy creates vulnerability, for you cannot guarantee the production of a product if a certain part cannot be delivered anymore. If a certain kind of energy cannot be supplied anymore, things will go wrong. These are the pillars of what you call welfare. Welfare in all its forms has become unsteady because it is based on the wrong norms and on the wrong values. They were very valuable for a long period of time but modernisation cannot be stopped anymore. There will be a different form of solidarity. People will see the need for creating a new kind of solidarity, to which the climate contributes as well.

Greater cooperation will be required, a more global cooperation of all forces on Earth. Individual forces will not change things; only cooperation can prevent disasters. Let’s go back to the topic of welfare. If we would have to define welfare, our definition would include: food, water, healthier air and, naturally, investing in the individual. In this way each human being will be able to develop his or her unique qualities to become an even more valuable human being for society, which will create a valuable sense of belonging to a group, to the people of a nation. Imagine all inhabitants of the Earth, its people, each single one, would feel valuable – there would no longer be any conflicts anymore.

Look at the youth which en masse gets together on the streets and cause uproar. Which norms and values do they represent? What does so-called welfare have in store for them? They feel turned away. They feel misunderstood and hence they create uproar. They do not count, they do not feel valuable. If you look at groupings which create terror and suppression, look at their norms and values and their sense of being valuable. Often these groupings consist of individuals who have a huge inferiority complex. If the value of each human being will become important again, if people invest in their personal individual norms and values – not in welfare, which aims at matter – many conflicts could be avoided. Those groupings that create uproar − know that they do this because of their inferiority complex, because of a feeling of being misunderstood and of a sense of not belonging. Solidarity is what it is all about. And, dear all, it is not about anything to do with masses, such as mass production, mass distribution or suppression of the masses in the name of the economy.

The individual will triumph, because through crises and shortage people become creative again. They will bring forward creative solutions which will not necessarily result in mass production. Eventually it will turn out that these creative solutions are less vulnerable, for it is mass production which is incredibly vulnerable. So prioritise yourself. Invest in yourself. What are your values? What are your qualities? Get a job in which you can fully express those qualities. Let your norms and values be important for yourself as an individual, and do not impose them on someone else.

Let everyone live their lives according to their own norms and values. And set an example, especially for children. They are the future. If you watch closely, a lot is happening to children right now. New age children are about to swing into action and the newer new age children are on their way. They are more sensitive, more vulnerable and at the same time more powerful. They will not accept norms and values which do not feel right for them. They will not blindly accept things. They know that they know a lot. They know that they are wise. They know that they are valuable. Consider each child to be a valuable addition to your life and know that rebellious children actually feel inferior; they feel that their qualities do not matter.

If people invest more in these children, in individuals and not in the masses, there will be much more harmony. So try to be your individual self for the upcoming year 2015, according to your values and to your norms. Try to be valuable for yourself and for others. In this way you will help creating a new sense of welfare. The old notion of welfare will anyhow disappear, because it is based on old norms and old values. Modernisation will set in more and more quickly. You think that things are moving fast and things do move quickly, but they can move even faster. If you take a look around, you can already notice the change. Conflicts that now arise, are often solved more quickly too. Areas in which conflicts have prevailed will gradually move along with the modernisation, and slowly but surely peace and harmony will settle there because of changing norms and values.

Take a look at yourself. Forgive yourself for what you would have done wrong. Forgive yourself for the judgements and prejudices you still hold. And send this feeling and energy to the areas which have been in conflict for ages. The conflicts seem insolvable between the different groups, different norms and values, which are often based on pride and self-interest. Send the energy of forgiveness to these areas. The conflicts can only be solved if people forgive, if people put themselves aside and prioritise their society and their children, who are the future of those areas. So take a look inside – many things have already happened this year, in 2014.

We have already mentioned it before. Being connected with things known as ‘paranormal’ will turn out to be a privilege. Paranormal, just outside the normal and yet not the abnormal – it will turn out to be more and more valuable to be connected with your intuition, with your feeling, or with your higher guidance. This is the best navigation you can have in these stormy times. And you will feel increasingly normal, because many people will awaken. Many people become more inquisitive, they will become more familiar with what they consider to be paranormal, which will become increasingly normal. The tide will be turning and it cannot be stopped. Things ‘paranormal’ will become normal.

And the normal will become paranormal. We will get another society, which is based on different norms and values. True brotherhood and sisterhood − gone will be the times when people thought they were merely an inhabitant of planet Earth. As a tiny individual you are part of a large community, of a family, of a street, of a village, town or city, of a country, of a continent, of the Earth, of the Universe – and in this grandeur you, as a tiny individual, are important. Just one small seed can spread and multiply, so stay in tune with your navigation. Invest in your personal values, express your qualities and live your individual life. Do not let others decide for you, and the more you are able to live your own life, the more easy it will be to regularly adjust to the needs and wishes of other people.

You will not feel that you neglect yourself. So balance investing in yourself and investing in society – indeed, both aspects – and it will be a win-win situation. You as an individual will become more and more valuable. Try to smile at a stranger at least once a day. It would be a blessing and it would bring about an enormous flow of harmony in the year 2015, because just one smile can set off a chain reaction of smiles.

Go for it – we wish you a year full of welfare.


Singer Joe Cocker is dead at 70

Joe Cocker, the British blues-rock singer whose raspy voice brought plaintive soul to such hits as "You Are So Beautiful" and the duet "Up Where We Belong," died Monday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 70.

Cocker's performing career spanned some 50 years, from Woodstock, where he sang the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," to the digital-music era. He had tour dates scheduled well into 2015.

"Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love," tweeted Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.

Cocker began as a singer in England at the same time as the Beatles, with whom he was often linked. He played pubs across the country in a series of rock bands before he and his Grease Band recorded "With a Little Help From My Friends" in 1968 with Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood and others.

Joe Cocker: From Woodstock to digital music
Photos: People we lost in 2014

The song became a No. 1 hit in England and propelled him to Woodstock, where his passionate live version was a festival highlight and launched his U.S. career.

Cocker scored another major success in the early 1970s with "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," a live album and concert film.

"Up Where We Belong," his duet with Jennifer Warnes from the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman," was Cocker's biggest U.S. hit, topping the Billboard singles charts in 1982. It also won him a Grammy, and the Oscar for best original song.

Cocker was known for his spasmodic movements on stage, where he often flailed his arms as he sang. His distinctive moves, he said, were almost accidental.

"I never played organ or piano or guitar, so it was more out of frustration and me just trying to impersonate in a way," Cocker told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times in 2012. "I did it subconsciously. People mistook for me being ill, like I had palsy. I'm not nearly so demonstrative now, but I still have my own way of feeling the rhythm."

Cocker also had lesser hits with covers of torch classic "Cry Me a River," Traffic's "Feeling Alright," the Boxtops' "The Letter" and the Beatles' "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window."

In the 1980s his witty cover of Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On," was featured in the erotic drama "9 1/2 Weeks" and became a strip-tease anthem.

To all a Christmas Light and Harmony and a New Year filled with Peace and Prosperity !

Carlos Alves de Sousa / President of United Photo Press 

Dear members, colleagues, friends and employees in general

During 2014, once again you were companions of our daily toil. In the balance of the days we rely on the strength and the support of each of you, is attending our activities, is helping us in spreading our various actions held around the world.

We can not always thank one by one the way as you or deserve, but I would note that in these 21 years of international leadership of President of United Photo Press , felt so supported and attended by all my co-workers worldwide, as this arduous undertaking to chair an international organization with recognized prestige. The year 2014 was marked by days of joy, sharing, intense walk, great discoveries, a harmony that can not be translated into simple words. One would have to feel, to live each moment, be every move, to have an understanding of this year, the picture remains more than some think and others dream ... like marriage ...!

As some more direct members of United Press Photo know, it took nine months of continuous work on four continents, to put the exhibition and the international book "WORLD 2014" in the air, which had a total of 900 selected photos from 300 photographers and painters United Photo Press worldwide.

International recognition came for the "European Photo Safety", in which we will present the photographic exhibition and the book "WORLD 2015," as well as start the year 2015 with a photographic and painting exhibition at the House of Culture Setúbal, Portugal.

Since time is of reflection and climate changes that affect us all, are already part of our day-to-day, United Photo Press, always attentive and participative in the "green lines" of our ECO page | WORLD with a large environmental component, will prepare the project for 2015, along with several environmental and other partners, a mega international competition for future exhibition and book, called "ECO | WORLD" which will be part of the photographic component and plastic arts in all its aspects.

It's Christmas, the good will be away from us sorrow, and not allow ourselves to grieve with concerns, the future belongs to all of us ... I just want to thank you all for walk these 20 years.

To all a Christmas Light and Harmony and a New Year filled with Peace and Prosperity!

Carlos Alves de Sousa
President of United Photo Press 

This photo just went for a world record $8.3 million

Australian photographer Peter Lik sold his photograph named 'Phantom' for $US6.5 million ($7.85 million). Image cropped from
Australian photographer Peter Lik will rarely pass up an opportunity to show his biceps. There he was, wearing a cowboy hat, trekking up a snowy mountainside, arms bare. There he was, behind the wheel of a green truck, flexing. And there he was, straddling an arid dune, triceps sunburned.

Lik is even less shy about his accomplishments. He describes himself both as the "world's most influential fine art photographer" as well as "one of the most important artists of the 21st century." It's obvious promotional hype, but Lik does indeed now command worldwide distinction.

This week, he sold a photograph named Phantom, showing a shaft of light cutting through a monochromatic Arizona landscape. The price: US$6.5 million (NZ$8.3 million). That's reportedly the most ever paid for a photograph. (The identity of the buyer wasn't disclosed, but his lawyer, Joshua Roth of Los Angeles, vouched for him in a press release.)

The sale was only the latest big-time score for the Australian photographer, who has made a career out of shooting landscapes and wearing cowboy hats. Despite Lik's "dismissal by art critics," as one paper put it, his shtick nonetheless has great resonance among buyers — to the consternation of staid art experts.

"In 2014, Peter shattered all world records by selling the most expensive photograph in history," his website said. "… To accompany this sale, Peter's images Illusion and Eternal Moods were also acquired for US$2.4 million and US$1.1 million, respectively. Along with his sale of One for US$1 million in 2010, Peter now holds four spots out of the top 20 most expensive photographs ever sold."

The list he joins includes some of the world's most-established photographers, including Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Wall. They're all considered artists of the highest order who broadened the conceptual limits of photography and held exhibitions in some of the world's most prestigious galleries. Most of their priciest work sold at auction houses. And now, there's Lik, whose US$6.5 million photograph sold privately. How has this relatively unknown outsider done it?

Peter Lik
Australian photographer Peter Lik has sold four of the world's 20 most expensive photographs, according to his website.

It begins with a level of salesmanship unusual for an artist: Lik did a short-lived reality TV show called From the Edge, for example. He also advertised on the Jumbotron in Times Square.

But to Guardian Art Critic Jonathan Jones, Lik's "Phantom" says more about the growing role of technology in photography than it does art — a label he doesn't think Lik's work warrants. "Phantom is a black-and-white shot taken in Antelope Canyon, Arizona," he wrote. "The fact that it is in black and white should give us pause. Today, this deliberate use of an outmoded style can only be nostalgic and affected, an 'arty' special effect. We've all got that option in our photography software. Yeah, my pics of the Parthenon this summer looked really awesome in monochrome. Lik's photograph is of course beautiful in a slick way, but beauty is cheap if you point a camera at a grand phenomenon of nature."

But that's pretty much all Lik does. He describes himself as "synonymous" with "pristine images" of nature, which he pursues with the restless ebullience of the Crocodile Hunter. "The quality of production and [his] imagery is great," Megan Dick, the director of Australia's MiCK gallery, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "The quality of art is not." She said art was driven by ideas — not documentation. "Being such a literal interpretation of the subject, landscape photography is more in the realm of documentary rather than art."

Some art experts haven't been able to figure out how, then, his artwork has sold for so much. They're pretty, no doubt, in the way that your desktop background and screensaver are pretty. But with millions of dollars at stake, does prettiness cut it? "These prices are very high and certainly, in terms of other successful photographic artists, seem somewhat bizarre," the Herald quoted art consultant David Hulme saying. Commenting on one of Lik's pieces that went for $US1 million (NZ$1.28 million), he added: "I don't fancy the owner's chances of recouping anywhere near what he paid for this one."

That assessment hasn't stopped Lik from selling. Take it from photographer Scott Reither, who also sells pictures and once worked as one of Lik's salesmen. He wrote a lengthy blog post on his travails in which he spoke of hustling photographs like a used car salesman and pushing fine art on a Las Vegas clientele caught up in "impulsive behaviour while visiting Sin City." Reither said he sold $US700,000 worth of Lik's photography in seven months and quit, unable to "stomach it any further."

"I felt like I had to feed people a bunch of lies," he wrote, questioning the "absurd pricing structure for the not-very limited editions of 950″ prints: "I know the subject of art and value is a touchy and sensitive subject, and I know there's plenty of foolish people that will pay a ridiculous amount of money for something solely because it's priced at a ridiculous amount of money … the discussion with prospective buyers had to become about value, [and] I was done because I did not believe in the value of the product."

The Guardian's Jonathan Jones likewise questions the value of the US$6.5 million Phantom. He said Lik merely took an already stunning view and "added nothing of value to what was already there. … Someone has been very foolish with their money, mistaking the picturesque for high art."

15 Health Foods That Are Actually Bad For You

15 Health Foods That Are Actually Bad For You
More and more people aware of how important it is to avoid unhealthy food. However, there are some unhealthy foods that are considered healthy and that can be a great problem. Some of them may come as a surprise, like those marked as low fat or fat free. Surprisingly, many of the foods on the list are still unknown as hidden junk food and you will be quite shocked when you realize how many of them you buy on regular basis. So take a good look at this list of 15 health foods that are actually not so healthy and that you should avoid buying and eating.

1. Salad dressings are loaded with sugar, trans fats artificial chemicals and vegetable oils. Although the are considered to be based on vegetables and vegetables are supposed to be healthy, they are not so tasty on their own. Commercial salad dressings have such great and rich taste thanks to all these additives that are not good for our health. So try eating your veggies without additional flavor, because it adds too much junk to your healthy plate.

2. Lately, more and more people conclude that whole “war” on saturated fat was just a big mistake. It was based on few strong evidences from the very beginning, but many “low fat” and “fat free” foods have made their way to buyers just because people thought these foods were actually healthier. The things is, when you remove fat from foods, it becomes less tasty. To change that, many commercial food producers have started to add sugar to compensate the fat and taste loss. As you can see, this has nothing to do with your actual weight loss, on the contrary, it may be more harmful to your health than you think!

3. Fruit juices are believed to be very healthy. On most of them you can see how they contain great amounts of vitamin C or how them come from the ripest and extremely fresh fruit. But, the truth is- the juice you can find in the supermarket isn’t really fruit juice. In some cases these fruit juices don’t contain any fruit at all! They just taste like fruit because of the chemicals in them. So basically, you are drinking water with fruit-flavored chemicals. Don’t think that products that guarantee 100 % quality fruit juice are any better. The sad truth is- all of them are loaded with sugar.

4. Cholesterol lowering phytosterols probably sound like something good to your health. Phytosterols are actually plant versions of cholesterol and according to some studies, they have shown the ability to lower blood cholesterol in humans. Because of this, they are frequently added to processed foods and marked as foods that lower bad cholesterol. Some other studies have shown that even though they lower cholesterol levels, these phytosterols have negative impact on cardiovascular system and therefore may increase the risk of heart disease.

5. Whole wheat products are not always made of whole wheat. Whole wheat bread may even contain similar glycemic index as white bread. In fact, the whole story around whole wheat bread may be a bad idea. The reason for this is that the wheat we know nowadays is very unhealthy comparing to wheat our ancestors ate. In sixties, scientists made some changes in wheat genes to increase the yield. Because of this, modern wheat is much less nutritious and it may even cause health problems for people who are intolerant to gluten. They may even cause inflammation and cholesterol levels, so the best solution may be to avoid bread in general.

6. When you think of butter, you probably think of it as something extremely unhealthy, even deadly. Instead of eating butter, some health experts suggest margarine. Few decades ago, margarine was very high in trans fats. Nowadays, it contains less trans fats but still, it is has a lot of refined vegetable oils. But let’s define what margarine actually is. It is not food, but an assembly of chemicals and refined oils that make you think it looks and tastes good. According to some studies, people who have transferred from butter to margarine are more likely to suffer from a heart disease. So try to avoid margarine instead of replacing butter with it.

7. Low carb junk food may be the only worse thing than the regular junk food. However, many people still believe in power of low carb being printed on the bag of their favorite chips. This is because low carb diets have been very popular for many decades. But, don’t be fooled by quality of low fat junk food. If you take a closer look at the ingredients, you will see that there is no actual food there, just a bunch of chemical and highly refined ingredients. In short, everything that can seriously harm your health. Of course, low carb junk food is harmful when eaten regularly.

8. Sports drinks were initially made for athletes and people who exercise a lot. They contain electrolytes and sugar, which are good for athletes in many cases. On the other hand, most of other people who do not exercise on regular basis do not need any additional electrolytes (salts) and they most certainly do not need more sugar. Also, don’t be fooled by “lower amounts” of sugar in these drinks. The only difference between sports drinks and regular sodas is that sport drinks contain a bit less sugar than juice you buy in your supermarket. If you want to stay hydrated, try drinking water and avoid drinks with too much sugar.

9. Agave nectar is considered to be one of alternatives for sugar. It is also called agave syrup and it can be found in many health foods, but the problem is- agave syrup or nectar is not that healthy at all. The main problem with sugar in the first place is that it contains large amounts of fructose, which can give you metabolic problems when we consume it excessively. Sugar is 50 % fructose but agave nectar contains, wait for it, impressive 70-90 %. The conclusion is- agave nectar is actually not better than sugar, it is worse.

10. Vegan junk food is getting more and more popular since more and more people are becoming vegan and they kind of miss junk food from their past lives. Vegan diets are promoted in order to improve health, but vegan junk food is not as good for you as you may think. Many processed vegan foods on the market are often sold as a replacement for yummy junk food you know is very bad. The most important thing is to keep in mind that even though it is vegan, junk food is junk food. In other words, processed food will always be bad for your health, no matter how close to vegan it may get.

11. Processed organic food is another example of brands using the word “organic” just to make the buyers believe they are actually buying something healthy. Here’s one example: they use ingredients like organic raw cane sugar, which is basically the same as the regular sugar. It still contains the same amounts of glucose and fructose and it contains nothing nutritious whatsoever. So the real difference between processed organic and processed regular food does not exist. Processed food means a lot of additives in both cases. If you are not sure, just check the ingredients and if all you can see are chemicals, put down the bar and get away from the store.

12. Brown rice syrup (you may also know it as rice malt syrup) is another wrong sugar alternative. By wrong we mean it is not any healthier than regular sugar. Brown rice syrup is mad by exposing cooked rice to enzymes that break the starch into simple sugars. This sweetener has a glycemic index of 98, which actually means that the glucose spikes blood sugar very fast. Another reason why brown rice syrup is bad for you is because it is highly refined and has no nutrients. Also, there were some concerns about arsenic contamination in syrup, so maybe it is better to avoid these kinds of sweeteners in general.

13. People mostly use seed and vegetable oils, including soybean oil, canola oil and others. The reason for this is the fact that these oils have shown to lower cholesterol levels (in short terms, at least). However, keep in mind that cholesterol is actually a risk factor, not a disease. That means that vegetable oils cannot guarantee prevention of heart attack, heart diseases or lower cholesterol in some cases. There are even some studies according to which vegetable oils, despite lowering cholesterol, can increase the risk of heart diseases or even death. Instead of eating foods prepared with these oils try coconut oil and olive oil.

14. Gluten-free junk food is a real superstar in holy world of food. This is because about a third of the US is actively trying to avoid gluten. Since gluten has become the world’s biggest enemy, many food manufacturers have come up with a whole bunch of new gluten-free products that are supposedly the best food choice you can make. Don’t forget these products are still junk food, besides the fact they contain no gluten. These are highly processed foods and contain absolutely no nutrients. Instead of lying to yourself, eat foods that are naturally gluten-free and not gluten-free junk foods.

15. Many popular breakfast cereals are marked as healthy day start and are marketed towards children. Many of them also have signs such as “whole grain” and “low fat”. But at the second glance, the list of ingredients shows that only thing you can actually find in your box of cereals is sugar and some more sugar. Refined grains and artificial chemicals are also often included. The sad truth is, when a box says its healthy in lots of font sizes and styles, it probably isn’t. A regular oat meal is not as fun as colorful box of chemicals, but it can save your life if you think in long terms.

The sex dolls that look REAL: Fashion photographer makes the fake women look startlingly life-like in glamour shoot

Female sex dolls have been around for decades. 

But until now, the rubber women have taken on an extremely fake quality, with even the untrained eye able to spot one from a mile off. 

But in this new photo shoot by New York fashion photographer Stacy Leigh, many of the toys appear very human-like.
The collection of love dolls worth up to £4,000 each, have been carefully dressed and posed as if they are taking part in a glamour shoot.

Stacy, 43, decided to create her project, which she calls 'Average Americans' to prove how anyone could find themselves fancying mannequin-like dolls, taking the stigma away from those who use them.

She said: 'Men and women both use the dolls as replacements for human companionship, whether by choice or necessity.'

'I believe it's perfectly fine if it makes one's journey through life more bearable.'
She continued: 'My photos are about life and relationships and sexuality.
'Some people are repulsed by the dolls, while others are empathetic towards them.
'As the world becomes more digital and less personal, dolls and robots will become more commonplace as surrogates for relationships.

'I can only hope that my photos spark an emotion or connection in the viewer.'

A world away from blow-up sex dolls of the past, love dolls or real dolls as they are also known, have become increasingly popular as they have become more realistic looking.

Many collectors refer to their love dolls as their 'girlfriends' and have full sexual relationships with them.When buying a love doll, customers can choose to customise everything from hair, eye and skin colour to boob size and even the shape and style of the vagina.

Stacy, who owns 12 real dolls, explained how she became involved in collecting and photographing her plastic subjects.

She said: 'I watched a TV show called REAL SEX on HBO that featured Real dolls.'
"I had always wanted a life size doll, as I have been collecting small fashion dolls since I was a child.

'I perused the internet with the intention of using a love doll as my sitting model for photography.

'When my first doll arrived, I began to photograph her and the rest is history.

'Over the last decade, my job has become far easier as manufacturers add more realism to their products.'

She continued: 'These days, for my personal projects- I add make up to completely confuse the viewer.

'I've added wrinkles and depth to the face, much in the same way I would a painting.
'I received accolades for my ability to pose, and 'breathe life' into them.
'Immediately, it became my goal to get better with each photo.'

Portugal awarded a record 17 Michelin stars

The 2015 Michelin Guide, widely considered to be the world’s most prestigious list of restaurants, has awarded Portugal a record 17 stars, with three restaurants boasting two-star prestige - two of which are in the Algarve.

At the Iberian unveiling of the 2015 guide in Marbella, Spain, last night (November 19), the Michelin Guide’s international director Michael Ellis said both Portugal and Spain are “two of the most gastronomically dynamic destinations in the world”, considering 2015 a “record-breaking” year for both countries.

Together, 183 Iberian restaurants received Michelin stars.

In Portugal, once again among the coveted two-star category are the Algarve’s Vila Vita Parc’s Ocean restaurant (Porches) led by Chef Hans Neuner (pictured) and Vila Joya (Albufeira) led by Chef Dieter Koschina, as well as Lisbon’s Belcanto, which reached the two-star ranking for the first time.

On the list of one-starred restaurants are the Algarve’s Willie’s (Vilamoura) and Henrique Leis (Almancil) restaurants, as well as Casa da Calçada (Amarante), Eleven (Lisbon), Feitoria (Lisbon), Fortaleza do Guincho (Cascais), Il Gallo D’ Oro (Funchal), L’And Vineyeards (Montemor-o-Novo) and The Yeatman (Vila Nova de Gaia).

Almancil’s São Gabriel restaurant in the Algarve regained its Michelin-star after its ownership and chef changed in 2013, while Porto’s Pedro Lemos received its first star.

In Spain, 169 restaurants received Michelin stars - eight of which now boast the maximum number of three.


Today, we meet them at every corner, they sit with sad eyes and mangled bodies.

Above is a mug a worn mug from a café or MC Donalds. They are dirty and eyes pray, pray for your coins something rattles in their mugs. If we look back in time was the most "A-puncher" or alcoholics on the street that disturbed environment with an unsteady gait and voice.

Those days are gone, we do not see alcoholics longer on the street, now is the beggar who has taken over every corner and in front of our stores around Sweden.

The creation myths of these people who all believe in, it's been prepared, you have cars driving them out around to beg, but is not always as you might think, I meet them every day, especially in the city, where they sit and waiting for the local bus that can take them to a store where they can sit and beg money for survival.

Many come in seasons often over the summer time when the weather is comfortable, now you can see them even in the fall when the cold has come, they bask in their worn throws and showing off photos of their children that waiting for there parents anywhere else in the world, pain, suffering in their eyes, and the tears to sit for a whole day outside a shop where all normal people buy their daily goods.

The looks from most people avoided and you feel a little uncomfortable, the old rumors about organized activity has taken effect, even if there is a poor man begging for his life, at home waiting poverty and a life without a future.
The world is changing...

Tommy Hammarsten United Photo Press 2014