Friday, September 30, 2011

Booty: A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

The young man pictured above is Joost van den Brock Kirill Lewerski. He serves as a Cadet aboard the Russian tall ship Kruzenshtern which, as of this writing, is used as a training vessel in the Ministry of Fisheries out of Kaliningrad. Originally built in Bremerhaven, Germany and launched in 1926, the then Padua travelled the world as a merchant class vessel with recurring stops in Chile and Australia. She still holds the record for the fastest voyage from Germany to Australia by a sailing ship at eight months and twenty-three days. Padua was turned over to the USSR by Germany in 1946 as part of war reparations and renamed Kruzenshtern. Though she is now fitted with modern engines, this four-masted, 3,064 ton beauty continues to participate in tall ship events around the world. Find pictures and more information here.

The photograph of Cadet Lewerski was one of the winners of this year’s World Press Photo Awards. To me, it shows the ongoing pride of not only ship but person that has been the hallmark of good sailors throughout history. No wonder this simple yet startling portrait was among the photographs chosen.

Now a warning: clicking the link will take you to the photograph above. I suggest that you peruse the others with caution, particularly if you are at all squeamish about the realities of life around the world. Some of the pictures are serenely beautiful: a Congolese woman playing her cello amid the bustle of daily life (#8), a model before a backdrop of desert sky (#9), swans at a lake in Japan (#16). Some are so mundane as to rise above their own context: models at fashion week (#7), a girl taking her own picture to upload to MySpace (#14). Quite a few are jarring reminders that our world is no better than it was when plagues and famine lurked around every corner, and women were tortured and burned as witches: the bodies of dead children in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti (#10), a man committing suicide in Hungary (#6), the face of a teenage girl from Afghanistan mutilated on order of the Taliban for fleeing her abusive marriage (#1). If any of that troubles you – as it rightly should – feel free to stick to the handsome sailor with the interesting name. Or don’t click over at all.


Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! Wow, that is a beautiful ship. And the photograph of Cadet Lewerski is certainly striking. Thanks for the warning, though. Some of those other photos were pretty harsh.

Pauline said...

Cadet Lewerski is awesome. Some of the other photos are harsh indeed but I think worth the while all the same.