“That which is not slightly distorted,” wrote the French poet Charles Baudelaire, “lacks sensible appeal; from which it follows that irregularity — that is to say, the unexpected, surprise and astonishment, are an essential part and characteristic of beauty.”
The following works of marine art grab one’s attention precisely because they contain, in varying degrees, the distortion and irregularity that Baudelaire spoke of. They are not an imitation of reality. They are mirrors created by the artist to reflect that reality as much as their own inner thoughts and feelings.
Marine Café Blog will be paying tribute to the sea and the power of digital photography in an upcoming special feature with the theme, Seascapes in Photographic Art. You can be one of the photographer-artists featured. Kindly read the following guidelines for participants:
In mid-January, I issued a call on social media for outstanding waterfront photographs. This was not a contest with prizes for the winners, but a simple celebration of life on the waterfront. A good number of entries came in, all of them meritorous. However, ten pictures stood out because of their composition, content and overall impact.
There is nothing wrong with bandwagons per se. In fact, they are often necessary in bringing about change as the whole world is witnessing in the case of women’s rights and climate action. The problem arises when people are swayed by rhetoric, not reason, and unthinkingly hop onto the wagon just because it is fashionable to do so. Unfortunately, this is happening with the bandwagon that carries the banners “Wellness at Sea” and “Seafarer Mental Health”.
Corporate offices cannot be expected to serve as small art galleries. But why should shipping and manning companies display only ISM and MLC certificates on their lobby walls? Why not also marine paintings, even if they are only repros works by famous artists? Some art would help give the premises a more pleasant atmosphere. It would also send a subtle message to visitors that the CEO knows how to appreciate art and is not a certified philistine.
Who gives a hoot in Manila about maritime cadet exploitation?… In this part of the planet, manning agencies and some unions consider it perfectly normal to use cadets as unpaid labour, in many cases for months on end. The seafarer charities are aware of the practice, but none has come out to publicly condemn it. As for local maritime journalists, many would rather kiss ass than take up the cudgels for the cadets who are exploited in such blatant manner
There are few places in a town or city that are more interesting than the waterfront. Shopping malls certainly do not have the same kind of energy and atmosphere one finds on wharves and piers, on boardwalks and esplanades. With this in mind, Marine Café Blog is inviting all photographers to submit their photos for an upcoming special feature.
After writing about seafarers’ rights for almost a decade, I felt drained and defeated. The abuses against seamen were continuing. It was as if ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (the so-called “bill of rights” of seafarers) had never existed… I began to realise that writers who speak candidly on seafarer issues would never receive popular support.
In June of 2018 Marine Café Blog exposed the rampant practice in Manila of shortchanging seafarers in the conversion of their dollar remittances to pesos. Uncrupulous manning agents are still at it in 2020. All told, they rake in millions annually without getting even a slap on the wrist for their financial mischief. Why this deplorable state of affairs continues is not hard to understand: the system facilitates the stealing.
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg was Time’s 2019 Person of the Year. Given the amount of bashing the 17-year-old has had to put up with from adults, she deserves another title: Punching Bag of the Year. Greta has been called more names than Donald J. Trump, Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un combined — or Hitler and Stalin, for that matter.
Generally speaking, people tend be more impressed by things that are large than by similar things of smaller scale. Thus, a mansion is likely to draw more attention and plaudits than a bungalow; a limousine more than a compact car; and a cruise ship more than a catamaran. Yet, size does not — or should not — matter when it comes to art.
To all the readers of Marine Café Blog, a peaceful New Year. May the following quotes provide you with some inspiration as you navigate through the waters of 2020.
In 2019 the shipping industry almost went crazy over wellness training and the issue of seafarer mental health. The noise from the charities was so loud that it seemed like depression at sea was some kind of an epidemic worse than the Ebola plague. It did not help that the conformist maritime press amplified their frantic messages and slogans. Marine Café Blog refused to be suck in by all that frenzy.