Category Archives: Ruins

Deeply Inviting Door

There is a delicious tension between this ancient, deep, black doorway and the group of people hanging back, almost clinging to a side wall. Ceremony has been replaced with sightseeing, and yet the door still exerts its pull. I can’t help comparing the hill to the body of a woman, the walls are her thighs and the door is an entrance to her earthy punani – literally her cave of love. Did the ancients intend that?


Before and after

I removed some people to increase the dramatic effect. The stone is much better in a pale chocolate-tinted black and white.



Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Mysterious, Ruins

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Bearded Man in Ruins

Did the ancients have any idea of the great expanses of time that their works would stand? This formally attired 1970’s man muses on the passage of time as he is held within stone walls that have stood for eons. Forty-something years later those walls are likely to be unchanged (unless they happen to be in a war zone), the man gone, and today’s travelers now muse via Instagram and Facebook. Social media was of course unknown to this seventies guy, just as it was unknown to the ancients who built the walls.


Before and after



Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Europe, Museum, Ruins

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Extreme landscape

This dramatic landscape with its homes carved into the hills was photographed on a bus trip through Iran in the early 1970s. A road trip that should be done on horseback I reckon!


I cleaned and simplified the image, then applied contrast, color and lighting to bring out the drama.



And another version



Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Middle East, Road trip, Ruins

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Two-headed griffin stands the test of time

This two-headed griffin was probably photographed in the ruins of the ancient Persian city of Persepolis, in modern day Iran. Persepolis dates back to 500BC and was a large complex of buildings. At that time, griffins had been around in human culture for about 1000 years. With the head of an eagle and the body of a lion, they are a mix of the two most powerful beasts in nature – one that ruled the air and the other the land. The Griffin was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of worldly and divine possessions. Read here about griffins and here about the ancient city of Persepolis.


After the usual restoration tricks, which in this case included the removal of a shadow, I decided to introduce a strong motion blur to the background and the boy. This tells the story of how fast time has moved and relatively, how fleeting human culture is. The griffin still looks fabulous today while all around it the world has changed.

Before and afterTwo-headed-bird-cropped

Click for big.


Posted by on June 2, 2013 in Art objects, Middle East, Ruins, Statue

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Ruined Temple at Petra

I love everything about this image, the texture of the ruined stones, the ponies patiently waiting in the shade of a tree, the glimpse of a dry landscape. Petra is an ancient Jordanian city, built in 312BC. ‘The Treasury’, with its ornate facade carved into a sandstone cliff is its most iconic building. The city is approached through a deep, narrow gorge called a Siq. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985; one of the biggest threats to it is ‘unsustainable tourism’. My heart aches for this place.

I reduced contrast and warmed up tones, brightened the tree and sharpened the stones (wait, that rhymes!)

Before and after. Click for big.


Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Horses, Middle East, Ruins

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Temple of the Sun

Photographed in 1971, in Mexico, this is the famous Pyramid of the Sun – the largest building at the Teotihuacan complex on the Avenue of the Dead. A sacrificial altar and temple are thought to have once existed on the top. It was constructed in about 100AD and is the third largest pyramid in the world, although not nearly one of the tallest. Much of the outer plaster as well as artifacts did not survive to be studied by Archeologists as they either weathered away or were looted. I have a liking for very blurred photographs because of the way they emphasize form, light and pattern. This person’s camera focused on a row of stones at the very bottom, leaving the impressive slope of stairs as a bright and tantalizing blur.


Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Meso America, Mysterious, Ruins

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Delphi Talking Tour

A tour party in Delphi, Greece, 1964. I like how the people are dressed. They’re mainly paying good attention to their guide, with only a few loungers on the side. This looks like the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. The site was trashed by ‘zealous Christians’ in 390 AD in an attempt to destroy ‘Paganism’. However there is still lots to see there and these ruined columns have stood for a century and half.

Important to straighten those columns. Then color corrections and a few more fixes – and I’m right there myself.

Before and after. Click for big.


Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Europe, Museum, People, Ruins, Sightseeing

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