British Library: Points of View Opens — Sunday Poems: Robert Frost (“The Road Not Taken,” “The Pasture,” “Mowing,” “Birches,” “After Apple-Picking,” and “The Tuft of Flowers.”) — The poison in the veins Great (Memories of Rumanian Communism) — How Detroit, the Motor City, turned into a ghost town — Universities: the secrets of the Shanghai ranking — With the revolt, Citroën wants to make French luxury — Music Videos (Golden Gate Quartet)



Helmsman on the stern of a ‘laung-zat’ or paddy boat on the Irrawaddy, Burma, by Philip Adolphe Klier, late 1880s

The invention of photography coincided with the start of an unprecedented period of European colonial and mercantile expansion. The development of a worldwide network of transport routes, spearheaded by the steamship and the railway, provided new opportunities for exploration, trade and settlement. Copyright © The British Library Board


Points of View – Opens

Posted by Michael Pritchard

The British Library formally opened it’s landmark photography exhibition Points of View last night at a well-attended private view. The exhibiton marks the librarys first ever photographic exhibition. It opens to the public from 9.30am this morning.

At a risk of running out of superlatives Points of View is quite simply the best exhibition that the library has ever put on. It is a large show, but never feels unapproachable. It is well designed and laid out and presents a wealth of the library’s treasures.

It covers many themes from the photographic history of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and will please the specialist historian as well as be accessible for the non-specialist.Although it includes a great deal of material the exhibition does not feel crowded. In fact, I left wanting to see more.

The show includes wonderful material that hasn’t been seen in other exhibitions from the library’s collections supplemented with early cameras and equipment from the National Media Museum. I suspect from what I know of the library’c collections there are many more future shows like this of equal standard, or perhaps more usefully more shows which take some of the themes and approach them in more depth.

There are a few minor niggles: there are a couple of areas that look empty and the Kodak section at the end feels like a last-minute addition but these are very minor points and do not detract from the overall exhibition.

Make the effort to see it. This is simply the best photography exhibition in London at the moment and the best for many years. You will not be disappointed. Accompanying the exhibition itself is a wonderful series of public lectures and events, a book by curators John Falconer and Louise Hyde and plenty of souvenirs in the bookshop.

I cannot praise the exhibition enough. I, for one, will be going back several times to re-view it.


British Library Video:  Points of View

Points of View:  Themes



Lacquerwork  photograph album, Tamamura Kohzaburo, c. 1890

While the hand-colouring of photographs goes back to the early days of photography, it was taken to its most sophisticated level by Japanese studios, principally for the export market. Copyright © The British Library Board


Sunday Poems:  Robert Frost

American poet Robert Frost (1874-1963) reads “The Road Not Taken,” “The Pasture,” “Mowing,” “Birches,” “After Apple-Picking,” and “The Tuft of Flowers.” Set in rural New England, Frost’s poetry uses ordinary events and objects from his life in New England as metaphors for complex ideas and feelings.

“The Road Not Taken” presents the classic choice of a moment and a lifetime, while “The Tuft of Flowers” explores the meaning of common human experiences. Frost, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1924, 1931, 1937, and 1943, described a poem as “a momentary stay against confusion.” These straightforward but intense readings were made in 1956 at Frost’s home. Copyrighted however you can listen by clicking below.



The Staubbach Falls, Switzerland, by Adolphe Braun, c. 1866

Braun, originally a fabric designer from Alsace, took up photography in the early 1850s, later turning his attention to the lucrative market for tourist views of European landscapes. Copyright © The British Library Board


The poison in the veins

Great memories of communism – Romania 1989-2009

LE MONDE – Piotr Smolar (English Translation)

“After the fall of Ceausescu, the country has long delayed the opening of files of the Securitate. Today, Romanians are discovering about the spying. Revelations of which poison society.” Julien Golstein pour “Le Monde”

One day, a bear entered the garden Vasile Gavrilescu. The hysterical barking of eight dogs helplessly behind the fence of their enclosure, revived the campaign. 7 Horezu for 500 inhabitants, a village about 250 km from Bucharest, were in the habit of impromptu visits of animals. Shoes in hand, Vasile Gavrilescu has driven the great bear, probably surprised both of recklessness. It’s like that, the writer stumbled up to unconscious, tanned like leather from a drum rhythm that would have a thousand battles.

During the communist era, Vasile Gavrilescu was sentenced to two prison sentences and made pale with rage dozens of officers from the police. It is a survivor, a kind of baobab tree, which resists heat exhausting. In 1948, when King Michael I was forced into exile, Vasile, 10, was shot in the chest. Il rate son coup. He misses his shot. Needless to search history monarchists in the family: a mother working, a pharmacist father who abandoned at birth.

At school in the city of Craiova, he meets Aurora, beautiful girl, two years his junior. The love of youth combines with a common commitment. Inspired by the Hungarian uprising of 1956, Vasile created an underground network. If the revolution comes, it will be ready. “With my eighteen comrades, we had a plan to seize strategic points of the city and take up arms.” But an informer speaks. Aurora Vasile and join the maquis. They were arrested two years later.

She was sentenced to twelve years; him to twenty-two years. This forced separation will change their story. “I had the opportunity to receive a good education in prison, with ministers, aristocrats, intellectuals, people from the Sorbonne and Oxford,” explains Does a French polished, sometimes punctuated by “merrrde” and “connarrrds” sound and playful.

Released from prison in 1964, along with his wife, Vasile Gavrilescu find it marked more remote. He became an electrician. But the officers of the Securitate make his life miserable. He tried to flee, only by crossing the Danube. He reached the coast of Yugoslavia, but is arrested and delivered to the Romanian authorities, a car cons of salt. He leaves after three and a half years, has finally met his daughter, born during his detention. He began to write, to release his hatred against the regime.

On November 23, 1972, the Securitate agents raided the family’s apartment, brandishing a fake anonymous letter accusing Vasile smuggling precious stones. Officers found his manuscripts in the false bottom of a drawer. But he does not return to prison, his writings have not been released. In 1985, deprived of Romanian nationality, he moved to Paris, and Aurora with their two children. He hopes to rekindle their love, weakened by the ordeal. Gavrilescu distance follows the fall of Ceausescu. Gravely ill, Aurora died in 1991. She is buried in Amiens. Two years later, Gavrilescu back to Romania.

Like thousands of other victims of repression, the writer wishes to view their personnel file, made by the police. Several years of effort are necessary. Finally, one day in November 2001, he entered the reading room of the National Center for the Study of Securitate Archives (CNSAS). A man pushes a cart up to him. “I expected two or three volumes. He has made 22, and it was not full.”

No word, no metaphor, could accurately transcribe what Vasile Gavrilescu felt that day. Say that life has concealed beneath his feet. After half an hour reading the file “bat” – the nickname that police had given him – the writer has taken the truth in his face Aurora, his wife, his love, his confidante, the mother of his two children, worked. In 1961, during her detention, she has signed a commitment form. After her release, she informed the Securitate on travel, words and writings Vasile Gavrilescu. The search of the apartment, discovered her cache: it was she. La rage lui noue encore le ventre. Rabies still tied her stomach. “I do not forgive and I forget. Fortunately my wife was already dead when I heard that. I ram. The ram knocks to the head without asking any questions, and after wondering why it hurts. “

The file also contained a list of forty-three people – friends, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors – who had contributed to the invisible noose that encircled. “Everyone around me was working. And I, I like a fish in an aquarium. “The year after this discovery, Gavrilescu was seriously ill. Then he tried to regain a foothold, through writing.

Since then he has published seventeen books of poetry to autobiography, to describe the evil nature of the former system “torturer”. Despite the remoteness of the literary milieu of which he feels banished the country life it feels good. “Here, time expands,” says beautifully in French his second wife, painter and art teacher.

From faithfully renders the use of surveillance, fear, intimidation and repression by the Romanian political police, with a canvas in place before the arrival of Nicolae Ceausescu to power in 1965. The “Conducator” polished methods of his predecessor as secretary general of the party, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, who had relied on murder and prison system to establish a dense open terror. With the self-proclaimed genius of the Carpathians, that terror becomes deaf, preventive, invisible, it feeds the paranoia and anxieties. In total, during the communist period, over 10 000 people were executed without any trial.

T he system metastases had a wingspan unparalleled in Europe, outside the East German Stasi. The Securitate penetrated every social body. Based on a web of informants zealous or forced (estimated at several hundreds of thousands), she tracked down the enemies of the socialist cause.

“It was a totalitarian experience quite unique,” explained historian Vladimir Tismaneanu, who led the presidential commission to study the Communist dictatorship in 2006. Ceausescu Securitate designed as his praetorian guard, his secret police, not subservient in Moscow. “

How long does it take to get out of this night? Certainly more than fifty-five minutes. It’s time trial lasted parody of Ceausescu and his wife Elena after their arrest in late December 1989. Quickly shipped, quickly executed. There was a lot of shots this winter. Unlike other Eastern European countries who were living a peaceful transition, over 1 100 people were killed and over 300 wounded 3, Romania.

The power goes to a former senior Party cadre, Ion Iliescu was elected president twice (1990-1996 and 2000-2004). Iliescu placed not on the transparency vis-à-vis the crimes of the past, but forgotten. Irrespective of nostalgic discourse, he wants to turn the page, or even burn it. “He bears a heavy responsibility. He had no interest in opening a Pandora’s box,” says Alexandru Gussi, historian and adviser to current President, Traian Basescu. Instead, Iliescu supported the idea of a democracy original, based on a certain tranquility. “

For ten years, this wall of silence will continue. But the past is eventually to become the public debate. In 1999 finally created the CNSAS, however, without obtaining the records management, assigned to the successor of the Securitate, the IRS. It was not until 2004 that Romania is willing to confront his demons. That year, the success of Basescu’s presidential played on the theme of corruption. “Indeed, with other words, it has reactivated the discussions on the past, since enriched the transition of former communists, “said Alexandru Gussi.

President Basescu took two major decisions: he created the commission headed by Mr. Tismaneanu, which will make a report of 800 pages on communist crimes, then he comes in late 2006, before Parliament to formally denounce the former regime. Therefore, the transfer of archives CNSAS will accelerate and the first indictments fall under the greedy eye of the media.

The most symbolic case for Mona Musca, a former culture minister, accused of having denounced the activities of foreign students on its campus in 1977. The scandal made headlines, not because of gravity – on – but the facts of the impeccable reputation of Ms. Musca activist in favor of a law on lustration (purification administration).

The media play a major role in settling accounts. In March 2002, writer and TV host Stelian Tanase, including two books had been banned during the communist era, is to organize a confrontation in front of the cameras, with the man who betrayed him for years : his best friend, Dan Oprescu. Some months earlier he had finally gained access to his file – at least, the only part available – at CNSAS. “My first reaction on reading, was to say this is ridiculous! A true comedy macabre. These scoundrels agents were concerned about the color of my shirt, the tram I took.”

In the same folder it finds the informant role played by his friend. “It was known when we were studying philosophy. It was very well educated, had enormous knowledge of literature. It was one in which I trust the most. I indulged him all my secrets, my book project, my meetings with ambassadors and journalists. “Stelian Tanase eventually offer him a public explanation, to the antenna. Dan Oprescu agrees. “He said he had volunteered to work. That his goal was to protect me, giving a better picture of me at the Securitate,” said Stelian Tanase.

These high profile cases can not hide the reality: for twenty years, elites were able to protect themselves. Their alliance was justice, weak and often corrupt. “We never had a majority in Parliament for a real law on” lustration, “said Alexandru Gussi, advisor to President Basescu. In early 2008, the past 118 judges has been verified by the special unit of CNSAS, to analyze the records. Among them, twenty-five were compromised. But they challenged the results in court, while continuing to perform their functions. The trial may last for years. Hence a general frustration of investigators, but also the general public felt the harshness of the transition, which roars to the impunity of the powerful.

The huge delay and lack of willingness in the opening of archives explain the continuity of staff to power after the 1989 revolution. “Can one be both a dancer and an elephant? The answer is obviously yes, smiled sadly Nagat germination, the stubborn head of the investigative unit at CNSAS. There were between 10 000 and 15 000 officers of the Securitate in the late 1980s. Many have obtained certificates of revolution as participants events of December 1989, which gave them privileges in addition to their retirement, such as free land, houses, tax exemptions. “

They are in parliament, the media or in government. They informed, written reports, or even worse, the integrated apparatus of repression. “We identified over 400 suspects for torture or murder, says historian Marius Oprea. No one has been prosecuted. The condemnation of communism has been used as a political manner. “

M arius Oprea directs the Institute for Research of Crimes of Communism. Its budget will be reduced by 20%. This independent public agency actually works as an NGO, resistant to pressure the body politic. As a precaution, the wife and son of director living in Germany. But Marius Oprea is a stubborn, a Crusade historian, who investigates the ground to uncover more victims. “I am a normal guy with a special quality: I am unable to forget what happened to my family and the country. “

During three weeks in September, he traveled the mountains to identify the partisans shot without trial in the early 1950s. “Among them there were many peasants who refused to surrender their land to collective farms.” Recognized as an authority in its field, the historian can never drop their arms but admits: “Communism has not disappeared, it has been privatized. The children, daughters, nephews officers are at the top government, business. C ‘ system is difficult to quantify, such mafia. “

This pessimistic view of the transition is shared. It was not until the 1990s that the mist rises over the extent of penetration of the Securitate in the economy. Florin Turcanu, lecturer at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Bucharest, links this characteristic to the ambition of Nicolae Ceausescu after 1968. “The policy of forced industrialization and massive exports has been one occasion that the police did not missed. Ceausescu wanted to make the country self-sufficient, shoes to airplanes. It was a new way to serve his cult of personality. “Despite the poor quality of products, like steel, structures Securitate were then inserted into the veins of the economy.

One of the most controversial at the edge of business and politics, is Dan Voiculescu. Owner of several TV channels, a very rich and influential, it has been investigated by the CNSAS, which has demonstrated its links with the Securitate. The millionaire has challenged the legitimacy of the council to court, by a flickering of the institution. We tried to meet him. His press was clear. “The subject does not interest us, it does not fit our strategy. The past is not our concern.”


The-court-of-Shishak-Karn-008The court of Shishak, Karnak, by Francis Frith, 1857

With the development of an expanding commercial photographic industry in the 1850s, photographers targeted (and helped to create) a growing market for photographic views of distant lands. Copyright © The British Library Board


How Detroit, the Motor City, turned into a ghost town

Wall Street is celebrating a recovery in the US economy, but the future looks increasingly bleak in America’s industrial heartland

Guardian – Paul Harris –  The Observer, Sunday 1 November 2009

Try telling Brother Jerry Smith that the recession in America has ended. As scores of people queued up last week at the soup kitchen which the Capuchin friar helps run in Detroit, the celebrations on Wall Street in New York seemed from another world.

The hungry and needy come from miles around to get a free healthy meal. Though the East Detroit neighbourhood the soup kitchen serves has had it tough for decades, the recession has seen almost any hope for anyone getting a job evaporate. Neither is there any sign that jobs might come back soon.

“Some in the past have had jobs here, but now there is nothing available to people. Nothing at all,” Brother Jerry said as he sat behind a desk with a computer but dressed in the simple brown friar’s robes of his order.

Outside his office the hungry, the homeless and the poor crowded around tables. Many were by themselves, but some were families with young children. None had jobs. Indeed, the soup kitchen itself is now starting to dip into its savings to cope with a drying up of desperately needed donations. This is an area where times are so tough that the soup kitchen is a major employer for the neighbourhood, keeping its own staff out of poverty. But now Brother Jerry fears he may also have to start laying people off…

… There is little doubt that Detroit is ground zero for the parts of America that are still suffering. The city that was once one of the wealthiest in America is a decrepit, often surreal landscape of urban decline. It was once one of the greatest cities in the world. The birthplace of the American car industry, it boasted factories that at one time produced cars shipped over the globe. Its downtown was studded with architectural gems, and by the 1950s it boasted the highest median income and highest rate of home ownership of any major American city. Culturally it gave birth to Motown Records, named in homage to Detroit’s status as “Motor City”.

Decades of white flight, coupled with the collapse of its manufacturing base, especially in its world-famous auto industry, have brought the city to its knees. Half a century ago it was still dubbed the “arsenal of democracy” and boasted almost two million citizens, making it the fourth-largest in America. Now that number has shrunk to 900,000.

Its once proud suburbsnow contain row after row of burnt-out houses. Empty factories and apartment buildings haunt the landscape, stripped bare by scavengers. Now almost a third of Detroit – covering a swath of land the size of San Francisco – has been abandoned. Tall grasses, shrubs and urban farms have sprung up in what were once stalwart working-class suburbs. Even downtown, one ruined skyscraper sprouts a pair of trees growing from the rubble.

The city has a shocking jobless rate of 29%. The average house price in Detroit is only $7,500, with many homes available for only a few hundred dollars. Not that anyone is buying. At a recent auction of 9,000 confiscated city houses, only a fifth found buyers.

The city has become such a byword for decline that Time magazine recently bought a house and set up a reporting team there to cover the city’s struggles for a year. There has been no shortage of grim news for Time‘s new “Assignment Detroit” bureau to get their teeth into. Recently a semi-riot broke out when the city government offered help in paying utility bills. Need was so great that thousands of people turned up for a few application forms. In the end police had to control the crowd, which included the sick and the elderly, some in wheelchairs. At the same time national headlines were created after bodies began piling up at the city’s mortuary. Family members, suffering under the recession, could no longer afford to pay for funerals.

Incredibly, despite such need, things are getting worse as the impact of the recession has bitten deeply into the city’s already catastrophic finances. Detroit is now $300m in debt and is cutting many of its beleaguered services, such as transport and street lighting.

As the number of bus routes shrivels and street lights are cut off, it is the poorest who suffer. People like TJ Taylor. He is disabled and cannot work. He relies on public transport. It has been cut, so now he must walk. But the lights are literally going out in some places, making already dangerous streets even more threatening. “I just avoid those areas that are not lit. I pity for the poor people who live in them,” he said.

The brutal truth, some experts say, is that Detroit is being left behind – and it is not alone. In cities across America a collapsed manufacturing base has been further damaged by the recession and has led to conditions of dire unemployment and the creation of an underclass. Richard Feldman, a former Detroit car-worker and union official turned social activist, sees disaster across the country. Sitting in a downtown Detroit bar, he lists a grim roll call of cities across America where decline is hitting hard and where the official end of the recession will make little difference.

Names such as Flint, Youngstown, Buffalo, Binghamton, Newton. Feldman sees a relentless decline for working-class Americans all the way from Iowa to New York. He sees the impact in his own family, as his retired parents-in-law have difficulties with their gutted pension fund and his disabled son stares at cuts to his benefits. The economic changes going on, he believes, are a profound de-industrialisation with which America is failing to come to terms.

“We are going to have to face the end of the industrial age,” he said. “This didn’t just happen last October either. It’s been happening here in Detroit since the 1980s. Detroit just got it first, but it could happen anywhere now.”

…In Detroit many people see the only signs of recovery as coming from themselves. As city government retreats and as cuts bite deep, some of those left in the city have not waited for help. Take the case of Mark Covington. He was born and raised in Detroit and still lives only a few yards from the house where he grew up in one of the city’s toughest neighbourhoods. Laid off from his job as an environmental engineer, Covington found himself with nothing to do. So he set about cleaning up his long-suffering Georgia Street neighbourhood.

He cleared the rubble where a bakery had once stood and planted a garden. He grew broccoli, strawberries, garlic and other vegetables. Soon he had planted two other gardens on other ruined lots. He invited his neighbours to pick the crops for free, to help put food on their plates. Friends then built an outdoor screen of white-painted boards to show local children a movie each Saturday night and keep them off the streets. He helped organise local patrols so that abandoned homes would not be burnt down. He did all this for free. All the while he still looked desperately for a job and found nothing.

Yet Georgia Street improved. Local youths, practised in vandalism and the destruction of abandoned buildings, have not touched his gardens. People flock to the movie nights, harvest dinners and street parties Covington holds. Inspired, he scraped together enough cash to buy a derelict shop and an abandoned house opposite his first garden. He wants to reopen the shop and turn the house into a community centre for children. To do it, he needs a grant. Or a cheap bank loan. Or a job. But for people like Covington the grants have dried up, the banks are not lending, and no one is hiring. There is no help for him.

It is hard not to compare Covington’s struggle for cash to the vast bailout of America’s financial industry. “We just can’t get a loan to help us out. The banks are not lending,” he said. On an unseasonal warm day last week, he stood in his urban garden, tending his crops, and gazed wistfully at the abandoned buildings that he now owns but cannot yet turn into something good for his neighbourhood. He does not seem bitter. But he does wonder why it seems so easy in modern America for those who already have a lot to get much more, while those who have least are forgotten.

“It makes me wonder how they do it. And where is that money coming from?” he asked.


The-Colosseum-Rome-May-18-003The Colosseum, Rome, by Calvert Richard Jones, May 1846

Subsequent decades witnessed a huge explosion in photographic production as new international markets for the technology appeared. Copyright © The British Library Board


Universities: the secrets of the Shanghai ranking

The world ranking this year only takes three French institutions in the top 100.

Le Figaro – Marie-Estelle Pech (English Translation)

Released Friday, the 2009 version of the Shanghai ranking, which provides a ranking of top 500 universities worldwide, was as eagerly awaited each year in France. Ranked first, the University of Paris VI nibbles two places compared to last year and reached the 40th rank. Paris-Normale Sup and XI, the only other French in the top 100, is also progressing. “It’s a thrill,” trusts Valerie Pécresse, Minister of Higher Education and Research. But the best schools are, as every year, restricted to English and especially American.

Each year since its inception in 2003, ranking the University Shanghai Jiao Tong sounds like a disclaimer for the French, as they are pale. The team who creates this ranking to the resounding impact has nothing impressive. They are only three to take turns to update their criteria in a modest office Jiao Tong University, within the Department of Educational Research. “Less than a full-time job is enough,” says Le Figaro Professor Nian Cai Liu, the founder of the index, even though he needed “a lot more people in its development between 1999 and 2003 .

The ranking is based on six criteria including the number of Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, the frequency of citations of research or number of items listed in the “best reviewed” science. All the information the team needs are available on the Internet databases, including bibliometric. “Contrary to what many people believe, it is not difficult to make a technical standpoint,” says Genevieve Filliatreau, director of the French Observatory of Science and Technology (OST). The strength of Shanghai, is mainly to have unsheathed first “Some give gold to have gained such notoriety. This is definitely a plus for this university and for China,” she says.

Critics persist

Initially, Nian Cai Liu, Professor of Chemistry Chinese and specialist polymers, is an expert chart system. It was launched in 1999 at the request of the management team of the Jiao Tong University. “We just wanted to know how to locate us,” he says. The Chinese government’s idea was to bring several of its universities on a global level by 2020. The Chinese institutions are compared with each other, and with foreign universities.

In 2003, the team decided to publish its results on the Internet. The impact is significant because it is the first international ranking. The site is accessed thousands of times. Hundreds of emails and phone calls rained aggrieved institutions, among them students of the famous London School of Economics. Part of the international press is unleashed. The Anglo-Saxons did however make little mention since they have long since developed their own systems of national rankings. Gradually, the team Nian Cai Liu refines its criteria. In 2007, responding to criticism, the university has created a second rank by subject. But whatever the criteria used, critics persist, partly because non-English research is not taken into account.

However, European universities do not fare so badly, they represent about half of the 500 establishments surveyed. But as soon as you approach the twenty first, their numbers decline. “France, like many countries in continental Europe did not succeed well in our ranking,” says the Chinese professor, “it nonetheless made progress in recent years. It will further enhance its position if the political reforms underway come to an end. ” To move forward, says he, “the Hexagon” should focus on a small number of leading universities “in the image of Asia rose in the rankings because it” puts in place many initiatives of ‘excellence’.

A notice little understood by many French researchers, for whom these comparisons between different education systems makes “no sense”. Even Yin Jie, vice-president of the Jiao Tong University recognizes that its ranking is really [not] useful “if you want to compare American universities, British, Chinese and Japanese. It does not do justice to the French or German universities in which the system is completely different, ” he said. This classification has nevertheless been a virtue, according to Genevieve Filliatreau, “he highlighted that our French universities were under-equipped and that our system was very special.”

Most universities publish, they are more advantaged. The France is handicapped in this respect, since his teaching are dispersed among 85 universities and a multitude of “Grandes Ecoles”, small in size. Finally, some research does not go to university but in bodies such as the CNRS.  The whole Publications eludes the rankings.

Shanghai then is legitimate? This is no longer the issue. In recent years, various classifications (CHE, The Financial Times, etc..) emerged and they have a major impact on public policy. Nicolas Sarkozy has said he aims to bring two French among the top twenty world and provided an offsetting increase in the budget of Higher Education.



The Ramesseum of El-Kurneh, Thebes, Francis Frith, 1857

The supposedly timeless monuments of ancient Egypt were under increasing threat by the 1850s. Frith argued that one of the values of photography was of preserving a record in the face of rapid change – due not only to the ‘corroding tooth of time’ but to the growth of official excavations, the plunderings of private travellers and dealers feeding the demands of European museums. Copyright © The British Library Board




The Royal Opera House, Madrid, by Charles Clifford, 1853

The Welsh-born Clifford established himself in Madrid in 1850, where he specialised in architectural views and advertised himself as the ‘English Photographer’, clearly with the intention of attracting the custom of the growing number of his countrymen who were just beginning to explore Spanish culture. Copyright © The British Library Board


Beijing gets first snow after meteorologists seed clouds

The Times Of India – Saibal Dasgupta

Beijingers woke up Sunday morning to a city turned white with snow that came far ahead of the winter. It was only in the later part of the day that one learnt that 186 doses of silver iodide went into persuading the clouds to release snow flakes.

The metrological department said it had started seeding the clouds from 8pm in Saturday to beat down lingering drought in and around Beijing. The department claimed success in producing 16 million tones of snow for the city.

“We wont miss any opportunity of artificial precipitation since Beijing is suffering from the lingering drought,” said Zhang Qiang, who is in charge of the Beijing metrological office, said in a statement.

The snow kept falling till mid-afternoon pushing down temperatures to minus 2 Celsius (29 Fahrenheit). Strong winds from the north made aggravated the chill.

Beijing Evening News said it was the earliest case of snow to hit the capital in 10 years, Snow also fell in the northeastern provinces of Liaoning and Jilin, the northern province of Hebei, the eastern port city of Tianjin.

China’s meteorologists routinely make rain by injecting special chemicals into clouds. But they have so far not been able to suppress the spread of drought in the northern part of the country this year.



View on the River Seine, Paris, by Charles Louis Chevalier, 15 May 1843

Package holiday pioneer Thomas Cook began operating European tours in the 1850s, opening the continent up to the upper middle classes. His first tour was a circuit of northern Europe ending with four days in Paris. The city proved a consistently popular destination, with thousands of tourists visiting annually by the end of the century, at an all-inclusive cost of around £11. Copyright © The British Library Board




The boulevards of Paris, by William Henry Fox Talbot, May-June 1843
Frustrated with his inability to draw, William Henry Fox Talbot conceived the photographic process in 1833. Copyright © The British Library Board


With the revolt, Citroën wants to make French luxury

Le Figaro – Jacques Chevalier (English Translation)

05311286-a1d2-11de-84dc-246c4c577ee3The prototype shown in Frankfurt goes far beyond a mere exercise in style.  It explores the way for a future luxury market. (P. Sautelet)


Breakfast may not wish to be more systematically mean reduced prices. Next part in the traces for the BMW Mini and Fiat for the 500, Citroen decided to surprise it in Frankfurt, less play on the retro design on the luxury. This is not a revolution but its prototype Revolt, whose astute surname Volt revealed in a different design, the boldly designed luxury automobile.

This would not be a premium model in the image of the range DS which is already significantly above the proposed standard. No, it would be a second level where even more elitist to mark the rafters would be a good actress profound change of use. “People take the TGV or plane and a small car to showcase their arrival would be very good.” It is also suitable for Citroën which, thanks to higher prices, could restore margins more profitable than those left by car scrapping.

The upscale French-struggling to find a picture and because it roots go far back in the 30s, to find him a historical legitimacy. After the war, the premium is no longer a concept heckled by economic realities, the DS only emerging as a UFO in the middle of Cubism ambient.

Unable to provide the vessels of the road like the Germans or British, the French seek other ways and that found by Citroen is far from stupid. Since the hexagonal construction excels in small and medium cars, why not decline – but up this time – models of this size rich elitist by design, a sophisticated technique and refined furnishings.

This could also be the motivation for, above this Premium create an even more exclusive group, dubbed “luxury”. Citroën thinks, but for the moment, there is already the DS Series to be imposed with, first, the DS3 is now available for order.

Bonzanigo Carlo, head of concept cars Citroen, who succeeded Jean-Pierre Plou, said: “We want to move the cursor to more luxury, playing with colors and materials are like jewelry or cosmetics. Even if the aesthetic codes that evoke the 2CV, the revolt left the C-Cactus modern interpretation including the reduction of components on board to keep only the essentials. The revolt, while being very short and low (3.68 m and 1.35 m) is in opposition to the 2CV. She also plays hybridization justifying the double meaning of his name. “

Frederick Soubirou is already author of the DS3, which was tried on the revolt. While he admits that the doors opening opposite, distinctly curved, are not easily set in, he finds meaning in this study and its grille jar square backlit. The accordion roof covered with photovoltaic cells, slides between the arches parallel to be a nod to the ancestor. No confusion with a low-end, the Treaty of materials and colors removes any ambiguity.

The cabin has three seats between a universe futuristic techno cockpit and a lounge atmosphere for both rear passengers sitting on a bench hiding the batteries. Plunged into a theatrical world of tight red velvet, they share the space, possibly with a child placed in his right front seat backs to the road. If it takes off, the seat becomes chaise on one side, ideal for extending the legs.

In total contradiction with the 2 HP, rebellion wants an otherwise intelligent, embracing the realities of a new era with its customs and its hybrid battery. Citroen aims ahead of the Audi, Mercedes and others, but with weapons usually reserved for large cars.



Moscow, c. 1841

As well as bringing back images of faraway places to armchair travellers at home, photographers also supplied visual mementoes to tourists in the period before widespread popular photography. Photographer unknown/The British Library Copyright © The British Library Board