Kurtew Photography: Blog https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Kurtew Photography (Kurtew Photography) Fri, 12 Feb 2021 04:23:00 GMT Fri, 12 Feb 2021 04:23:00 GMT https://www.kurtewphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u908752845-o192371031-50.jpg Kurtew Photography: Blog https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog 90 120 Opening Reception for Love_Heart_Lust at Kunsthaus RoZig https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2021/2/opening-reception-for-love_heart_lust-at-kunsthaus-rozig  

 

Kunsthaus RoZig is proud to present "Love_Heart_Lust" ,  on display all February 2021.

 

24 artists from Germany, the UK, Nigeria and US will show some of their amazing work . You can see the gallery right here:

 

https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/4556065/love-heart-lust

 

Take the guided tour, it is much easier than to navigate thru the show and you can sit back and enjoy. It is about 7 minutes long.

 

We will have an Artist talk this Saturday February 13th, 2021 at 1 PM PT ( 10 PM in Germany, 9 PM in UK, 10 PM in Nigeria) , where you can ask questions about the art work, the artist and every piece is for sale. Treat yourself to some art and support your artists friends.

The event will be on Zoom ,

Zoom Meeting ID:
788 136 6366
Password: RoZig

OVE HEART LUST Gallery exhibition featuring :
ADEOLA DAVIES-AIYELOJA (US)
ALESSANDRO BARBAROSSA (GER)
ALISON O’FARRELL (UK)
CORNELIA KURTEW (US)
DAVID ARENAS (US)
DAVID JESTER (US)
DEBBIE KORBEL (US)
EUGENE HUFFMAN (US)
EDWARD LIGHTNER (US)
ERIC SANDERS (US)
FETTY (JUSTIN DUBIN) (US)
FRED FABRE (UK)
GWYNETH BULAWSKY (US)
JARED SCHWARTZ (US)
JASON JENN (US)
JOHN WAIBLINGER (US)
JOSEPH ABBATI (US)
K RYAN HENISEY (US)
KING CHIMEREMEZE JACOB (NIGERIA)
KRISTEN DONOGHUE-STANFORD (UK)
MARIIA FILONOVA (US)
MICHAEL PALLADINO (US)
PAUL O’FARRELL (UK)
THOMAS CHRISTIANS (GER)

 

 

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(Kurtew Photography) #abstrakterexpressionismus #art #artists #contemporaryart #dieausstellung #diekunstmaler #diekunstmalerin #dieskulptur #digitalart #digitalekunst #exhibit #exhibition #fineart #fotografie #kunst #kunsthaus #kunsthausrozig #leben #liebe #liebeherzlust #life #love #loveheartlust #lust #modernart #modernekunst #photography #surrealismus #virtualexhibition #visualart #visualartists #zeitgenössichekunst https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2021/2/opening-reception-for-love_heart_lust-at-kunsthaus-rozig Fri, 12 Feb 2021 04:02:49 GMT
Opening Reception for Kunsthaus RoZig https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2020/9/opening-recption-for-kunsthaus-rozig https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/2111436/faces-visions

 

We are into this Pandemic now what , about 6 month ? And I finally , like a month ago, got some kind of energy back. I started to create again , planning projects and finding joy in reading and writing again. 

One of the projects I was working on for the last month and a half is a joint project with my friend Eugene Huffman. Eugene is an abstract painter/Visual Artist who is one of my first and best friends since moving to LA.  

We started that idea of an Art Gallery about 4 years ago; mixed virtual art, dance, spoken word , pretty much all kinds of art. We imagined a warehouse DTLA in the industrial district full with people on a Saturday night enjoying art ,tequila and tacos from a truck. It was a project still on our minds when Covid-19 hit the world. 

To say it felt discouraging after 3 to 4 month is an understatement. What are our options? I know many people that used their creativity right away and created amazing pieces of work. I couldn’t. Even the idea of starting anything felt just not right. I never had this feeling before and it was not good. To say the least. I was overwhelmed with the smallest tasks outside my full work day.  

I am happy to tell you that I got out of it, I feel better and I can be the positive person again I used to be. 

I would like to introduce you all to our new project: Kunsthaus RoZig 

 

https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/2111436/faces-visions

 

KunstHaus RoZig - founded by Visual Artists and Curators Cornelia Kurtew and Eugene Huffman - is a global 3D Virtual Gallery that will highlight the works of traditionally marginalized and underrepresented artists with a focus on inclusivity.

The opening exhibit, "Faces & Visions" is a compilation of Photography and Abstract Paintings by KunstHaus RoZig's founders.

Check out Faces & Visions here: https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/2111436/faces-visions?t=1599163887

 

Kunsthaus RoZig is proud to present Faces & Visions Virtual Opening Reception! You will be introduced to the Founders and Visual Artists Connie Kurtew and Eugene Hufmann . They will take you on a tour of their works, and have a Q&A Session to get an intimate view of their inspiration and process - including their shared vision for Kunsthaus RoZig.

We welcome Special Guests Dalila Ali Rajah and K Ryan Henisey 

https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/2111436/faces-visions

 

TOMORROW! 

FRI SEP 11 | 7-9PM

Meeting ID: 788 136 6366

Pass: RoZig

 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://ucla.zoom.us/j/7881366366?pwd=bmVmMFdYWlhPSlFzaEFEQkVnc1psQT09

Link to Facebook Event Below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/933046713849678

 

 


 

We all would love if you could join us , please take your favorite beverage , take a seat and enjoy the show! No need for a mask , no fear of someone being to close to you. And you can do it over and over again.

 

We will record the event and stream at a later time , a request from our supporters from overseas that can’t join because of the time difference. 

 

I hope I will see you there tomorrow ,

 

Thanks for your support! 

Stay safe and healthy, 

 

Kunsthaus RoZig

Please follow us on social media!

 

https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/2111436/faces-visions

 

 





 

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(Kurtew Photography) 3D abstract paitings art art gallery artgallery artist artists arts artwork blog contemporaryart founders gallery inspiration painter paintings photography portraitphotography portraiture project virtual gallery https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2020/9/opening-recption-for-kunsthaus-rozig Fri, 11 Sep 2020 02:48:43 GMT
Bulgaria - The trip https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2020/3/bulgaria---the-trip Life in the times of covid-19 got me one thing for sure. More time.  I finally found my way back to writing. It took me a bit longer than I thought to digest my trip. My hesitation came from different points, one being that I am writing Photo blogs and on this specific trip I did not take many photos. Most was connecting and observing. I put my camera down more than usual. And I just needed time. So the photos you see are mostly shot with my iPhone.

 

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Much has happened since I was in Bulgaria the last time, some things felt familiar and comforting, almost like being finally home again. And then there was new territory, unfamiliar but enjoyable and fun.

As I prepared for my trip to Bulgaria, I was also preparing for the hardest and most difficult trip I ever took. 

After a long flight to Istanbul , changing planes, I finally arrived in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.

There I was , 30 years later on fatherland soil. In a small airport , at 8 o'clock at night, just a few people are around. My friend Manu from Germany who was accompanying me on this trip and came from Germany, was already waiting for me. So were my brand new 2 cousins . Manu and those 2 young men, right next to each other. But they didn’t know each other then.

 

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Alex and Alan

 

What a joy , what familiarity I felt hugging these giant 2 young men , knowing they are my relatives , knowing they are the sons of my favorite cousin who is not on this earth anymore. If I would have made this trip 10 years ago I would have been able to hug him, his father and meet those kids when they were actually still Teenagers. But I didn’t. And I knew I had to stop thinking this way. There was nothing I could do. To enjoy the moment, which is not a given. But sometimes we long for the past and miss the present. I did not wanted to miss anything.

 

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Alan and Alex with their dad Stefko, my cousin

 

We put our belongings in Alex’s car and drove to our hotel. I stayed close to the airport as we had to get our rental car from there the next morning. After dropping our luggage and grabbing some pictures I printed out for my cousins, we all went to the Hotel restaurant and had a few drinks, Beers and Gin and Tonics for us,like they serve it there. Gin in the glass and a small bottle of tonic on the side, mixing it is up to you. 

And we started to get to know each other .

 

The next morning we started our adventure. I rented a car with a stick shift and enjoyed driving that car very much. My friend Manu said in the end I was driving like a Bulgarian. I took that as a compliment but I think she meant crazy .

 

 

 

Alex,the older of the two had to work, but Alan took  the entire time off and helped with the translations, ordering food, pretty much everything. I don’t know how I would done all that without him.

We drove about 4 hours from Sofia to Stara Zagora, the town I knew the best and had spent most of my time there as a child and teenager. We stopped at a rest stop to get баница-Banitsa, a puff pastry filled with the famous white cheese, I remembered from back when and coffee. 



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The check in in our Airbnb turned out to be our first adventure. The apartment was, what my wife would call it, not up to my German standards. But I let it go. I was here for something else.

We went on our way to see his grandmother, my aunt Zwetanka , which means flower. Turned out she lived just a few blocks away. We got her some flower pots on our way over there, she called cut flowers dead and didn't want those in her apartment; I had some photos printed out for her as well.

Cranked in a small old elevator which played a local radio station, I was about to see my aunt again. It smelled like food and spices and it was scary. So small and you saw the walls moving along with the ride. She prepared lunch for us and we started immediately going through photos, telling old stories, touching each other because we could not believe that we were in the same room again.

 


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She was now 78 , living alone as my uncle died one year before his son passed. I could feel the loneliness but also the love , appreciation and excitement . She asked over and over again about my Mother and I got a chance to show her the next day. Oh technology, how thankful I was for facetime. She had planned lunch for us the next day and the Kurtew family was coming. 

 

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Zwetanka with Yildiz,her daughter-in-law and her husband,my late uncle Bojtscho

 

 

 

 

We said our goodbyes, in nervous excitement and anticipation for the next day. The day I would see so many of them again. 

Alan showed us a bit around Stara Zagora before eating dinner at one of his favorite restaurants.

 

  IMG_1076IMG_1076 Alan 

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   Bulgarian cat who really wanted to come with us

 


411A979A-95C6-4EB9-9B84-BB0CF7756AB4411A979A-95C6-4EB9-9B84-BB0CF7756AB4 Stara Zagora       

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Almost impossible to tell about the feeling of sitting on a table surrounded by people I missed for so long. Family. The invisible bond. Here and there showing the shape of the face, eyes or mouth of someone I got reminded of. More than once I heard how much I look like my father. The kindness of those people amazed me again , the appreciation for family . I remembered their hospitality and friendship.The comforting warmth of their hugs and kisses. I felt like I betrayed them all. But how long did I try to find them? It’s been so many years, so many different approaches and so many failures.  Now I was here with them. With the ones that were left. The joy of seeing these humans overturned the pain to miss the others. 

 

  IMG_1234IMG_1234 my uncle Ivan, aunt Sneja, Alan and his mom Yildiz

 

 

 

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cousin Plamen with his dad Ivan and aunt Sneja

 

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cousin Plamen,me,uncle Ivan,aunt Sneja,cousin Alan,his mom Yildiz and Alan's grandma Zwetanka

 

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may late cousin Mirco , me and my mom and Mirco's brother Plamen , Stara Zagora 80ties

 

 

A custom in Bulgaria  is to print flyers with pictures and dates of  your deceased loved ones. You stick them to your door, the apartment buildings door, walls around your neighborhood. The fence, everywhere you want. I remember seeing the face of my grandfather all over town. Some get printed every year ... You are reminded of the pain of losing them but also of the joy they brought to your life. A celebration of their life and ours with them. A reminder how fast it can be over and to enjoy the here and now.

 

 



 

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my late uncle Boitscho and his son Stefko

 

 

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me, my mother Gisela, my sister Gabriele, late cousin Stefko , my late uncle Bojtscho, Stefko's dad in Dresden, East-Germany , 70ties

 

The mother of Alex and Alan moved to Istanbul years ago and came to Stara Zagora to see me along with some cousins from Plovdiv. I had never met her before , she told me how often he spoke about us. It was a beautiful moment to realize that he remembered our childhood summers the same way I did. We ate Shopska salad ( tomatoes,cucumber,feta cheese and bell peppers with oil and vinegar) with Kufteta (hamburger patty) all summer long and he taught me how to drink Gin and Tonic. He was 3 years older than me and we talked mostly with our hands and feet and some German. I still miss him.

 

 

Her kitchen smelled like my grandmother's kitchen, the spices are significant and different. I was able to get them at the market the day after. The lunch was excellent but I can’t really tell you what I ate. We started with Rakir, a homemade Schnapps from Plums , 70-80% proof. I think we had 2 or 3 glasses of that and my aunt made an appetizer which was very delicious. With the main meal we drank Bulgarian rose. 

 

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Wine is everywhere. The main way to live is in houses in Stara Zagora. And in front or in the back, wherever people have a patio, there is wine growing. 

I was able to meet and connect with the granddaughter of the couple that I was also hoping to see alive. Or their son. But I was not fortunate enough to do so. The couple, Schorro and Tina ( actually Dimitri and Kristina) went to elementary school together with my dad. Best friends ever since. And they both even got to spend their entire life together. Their son Stefan always wanted to marry my sister. At least I got the opportunity to meet up with their granddaughter Kristina and her family, husband and 2 little adorable children. When I stepped in their house the temperature of my body changed and I was afraid to faint. Which is very weird because I don’t faint. Ever. But I did not recognize any of the inside as the remodeled and changed so much. The energy however, was there. Memories of  days and endless nights sitting around a made up long table; chairs were brought in from Tina’s sister Maria, who just lived around the corner. 

We ate and drank for hours. Schorro disappearing a few times during the night just to appear right back with another bottle of home made wine or Rakir. That was when I saw my Dad as his happiest. Nothing in the world could interfere with being with his family. 

We used to take pictures in front of the house and so we tried to recreate the photo. Just us 3 compared to like 15 people. But I wanted it anyway to show my mother. I know that would be the hardest for her to know that they were all gone. 

 

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IMG_0984IMG_0984 front uncle Schorro and my dad, right behind them my Mom on the left, Maria behind ( Tina's sister) and Tina behind on the right side of my dad, I am on the right sitting on the wall next to Stephan (Schorro and Tina's son) and my sister in front of him

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cousin Alan, young woman with  husband and 2 kids is the granddaughter of Schorro and Tina and Stephan's daughter , me and my friend Manu

 



 

After a few days in Stara Zagora , we had a final dinner with Yildiz , my late cousin's wife. Still amazed that you are able to smoke in restaurants, we were enjoying the food and each other's company. With every meal I had in Bulgaria I had Shopska Salad before , a little homage to the past. 

 

 

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Shopska salad

 

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The next day we drove to Plovdiv, an hour away from Stara Zagora. That was not from the Kurtew side of the family, that was from my grandmother's side. She passed when my dad was 19 years old and she had 3 other sisters, Milka, Serefina, and Zwetanka. . One of her sisters Zwetanka, the one we had the most contact with, had 2 daughters of which one is still alive. Kirilka and Antonia, both a favorite of mine. Kirilka has 2 sons, with the oldest Kosio, I have contact on facebook. We arranged that I could see her and unfortunately my cousin was in the hospital, a few hours away when I was in Plovdiv. And he did not want us to visit him in the hospital.Aunt Antonia passed away 5 years ago.

I was so lucky to have Alan with me the entire time. He was able to call my auntie and we arranged for lunch. She was/is looking like she was before. Older yes, but still that fire in her eyes and in her speech. She and her husband worked as humanitarian doctors for 5 years in  Ethiopia during the 80ties. We did not see them because of that as often as we saw other families but our connection was as strong as the other ones. She made fun of the Kurtew family , saying that she loves us very much, even though we were Kurtev’s ( Alan and me) . I think she did not get along much with the husband of her sister Milka, my grandfather Atanasov. 

 

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my aunti Kirilka with cousin Alan

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aunt Kirilka and my mom and Kirilka's sister Anthonia ,70ties before Kirilka and family moved for 5 ears to Ethiopia as doctors to help build a hospital

 

After lunch we had a walk around old Plovdiv and then she invited us in her lovely small apartment. To demonstrate this huge heart and kindness of this people, she has a condo in the middle of Sofia. But it is too big for her. So she actually let’s a relative of hers with kids live in that condo and she rented a small one nearby. After Kosio got a divorce, he moved in with her in the spare guest room. But she said he is never home, always in the hospital. He took after his parents and became a Pediatrician. She gave me a runner for the table she had from her Mama and I gave her a new one my sister Gabi made for her. After coffee and a few cookies we said our goodbyes and promised to see each other again. And to try to get a re - connection with my mother. 

 

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DSC_4888DSC_4888 DSC_4842-2DSC_4842-2 DSC_4856DSC_4856 DSC_4864DSC_4864 a friends house but she wasn't home

 

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Auntie Kirilka, Plovdiv, Bulgaria 2019

 

 

We made our way to Sofia, checked into our Airbnb , which was beautiful, 7th floor overlooking Sofia. Well parts of it. Alan went home for a bit and we met at a grocery store. I needed to buy some salami and feta cheese for my mother as well as a few bottles of Rakir. My friend Manu, who accompanied me the entire tip got some as well for her husband and son. She was such an anchor for my this trip, we did not get any sightseeing in and I hope she enjoyed that trip at least somewhat. I was so glad to have her there. A few times ,tears in my eyes I did not give in .

 

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Alan called Maria, the sister of Kristine ( and Schorro from Stara Zagora) who lived for about 15 years in Sofia. She moved after her sister and her husband died so she could be close to her daughter and grandchildren. Alan called here and she agreed to meet us for dinner. We ordered a taxi and picked her up. Dinner was at a Italian restaurant where his girlfriend worked as a server. So I met her here as well. Alex joined in with his girlfriend as well. Maria could not believe that I found her. Her great niece gave us her phone number and also prepared her for our visit. 

We chatted , I FaceTimed my mother so the both could see each other again as well. Another emotional event was going to end. Tears of regret and joy, more joy and longing for each other's company.  Again facing the sadly truth to not have our beloved ones here with us in this world. It stuck to me when she said, she was ready to go. 83 years old , she was still fit but she missed her sister, she missed her husband Grosdan which was the love of her life. Yes, she had her daughter and the grandchildren here but she wanted to be with Grosdan again. 

 

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IMG_1216IMG_1216 Maria with her late brother-in-law Schorro ,Stara Zagora

 

After saying and kissing goodbye, promising that if possible I will come with my mother the next time, we left for our Airbnb. We said goodbye to Alan and Alex, to their girlfriends Pavleta and Milena which is now engaged to Alex. 

Back at the apartment , it was pretty hot, so I opened all the windows and doors, there was no mesh in front of the windows and so we had a herd of Mosquitoes inside. Which turned out that even Bulgarian Mosquitoes do not like my blood but were crazy about Manu’s. Don’t need to mention that we did not get much sleep before flying back . But we opened a bottle of Rakir to make it easier for Manu with all those bites. 

 

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Returning the car at the airport was easy, our flights were going around the same time. Manu flew to Leipzig, Germany over Vienna, Austria. My flight was going to Berlin over Athens, Greece. 

 

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I felt like I traveled back in time. In some ways, I never left Bulgaria. 

It was better than I imagined, it was emotional but not exhausting. I was able to do what  I wanted to do for so many years . I am complete.

 

 

 

 

            

 

 

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(Kurtew Photography) architecture Banitsa Beer Bulgaria Bulgarian food car DNA East-Germany Europe Family Friends fruit Gin and Tonic grief Kufteta life in times of covid-19 loss market pain photography Plovdiv puff pastry quarantinechroniclescovid19 restaurants road trip sadness Shopska Salad Sofia Stara Zagora Street wine https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2020/3/bulgaria---the-trip Tue, 10 Mar 2020 17:20:00 GMT
Finding my Family https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/9/Finding-my-Family

I was debating with myself if I should do a post like this. A post about grief. Life is what it is and you can’t always choose. Sometimes life chooses for you. You don’t have to like it. But you have to deal with it. 

 

This is about family, which can be such a strong union. It can be everything. I was missing part of them for over 30 years. It was time . It was time to find my family. 

 

 

Things can be so complicated . People move, people speak other languages, people disappear. War happens, disaster, reunions and separations. And maybe just life. Looking for and finding your long lost family can be so rewarding, exciting, heartwarming, maybe surprising and so freaking sad at the same time. 

 

My father died 33 years ago. My father died 33 years ago ! Saying that sounds absurd. I miss him like I lost him yesterday. It doesn’t get easier and it doesn’t hurt less. It hurts different yes, but the intensity is not weakened by time.

 

I went the year after he passed back to Bulgaria. It was almost unbearable to walk through the streets of the town he grew up in and see his and my grandfather's face on every street corner, fence, posting pole. The two died a year from each other and in Bulgaria the obituary is printed on flyers that are distributed around the area the people lived in. Fresh flyers if they get rained on were applied almost instantly. Then every year at the anniversary of the death. It’s a choice the family makes and my grandmother was very determined. I saw other flyers for people that died 5, 10 even 12 years ago. I don’t know how long she did that, I didn’t go back after that. That was the last time I saw my family in Bulgaria.

 

 

 

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Mama, grandpa, Dad and me on I believe our last trip together to Bulgaria, Stara Zagora around 1983

 

 

I was starting my studies, first Chemistry, then to become a nurse in my hometown Leipzig. The fall of the Berlin Wall interrupted our life's as we knew it and there was some chaos going on for a short while. All the socialist Governments over East Europe dissolved in weeks.There was a beauty to this chaos and a sense of anarchy. Very confusing times for most but also such exciting times at the same time.

 

I was in my early 20ies and I wanted to see the world. Instead of going to Bulgaria I went to Italy, Austria, Switzerland and America. Many people left East-Germany, many moved away over night and I still don’t know where a big part of my friends are. I moved away as well, a few years later, to Nürnberg first, which was about 3 hours from where I grew up and then further to San Diego, CA . There I started to look for my family again. But it was harder from far away,I could not find anyone and not everyone had Internet. Even later when it was available; not many of my friends or family members are on social media.



To find people is not that easy, even harder when it is in another language that I never was fluent in to begin with. And what I knew I pretty much forgot. I can’t even read proper Cyrillic script anymore. Time to dust that off as well. 

Another hurdle was that the former communist countries named their streets back to what they were before. When I wasn’t lost before; now I was. All the telephone numbers had not enough digits, useless as well. 

Shortly before my father passed, he made us a list with all our relatives, names, telephone numbers and addresses he could remember at that moment. I am sure we missed some of them. So all I had was names and old street names. One thing most all of my relatives had in common ; they were doctors and engineers. Even to communist times, they were well off. Almost all of them own their house or apartment. Knowing that was a big plus even if some of them would have passed, I was hoping that their children or grandchildren would still live there. 

 

I have a big family. If you would ask me before I would have told you that I have at least 50 uncles and aunts and cousins and great cousins in Bulgaria. Never thinking of how much times had passed and the possibility that maybe some of them are not alive anymore.

 

 

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me, Dad , Mama, Gabi and uncle Bojtscho , Stara Zagoga

 

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                                                                    me, Mama, Gabi, Dad and my cousin,son of uncle Bojtscho Stephan ✝, Stara Zagora

 

Over the years things have changed and I found a few of my friends and even family members over 2 DNA tests I did.

 

After taking this test some more results were rolling in; I found an entire new part of our family in Germany. And then I found an uncle from my fathers fathers side in Bulgaria. I was so nervous, so excited , so afraid.

 

 

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My uncle I found via the DNA test(not pictured), his sons Mirko , me, my Mom and Plamen , Stara Zagora



 

I never wanted to know how it feels to regret something. Regretting something so deeply that it hurts. Such a deep sadness all over. Knowing you are too late. There is no making it up. There is nothing, nothing you can do. I never wanted to know how it feels but I am in the middle of it. And I am dealing poorly with it.

 

Is it a crisis in my identity? I am begging to know. Years ago I finally found that part in my heart knowing who I am. And then I lost it. I lost it with the death of my beloved father. My best friend, my everything. Why does it feel so essential, like someone ripped part of my heart out?  

Because parts of my heart got ripped out. My cousin Konstantin said I am a tree without roots.

 

 

 

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Gabi, my sister, Konstantin, me and his brother Dimitar ( Mitko ) 1975, Batak

 

 

 

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                                            my Dads cousin Krilka and Antonia , my mother in the middle 1975, Batak

 

 

I hired someone in Bulgaria to find them. I was thinking if I just find one of each part of the family, I found them all. They can connect me with the rest.

 

I found my aunt, Kirilka my dad grew up with. In pretty much every picture I have of my dad as a child my aunt is in it with him. I can’t even start how to describe how I felt when I saw pictures of her over 30 years later, she is now an old woman 83 years old. My cousin Konstantin, I saw the last time when I was 9 years old, he was 13 right before they left for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to work as doctors there for 5 years. He himself became a doctor as well. That is the first time I have contact to him again. He is now 56 years old. My other auntie Antonia died 5 years ago, she was not very old. And Konstantin’s dad, my uncle died 3 years ago. 

 

 

 

 

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                                                                             Dad , Gabi, Aunt Antonia  and my Mother , Sofia 1975

 

 

One of my favorite uncles, uncle Bojtscho and my dear cousin Stephan, dead. Gone. Never can talk to them again. Stephan was just 3 years older than me. I found his sons, with one of them Alan, I talk weekly on facebook. I will meet him. 

 

 

I did find 2 more aunts, 2 uncles, 2 cousins that are alive, maybe more.Some of them are over 80 years old now. Some lost their kids and spouses. We were a big family and I am really hoping that there some people left .

 

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                                                                                       Dad ✝ and aunt Kirilka, Bulgaria around 1939

 

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                                          Aunt Kirilka left to the right my dad   

                       

I planned a trip to see my mother in Germany. I added a few days and now before I see her I am flying into Sofia. A friend from Germany is coming along with me and I am very grateful for that.

 

Because now I am terrified. What started as a trip to find my family is becoming a nightmare. I am finding more dead people then I expected. I was hoping for so much more.

Just this week I got more terrible news, My beloved aunt Kristina, uncle Schorro( Georgi), their son Stefko, my cousin, are not alive anymore. I don't even know how this is possible. Stefko was not that old.

How do you deal with death, how do you deal with 3 people dying on the same day? Because for me, they all died today. 

 

 

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Stefko with Steffi, Gabi's daughter on his shoulders and my dad , around 1984 , Germany

 

 

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                                                               Aunt Kristina  with my Mom in Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

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                                                           Uncle Schorro (Georgi)  and me in Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

 

 

 

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                                                                        Uncle Schorro (Georgi) and me in Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

 

 

 

I am flying in a bit over a week. I will meet Alan in Sofia, we will go to Stara Zagora and visit with his grandmother, my aunt which was uncle Bojtscho’s wife. He said she knows about everyone in the family and we can ask her all the questions. He will translate for me. My uncle Ivan will also be there . Those are all from my fathers fathers side of the family. 

I found out that my cousin Stefko had a daughter. Her name is Kristina ( like her grandmother) and we are in contact since yesterday. We will meet. Also Kristina's sister Maria is still alive and we will meet in Stara Zagora or in Sofia.

 

The next day we will drive to Plovdiv, about an hour away and visit my aunt Kirilka and Konstantin, with a bit luck I get to meet his 2 sons and maybe I also see my cousin Demitar (Mitko) his brother. That is family from my fathers mothers side. And I believe the last ones left. 

 

After that we will go back to Sofia, a 4 hour drive and on the fourth day I will fly to Berlin to see my mother. I don’t know how much good news I have for her. I don’t know what I can actually expect. It’s been such a long time and the family members I knew are just old now and many didn’t get old. Scary thoughts. But I really needed to do it. I am late, I am too late for many people. But I have to root my tree. 

 

 

 

 



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top row: third woman is one of the sisters, and the woman on the right is Svetka , Kirilka's Mama, bottom row left is my dad ✝, kid I don't know, Kirilka and to left another sister. One of those sisters is my grandmother.

 

67210940_352943692068463_812938069618458624_n67210940_352943692068463_812938069618458624_n                               All of the sisters. My grandmother and my great aunts. I don't know who is who , I believe the left one is Aunt Zvetka ✝, Kirilka's Mama

 





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                                                  my grandparents Milka  and Atanasov Kurtew 

 

img002img002                                     my grandparents Milka  and Atanasov Kurtew 

 

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                                grandma Milka ✝, my dad Bojtscho ✝ an my grandfather Atanasov ✝

 

PapaPapa                                                                                     My dad Bojtscho Atanasov Kurtew ✝

 

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                               My dad Bojtscho Atanasov Kurtew ✝ , Stara Zagora at my Grandfather's house

 

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                                             My dad Bojtscho Atanasov Kurtew ✝ , Bulgaria

 

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second woman on the left is my grandmother Milka , next to her is her sister,Kirilka's mother Zvetka  , my dad in front next to my grandfather  and Kirilka next to him , don't know yet who the other people are

 

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                              my grandfather Atanasov ✝ in back row 4th from left, Kirilka and my dad ✝ in front row, not sure about the others

 

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                      3 of the sisters, Zvetka ✝, Kirilka's Mom and next is I believe my grandmother Milka ✝ with another sister to the right

 

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                                                                                        I believe that is my grandmother Milka

 

 

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                                      Mama , grandpa Atanasov  , me and my sister Gabi, Germany around 1970

 

img115img115                                                                         My dad ✝ , my granddad ✝ , Gabi and me, Germany around 1970

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(Kurtew Photography) Bulgaria DNA East-Germany Europe Family Friends grief loss pain photography Plovdiv sadness Sofia Stara Zagora https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/9/Finding-my-Family Tue, 17 Sep 2019 22:55:24 GMT
Honeymoon Europe 2018 : Eight Act :More of Rome https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/7/act-8 I fell in love with Rome. I’ve been to many places in Europe and have lived in a few of them that gave me a similar feeling. But Rome is special, somehow. The people, the food, the architecture, the unbelievable energy coming from this City and its people.  

 

 

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I loved the buzzing sound of Motorcycles and people talking. How the sun hits the pavement and reflects on this centuries old buildings, caring so many secrets. You can hear them whisper if you stay long enough and care to listen.


Our last couple days we really stayed in the moment. We saw the Pantheon and the Trevi fountain; but mostly went with whatever felt good and enjoyed each others company.

 

 

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I love going out early in the morning to search for the perfect espresso. I didn’t have to go far. The smell of this delicious fresh brewed dark brown liquid was guiding me in my search. The locals didn’t seem to mind us , at least I felt invisible at times but on those mornings I got a Buongiorno back and a smile. I felt home without being home or ever been at this place before. It just felt right. I soaked in every moment , every bit I was able to grab and I felt safe, appreciated of some sort understood and welcomed. 

 

 

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I managed to got a reservation for our last dinner at the rooftop of the Hotel I booked for us the year before. The food was incredible and the service even better. The entire restaurant, service people and customers celebrated our honeymoon with us. What an end to an amazing honeymoon!

 

 

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Leaving this City was one of the harder things to do. You know when you are ready to go home, when you are ready to sleep in your own bed again, ready to put that suitcase away. I could have stayed in Rome forever, I know Dalila was more charmed with Ischia . We both agreed we will and need to go back to Italy. And we for sure will go back to Ischia and Rome. Napoli and Capri and maybe even go a bit more south then we did this time. Sicily is in our future. 

 

 

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Until then, this is the last of the adventures of our honeymoon in Europe. Closing out Honeymoon Europe 2018 : Eight Act :More of  Rome with the announcement of the next travel blog; starting the journey of finding my Family in Bulgaria.

 

 

 

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(Kurtew Photography) architecture blog Espreso Europe honeymoon Italy Kurtew Photography love motorcycles Phanteon Photographer photography Rome Trevi fountain https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/7/act-8 Tue, 30 Jul 2019 19:41:55 GMT
Honeymoon Europe 2018 : Seventh Act : Rome https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/7/rome What possible could be more perfect than Ischia? The Island that gave us all the possibilities to meet up with the great goddess of the Earth. Madam Vesuvio gave her blessings and send us off to greater things. Not without tumults and challenges. But with more clarity and commitment, devotion and knowledge. 

We were on our way to Rome. My first time. Our first time. And it was on my list for a very long time. I can’t even explain how excited I was. 

 

Traveling per high speed train from Naples to Rome is a treat. It takes an hour to an hour and a half and the trains are clean, super comfortable seats that recline and the service is great. Of course we had our Prosecco ready. 

 

 

Behind us on the train was a traditional family ;father,mother and 2 little girls. Italians. The girls seem very curious and watched our every move. The father and mother seemed very sweet and nice and when we explained to them that we just got married and were on our honeymoon they congratulated us and explained it to their daughters. The younger one now really was interested and did not let us out of her eye sight until we arrived in Rome. I think she was a little in love with Dalila. Excellent taste at this young age.

 

 

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We stayed at the Hotel Cosmopolita Roma, Via di S. Eufemia, a beautiful Hotel right in the middle of everything. I tried to get the same Hotel I booked for us the year before but they were all occupied. I did managed to make a reservation at the Hotel’s Restaurant on the rooftop for dinner for us.

 

Next to our Hotel was a restaurant which had gluten free pizza and that was our first thing to do. Because they had no dairy free cheese, they actually let us buy some sheep cheese at the near local market and we just handed it to them. They kept it for us and I believe Dalila got like 3 pizzas out of it in the next few days.

 

The heat was on in Europe, we realized it more in Rome than before just because there was no Breeze coming from the ocean. We settled for lunch at Cin Cin Bar and Ristorante overlooking the Piazza Venezia. That little lunch spot were we had to climb a small staircase to emerge to the outside patio was the perfect break to taste more of this delicious Italian Food. 

 

 

 

Rome

 

 

 

 

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Right after lunch we started to explore ancient Rome. So much to see, everything was really exciting for me. I really could not get enough of Rome. We managed to see The Roman Forum and The Colosseum on our first day and just walked around a bit more on this hot summer day.

 

 

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“Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble,

Ancient footprints are everywhere.

You can almost think that you're seein' double

On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs.”         Bob Dylan on Greatest Hits Vol II 1971 

 

 

 

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Later, back to our Hotel we ordered some gluten and dairy free Pizza from downstairs and relaxed after a lot of walking with some Prosecco we got from the grocery store. And yes, it was warm and we needed ice. No ice in the store, so I called our reception to bring us up some ice as the ice makers were nowhere to be seen. We literally died laughing but see for yourself what we got.

 

 

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I think they literally gave us all they had. But we had a fridge in the suite , so everything worked out.

 

Rome is amazing. Go and see it. Go experience it.

 

More in the next post… but for now more pictures from our first day.

 

Much love,

 

Connie

 

 

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(Kurtew Photography) Aperol Aperol Spritz Bob Dylan Cin Cin Bar and Restaurant Colosseum Dylan Europe Food Forum heat Hotel Hotel Cosmopolita Italian Italy Kurtew KurtewP hotography LGBTQ Photography Piazza Venezia prosciutto Ristorante Roman Rome Travel Travel Blog Travel Photography https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/7/rome Wed, 10 Jul 2019 15:22:12 GMT
Honeymoon Europe 2018 : Sixth Act https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/4/honeymoon-europe-2018-sixth-act DSC_7617_tonemappedDSC_7617_tonemapped

 

 

Ischia. How can I transmit the feeling, the pleasure, the immense amount of joy we had when we set foot on that island. Impossible.

 

 

My dream was to go to Capri, the island of endless summer; brown half naked bodies jumping in the warm water all day long. First kisses, first loves. A soft breeze from the ocean; touching your skin and more first kisses and summer love.

Capri was bursting with tourists I heard before booking our trip but I also heard that there was another island, just off the coast of Napoli as well. Ischia. Known for its mineral-rich thermal waters and Hot springs everywhere. A volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Northern end of the Gulf of Naples. From the Hotel we stayed at and its Restaurant below you can see the medieval Aragonese Castle, linked to Ischia by a stone bridge. It is literally Paradise.

 

 

 

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Accessible only by boat or ferry from Naples , we made it to the Island in about an hour and a half. At arrival at the port there was a huge line of Taxi cars, very strange looking cars, older and with no doors, and 3 wheels instead of 4. Which as we experienced later, was a very good thing because it could go down very small paths. What we didn’t know was that the cab could not go all the way to the hotel.

 

 

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funny looking cab on 3 wheels , photo courtesy of ©ischiaguidedtours.com

 

 

We had to walk for about a mile and a half what is normally not a big deal but we had luggage and the path was pretty steep downward hills . And it was hot. It was such a beautiful view but it was so hot. I tried to run back and forth to help Dalila with her luggage as well, as you can imagine; she had twice the stuff I had.

 

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By the time we got there we were both drenched in sweat, out of breath and ready to break out the Prosecco and take in the incredible view on our balcony which wrapped around the corner and gave us access to if from both our doors.

 

 

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As it was later in the afternoon already, we went down a few stairs to the rocky black beach and also to the restaurant right below us to make a reservation for dinner. A light storm was coming in and the boats going to other parts of the island stopped. We didn’t mind being trapped. The rain was refreshing and it made it not so hot anymore.

 

 

 

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At the restaurant it was just us and another couple, the service and food was amazing. Fresh and prepared to order and the exquisite flavor of the dishes comes in waves hitting your taste buds over and over again.

 

 

 

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We stayed a few days on this island, longer than any other place on our honeymoon. Time didn’t exist. Waking up in the morning was eerie, there was no sound other than the birds and the waves crashing against the black lava rocks. Breakfast was served in one of the bigger rooms, close to the pool. Croissants, a variety of European breads along with Salamis, Prosciutto,other cured meats and fruits.The air was filled with the smell of coffee and of course we had several Espresso’s.

 

 

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They next few days was just all that. The magic of the island was with us and we just enjoyed ourselves. Exploring the island by foot was out of the question, it was too hot to even think about it.It would also mean we had to hike back up that steep path we came down. We opted for the pool which was filled with this muddy mineral rich water and to the beach.

Kids were playing in the water and it took me back to my childhood where I was playing with my sister in the Black Sea in towns Varna and Nesebar in Bulgaria. The water was so salty after drying off from the sun there was always a layer of white dust on your skin. Salt. Not here, the water was  nothing like that. Also nothing like the Pacific. This here was warm water.

 

 

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This Island was so many things for us; incredibly beautiful,relaxing,zen like and emotional. No pictures or film ever will bring and transform what we saw and experienced. But maybe you can catch a moment.

Ischia,I hope you have your own zip code.

 

 

 

 

 

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(Kurtew Photography) blog castle europe honeymoon Ischia Island Italy love ocean photography summer water https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/4/honeymoon-europe-2018-sixth-act Thu, 18 Apr 2019 18:05:18 GMT
Honeymoon Europe 2018 : Fifth Act https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/3/honeymoon-europe-2018-fifth-act  

 

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Napoli or Naples, Italy. We got there by plane in about an hour from Berlin. We had a driver waiting for us to take us to an apartment which I booked on booking.com. Just on the drive there I knew already I would love it here. I always loved Italy but that was my first adventure into the South. The apartment adventure on the other side turned out to be just like that, the kind of adventure you do not want on your honey moon.

 

 

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The code they gave us was wrong, so we could not get in. The area wasn’t really what we thought it would be as well, the photos for sure looked very different. I contacted Booking.com at least 5 times and I still did not get my money back. Please be careful and aware with this company. Bad customer service. I will never use them again.

 

 

Our phones got low and there was nowhere to plug in. We did had batteries but they got low as well. Communicating with the neighbors turned out to be a challenge; they did not speak English or German and my Italian is very limited. Dalila even tried some French but Italian it was. We all had a great laugh because no one could understand the other. So we did what we had to do as it was our honeymoon.

 

We grabbed another cab and as Napoli is beautifully located on the water, we decided to get a Hotel right there, at the coast. Our choice was the Grand Hotel Vesuvio from which - you can guess by the title - you can see The Grand Madam Vesuvio; Mount Vesuvio, the Goddess of all Volcanos, for me at least. And the Island of Capri; all from their balconies and rooftop bars and pool. I think it is the most beautiful Hotel I have ever stayed at. With the most beautiful woman in the world.

 

https://www.lhw.com/hotel/Grand-Hotel-Vesuvio-Naples-Italy

 

 

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After changing out of the plane clothes and taking a shower , we were heading out to explore this side of Napoli, all on the water. Hungry and excited for our first meal in Napoli we settled for a restaurant very close to our Hotel. Service was great, we got to taste a few different Aperitifs after dinner , all Lemoncello's and Ramazzotti's . The food was really great , fresh made pasta. Dalila had salmon . It was the perfect evening. http://www.antonioeantonio.com/.

 

 

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Napoli, Naples, one of the most densely populated cities in Europe, famous for the food and wine and scooters. I never saw so many scooters. Even Rome had nothing on Napoli. Placed gorgeously at the Gulf of Naples, the Tyrrhenian Sea which is part of the Mediterranean Sea off the Western coast of Italy. Very mild climate; it reminded me of childhood summers we spend always on some coast. The Baltic Sea or the Black Sea. The sun was going down and you saw the majestic Volcano Vesuvio watching over us. This was one of the moments when you wish it would never end.

 

 

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Back at the Hotel we settled in with a bottle of Prosecco on our balcony and watched people walk by at night, coming out of the restaurants and bars, dancing, singing, talking. We put on our bathrobes and just enjoyed the night and each others company.

 

 

 

 

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Our second day and third day in Napoli was exploring the town a bit deeper,shopping, eating more of this fantastic food everywhere and we  visited a castle Ovo Castle (Castel dell’Ovo) which was pretty much right in front of our hotel. But first breakfast in bed, honeymoon style.

 

 

 

 

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On our strolls through Napoli we came across a store with home made fresh Pasta,  R. Strino - also known as The Pasta brothers on 84 Via Santa Lucia, Naples, Campania. If you ever have the chance to go to Napoli, check out this Family owned business. Both brothers are amazing humans and their Balsamico , Hallelujah! The Pasta is to die for and they just have so many different kinds , the same for the Balsamico. It was hard to chose and you seriously can buy a bottle from like $8 up till $80. We got a nice stash and I believe we still have one bottle left. Time to refill soon.

https://www.facebook.com/rstrino/

 

 

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If you ever make it to Napoli don't forget to eat some Gelato! In fact, anywhere in Italy. But here they even had lactose free Gelato so Dalila could enjoy some of the dark chocolate Gelato. I was too busy eating to take a picture but here is the link to to store we went to.

http://www.rolgelateria.it/

Another day in Napoli enjoying the amazing food and wines, glorious views and the amazing friendly people in town and in our hotel.

 

 

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Next adventure is Ischia,a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples, Italy. But here are a few more pictures from Napoli, more food and drink. And I know I will be back, I really enjoyed this town and it's people, the food and architecture was outstanding. Sitting at night at the beach on one of it's many rocks really brought me back to my childhood. Maybe that was where the familiarity, the feeling of home came from.

 

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peace and love,

 

 

Connie

 

 

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(Kurtew Photography) architecture beach blog castle clouds food gelato honeymoon Italy love Naples Napoli ocean pasta photography pizza scooters sun water https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/3/honeymoon-europe-2018-fifth-act Thu, 28 Mar 2019 21:29:13 GMT
Honeymoon Europe 2018: Fourth Act https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/3/honeymoon-europe-2018-fourth-act  

 

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The best part of traveling to Germany every year is of course to see my family. And friends. I still have my friends from junior high school and their kids are now my friends as well. My best friends name is Suse; I met her at a event about Bob Dylan's music and lyrics when I was 15 years old. Let's not do the Math right now.

We never lost contact, lived together, vacationed together, she even moved to California with me and stayed for 3 months. We know each other and there is a special bond and trust. She is family. I remember when we were teenagers and she came over the weekend to stay at our house, my mother had a note up on the fridge with all the foods Suse didn’t eat. Or was it with the foods she ate? Because there were not many. We always had so much fun and it was always about the music.

 

This time I got to take my wife . We had just 2 days in Leipzig and then we were heading for Italy for the rest of our honeymoon. So I really just wanted to meet up with my friends, have some good food and wine and just hang out together. It still is fun every time I take an American to Germany, or Europe; how they complain about the amount of walking we are doing. We don’t even think about it. If its a 20 minute walk; we walk. Even at night. If we have no time, we take public transportation but mostly we walk.  But Dalila was a good sport and - I also gave in (to take the bus/cab). As you can imagine I had not much to say when she pointed to her heels.

 

 

 

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Another really good friend of mine Manu picked us up from the train station with my nephew Phillip and we got a little break before going out,hanging out at her house with some Prosecco of course. She lives very central to DT Leipzig, one of those 20 minute walks. And even Dalila enjoyed it and I got to show her at least a bit of my hometown. Suse made reservations for us at a Spanish Tapas place with a nice outside patio. The nights in Europe are as warm as the days are and it is much longer light at night. I do miss that in California. We got lucky, a few of my closest friends came out to meet us; some we missed , some moved away.

 

 

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And yes, there was more food and there was green food, for some reason I enjoyed that more than taking pictures of it.

 

Another important part of traveling to Europe and Germany is and always will be the food. The bread, the cheese , pastries, the coffee! I found alternatives but seriously , there is no comparison to having a croissant in Europe. The beer. Coffee, no comparison, even Starbucks sucks compared to German coffee ( which is mostly African beans or Latin American beans so the roasting process must be different than in America). I find most coffees in America bitter. But you can have a very strong and bold coffee in Germany and it’s smooth and perfect, no bitterness. And look what else we have , we have Americans for consumption!

 

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The picture showing Dalila, Manu and Kerstin drinking out of little bottles; it's a tradition within our group of friends. They called Feiglinge - a play on words meaning a coward but it is Fig liquor and Figs in German called Feigen , a coward is called a Feigling ....so it's a little Coward , Feigling. Tap the bottle a few times on the counter ,then place the cap on your nose and you grab the bottle with your teeth, pouring the entire content of the bottle into your mouth. It's a sweet liquor so the colder, the better.

 

 

 

 

 

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After our fun night out we had a great breakfast at Manu’s house and off we were to our last country on our honeymoon and for me the most exciting part: Italy. South Italy.  I have always been to the North ; so that was a new adventure for me as well.

 

 

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Stay tuned;

 

Peace, love and resistance

 

Connie

 

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(Kurtew Photography) architecture blog drinks East-Germany Europe family food friends Germany honeymoon Leipzig love photography train https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/3/honeymoon-europe-2018-fourth-act Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:09:32 GMT
Honeymoon Europe 2018: Third Act https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/2/honeymoon-europe-2018-third-act  

We made is safe to my mother’s house; I think the train ride was new for Dalila. That and I really wanted to introduce her to as many things and people in Germany as possible. There was a lot to take in and process. And it was fun. Like for example, I actually wanted her to eat a traditional dish called dead Grandmother - Tote Oma - which is blood sausage hash served with sauerkraut and potatoes.

 

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We hated it as kids - hence the name - and I still do. But there was simply no time.

 

My Mother was expecting us and we had to be on time. Everything just a bit off the schedule would mess up her entire plan for us. And as much I like to mess with her, that was simply not the time to do it.

 

We settled in at a little bed and breakfast, just a couple minutes walk from my Mother’s house. It was kind of a tradition to stay at Pension Daisy. The owner named at after her first dog. For about 20 years we are using this little Pension for us and other family members. The rooms were a nice size, fitting besides 2 beds an additional couch and a table with chairs and our own bathroom.

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At my mother's house we had dinner and yes, she brought out the photo albums with me as a baby.And me 16 years old as a Goth ... embarrassing - and so many phases and so so awkward. Before I showed Dalila many pictures but always just the ones I thought were cute, now she seen it all. But what can you do, I am sure I will do the same at some point.

 

 

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Addition because many of you ask : we had no products  for our hair then, so we used beer, honey or shaving cream. I used mostly shaving cream from my dad.You can imagine some summers were more complicated than others. Specially when you used honey !

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  Dinner and drinks at Mama's

 

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Later we went back to our bed and breakfast, had some Prosecco in bed and just talked.

 

The next morning ,after breakfast,we visited a little town with a castle that was sadly closed for renovations but we had lunch and a nice hike around the lake.

It was so quite there, I can't remember the last time I walked around a lake and just listened to birds. Ducks splashing with water , enjoying this summer day as much as we did.

And the wind, you could hear the leaves rustle and smell the fresh cut grass. Bliss. Pure bliss. And there was my mother and there was my love with me. It can't get much better.

 

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I know this tree for a long time, it was still growing and big and beautiful. Lightning truck it and it burned pretty much all of it.

 

 

 

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We had to say goodbye already, it was way to short but we promised to come back the year after and stay longer. My mother just hoped in the train and came half way with us to Leipzig. Much fun, we crashed first class and when we got busted the train conductor spoke perfectly English and let us keep the seats.

 

 

 

 

 

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 Next stop is Leipzig, my home town. Hold on tight, you will see more Family, more friends and more fun. 

 

 

Peace, love and resistance,


 

Connie

 

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(Kurtew Photography) blog castle East-Germany Family Germany Haldensleben honeymoon lake love Mother photography train https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/2/honeymoon-europe-2018-third-act Sun, 24 Feb 2019 05:34:27 GMT
Honeymoon Europe 2018: Second Act https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/2/honeymoon-europe-2018-second-act
I thought we just have 2 full days in Paris so I made my wife rush with me through all the places I really wanted to see, places I missed last time or places I just missed so much. I did not let her sleep much , who needs sleep when you are in Paris anyway, right?

It was for sure not enough time and we agreed to come back here , for much longer. I just love the smell of fresh croissants in the morning with those endless tiny cups of espresso that will keep you going all day long. The atmosphere in french restaurants when the waiter in his long white apron brings you that basket of fresh bread with butter, riddling down the specials of the day. And after an fantastic meal , more espresso. Just that alone is a nice welcome to be back in Europe.  

Sleep deprived I made Dalila go with me to the Louvre. So many people tried to get into the museum, we just looked at each other and ya, that was a no.So we just walked around outside, I took a few photos and clearly my wife was playing along, the superhero she is . Everything was perfect. I was with my love, the most wonderful and beautiful woman in the world in the most romantic city in the world.

In their hotel bar we stopped here for some amazing cocktails and a break from running around all day.

https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/france/park-hyatt-paris-vendome/parph/dining



 

 



 


 


 

I wanted more and I got it; we strolled along the Seine, visited a few bridges, towers and just walked around in those old cobblestone streets.




 




Back at our apartment on the 7th floor we packed and had to get all our luggage down those 7 floors ,I was too busy to take photos but it was hysterical. More dragging and pushing than carrying for sure.

Drenched in sweat  we got in an Uber and arrived at the airport over an hour later just in time to run to our gate. Sleep deprived and on my honeymoon, drinking Prosecco and Espresso all day, made me switch the days …At check in we got informed that we were a day early? How could that happened? I mean who does that. Too early to leave Paris?  I had plans, routes, timetables and sketches all over my sketchbooks and on my phone. And I still messed up the dates.

Was my mother actually expecting us already ? Well she was not expecting us,and almost 80 years old she is very particular about certain things, so I was throwing her off to ask her if we could come a day early. Dalila wanted to wait and pray on what hotel and I was not having that, calling my friend Candice, who lives and works in Paris, for a hotel, I could not reach her but left her a message and reconnected with her in Berlin.We payed an extra fee to get on that plane and made it to Berlin.

 

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We both thought it would be lovely to spend time in Berlin, waited at airport,I talked with Candice but it was too short notice so the Hyatt in Berlin was fully booked.  Even we did it by mistake we really looked forward to be in Berlin, and homeground made things easier for sure.




We got lucky at the airport and got an great cab driver from Iran who was driving around with us to get us to a nice hotel. He even turned his meter off the last few stops. The Garden Hotel was fully booked but right across the street was Hotel i31 and it was delightful!

https://www.hotel-i31.de/en

There was a spa and a restaurant and a gym.But what impressed me most was the different kind of Gummy bears they had at check in. And  a menu just for pillows, so you can chose the size, fabric and density. Heaven.


 


 


 

For dinner we headed to an Italian restaurant, recommendation from the Hotel staff called http://www.bonfini.de/  Great food and the staff and owners were awesome. Met some interesting people there,2 guys from Germany that were Ambassadors and stationed in different parts of the world.They told us that this was there favorite Italian Restaurant in Berlin. Great service in Germany, clearly I've been away for too long and must have missed something.

 



 




 






After dinner we strolled around a little bit but really looked forward to those pillows and got to the hotel early at night. and yes, we slept amazing in those beds and because we had to get some work done - the only one on our honeymoon - we stationed ourselves in the lobby and grabbed some food and Prosecco. I had the chance to watch a few world cup games in the Garden.


 




 

And then off we went to the big train station in Berlin Mitte to see my Mom . We had a stop to switch trains,old buildings still just sitting there from after the wall came down and a bit spooky and also a bit frightening. We were the only ones there! But them we heard some noise from a close restaurant. We both at the same time had not a good feeling about it. The patio was full ,but we did not see one single woman there and everybody seemed to be drunk, at least some were yelling at each other , the entire scene did not seemed ok. We had some time to kill and to refill our Prosecco supply; with our luggage and over cobblestone streets again we made it in time to a small store before they closed.

Back on the train tracks we waited patiently for our train to arrive - and of course, the train was on time !



 




 






 

 

 



 

 

                                                   More photos from the trip here:

 

 


 





 


 


 


 

 

 

 

 

Next stop, Mama’s house and Haldensleben and a few more.


 

                                                         Peace, love and resistance,


 

Connie

 

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(Kurtew Photography) architecture Berlin black and white Photography blog East-Germany France Germany honeymoon Louvre love Paris photography train https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/2/honeymoon-europe-2018-second-act Fri, 08 Feb 2019 05:32:37 GMT
Honeymoon Europe 2018 : First Act https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/1/honeymoon-europe-2018-first-act As messed up and horrendous  2018 was politically , it was also a beautiful year personally and professionally.

Mainly because I was lucky enough to go on my honeymoon with my wife . Almost exactly one year after we got married; we packed our bags and went to France, Germany and Italy . I was looking forward seeing my family and friends and to spend time with my wife in some of my favorite places in Europe.

 

 

LAX, Los Angeles

 

I reserved hotels, AirbnB, planes and trains and ferries, whatever we had to take.

Here now our first stop : Paris, France. Direct from Los Angeles.

 

I discovered this beautiful little Studio apartment on Airbnb, at the 8th District Montmartre ,one block away from the Moulin Rouge. I have to say Montmartre is both our favorite district. Arriving early in the morning,we  knew that jetlag will be bad so we had to stay awake. Which was not an issue as we discovered that our little cozy place was on the 7th floor. There was no elevator and I knew Dalila would not like that at all. But so at least we got some exercise. Which we got plenty in the next 2 weeks. The stairs were stunning, I couldn't get enough of them. I think Dalila didn’t care too much.  

 

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After long minutes of up and back down to get the next bag, we finally made it and settled in our lovely little place and went out right away to grab lunch at a beautiful restaurant : http://www.wepler.com/en/. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellent food and after that we grabbed a taxi to Sacré-Cœur,a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From there you have the most beautiful view of Paris.I think everyone ever been to Paris has been there .I have been a few times to Paris and that was my first time at this church.  





 

 

 

At night  we strolled along the Promenade until 3 am, had a Vegan and gluten free pizza and used that time to reconnect  and talk.

 

 

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Even though it was 3 am we were quite awake and looked for more to do. And we were not the only ones ! Down the street was a bar with a bunch of people sitting outside and they had Jameson on tap! So we settled for that bar, Dalila had Prosecco and I had Jameson  for the next 2 hours until not sleeping caught up with us and we went back to our little beautiful studio apartment on the 7th floor.

 

 

 

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As mentioned before, we were about a block away from the Moulin Rouge, I went the next morning to Artisan Boulanger- Pattisier  La Prairie to grab some coffee 7 am. My french is terrible and I did not think using German would get me a any further. There was no drip coffee in that place, I got my wife a green tea - I managed that - and I ordered  4 shots of espresso for myself. I tried to explain to her that all those 4 shots were meant for me but I failed.They had no lids or trays. And I got a croissant. So what I had was 5 cups to go and a bag with a croissant. I also had keys for the gate to get back into our apartment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I juggled and managed, put all the cups down on the street, opened the gate, put my foot between the gate, managed to pick up all 5 cups and the bag and got into the gate. There was a little backyard kinda thing so I had another gate with another code and had to repeat the procedure. At no point in time it occurred to me to combine those espresso cups into one or two. To my defense I was jet lagged and really needed some caffeine.

After that I had to climb 7 floors to make it to our apartment,with no air left in my lungs .

 

 

 


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The next day the lady in the patisserie - had mercy on me, laughed because she played a trick on me , but then gave me all 4 shots in one cup ! Great start to another day in Paris. It was cloudy and chili but that could not mess with our good mood and excitement to explore Paris for the first time together. And the clouds added to my pictures  a beautiful touch.

 

 

Please enjoy, pictures are all ©Kurtew Photography , phone pictures as well.

 

Connie

 

 

 

https://www.kurtewphotography.com

 

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all images ©Kurtew Photography and available for purchase

 

 

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(Kurtew Photography) architecture black and white Photography France french you very much honeymoon Kurtew Photography love Montmartre Moulin Rouge Paris Photography Photography blog stairs urban vacation https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/1/honeymoon-europe-2018-first-act Fri, 18 Jan 2019 19:32:01 GMT
A new year and procrastination https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/1/a-new-year-and-procrastination   @Kurtew Photographycoast by Ventura, CA
     Highway 101 Ventura, CA      ©Kurtew Photography
 
I originally wanted to write a bit about last year and somehow I am procrastinating. I am good at that. But that is one thing I want to get better at, well not better at but let's say don't push things too far away from me. It was such an eventful year both personally and professionally , influenced by the political climate specially here in the US but also all over the world. I am still digesting several events and until then I thought I just write about something else, which affects me right now. ( I guess that is still procrastinating ...)
 
Malibu, CA@Kurtew Photography
     Malibu, CA   ©Kurtew Photography
 
 
So many people have new years resolutions, goals for the new year, big mountains to concur! And then you have the other side, people that are absolutely against it because they think you should set your goals all year long, adjust as we go and just move on to the next. And as much as I like setting goals all year long, adjusting and moving forward ; there is something about a new year that seems fresh, new, unused and screams for new beginnings.
 
 
 
I also have to say it is fun if you write them down and bring it out the next year and read them out loud. Even more fun doing it with a bunch of the same people , year after year. It could be like a scene from friends or Cards for Humanity.
 
So yesterday I finally managed to go to my boxing gym again. First time this year. Ja, I know, not much for a New Years resolution and going the first time on the 9th of January. But I never said I am actually having New years resolutions, I like more, clearing my head, trying new things and or getting started again. It probably has nothing do to with any of that. Maybe I just needed to tell myself, come on , you are paying a monthly membership and you are one of those? You know, one of those paying and not going? And seriously it is so much fun! Torture but fun.
 
Hard to explain.  So I went , I was tired, I was/am out of shape , I was not in any mood to go and jump around and hit the punching bag. On top of it I am in class with all those youngsters they don't even seem to sweat a bit doing those burpees and squads and holding a 6lbs medicine ball above your head whilst doing jumping lunges? What is that anyway? Who in the world came up with that? I am trying to keep my cool with all those early twenty-somethings in class, and they dare to complain. I was partnered once with a 23 year year old youngster and he just rolled his eyes after every workout asking me if it was over ? I couldn't breathe so I couldn't answer that. I am not sure what he was thinking but I didn't care. I had to keep breathing and that was all I could focus on. But I did it, I did the hour self destruction and miraculously came out on the other side, sweating , hurting , feeling exhausted but good. As good as I have not felt in weeks aka before the destructive month of December , the Holidays, actually starting with Thanksgiving. I was still on plan then, but the December got me good.
 
   @Kurtew PhotographyCity of Angels Boxing Gym #AintyourMamasGym @Kurtew PhotographyCity of Angels Boxing Gym #AintyourMamasGym @Kurtew PhotographyCity of Angels Boxing Gym #AintyourMamasGym @Kurtew PhotographyCity of Angels Boxing Gym #AintyourMamasGym @Kurtew PhotographyCity of Angels Boxing Gym #AintyourMamasGym @Kurtew PhotographyCity of Angels Boxing Gym #AintyourMamasGym
    all pictures above unless stated different taken at  City of Angels Boxing Gym       ©Kurtew Photography
 
 
I have to do a big shootout to my Gym , The City of Angels Boxing Gym. Those people there are magic. They are like a family. They don't care if you are out of shape, they get you in shape. They have so much to give and if you can take it , well take it. #Cityofangelsboxing
 
@Kurtew PhotographyCity of Angel boxing @Kurtew PhotographyCity of Angel boxing
    City of angels boxing        ©Kurtew Photography
 
 
So what I wanted to say is, whatever you believe in , whatever you do for this new year. Take care of yourself, take care of your neighbor. I came home last night from the Gym and I was so exhausted after my shower I went to bed when my dog goes to bed, at 9 PM. I thought I read in bed or - well I was fast asleep by 9:05 PM. I was so tired. The entire day I was tired and looking back last week I was tired too. But today, today felt different. I got up early enough to meditate for 20 minutes, I was aware and busy at work and even missed lunch because I was so busy. And I felt good, I still feel good.
 
 
I guess it doesn't matter if you have those New Year goals or goals all year around. Having goals I think is important. What keeps us evolving and learning. Learning more about ourselves and others. Happy  2019 to you all!
 
@Kurtew Photographycocktails
         ©Kurtew Photography
 
 
Oh and if you are in Los Angeles, go and check out the https://marcianoartfoundation.org/  they have some excellent exhibitions right now.
 
https://marcianoartfoundation.org/exhibition/ai-weiwei-life-cycle/
 
@Kurtew Photographysunflower seeds
 
@Kurtew PhotographyAi Weiwei: Life Cycle @Kurtew PhotographyAi Weiwei: Life Cycle @Kurtew PhotographyAi Weiwei: Life Cycle
 
 
@Kurtew Photographyspouts
 
    "But it makes an immigrant laugh to hear the fears of the nationalist, scared of infection,penetration, miscegenation, when this small fry,peanuts, compared to what the immigrant fears - dissolution, disappearance."  Zadie Smith, White Teeth, 2000
@Kurtew PhotographyAi Weiwei: Life Cycle    @Kurtew PhotographyAi Weiwei: Life Cycle @Kurtew PhotographyAi Weiwei: Life Cycle
 
"There is the house whose people sit in darkness; dust is their food and clay their meat. I centered the house of dust and I saw the kings of the earth."
 Epic of Gilgamesh,ca 2100 BCE
 
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@Kurtew PhotographyAi Weiwei: Life Cycle   @Kurtew PhotographyAi Weiwei: Life Cycle
 
"Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be." James Baldwin, Nobody knows my name, 1961
 
 
IMG_7260IMG_7260 @Kurtew PhotographyAi Weiwei: Life Cycle
 
https://marcianoartfoundation.org/exhibition/yayoi-kusama-with-all-my-love-for-the-tulips-i-pray-forever-2011/
 
@Kurtew PhotographyYayoi Kusama, With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever, 2011
 
@Kurtew PhotographyYayoi Kusama, With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever, 2011
 
polka dots
 
 
 
https://marcianoartfoundation.org/exhibition/mad-world/
 
 
 
@Kurtew Photographyhttps://marcianoartfoundation.org/exhibition/mad-world/
Sam Durant, Let’s Behave Like Americans, 2007. © Sam Duran
 
 
https://marcianoartfoundation.org/exhibition/bunny-rogers-inattention/
 
@Kurtew Photography      ©Bunny Rogers: Inattention
 
  @Kurtew PhotographyBunny Rogers: Inattention         ©Bunny Rogers: Inattention

 

And more .The tickets are free but you have to make reservations. I went with my wife Dalila before the end of the year and we really enjoyed it. It was a somehow peaceful ending to such a turbulent year.

 
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            ©Bunny Rogers: Inattention
 
 
 
 

 

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(Kurtew Photography) Ai Weiwei art blog Bunny Rogers City of angels boxing Cornelia Kurtew East German Artist Gallery goals James Baldwin kurtew kurtew photography Life Cycle Mad World multimedia artist photography pop art red polka dots Sam Durant Visual art Visual Artist With All My Love For The Tulips Yayoi Kusama Youngsters https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2019/1/a-new-year-and-procrastination Fri, 11 Jan 2019 05:51:10 GMT
My first blog post https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2018/12/my-first-blog-post  
​It was always one of my goals to create a blog.Many years passed and I still have none.
 
As I am starting and writing those words, you can see I have 2 helpers right next to me . Roxy Schmoxy, the almost 12 year old Mini Schnauzer female and Ziggy Stardust, the almost 3 year old Mini Schnauzer Mix.
 
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I am going to change that and will write , well more post my first blog. I wanted it mainly to be about Photography but I will just write and post about whatever comes to my mind. 
I have tons and tons of Photographs I created since I am a child. I have boxes of negative film I need to scan and rolls to develop. Much works lies ahead of discovering some facts of my childhood and young adolescence. First years as a documentarian  of the times and first adventures into digital Photography and professional work. And I can't wait to start.
 
I am excited to show my work which is much broader than my website shows . Much of that is personal work.
 
So that is the start! Wish me luck and follow me! Leave comments !
 
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(Kurtew Photography) photography photography blog https://www.kurtewphotography.com/blog/2018/12/my-first-blog-post Thu, 20 Dec 2018 18:16:22 GMT