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Photography #1 – Ami Vitale

africaHello again everybody, this few next months I want to focus mainly on photography and topics connected to it. Of course – from time to time – there will be something different and as usual I will share my inspirations. But – that’s decided – next few months let’s take a trip all around the world, through many eyes and cameras.

So my first guest here today is Ami Vitale. If you know her – good for you, if you don’t – you better catch up 🙂 She is mostly travel photographer who loves to document different cultures. She was working for National Geographic, Newsweek, Smithsonian Magazine, Geo, Time and many more.

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In total she visited  around 85 countries! She gained many, many awards and her projects were exhibited worldwide.

From practical point of view, being asked for her equipment she said:

“I have used Nikon bodies and Nikkon lenses since I began and am currently using the D4, D800 and Df. My choice of lenses really depends on the nature of the assignment. If I am shooting wildlife, I need longer lenses like the 400mm with an extender or the 80-400mm. Most of my work is close and intimate so my workhorse is the 24-70mm or the fixed 24mm 1.8. I like to travel light and often bring just 1-2 bodies with a wide and a longer zoom, two SB-910 speedlights, radiopoppers, a gold reflector and my Manfrotto tripod. If I’m going to a remote place, I carry Goalzero solar panels and am now using the F-stop backpacks for most of my travel.”

My favorite pictures of her are the ones taken in Guinea Bissau. In 2001 she presented this one of the poorest countries on earth. The topic she focused on was  village life and female circumcision  . She returned to Guinea in 2011 and she revisited the village that she saw in 2001.

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This is what she was saying on her blog about her journey with Guinea Bissau:

Young and very green, I had applied for a grant from them back in 2000, on a whim. To my delight and horror, I got it – even beating out some National Geographic photographers I heard, who had also applied that year. I had no idea what I was doing and was terrified. But the foundation felt there was something special about my proposal to document a small village in an unstable country torn apart by war. They took a risk on me back then and changed the course of my life.”

I remember the most pictures of a female circumcision in Guinea Bissau, it’s just taking my heart and it’s smashing it.

Here are some of the most famous photographs of Ami, also the ones from Guinea Bissau, I hope somebody will take a moment and appreciate her work and also – the magic on the photos and social stories she captured.

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And my favorite picture:

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Zagreb, Croatia

DSC02963Usually when people visit Croatia, they step by to see amazing places and little towns – but close to the coast. Zagreb is not close to the coast, but it is a capital of this country. Country that unfortunately is already explored a lot by tourists, but not so long ago it was still not so known. I visit Zagreb in April 2011, so almost 3 years ago – that’s why some pictures maybe don’t fit exactly to the reality of today’s Zagreb (here is an example – cinema at this time)

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There are many nice things to see in Zagreb, like the two statues of Saint George. One is situated at the Marshal Tito Square, the other at Kamenita vrata, (over there we can find also the image of Virgin Mary – which is said to be only thing that hasn’t burned in the 17th-century fire).

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What I like the most?

It’s has the spirit of European capitals for sure, I found also a lot of bohemian and artistic roots there. I’m not gonna bore you with palaces, churches and museums. I prefer a bit different look, my look at Zagreb.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about this city is that one amazing installation that it has.  This art installation is starting in Bogovićeva street and it’s called Nine Views. It represent our solar system – all of the planets – which are hide all over the city. It’s all scaled down of course – and all of other planets are in relative scale with the Sun.

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Most of the people don’t know what the statue Prizemljeno sunce (The Grounded Sun) is – so they put graffiti on it.

The city has a charming medieval ‘old city’ spirit with architecture and cobbled streets that can remind you Vienna, Budapest or Prague. I’m not gonna write more – here are some pictures of what I saw in Zagreb, enjoy!

First some amazing flowers in the park in the center (like painted!)

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Some protest i found in the main squere:

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And some other things i found in the street:

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13 cool facts about a kiss

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I personally wrote a essay about this topic once, it was an anthropology class or something connected with ethnicity. It came back to me recently and I thought about the post – so here are 13 cool, funny and sometimes shocking facts about a kiss. Maybe you know some of them – but for sure not all. Dig in!

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1. In some cultures  – during the ritual of kissing –  the mouth is not used at all. Maori people and people of Inuit – rub their noses , Indians Capaya from Ekwador – smell the hand of their friends as a greeting, some tribes of New Guinea  – put a hand under the armpit of another person and  after – they are rubbing this hand over their own body to conserve the smell!!!!

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2.  There is a type of kissing called osculum infame, which means „kissing in the ass” literally. Long time ago it was considered as a tribute to devil. It was one of the accusations in the case against Knights Templar. However in old Greek beliefs Gods were supposed to kiss eachother in the ass – and it wasn’t the bravest sexual act possible for them.

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3. During the kiss heart beating increases from 75 to 150 beats for a minute, and during average kiss we burn 12 calories.

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4. That’ obvious – most of us kiss with closed eyes. But what you don’t know probably is that Greeks called this phenomenon with one word – myei  which means „outside blindness”. We do that to unite in one reality and find another person „inside world”.

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5. Most of us kisses with turning the head RIGHT. It’s considered a reminiscence of our prenatal life  – in the last trimester of pregnancy fetus has a tendency to turn the head right.

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6.  In a culture of one Indonasian city Banjar Kaja Sesetan there is a celebration of kissing called Omed-omedan. This day everybody kisses openly with everybody – it’s believed that this ritual is protecting the citizens from danger. Male participants are pulling and kissing girls while other villagers are pouring buckets of water towards them. What it’s interesting is that this tradition is one of a great way to find a boyfriend or girlfriend over there 😀

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7. „Kamasutra” lists over 30 types of kisses.

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8. French kissing similar to human (in a formal and funcional way) we can observe only in a chimpanzees Bonobo (pan paniscus) – research by Frans de Waal.

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9. 10 % of the world doesn’t kiss at all – there are  places in the world that people don’t kiss for many reasons, one of them is that some cultures find it dirty.

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10. During the kiss we exchange:

  • 40 000 microorganisms
  • 250 different types of bacteria
  • 0,7 grams of proteins
  • 0,45 grams of fat
  • 0,19 grams of other organic compounds

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11. Many scientists believe that kissing evolved from kiss feeding, a process used by mothers to feed their infants by passing chewed food to their babies.

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12. The longest kiss? Couple from Bangkok held a kiss for 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds on14th of February 2013 during the event called  “kissathon”.

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13. And finally – lips are 100 times more sensitive than the tips of the fingers. Not even genitals have as much sensitivity as lips. Kind of hard to believe – I know, but I guess it’s no way to really find out if it’s true.

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