Bricks made in Helena, Montana
On my trip to Helena, Montana last month I went to check the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts. The Bray has a funky campus, filled with shard piles, a red brick Potters’ Shire, light drenched sheds, warrior sculptures and studios for the visiting artists-in-residence, all set against a sun-drenched backdrop of Big Sky Country.I even met a charming snake in the gardens.
The vibe at the Bray was much not unlike that of artists studios I’ve visiting in Santa Fe. It also reminded me of Taleisin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s alternative architecture school in Scottsdale, Arizona.
I was charmed by this ceramic deer sculpture for sale at the Archie Bray Museum Gift Shop
The Potters’ Shrine was unbelievably cool, featuring both bricks made in Helena and ceramics made at the Archie Bray.
Potters Shrine at the Archie Bray Foundation
Everywhere you turned there were ceramics on the grounds of the Archie Bray. I loved the dragon pot pictured above.
Above left: A peek inside a kiln, where the ceramics are fired at the bray. Above right: a Brick wall and Helltown art
An old couch and tire pile in an outdoor lounge for the artists-in-residence
Scenes from the Bray: Brick buildings and ceramic statues peeking from the Montana grass
Archie Bray Warrior Sculptures in a Sculpture Garden
Ceramic tea party in the sculpture garden at the Archie Bray.
I got to walk inside the kiln where the ceramics are fired, which was a very unique experience. There was also a lovely gift shop with some really exquisite high end ceramic sculptures.
I got to walk into this giant kiln, where the ceramic bricks are fired. The light was really beautiful.
Ceramic pots drying in a sun-drenched artist studio at the Archie Bray.
The clay factory looked a bit like a messy laboratory set-up that Walter White wouldn’t approve of on Breaking Bad.
Scenes from the studios of ceramic artists at the Archie Bray.
Ceramic work by artist Laura Mabry
Ceramic work by artist Chris Ricardo at the Archie Bray foundation
Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts
2915 Country Club Ave. | Helena, MT 59602
phone 406/443-3502 | fax 406/443-0934
Note: when I can, I like to participate in the #FriFotos photo chat on twitter, which I have been doing since it the very first one. If you’d like to join in yourself, you can find the rules here.
My visit to Helena, Montana was sponsored by the Helena Chamber. Much thanks to my amazing guide, Mike Mergenthaler.
On my recent trip to Istanbul, I spent an afternoon exploring the old khans and oriental bazaars of with local photographer Kemel Nuraydin. It was a really fantastic way to get a different insight into (and fabulous pictures of) everyday life of the artisans who create some of the handicrafts sold in the Grand Bazaar.
Kemel is the director of Istanbul Photo Workshops and offers a tasty menu of full and half-day photo tours. My ever-considerate husband gave me a half-day tour as an anniversary present, thinking it would be a fun way to see something a bit off the beaten bath in Istanbul. The Istanbul Photo Workshop tour selections were so good, it was difficult to pick which one to take, but I ultimately decided to I wanted to get a glimpse of the inner workings of the workshops around the famous and sometimes overwhelming Grand Bazaar Kapalı Çarşı.
Mirror Man: a portrait, reflected
I got to walk briefly into a mosque tucked inside the Grand Bazaar. It has a gorgeous lamp and (of course) great carpet
A cool old abandoned textile machine
Chairs and Old Radio. Not classic postcards of Istanbul, yet really fascinating
Pocket Watches for sale in a vintage jewelry boutique in the Grand Bazaar
I particularly loved the opportunity it provided me to shoot some environmental portraits of artisans doing everything from drinking tea and smelting liquid metal and making Jesus figures and hands of Fatima.
Portrait of a shoe repairman at the Grand Bazaar (Kapalı çarşı)
Left: Simultaneous work and glare from a craftsman Right: There is always time for tea. Istanbul is very civilized that way.
Portrait of a tea delivery man with a great smile
Left:Antique Shop Owner Right: A Turkish jeweler wielding his blowtorch a la Flashdance
Environmental Portrait of a worker in a workshop
Inside the Workshop, and that’s me shooting in the dusty mirror in the corner.
Smelting at the Jesus Factory
Left: Metal cooling in the smelting workshop Right: Keys made in the workshop
Jesus Factory Production
Kemel helped get me over my fear of shooting HDR on both my Canon DSLR and my iPhone. He’s a really interesting guy and a good teacher. He’s also enjoyable company.
Istanbul’s View at the Magic Hour
Rooftop View of Süleymaniye Mosque
Photographers are usually cool and Kemel is no exception. Even my husband, who isn’t a photographer himself found him to be a great guide. We both enjoyed this tour so much we want to take another tour with Kemel the next time we get to Istanbul. Feel free to consider me a future repeat customer of the Istanbul Photo Workshops!
For additional images of this tour, check out the blog posts written by my lovely assistant, Anastasia, and my friend, Jonathan who joined me on guided photowalk.
Hookas at Erenler Çay Nargile Bahçesi
Perhaps it is because water pipes will forever be associated with the trippy smoking caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, or, in my MTV filled mind, the awesomely wacky Tom Petty “Don’t Come Around Here No More” video, but there is something intrinsically exotic yet familiar about Istanbul’s hookah bar culture.
It’s not uncommon for non-smokers to dismiss the appeal of such cafes, and visit Istanbul without stopping at one, but to do so is to overlook a charming part of Turkish culture.
Istanbul’s nargile café culture isn’t really about getting your smoke on, although that happens. Nargile cafes serve as a place where friends can catch over a cup of Turkish coffee, a cup of tea and share a nargile pipe. The nargile can be filled with numerous flavors of tobacco and then piped through water or juice for extra flavor. The effort and ceremony involved in ordering (and smoking a hookah) with friends forces a certain degree of intimacy and allows patrons to get beyond the idle chit chat you might have while waiting in line for your pumpkin spiced latte at Starbuck’s. Other cities I’ve visited, such as Damascus, don’t have the same attitude towards women and water pipes and smoking is strictly acceptable for men only. This makes nargile cafes a fun place to sit back and people watch.
Erenler Çay Nargile Bahçesi Hookah Lounge
Smoking and Chatting
Puffs of Hookah Smoke, Fascinating to Watch and Photograph
On my last trip to Istanbul, I didn’t smoke a nargile pipe myself, but I did find a new favorite Nargile cafe. It was hot and I was in the middle of a photo tour of the Grand Bazaar when when my tour guide suggested we sit for a few minutes to have a drink at the colorful and charming hookah garden called Erenler Çay Bahçesi. While I accidentally checked into the wrong geo pin on FourSquare, I remembered the café shared a name with Turkey’s 2003 winner of the Eurovision song contest (a factoid I learned from my friend, Jonathan).
It’s a charming shaded garden, filled with lanterns, glowing coals, and cozy groups of friends and it’s an enjoyable place to have a juice or coffee, even for the biggest non-smoker.
Erenler Çay Nargile Bahçesi
Mimar Hayrettin Mah. Yeniçeriler Cad. No:36
Burning Charcoal, getting ready for nargile pipes
Erenler Çay Nargile Bahçesi Interior
Erenler Çay Nargile Bahçesi just a few blocks from the Grand Bazaar
Mobile photography autostitch panorama of Sydney Harbor shot from suite 2515 of the Four Seasons Sydney.
Of all the Harbors (or Harbours) in the world, it’s Sydney Harbour I love the most. It’s got the architectural gem the iconic Sydney Opera House (take the tour, it’s fascinating), which always reminds you where you are.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is one of the best run tourist attractions I’ve come across. It’s so well done, it’s one of my top “things to do in Sydney.”
You can take the nearby ferries from Circular Quay to the fantastic Taronga Zoo (where the Giraffes have million dollar views) or Luna Park amusement park which occasional hosts concerts by bands like Tenacious D and Kylie Minogue in addition to having all the usual rides and games.
Ferry from Luna Park Sydney
Harbour Bridge Shot With My Diana
I shot this image of the Sydney Opera House with my Diana camera from a ferry in Sydney Harbor
Yacht with Opera House
Dancers at Luna Park in Sydney
Viewing the Sydney Harbour Bridge (mobile photography, hipstamatic)
Sydney’s magnificent opera building sits in Sydney Harbour. I took this shot using hipstamatic while taking a ferry back from Luna Park Sydney
Cities on the water have a certain charm, and because I’m so fond of the views of circular quay and the Opera House. During my last visit, I stayed at the top notch Four Seasons Sydney, where I got some of these amazing pictures of pink dawn from suite 2512. I also had a massage at the Four Seasons spa which was so relaxing, I actually fell asleep.
Sydney Harbour, a picture from my Suite at the Four Seasons
Morning View of the Harbour Bridge
Rain doesn’t ruin the view– it just makes Sydney’s Harbour more interesting. I shot both these mobile photography images with my iPhone 4s.
Tiny Sydney Opera House (mobile photography image, after a glass of Australian Syrah)
Harbor Bridge View in the rain
And while Sydney Harbour is always spectacular, it is most magical on New Year’s Eve. Check out the fireworks from a NYE I spent on the roof of the Park Hyatt Sydney.
Fireworks over the Sydney Opera House on New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve, Fireworks over Sydney Harbour are incredible. You get the best views of them from the recently renovated Park Hyatt Sydney and the fantastic Four Seasons Sydney.
View from the Second Floor
During my recent trip to Istanbul, I got to spend 2 nights in the Wow suite at the W Istanbul. The suite is aptly named– both my husband and I said “wow” aloud while being shown the gorgeous contemporary suite. Here are some of my favorite pictures of the Wow Suite of the W Hotel Istanbul.
Living Room Decor at the W Istanbul
Dining Room Interior Details
Office Nook in the Wow Suite
Kitchenette of the Wow Suite at the W Istanbul
Bedroom of the Wow Suite, complete with bathtub
Jacuzzi bath, right in your bedroom
Walk Thru Shower, complete with seven heads (one is a hand shower)
Wow Suite Shower Head
Ventilation Sky Windows in the Wow Suite of the W Istanbul