Surfing dogs were definitely this weekend's best sports highlight

The seventh annual Surf City Surf Dog contest was held this weekend in Huntington Beach, Calif. (We'll excuse you if it escaped your radar.) Sixty-four pooches competed in the charity shindig, according to the Orange County Register, which also reports of "a red carpet event with 'puparazzi,' a costume contest and an International Surf Dog Walk of Fame that recognized three standout surfing dogs."

Event producer Lisa Scolman told the paper the Surf City Surf Dog contest has seen its number of canine participants double since year one.

“What’s not to love about dogs surfing? It’s growing: Every year there’s more dogs learning to do it,” Scolman said. (For proof of this apparently burgeoning sport's popularity, look no further than a similar contest held in Southern California last month.)

First, second and third-place finishers were awarded across a range of categories — there was even a tandem competition, but now let's get down to what's really important: AMAZING PHOTOS OF DOGS LITERALLY SURFING ON SURFBOARDS. Behold:

ISABELLE TESIER: "I Want To Be Single -- But With You"

Isabelle Teissier / United Photo Press
Canadian writer Isabelle Teissier triumphs with a text presented by the desire to have a relationship with someone combined with the freedom of not being tied.

I want to be single with you.

I want you to go have a beer with your friends, for you to be hungover the next morning and ask me to join you anyway because you feel like having me in your arms, for us to nuzzle against one another. I want to talk in bed in the morning about all sorts of things, but sometimes, in the afternoon, I want us to decide to take different paths for the day.

I want you to tell me about your evenings with your friends. To tell me that there was a girl at the bar who gave​​ you the eye. I want you to send me text messages when you're drunk with your friends, for you to tell me unimportant things, just so you can be assured that I think of you, too.

I want us to laugh while we're making love. For us to we start laughing because we're trying new things and it just doesn't make sense. I want us to be with our friends, for you to take me by the hand and take me to another room because you cannot take it anymore and you feel like right there you have to make love to me. I want to try to stay silent because there are ears that could hear us.

I want to eat with you, want you to make me talk about me and for you to talk about you. I want us to rant about the North Shore vs. South Shore, West suburb versus East. I want to imagine the loft of our dreams, knowing that we will probably never move in together. For you tell me about your plans with neither head nor tail. I want to be surprised, for you to make me say: Take your passport; we're leaving.

I want to be afraid with you. To do things I would not do with anyone else, because with you I am confident! To return too drunk after a good evening with friends. For you to take my face, kiss me, use me like your pillow and squeeze me so tightly at night.

I want you to have your life, for you decide on a whim to travel for a few weeks. For you to leave me here alone bored and wishing for the small Facebook pop-up with your face that tells me "hi."

I don't always want to be invited for your evenings out and I don't always want to invite you to mine. Then I can tell you about it and hear you tell me about yours the next day.

I want something that will be both simple and at the same time not so simple. Something that will make sure that I often ask myself questions, but the minute I'm in the same room as you, I know. I want you to think I'm beautiful, for you to be proud to say that we're together. I want to hear you say you love me and I especially want to tell you in return. I want you to let me walk ahead of you so you can watch my bottom swing from left to right. For you to let me scrape the windows of my car in winter because my butt wiggles and it makes you smile.

I want to make plans not knowing whether or not they will be realized. To be in a relationship that is anything but clear. I want to be your good friend, the one with whom you love hanging out. I want you to keep your desire to flirt with other girls, but for you to come back to me to finish your evening. Because I will want to go home with you. I want to be the one with whom you love to make love and fall asleep. The one who stays away when you work and loves it when you get lost in your world of music. I want to live a single life with you. For our couple life, would be the equivalent of our single lives today, but together.

One day I will find you.

Francis Kurkdjian and Fabien Ducher, Changing History in a Bottle

The new rose created by the nose Francis Kurkdjian and the breeder Fabien Ducher. They spent six years ferreting out the ancestral chains of Damask and May roses to develop their hybrid, which they call Nevarte. Sophie Tajan / United Photo Press

Together, a fragrance legend and a horticultural pioneer have cultivated what could be the first new perfume rose in more than a century.

WHEN IT COMES TO perfumery, there is perhaps no flower or ingredient as important as the rose. It is as crucial to the alchemy of many fragrances as yeast is to making bread, an element both powerful and supple. In some scents it is the central facet, the essence of refined femininity. In others, it’s the magical, undetectable elixir. The rose is one of the few flowers that is not ‘‘mute’’ — that is, its smell can be extracted from its petals, unlike honeysuckle, peony or lilac, which have to be concocted in the lab — and technology has not been able to improve on it.

Perfume roses live in a different dimension from the ones we see most often: wax-perfect and upright as No. 2 pencils in a frosted vase, with no smell at all. The sueded petals of perfume blossoms are tethered to stems as willowy as a shoelace of licorice, on plants cultivated without an eye for garden beauty. They peak on a single early morning in ancient fields in obscure locations and must be plucked by hand before the sun turns them limp, robbing them of their redolence. Just yards away sit copper stills in which they are processed by methods that haven’t changed much in generations.

Yet what is perhaps more interesting is that the variety of roses used to make perfume haven’t changed in all that time either. Whereas cut-flower farms experiment constantly with new hybrids in a range of sometimes-unnatural colors, and large-scale nurseries perpetually tinker with new cultivars, from climbing varieties to the sorts that bloom even in the shade, today the perfume industry mainly uses just two sorts of roses for fragrances: the spicy Rosa damascena, or Damask rose, and sparkling, tangy Rosa centifolia, sometimes called May rose. Damascena, thought to have been cultivated in the Middle East around 500 B.C. and grown largely in Bulgaria, Turkey and Iran, accounts for about 95 percent of the world’s rose oil (a byproduct derived through steam distillation) and rose absolute (obtained through mixing in solvents). The more delicate, early blooming centifolia, stabilized as a hybrid in the 1870s in Grasse and still grown there as well as in Morocco, contributes the tiny remaining portion. Instead of seeking innovation with new cultivars, the perfume companies lean on the narrative of immutable history, the mythos of the historic fields, the lure of flowers unchanged through the generations, to counterbalance the fact that perfumes are largely made of synthetic ingredients. (Researchers have genetically mapped rose DNA, but the molecular version pales.)

Ducher’s farm near Gier, France, where the new hybrid rose will stay for two years before being climate-tested elsewhere. 

For years, this logic drove Francis Kurkdjian nearly mad. The celebrated 46-year-old nose, who created such classic scents as Narciso for Her and Gaultier’s Le Male as well as his own Maison Francis Kurkdjian, was frustrated that perfume roses existed in such a reductive binary. Considering how important the rose is to fragrance, how huge the fragrance business has become internationally, how much rose oil costs (it can take up to 60,000 roses to get a mere ounce of oil), why not breed a revolutionary blossom for modern times, one lusher or more fruity?

His quixotic odyssey began in earnest in 2009, when he was flying back to Paris from New York. The in-flight magazine contained an article on Fabien Ducher, 44, the scion of one of the world’s most famous rose-breeding clans. His family had created such classics as the world’s first modern yellow bloom in 1898 and the climbing variety that was a favorite of William Randolph Hearst and may have inspired Orson Welles to invoke the word ‘‘Rosebud’’ so poignantly. But because his relatives had dispersed, some into the cut-flower business, many of their historic hybrids were now mostly grown in rarefied botanical gardens. At the time, Ducher was traveling the world to gather cuttings and reassemble the collection at his farm near Gier, outside of Lyon. This is the guy, Kurkdjian thought, who would be willing to do something crazy. Crazy enough to be the first person in centuries to cultivate a new, third rose. Within weeks he was on the bullet train to Gier. It was a trip he would wind up taking dozens of times over six years. ‘‘It is,’’ he says, ‘‘this insane project that we cannot get out of our minds.’’

Walking with Kurkdjian and Ducher through their rustic botanical laboratory on a hillside, you are jolted alive by the scent. It wafts in waves from rows of plants and unruly six-foot-tall mounds covered in nodding, imperfect blooms that range from molten pink to blackish purple to the palest butter yellow. Some are the size of cantaloupes with up to a hundred dense peonylike petals, others as tiny and airy as Ping-Pong balls. The smell is rose but not rose: maroon noisette tinged with anise and Golden Delicious apple; Jacques truphemus, ballerina pink and ripe with verbena; startling white Mrs. Herbert Stevens, laden with comice pear and freesia.

Kurkdjian, whose frustration with the lack of diversity in perfume roses sparked a quixotic journey to create a fresher hybrid, at his studio in Paris.

It is not hard to make a rose redolent enough for the garden, but to breed one that will stand up to perfume processing is a challenge. Ducher and Kurkdjian traced back the ‘‘ancestors’’ of the two existing fragrance hybrids in a slew of combinations. It needed to have the perfect petals; not too thick and leathery, yet not tissue-thin. The scent had to be powerful enough to be steam distilled. The plants must be bred under the natural constraints of the field, and then must make it through the next winter as well as be regrown from seed to test for staying power. It takes five years to know if the flower will produce enough oil and resist disease and pests. Kurkdjian and Ducher, whose main tool is a slender sable-tipped paintbrush to spread the pollen of one plant onto the stamen of another, have spent dozens of near-dawn mornings sniffing madly, eyes shut beatifically.

One season nothing bloomed; another, there were ladybugs. In 2012, finally, the rose of their dreams pushed through the loamy soil and flowered. This spring, they were able to get two dozen plants whose pale pink blossoms had all the crisp, sweet lychee-strawberry power they had selected it for. Kurkdjian took one precious plant back to Paris with him, begging a friend who has a terrace to nurture it, calling daily to get progress reports and photos of the buds. The code name for the project pays tribute to his Armenian grandmother, Nevarte, whose name means ‘‘New Rose’’ in Armenian. She came to France as a young woman and was strong, too, a fighter. ‘‘You have to torture the flower in this process, so it has to be bold,’’ he says. Kurkdjian is looking for places to begin cultivation on a larger scale. As fall approaches, he and Ducher now have 50 plants — enough to get 1,000 roses next year, perhaps about a shot glass worth of oil. It’s a start. Within three years, they’ll have enough to make a batch of perfume.

How Many Deaths Did Volkswagen’s Deception Cause in U.S.?

A corporate logo of Volkswagen illuminated by the morning light at the plant of the German car manufacturer in Wolfsburg, Germany, last week.
Volkswagen’s diesel deception unleashed tons of extra pollutants in the United States, pollutants that can harm human health. So while many commentators have been quick to say that the cheating engines are not a highway safety concern, safety — as in health — is still an issue.

Unlike the ignition defect in General Motors vehicles that caused at least 124 people to die in car crashes, Volkswagen pollution is harder to link to individual deaths. But it is clear to public health researchers that the air pollutants the cars illegally emitted damage health, and they have formulas to calculate the lives lost from excess pollution. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency uses its own estimates of the health effects of air pollution to create its regulations of what’s allowed. After consulting with several experts in modeling the health effects of air pollutants, we calculated a death toll in the United States that, at its upper range, isn’t far off from that caused by the G.M. defect.

Volkswagen said last week that it had installed software in 11 million diesel cars that deceived emissions tests, allowing the vehicles to emit far more pollutants than regulations allowed. Our estimates examine only the impact on public health in the United States, but the effects were probably substantially higher in Europe, where the cars are much more common.

The chemicals that spewed illegally from the Volkswagen diesel cars — known as nitrogen oxides or NOx — have been linked to a host of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, as well as premature deaths.Nitrogen oxides are a byproduct of burning fossil fuels at high temperature, whether in cars, power plants or other machines like industrial boilers. The chemicals can be harmful to humans, and in warm, sunny conditions, they can also be converted into ground-level ozone, or smog, and particle pollution, which also harm health.

Nitrogen dioxide and ozone irritate the lungs, increasing airway inflammation, coughing and wheezing, and can lower resistance to respiratory illness like influenza, especially with long-term exposure. The chemicals worsen the suffering and risk for those with chronic conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and drive up hospitalizations and premature deaths, particularly among older people.

The impact of smog and soot pollution on global health is substantial: A recent paper by Jos Lelieveld, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany, and colleagues estimated that air pollution causes some three million premature deaths a year, and that the number of deaths could more than double by 2050.

The American Lung Association estimates that nearly 41 percent of Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone. And that’s with reductions brought about by national air quality standards and regulation. Between 1980 and 2014, the E.P.A. estimates that nitrogen dioxide levels in the air fell by more than half. The Obama administration has stepped up its regulation of emissions from power plants and tightened standards for vehicles. A still tougher ozone standard is expected next month.

The part of the country that has probably experienced the most harm from the Volkswagen fraud is California, which already has the worst air quality in the nation. About 7,200 premature deaths a year are caused by air pollution there, and 73 percent of the state’s population, or 28 million people, live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

California also has the largest number of diesel passenger cars — some 50,000 of them, said Dave Clegern, a spokesman for the state’s air resources board, which regulates air quality in the state. Regulation has helped, Mr. Clegern said, but “we still have a significant problem.” Regulations are developed with automakers at the table, he said, and “in order to do that, you have to have a level of trust.” Regarding the Volkswagen deception, he said, “This kind of thing is, to say the least, absolutely no help.”

The potential damage of technologies like the “defeat device” that allowed Volkswagen to evade pollution rules since late 2008 is substantial. Volkswagen diesel cars represent fewer than 1 percent of cars on the road in the United States. But if every car — gasoline, diesel and electric hybrid — exceeded the legal limits by a similar amount, the consequences for air pollution and human health would be significant.

“Beijing comes to mind,” said Paul Billings, a senior vice president at the American Lung Association.

To estimate the harm in the United States, we used two different scientific models for the effects of nitrogen oxide pollution on human health.

One comes from a sort of natural experiment, when new regulations on power plant pollution caused some counties, but not others, to cut back on nitrogen oxide pollution. The counties subject to regulation reduced their nitrogen oxides emissions by 350 tons a year.

A team of three researchers — Olivier Deschenes, Joseph S. Shapiro and Michael Greenstone — looked at the mortality rates and medical spending before and after the change. In a working paper, they found the extra pollution was responsible for about five more deaths for every 100,000 people each year, as well as an increase in spending on prescription drugs. Most of the excess deaths came among older Americans, though other health impacts reached the young as well as the old.

What Causes a Super Blood Moon?

A rare astronomical phenomenon Sunday night will produce a moon that will appear slightly bigger than usual and have a reddish hue, an event known as a super blood moon.

It’s a combination of curiosities that hasn’t happened since 1982, and won’t happen again until 2033. A so-called supermoon, which occurs when the moon is closest to earth in its orbit, will coincide with a lunar eclipse, leaving the moon in Earth’s shadow. Individually, the two phenomena are not uncommon, but they do not align often.

Most people are unlikely to detect the larger size of the supermoon. It may appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter, but the difference is subtle to the plain eye. But the reddish tint from the lunar eclipse is likely to be visible throughout much of North America, especially on the East Coast.

“You’re basically seeing all of the sunrises and sunsets across the world, all at once, being reflected off the surface of the moon,” said Dr. Sarah Noble, a program scientist at NASA.Continue reading the main storyNASA | Supermoon Lunar Eclipse Video by NASA Goddard

United Photo Press photographer Carlos Sousa depart from
Albufeira Marina at sailing boat, to catch the best moon.
Stargazers are excited. Though the celestial show will be visible by simply looking toward the sky, the Intrepid Museum in New York will host a free viewing from its perch at Pier 86 on the Hudson River with astronomers and high-powered telescopes on hand. The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will be holding several free events in the city,including at the High Line, offering telescopes and binoculars for better views.

“People can ask questions, and we can answer the questions right there,” said Marcelo Cabrera, the club’s president.

The eclipse will begin at 9:07 p.m. Eastern time, as the Earth’s shadow moves across the moon, according to the association. At 10:11 p.m., the entire moon should be in the Earth’s shadow, at which point it will adopt the reddish color. It will remain fully in the shadow until 11:23 p.m., and the eclipse will end at 12:27 a.m.

If time or attention spans run short, Mr. Cabrera suggested looking up just before the moon descends fully into the Earth’s shadow at 10:11 p.m., as it turns color.

Dr. Noble said such events tend to get more people interested in astronomy, as it creates an opportunity to take children outside and get them looking up at the sky. “It leads to conversations about what else is up there,” she said.

The Pope and the Labels of Liberalism

The Pope’s historic role, which Francis is playing, is to be a very well-dressed critic of the liberal state in all its forms.
New Yorkers personalize everything, and the shutdown of traffic around town this week was put personally on the head of our visitor, Pope Francis. A certain amount of the normal exasperation felt at out-of-towners was directed at the pontiff, as though the Pope were one of those tourists trying to stuff a dollar bill into the Metrocard slot. (God, or somebody, forbid he should try to work the new Rube Goldberg contraption for the crosstown bus.)

Yet given how disruptive he was to normal life, the tone of his visit was astonishingly welcoming, not least because this particular Pope lit up people who aren’t normally crazy about the papacy, while—and this is part of what brought joy to the first group—driving round the bend people who normally are more Catholic than he is. And yet this Pope is no more a “liberal” Pope than he is a secret Muslim Pope—he’s the Pope. His historic role, which he is playing, is to be a very well-dressed critic of the liberal state in all its forms. The trick about this Pope is not that he is a secret liberal but that he is such a thoroughgoing critic of liberalism and its dispensations that his assault takes in parts of our experience parochially described as conservative.

It would, to be sure, be a saintly liberal who didn’t feel a little schadenfreude on hearing the Pope contradict certain shibboleths of the self-described religious right. The very people—including members of the Catholic hierarchy—who, when it comes to women’s rights to make intimate reproductive decisions for themselves, have been most passionately devoted to the idea that one can’t be a “cafeteria Catholic,” picking and choosing doctrine as you like, are now loudly determined to, well, pick and choose among papal doctrines just as they like. Making metaphysical decisions about the status of embryos for women is one thing; being asked to condemn killing criminals and torturing prisoners and poisoning the Earth, these are, apparently, different—moral options on which man must be free to exercise his own conscience as he sees fit.

The pleasure one can’t help but feel is moderated, though, tempered by the truth that the extension of his causes and the reordering of his priorities does not alter Francis’s core beliefs. Nor should it be expected to do so. The Pope is still clearly against women’s reproductive rights, and as yet no friend to their ordination. Nor has he really addressed the sexual-abuse crisis, which has done so much to diminish the Church in America; his remarks on the subject in Washington were, as one survivor of priestly abuse said, in the Washington Post, “bizarre,” more devoted to praising the mostly invisible moral courage of the hierarchy that participated in the coverup than in addressing the evil done to the abused. A leader of SNAP, the victims’ organization, called Francis’s remarks “a slap in the face to all the victims, that we’re going to worry about how the poor bishop feels.” (It is a sign of the special moral exemption the Catholic Church receives that, had any other organization in the world engaged in the same activity, many of its leaders would be in prison.)

Francis’s allegiance is to the continuity of his Church, not to its disruption on even a point of liberal law. He appears to be genuinely and, on his own terms, understandably more concerned about protecting the continuities of his organization than with getting absolute justice for its victims. And he remains anti-liberal in the colloquial sense of American politics—opposed to dissent that might run against the whole grain of stability and continuity of the Church. Though some may hope that he will see the light on the question of contraception, where the consensus of his own followers in America is against the current position, there are no signs that this will take place, even if, rationally, a belief that abortion is murder ought to include an evangelical desire to make available those kinds of contraception that prevent it from happening. But the moral core of the prohibition is really rooted in the Augustinian idea that procreative sex is (just barely) to be blessed; recreational sex never to be. It is a completely consistent and, on its own terms, fair enough position, if you happen to buy it. Dictating other people’s morality is the reason churches have Popes. It’s what they’re there to do. Not having our morality dictated by Popes is the reason we have dissenting churches (with their own moral instructors) and non-believers. The clash between liberalism and authoritarian faith is permanent.

Yet if the Pope is certainly anti-liberal in our local party sense, he is—and this is where the misunderstandings happen—also anti-liberal in the classic political-economy sense: he is opposed to, or at best deeply suspicious of, free-market rationales and free-market reasoning. He does not believe, as most of the American right has come to in the past forty or so years, that the workings of the unimpeded market are good, much less uniquely blessed. The materialism of the market is as anathema to him as the materialism of the flesh. This was the core view in his speech to Congress. It is no surprise that he distrusts the market—people who pursue profit and pleasure at the expense of holiness are exactly what his faith means by sinners. This particular form of anti-liberalism is just less familiar to us when properly called so.

The curious thing is that, brought together, these two kinds of liberalisms once cancelled each other out in an odd algebra of faith, and produced something extraordinarily valuable: the American liberal (and radical) Catholic tradition. It is now hard to recall that there was a time when passionately Catholic believers—equally out of sorts with capitalism and liberal conformism, and believing that a deeper knowledge of sin was essential to America’s salvation—were at the vanguard of social change. The Eugene McCarthy mutiny in the Democratic Party in 1968 was, as the great critic Wilfred Sheed wrote at the time, a pure triumph of “Commonweal Catholicism.” (Imagine! A movement named after a magazine. Though doubtless New Yorker liberals exist, too.) The farther reaches of the same movement produced the Berrigan brothers, whose exploits in anti-war campaigning were chronicled, brilliantly, in these pages by Francine du Plessix Gray (who, blessedly, turns a vivid and active eighty-five today).

The key to liberal, and radical, Catholicism was the faith not that modernity was wrong but that materialism was never enough. A life devoted only to getting and spending and screwing and dying was unworthy of humanity, and it was the role of the Church to remind us of a larger mission. To make that case is the historical role of the Catholic Church—it is no friend, and will never be, to liberal politics or liberal polities, but it is a voice for values and virtues that may well elude the liberal millennium. One would have to be a little deranged—hostage to a dogma—to think that much could not be learned from it. To contribute a little to the exasperation—I wait endlessly for the M86 even as I write this—one of the things that can make liberalism, and liberal cities, well, morally strong is that we really do believe that you can learn from people from a fundamentally different or even unsympathetic framework. So welcome, Francis. May much good come of the encounter of a liberal city and a popular Pope.

Ingrid Bergman, As Time Goes By...

Last week at BAM, Isabella Rossellini co-starred, with Jeremy Irons, in a live tribute to her mother, Ingrid Bergman. The event began BAM’s Ingrid Bergman centenary film festival, which continues through Tuesday. It rounds up the usual suspects— “Casablanca,” “Notorious,” “Gaslight” “Spellbound”—along with early Swedish dramas; two of the films Bergman made with Isabella’s father, Roberto Rossellini, “Europa ’51” and “Journey to Italy”; Ingmar Bergman’s “Autumn Sonata”; “Murder on the Orient Express,” for which she won her third Oscar; and others. Before an afternoon rehearsal for the tribute, Rossellini, sitting on a couch in the elegant green room at BAM, talked about her impulse to preserve her parents’ work. “Does it have to be preserved?” she asked. “I remember talking to Bernardo Bertolucci, and he said, ‘I believe in the mandala, I believe I’m a little bit of a Buddhist. I believe that things are impermanent.’ ” Rossellini’s accent—as many of us have observed over the years, in everything from “Blue Velvet” to “30 Rock” to “Green Porno”— is like her mother’s, with a little something extra. “And then I speak to Martin Scorsese, with whom I was married, and he says, ‘Rock and roll and films—this is the culture that has characterized our century the most.’ We have to preserve all of it.”

In 2006, Rossellini made a comic, affectionate short film called “My Dad Is 100 Years Old,” directed by Guy Maddin. In it, she performed the roles of Fellini, Hitchcock, David O. Selznick, Charlie Chaplin, herself, her mother, and her father’s voice. The rest of her father was played by a belly. “Some of my family were offended by ‘My Dad Is 100 Years Old,’ because it was a surrealist film, and I portrayed my father as a belly,” she said. “To me it was like a Buddha belly or a pregnant belly, because he was fat. Most of my films are comical. But some members of my family found it was disrespectful. So this time around, I said, I’m going more traditional.”

Rossellini enlisted the help of Guido Torlonia and Ludovica Damiani, whose appreciations of Fellini and Visconti she had seen in Italy. “They had two actors, a woman and a man, reading from theatre reviews, a piece of a letter. There were photos, clips, even newsreels, which we also have tonight, so you also know where is it placed, their life, what kind of history is happening. And I thought it was so pleasant—in an hour and a half, you really have a portrait of the person, the time, and the reaction to the person. Since I didn’t want to write my own thing, because it always comes out a little bit surreal and comical—that seems to be my voice as a writer—I said, Let’s just use her autobiography.”

In the nineteen-forties, Bergman was one of the best known and most beloved movie stars in the world. Her affair with Roberto Rossellini, in 1949, caused a scandal that threatened to overshadow her reputation as an actor. Rossellini told me that with the tribute, “What I wanted to say about my mom is that my mom was an artist, and for her it was an urgency. If she didn’t act, she was not happy. How this came about, I don’t know. If you want to be like Lucy, five-cents psychiatrist, you could say, ‘She was an orphan, it was only when she entered dramatic school that she found happiness again, and from then on she was hooked.’ But I think life’s more complicated than that. I think sometimes she regretted it—she wanted to be a more present mother or a more present wife. When she wrote her autobiography—which she did for us, and I’m very grateful, because I consult that book a lot—I could see that she wrote so she could justify, she could tell her story. There is an emphasis on trying to explain. But in fact, what people remember her for is her art. Which is the one thing she wanted.”

In the show that night, with nearly hundred-year-old photographs of Bergman onscreen behind her, Rossellini read Bergman’s description of herself as a child: “As a little girl, I was always being something else: a bird, or a lamppost, a policeman, a postman, a flower pot. I remember the day I decided to be a small dog. I was quite disconcerted when my father refused absolutely to put a leash around my neck and take me for a walk…. I still trotted at his heels woofing at all the passersby and cocking my leg up against every tree we passed.”

The performance led the audience through Bergman’s story, with Rossellini and Irons alternating readings of Bergman’s memoir, along with letters. Glorious photographs, home movies, and film clips, from Sweden, Hollywood, Italy, and beyond, showed onscreen above them. The show revealed what Rossellini intended it to: Bergman’s playfulness, joyfulness, experimentalism, naturalism.

Bergman went to drama school at age twelve, after her father’s death, and as a young woman she began acting in Swedish films. The director Gustaf Molander taught her, she wrote, “how to underplay, to be absolutely sincere and natural: ‘Never try to be cute. Always be yourself.’ ” When she came to Hollywood, when David O. Selznick decided to remake her Swedish hit “Intermezzo,” he wanted her to change her name—too German, too hard to pronounce—and she refused. In the performance, Jeremy Irons read, “Selznick looked fumbled and then said, ‘I’ve got an idea! It is a simple idea yet none in Hollywood has even tried it before. Nothing about you is going to be touched. Nothing altered. You will remain yourself. Ingrid Bergman is going to be the first natural actress!’ ” She relished challenging roles, such as a burn victim in the Swedish melodrama “A Woman’s Face”; in Hollywood, during the filming of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” she asked the director, Victor Fleming, if she could switch roles with Lana Turner: “I wanted to play the little tart in the bar, the naughty little Ivy.” And she did.

The audience clapped spontaneously when clips of “Casablanca” were shown—the “Play it, Sam” scene and the “hill of beans” scene. The world remembers “Casablanca” more fondly than Bergman did. During filming, she wrote, Humphrey Bogart was grouchy and distant, and the production was chaotic. Rossellini read, “When I asked who I was supposed to be in love with, Paul Henreid, who played my husband, or Humphrey Bogart, who played my lover, Curtiz told me: ‘We don’t know yet. Just play it … well … in between.’ ”

Bergman’s zest and merriment came through in the descriptions of the making of “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Gaslight,” “Spellbound,” and “Notorious”; she became good friends with Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, and Jean Renoir and his wife. Rossellini read her mother’s description of Hitchcock’s intimate dinner parties: “ ‘More than eight people around the table is an insult to friendship,’ he would say. Hitch, because I could drink a lot and never get sick, awarded me with the honorary title of the ‘human sink.’ ” A charming late clip played, of Bergman saluting Hitchcock at his AFI Life Achievement award, in which she calls him a “gentleman farmer who raises gooseflesh.”

In 1947, Bergman began filming “Joan of Arc,” directed by Fleming. Rossellini read, “Like all the motion pictures done in Hollywood at the time, everything was shot in the studio: the battle scenes, the towers of Chinon, and the French villages were painted backdrops.” Onstage, Bergman’s own behind-the-scenes footage, shot on 16-mm. film, played above Rossellini and Irons. Rossellini read, “I wanted to get out into the world; I wanted to be where the real people were. I was seeking the truth.” One night, Bergman saw Roberto Rossellini’s 1945 neorealist masterpiece “Open City,” about Rome during Nazi occupation. “The realism and simplicity of the film was heart shocking,” Bergman wrote. “No one looked like an actor, no one talked like an actor.”

Bergman wrote Rossellini a letter: “If you need a Swedish actress who speaks English very well, who has not forgotten her German, who is not very understandable in French, and who in Italian knows only ‘ti amo,’ I am ready to come and make a film with you.” Rossellini didn’t know Bergman. Jeremy Irons read, “Well, who is this Ingrid Bergman? Wait a minute … ‘Intermezzo’? That Swedish film.” He had seen it during a bombing raid. “I ran into the nearest place to shelter—a cinema. What better place to lose one’s life than in a comfortable seat in a cinema?” He had sat through it three times: “It was a very long bombing raid.” He accepted her offer with enthusiasm.

In the green room, Rossellini said to me, “My father is trying to figure out, how do you integrate a big Swede that doesn’t speak Italian, blond, blue eyes?” He was a neorealist director, and his style, not to mention Bergman’s, required naturalism. “So one day he is travelling outside of Rome, and he sees a refugee camp. And he writes to my mother, ‘I saw this refugee camp, this field with these women looking like lambs, just walking around. One was a little bit separated from the others, and she was gesticulating to me…. I had the feeling that she was trying to seduce me.’ This is the beginning of ‘Stromboli.’ A woman that does not want to go back to Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, a country that was completely devastated by the war. Her only chance is to seduce an Italian to stay. She happens to go to Stromboli, a primitive island, this incredible cultural clash.”

Bergman and Rossellini, who were both married, with children, fell in love on the set of “Stromboli.” In the performance that night, Rossellini read, “As soon as we got to the island of Stromboli, a small volcanic island north of Sicily, and began to film, everyone realized that Roberto and I spent more time together than was necessary just to shoot a movie.… The Italian press, scenting amore as sharks scent blood, were already dispatching to the island reporters disguised as fishermen, as tourists. On one occasion one came as a monk.” Bergman, who had played a nun and a saint, became pregnant with their son, scandalizing the world. In the U.S., she was condemned as a “powerful force for evil” on the Senate floor. Bergman and Rossellini divorced their spouses, married, and had two more children: Isabella and her twin sister, Ingrid. They made five films together.

Rossellini said to me, “A lot of people have asked me, ‘Was she an early feminist?’ She was an artist. She had to do what she had to do. It happened that she did it at a time in which women’s roles were changing. She was punished for her independence. It was society that wasn’t feminist.”

With Rossellini, Bergman made great art; the commercial world didn’t know how to respond to it, but, as Richard Brody has written, the films, in particular “Journey to Italy,” helped to inspire the French New Wave.

Over the years, Bergman wrote, “I started to feel resentful of Roberto’s jealousy and possessiveness. He wouldn’t let me work with any other director”—not Zeffirelli, Fellini, Visconti, or De Sica. “It was my old friend Jean Renoir who rescued me,” she wrote. Renoir visited the couple, offered Bergman a role in a film, and encouraged Rossellini to shoot a documentary in India. “He came back from India with his documentary and a pregnant Indian woman. I felt a smile spreading on my face from ear to ear. I was so relieved. For him and for me. Now we had solved it.”

After they divorced, Bergman married a Swedish theatre producer, Lars Schmidt. In home movies shown during the performance, Bergman, her four children, and Schmidt frolicked in full-color midsummer joy on Schmidt’s remote Swedish island. Bergman made many other films, including “Anastasia,” a television production of “Hedda Gabler,” “Cactus Flower,” with Goldie Hawn, “Murder on the Orient Express,” “Autumn Sonata,” and “A Woman Called Golda,” in which she played Golda Meir. At the end of the show, Rossellini read, “There is something so dramatic, nostalgic, and heartbreaking about the end of a run of a play or a film shoot. We had been a wonderfully friendly and tightly knit company. Then of course it comes to an end.” You have a party, “you go from dressing room to dressing room and everybody’s kissing everybody else, and everybody is in tears. It’s such desperation when you leave. It’s divorce from the people you have learnt to love, and you say: shall we ever meet again?”

In the green room, Rossellini told me that Jean Renoir had written a book that she’d read with interest: “the most beautiful book on his father, Auguste Renoir, the painter,” she said. “Jean Renoir was a soldier when he was eighteen, in World War I, and he was wounded. When Jean got wounded the father became crazy with worry, you know, and so he took Jean into his studio, always under his watch, so he could paint. He would speak to Jean about art and what he was trying to do. It’s the most incredible portrait of an artist. And there’s one thing that Jean says: ‘I have to paint. It’s like peeing. I cannot not do it.’ ” She laughed. “I always loved that. It made me understand the urgency that artists feel. You know? You see Auguste Renoir when he has arthritis and he has his hands all deformed, he used to tie brushes—have you ever seen the photo of Auguste Renoir with his hands tied like this? My mom was the same. People say, ‘Oh she’s so beautiful, the glamour!’ She couldn’t have cared less. She acted until the end. The last thing she said is, ‘They’ll always need a witch!’ ”

Color film was built for white people. Here's what it did to dark skin.

The biased film was fixed in the 1990s, so why do so many photos still distort darker skin?

For decades, the color film available to consumers was built for white people. The chemicals coating the film simply weren't adequate to capture a diversity of darker skin tones. And the photo labs established in the 1940s and 50s even used an image of a white woman, called a Shirley card, to calibrate the colors for printing:

Concordia University professor Lorna Roth has researched the evolution of skin tone imaging. She explained in a 2009 paper how the older technology distorted the appearance of black subjects:

Problems for the African-American community, for example, have included reproduction of facial images without details, lighting challenges, and ashen-looking facial skin colours contrasted strikingly with the whites of eyes and teeth.

How this would affect non-white people seemingly didn't occur to those who designed and operated the photo systems. In an essay for Buzzfeed, writer and photographer Syreeta McFadden described growing up with film that couldn't record her actual appearance:

The inconsistencies were so glaring that for a while, I thought it was impossible to get a decent picture of me that captured my likeness. I began to retreat from situations involving group photos. And sure, many of us are fickle about what makes a good portrait. But it seemed the technology was stacked against me. I only knew, though I didn’t understand why, that the lighter you were, the more likely it was that the camera — the film — got your likeness right.

Many of the technological biases have since been corrected (though, not all of them, as explained in the video above). Still, we often see controversies about the misrepresentation of non-white subjects in magazines and advertisements. What are we to make of the fact that these images routinely lighten the skin of women of color?

Tools are only as good as the people who use them. The learned preference for lighter skin is ubiquitous in many parts of the world, and it starts early. That's an infinitely tougher problem than improving the color range of photo technology.

Anna Untz support compound Help's projects towards the Trafficking!

United Photo Press and Society Help interviewing Anna Untz about how charities can be improved.

Question: How good do you think that our charitable works?
Can I use contributions more efficiently?

Anna replies that there is a risk that some of the money does not reach those who need them. It is not always clear where the money goes. The large organizations collect many millions. I want it to be clear where the money ends up.

Question: Swedish Fundraising Control has a system of 90 accounts set which companies will be quality stamped and the requirement is that at least 75% of the money goes to the purpose. What do you think about it?

"90 account is good," says Anna. It allows contributors know that a lot of money going where they should be.

Question: Which organization supports you today?

"Right now I support Save the Children and Project Playground. I would like to get more involved, if possible, to go down to Africa one month as a volunteer."

Anna says that she has lived in the US and where it is common to leave money to charity.

Goran tells about "The Giving Pledge", where over a hundred billionaires have pledged to give half of his wealth to the poor.

Anna thinks it is something that more people should emulate.

Question: What funding organization do you do a good job?

"Musikhjälpen doing a good job and I like Doctors without Borders" says Anna Untz.

Goran ask what Anna Untz think that some managers at several charities serving over a million per year.

Anna think that if these managers do a good job so they deserve a fair wage. They may spend a lot of time and commitment.

Goran tells of "Doctors without Borders" in which top managers are paid a salary of SEK 50 000 a month. Is this something to emulate?

Anna says that there certainly are good and she likes "Doctors without Borders" does a great job. Many of those who work with the charity's enthusiasts and it is only right that they get an ok wage for their work.

Finally, which projects the Association Help would you give 3000 crowns?

"Project Against Trafficking, I want to donate to. It's disgusting." votes Anna Untz.

Goran and United Photo press thanks Anna for her contribution and wish her good luck.


Photo exhibit shows windows from Morocco

White wall where the sky is blue
Ania Billian / United Photo Press

A set of 75 photos with landscapes, Windows and houses taken throughout the world can be seen at Novo Projeto store, in Salvador. They were taken by Ania Billian and include images from Morocco.

A photo exhibition in Salvador, capital of Bahia state, displays images of landscapes, houses and windows from places throughout the world, among them Morocco, the Arab country in Africa. The images are from photographer Ania Billian and can be seen at the Bahia state store of the interior decoration chain Novo Projeto. The exhibit presents 75 framed photos. Among them, five photos from Morocco, with the main feature being the colors of the buildings.

Billian, now 80 years old, is a businesswoman from the real state sector, but dedicates herself to photography as a hobby since a young age. The daughter of a Brazilian mother and a Swiss father, she went to live in Switzerland when she was a little more than 20 years old, and that’s where she discovered a taste for photography and decided to take a course. Since then, she keeps shooting whenever she goes. Currently retired from business, Billian dedicates herself to photography.

The photographer travelled to Morocco four years ago. With a group of friends, she took off from Portugal, where her son was taking part of a golf tournament, to the Arab country. After crossing the border, the group travelled by car to Marrakesh and, on their way, got to know various cities, among them Casablanca, Tangier and Rabat. Among the pictures taken, Billian points out the contrasting colors of the households with the flowers. “I took pictures of the walls, colors, houses”, she says.

The photos from Morocco in the exhibition portray windows, house walls, colorful buildings, a bird against an orange scenario. It was the first, and only one until now, trip by the Brazilian to Morocco. But the photographer didn’t bring only images with her. To ANBA, she said to be impressed with the tranquility of the country and with the government’s focus on healthcare and education. She also noticed the respect with the tourists.

The photo exhibition also brings images from trips to Switzerland, Portugal, Germany and Italy, besides Brazil. Those were from visits that Billian made on leisure and also to take pictures. The exhibition at the Novo Projeto store is called “New and old Moments”. Some images were part of other exhibition by Ania Billian called “Windows”, at the Bahia’s Art Museum last year. The central theme of the exhibition was pictures of windows taken throughout the world.

The photos now on display at Novo Projeto are also for sale. They were printed on canvas, a technology that guarantees high quality and durability to the images. Billian was invited to prepare another exhibition at the chain’s store in Recife, to which she is planning a new work.

Photo Exhibition “New and Old Images”
By photographer Ania Billian
From September 1st to December 31st, 2015
At Novo Projeto store, av. Manoel Dias da Silva, 1236 – Salvador – Bahia
Phone: 55 71 3248 2358


Los Angeles Fair Exhibitor

Little Big Man Gallery is pleased to present a group show featuring an intimate documentary on photography and works by featured artists: Alex Sturrock, Asger Carlsen, Chardchakaj Waikawee, Dick Jewell, Evan Prosofsky, Fumiko Imano, Hanna Moon, Harley Weir, Hugo Scott, Jack Day, Jamie Hawkesworth, Jack Webb, Juergen Teller, Johnny Dufort, Mark Lebon, Max Fowler, Naima Karlsson, Nobuyoshi Araki, Nick Sethi, Phoebe Collings-James, Sean Vegezzi and Takashi Homma.

More information at

16 Camera Hacks To Take Flawless Pictures

Since we're living in a world where everything we do, see, eat, drink, love, want (and on and on) are photographed, it's important to make those pics stand out. We're not all professional photographers (despite what our Instagram personas may suggest) and we don't all have the money to buy expensive add-ons and tools of the trade. Check out this list of 16 camera hacks and see what wonderful stuff you can come up with. Move over Annie Leibovitz...

Interview with Architecture photographer Johannes Heuckeroth

Born in 1985, Johannes Heuckeroth is a German designer and photographer specializing in architecture and landscape. 

In 2007, he started teaching himself photography and in 2009 studying design at the Institute of Technology in Nuremberg, from where he graduated in 2012. 

The main essence of his art is an ongoing quest for beauty, which manifests itself in a graphic and aesthetic way in the urban landscape. 

Led by a desire to create and share his own interpretation of reality, he reveals it visually in a more intense and surreal way. With his graduation project, entitled “Dreaming of Dubai ‐ between illusion and reality”, which won the Sony World Photography Award in 2013, Johannes Heuckeroth showed his immense talent by reinterpreting in images the expansion of Dubai, a small desert town that, in the space of a few years, has become a radiant modern metropolis full of utopias.

Johannes Heuckeroth

– How did you get into photography?

The first impulse to getting into photography was the need for documentation. I wanted to document what was happening around me. That was around 14 years ago, when I was 16. I buyed my first camera at this time. It took me another 7 years to get really into it and becoming aware of whats really possible with photography. Today my photography couldn’t be more away from my original intention, it has very little to do with documentation.

– Where do you get your creative inspiration from?

The question is: what is real inspiration? Seeing things around the internet and want to do or photograph it by yourself?
Its really hard these days, because you are flooded with impressions and possibilities. And often its just repetition of existing things. I can’t say whats real inspiration, but I know what I need most: the absolutely will to do something. Currently I find a lot of support through music.

There are a lot of fantastic photographers that had great influence on me. I want to name two specific: 1. Andreas Gursky, because of his unbelievable and unique world of images, that he created. 2.Thomas Birke, he was may be the first who showed me with his images how fascinating cities can be as a subject of photography.

– Which places have been your favourite shooting sites so far and why?

For me its definitely Dubai. This is such an surreal place, a megacity surrounded by the desert, full of potential subjects for photography. A world so full of contrasts,and with a very interesting backstory. I compressed my fascination with this place into a own project:

– Is there any gear in particular that helps you in your architectural photography?

Yeah, definitely, there is some software gear that helps me a lot: panorama software. I often shoot single images on site and combine them afterwards with panorama tools. So its possible to achieve views that cannot produced in camera (or just with very very specific equipment).

– What do you do besides photography?

I am a Designer, which is a great job, because it has a lot of duplications with photography. I work a lot in the field of Corporate Design, which is a combination of graphic and strategic work. But for example I also work on topics like guidelines for corporate photography and think about how images should look for a specific brand. In my personal work its all about aesthetics, while in my job there is also a big focus on function and logic behind the aesthetic.

– What is your favourite photography book?

That would be „Andreas Gursky: 80-08“

– What are your future plans with photography?

Very soon I will publish my new book „Rising New York City“ (, showing the best was NYCs skyline has to give. You can pre-order it now. Besides that I am just back from a trip to Shanghai and I am excited to show how this amazing city looked through my lense.


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