Selfie

Self Portrait Photography

“I miss you Ilan,” read the WhatsApp message from mom. I was in Mumbai at the time, having just completed a three-week tour in Rajasthan. The plan was to spend another five weeks in India: “1.4 billion Indians cannot make a mistake.” My return flight to Auckland by Air Malaysia had just been rescheduled. Given their reputation for being shot down by ground-to-air rockets over Ukraine or disappearing into the ocean, I opted to cancel the flight without penalty.
I booked a (costly) one-way ticket to Tel Aviv and planned to enjoy my last week in Mumbai (Bombay is more bombastic). Unfortunately, I started sneezing and coughing, so spent the last four days in my half-star hotel room which had no windows. The upside: it was isolated from the non-stop cacophony of the busy street, “in India, if you don’t honk your horn then you don’t exist.” The downside: no fresh air through the air conditioner, whose filters were never cleaned…
I arrived in Israel exhausted. WHO [World Health Organization] is considering an award for spreading a new variant across three continents in less than 12 hours. I was coughing constantly and struggled to breathe. Desperate, I searched for a local health provider with good reviews and arrived at Rambam Medical Centre at 2:30 am, managing to scratch my black rental against a concrete column (in a totally vacant car park).
The emergency room staff looked in disbelief, “Is this the time to come to emergency?” “I can’t inhale.” I said, trying to be dramatic…
After checking my oxygen saturation levels, I was immediately given an inhalation mask and an IV, which is obviously a priceless opportunity for a selfie! I spent the next 30 hours harassing the wonderful staff, 261 members are still following me on Instagram (I think). The prognosis was “some kind of viral infarction.” Apparently, there are numerous types in the world (the doctors were very keen to know if I had spent any time in Indian caves)…
A permanent black marker covered the scratches beautifully!

Stunning Veronika

Nude photographer North Shore

Veronika Bosenko

Eight-week itinerary to India

Week 1: New Delhi and Agra

Week 2: Rajasthan

  • On December 31st, take a flight from New Delhi to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and the pink city of India. You can book a flight online at MakeMyTrip, a popular travel portal in India4. The flight will take about an hour.
  • Check in to your hotel in Jaipur. You can book a room at Rambagh Palace, a former royal residence turned into a heritage hotel5.
  • Spend the next three days exploring the colorful and vibrant city of Jaipur, which is known for its palaces, forts, markets, and festivals. You can visit the City Palace, the Amber Fort, the Hawa Mahal, and the Jantar Mantar. You can also shop for handicrafts, jewelry, textiles, and pottery at the Bapu Bazaar and the Johari Bazaar.
  • On January 3rd, take a day trip to Ajmer and Pushkar, two holy towns near Jaipur. You can book a tour online at Viator, a leading online platform for booking travel experiences6. The tour will take about 10 hours and include visits to the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, the Brahma Temple, and the Pushkar Lake.
  • On January 4th, take a flight from Jaipur to Jodhpur, the blue city of India and the gateway to the Thar Desert. You can book a flight online at MakeMyTrip. The flight will take about an hour.
  • Check in to your hotel in Jodhpur. You can book a room at Umaid Bhawan Palace, a grand palace hotel and museum7.
  • Spend the next two days exploring the historic and scenic city of Jodhpur, which is famous for its blue houses, forts, temples, and markets. You can visit the Mehrangarh Fort, the Jaswant Thada, the [Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum], and the [Clock Tower]. You can also shop for spices, antiques, carpets, and leather goods at the [Sardar Market].
  • On January 6th, take a day trip to Jaisalmer, the golden city of India and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can book a tour online at Viator. The tour will take about 12 hours and include visits to the [Jaisalmer Fort], the [Patwon Ki Haveli], the [Gadisar Lake], and the [Sam Sand Dunes]. You can also enjoy a camel ride and a cultural show in the desert.

Week 3: Gujarat

  • On January 7th, take a flight from Jodhpur to Ahmedabad, the largest city and the former capital of Gujarat. You can book a flight online at MakeMyTrip, a popular travel portal in India. The flight will take about an hour and a half.
  • Check in to your hotel in Ahmedabad. You can book a room at The House of MG, a heritage hotel with a rooftop restaurant and a textile museum.
  • Spend the next three days exploring the cultural and historical city of Ahmedabad, which is known for its architecture, museums, markets, and festivals. You can visit the following attractions:
    • Sabarmati Ashram: The former residence and the spiritual center of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. You can see his personal belongings, photographs, letters, and books.
    • Adalaj Stepwell: A stunning example of Hindu temple architecture and engineering, built in 1499 by Queen Rudabai. The stepwell has intricate carvings and a deep well below.
    • Calico Museum of Textiles: A premier textile museum that showcases the finest and most comprehensive collection of Indian textiles, including fabrics, costumes, carpets, and tapestries.
    • Sidi Saiyyed Mosque: A 16th-century mosque that is the hallmark of the African architectural legacy in India. The mosque is famous for its intricately carved filigree work on its windows, especially the Tree of Life motif.
    • Kankaria Lake: A vast expanse of water that was once a royal bathing place. The lake has a zoo, a toy train, a balloon safari, and a water park.
  • You can also shop for handicrafts, fabrics, jewelry, and pottery at the Law Garden and the Lal Darwaja markets.
  • On January 10th, take a day trip to Modhera and Patan, two ancient towns near Ahmedabad. You can book a tour online at Viator, a leading online platform for booking travel experiences. The tour will include visits to the following sites:
    • Modhera Sun Temple: A stunning example of Hindu temple architecture dedicated to the sun god Surya, built in 1026 by King Bhima I. The temple has a magnificent hall of pillars, a carved sanctum, and a stepped tank.
    • Patan Patola Museum: A museum showcasing the intricate and exquisite art of double ikat weaving, a traditional technique of dyeing and weaving silk fabrics. The museum also displays the history and culture of Patan, the former capital of Gujarat.
  • On January 11th, take a flight from Ahmedabad to Bhuj, the capital of the Kutch district and the gateway to the Rann of Kutch. You can book a flight online at MakeMyTrip. The flight will take about an hour.
  • Check in to your hotel in Bhuj. You can book a room at Devpur Homestay, a charming and cozy heritage property run by a local family.
  • Spend the next two days exploring the diverse and fascinating region of Kutch, which is famous for its salt desert, wildlife, handicrafts, and culture. You can visit the following attractions:
    • White Rann of Kutch: A vast expanse of salt marsh that turns into a shimmering white landscape under the moonlight. The Rann is also home to various migratory birds and wildlife, such as flamingos, cranes, foxes, and jackals.
    • Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary: The largest seasonal saline wetland in India, covering an area of about 7500 square kilometers. The sanctuary is a haven for wildlife, especially the endangered Indian wild ass, as well as birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
    • Aina Mahal: A 18th-century palace built by Rao Lakhpatji, the ruler of Kutch, with the help of a local craftsman named Ram Singh Malam. The palace is a fusion of Indian and European styles, with a hall of mirrors, a pleasure pool, and a clock tower.
    • Prag Mahal: A 19th-century palace built by Rao Pragmalji II, the successor of Rao Lakhpatji, with the help of a British architect named Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins. The palace is a blend of Gothic and Italian styles, with a grand durbar hall, a bell tower, and a museum.
    • Kutch Museum: The oldest museum in Gujarat, established in 1877 by Maharao Khengarji III, the ruler of Kutch. The museum displays a rich collection of artifacts, coins, paintings, embroidery, weapons, and musical instruments related to the history and culture of Kutch.
  • You can also shop for embroidery, leather, wood, and metal crafts at the Shrujan and the Khamir centers, which are non-profit organizations that support the local artisans and preserve their traditions.

Week 4: Goa

  • On January 13th, take a flight from Bhuj to Goa, the smallest state and the most popular beach destination in India. You can book a flight online at MakeMyTrip. The flight will take about three hours.
  • Check in to your hotel in Goa. You can book a room at Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, a luxury resort with a private beach and a fort overlooking the Arabian Sea.
  • Spend the next four days relaxing and enjoying the sun, sand, and sea of Goa, which is known for its beaches, nightlife, churches, and cuisine. You can visit the following attractions:
    • Baga Beach: One of the most famous and lively beaches in Goa, with a long stretch of golden sand, clear water, and a variety of water sports, shacks, and clubs.
    • Calangute Beach: Another popular and crowded beach in Goa, with a wide expanse of sand, palm trees, and a range of activities, such as parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boat rides.
    • Anjuna Beach: A scenic and rocky beach in Goa, known for its hippie culture, flea market, and trance parties.
    • Palolem Beach: A serene and picturesque beach in Goa, with a crescent-shaped bay, white sand, coconut palms, and colorful huts.
    • Basilica of Bom Jesus: A 16th-century church and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for holding the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa.
    • Se Cathedral: A 17th-century church and one of the largest in Asia, dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria. The church has a Tuscan exterior, a Corinthian interior, and a golden bell.
    • Fort Aguada: A 17th-century Portuguese fort and lighthouse, built to protect Goa from the Dutch and the Marathas. The fort offers a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea and the Sinquerim Beach.
    • Chapora Fort: A 17th-century fort, originally built by the Adil Shahis and later occupied by the Portuguese. The fort is famous for its scenic location and its appearance in the Bollywood movie Dil Chahta Hai.
  • You can also enjoy the water sports, casinos, clubs, and restaurants of Goa.
  • On January 17th, take a day trip to Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. You can book a tour online at Viator. The tour will include visits to the following sites:
    • Virupaksha Temple: A 7th-century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the patron deity of the Vijayanagara kings. The temple has a 50-meter-high gopuram, a pillared hall, and a sanctum with a lingam.
    • Vittala Temple: A 15th-century temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe. The temple is famous for its musical pillars, stone chariot, and intricate carvings.
    • Lotus Mahal: A 16th-century palace with a lotus-like dome, built for the royal ladies of the Vijayanagara Empire. The palace is a fusion of Hindu and Islamic styles, with arched windows, balconies, and pyramidal towers.
    • Elephant Stables: A 15th-century structure with 11 domed chambers, used to house the royal elephants of the Vijayanagara Empire. The structure is a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles, with arched entrances, carved pillars, and decorated ceilings.
  • On January 18th, return to Goa and spend the night there.

Week 5: Kerala and Tamil Nadu

  • On January 19th, take a flight from Goa to Kochi, the largest city and the commercial hub of Kerala. You can book a flight online at MakeMyTrip. The flight will take about an hour and a half.
  • Check in to your hotel in Kochi. You can book a room at Brunton Boatyard, a heritage hotel with a waterfront location and a colonial style.
  • Spend the next three days exploring the cosmopolitan and cultural city of Kochi, which is known for its port, spice trade, art, and architecture. You can visit the Fort Kochi, the Mattancherry Palace, the Jewish Synagogue, and the Chinese Fishing Nets. You can also enjoy the Kathakali dance, the Kalaripayattu martial art, and the Ayurveda massage in Kochi.
  • On January 22nd, take a train or a taxi to Alleppey, the Venice of the East and the home of the backwaters. You can book a ticket online at IRCTC or hire a taxi at Savaari. The journey will take about an hour and a half by train or two hours by road.
  • Check in to your houseboat in Alleppey. You can book a houseboat online at Kerala Houseboat. A houseboat is a traditional wooden boat with a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a lounge area.
  • Spend the next two days cruising along the tranquil and scenic backwaters of Alleppey, which are a network of canals, lagoons, lakes, and rivers. You can enjoy the views of the lush greenery, the paddy fields, the coconut palms, and the local villages. You can also taste the delicious and fresh seafood, the coconut water, and the toddy (a local alcoholic drink) on board.
  • On January 24th, return to Kochi by train or taxi and spend the night there.

Week 6: Tamil Nadu

  • On January 25th, take a flight from Kochi to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu and the cultural center of South India. You can book a flight online at MakeMyTrip. The flight will take about an hour.
  • Check in to your hotel in Chennai. You can book a room at Taj Coromandel, a luxury hotel with a blend of classic and contemporary design.
  • Spend the next three days exploring the vibrant and diverse city of Chennai, which is known for its temples, beaches, music, and cinema. You can visit the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, the Marina Beach, the Santhome Cathedral, and the Government Museum. You can also enjoy the Carnatic music, the Bharatanatyam dance, and the Tamil cinema in Chennai.
  • On January 28th, take a day trip to Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a coastal town near Chennai. You can book a tour online at Viator. The tour will take about eight hours and include visits to the Shore Temple, the Five Rathas, the Arjuna’s Penance, and the Krishna’s Butter Ball.
  • On January 29th, take a train or a taxi to Pondicherry, a former French colony and a charming seaside town. You can book a ticket online at IRCTC or hire a taxi at Savaari. The journey will take about three hours by train or four hours by road.
  • Check in to your hotel in Pondicherry. You can book a room at Palais de Mahe, a heritage hotel with a colonial style and a rooftop pool.
  • Spend the next two days exploring the quaint and peaceful town of Pondicherry, which is known for its French influence, its ashrams, its cafes, and its beaches. You can visit the French Quarter, the Aurobindo Ashram, the Auroville, and the Paradise Beach. You can also enjoy the French cuisine, the yoga, and the meditation in Pondicherry.
  • On January 31st, return to Chennai by train or taxi and spend the night there.

Week 7: Karnataka

  • On February 1st, take a flight from Chennai to Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka and the IT hub of India. You can book a flight online at MakeMyTrip, a popular travel portal in India. The flight will take about an hour.
  • Check in to your hotel in Bengaluru. You can book a room at The Oberoi Bengaluru, a luxury hotel with a garden and a pool.
  • Spend the next three days exploring the modern and dynamic city of Bengaluru, which is known for its parks, gardens, museums, and nightlife. You can visit the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, the Cubbon Park, the Vidhana Soudha, and the Bangalore Palace. You can also enjoy the pubs, the cafes, and the shopping malls of Bengaluru.
  • On February 4th, take a day trip to Mysore, the cultural capital of Karnataka and the city of palaces. You can book a tour online at Viator, a leading online platform for booking travel experiences. The tour will take about 12 hours and include visits to the Mysore Palace, the Chamundi Hills, the Brindavan Gardens, and the Mysore Zoo.
  • On February 5th, take a train or a taxi to Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. You can book a ticket online at IRCTC or hire a taxi at Savaari. The journey will take about six hours by train or seven hours by road.
  • Check in to your hotel in Hampi. You can book a room at Evolve Back Hampi, a luxury resort with a royal theme and a spa.
  • Spend the next two days exploring the ancient and magnificent ruins of Hampi, which are spread over a vast area of rocky landscape. You can visit the Virupaksha Temple, the Vittala Temple, the Lotus Mahal, and the Elephant Stables. You can also enjoy the coracle ride, the bicycle tour, and the sunset view of Hampi.

Week 8: Andhra Pradesh

  • On February 7th, take a flight from Hampi to Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh and the city of pearls. You can book a flight online at MakeMyTrip. The flight will take about an hour and a half.
  • Check in to your hotel in Hyderabad. You can book a room at Taj Falaknuma Palace, a former palace of the Nizam of Hyderabad and a heritage hotel.
  • Spend the next three days exploring the historic and vibrant city of Hyderabad, which is known for its monuments, cuisine, culture, and bazaars. You can visit the Charminar, the Golconda Fort, the Salar Jung Museum, and the Hussain Sagar Lake. You can also taste the Hyderabadi biryani, the Hyderabadi haleem, and the Hyderabadi sweets in Hyderabad.
  • On February 10th, take a day trip to Warangal, a former capital of the Kakatiya dynasty and a city of temples. You can book a tour online at Viator. The tour will take about 10 hours and include visits to the Thousand Pillar Temple, the Warangal Fort, the Ramappa Temple, and the Pakhal Lake.
  • On February 11th, return to Hyderabad and spend the night there.
  • On February 12th, take a flight from Hyderabad to New Delhi, the final destination of your eight-week itinerary for touring India. You can book a flight online at MakeMyTrip. The flight will take about two hours.
  • Check in to your hotel in New Delhi. You can book a room at The Claridges New Delhi, the same hotel where you started your journey.
  • Spend the next few days relaxing and reminiscing about your amazing and unforgettable trip across India. You can also do some last-minute shopping, sightseeing, or dining in New Delhi.
  • On February 20th, depart from New Delhi and fly back to your home country.  Have a safe and pleasant journey. Namaste!
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2019 APPA

Delighted to win four Awards out of four print entries at the 2019 Australian Professional Photography Awards [APPA] by the AIPP. Established in 1963, AIPP promotes the profession of photography, enhancing the skill and knowledge of professional photographers. APPA is largest awards for professional print photography in Australia. A panel of five expert judges are looking for exceptional images that inspire and impress: images that exhibit visual and emotional impact, innovation and creativity. APPA is awarding prints that demonstrate excellence in skill, craftsmanship and conceptual development of an idea.

Woman on a Tree, Sliver with Distinction – 2019 APPA: Portrait In Camera

Woman on a Tree is an exploration of opposing forces: life and death, young and old, power and vulnerability, soft and hard. Its pertinence lies in the symbolism of contradictions. Contradictions are all around us. Humans continue to exploit and overwhelm the natural environment with industrial pollution despite global warming, and its ever present impact on earth. The dead tree, scarred from fires, represents mother nature’s vulnerability to the forces we inflict upon her. I explore the paradox that humanity needs trees to live, yet we keep cutting them down. Despite the beautiful environment being subject to incessant abuse, western society considers itself to be thriving, ignorant to greater issues. The interaction between the human form and the tree is like a love dance. An intimate moment, where the body caresses the tree and with that, offers a gentle apology, a moment of compassion. Humans can empathise with nature’s scars. We have scars too. Some are visible and others are hidden: scars from neglect, abuse, addiction or violence. We have the power to conceal our scars yet the tree is forever exposed. This woman is bare, reflecting the state of the tree. Demonstrating that despite paradoxical contradictions which taint our relationship with earth, we can still find comfort, as she does here. Comfort in one’s skin and comfort in the company of nature. The story that accompanies this piece invites the viewer to reflect on their own identity politics, creating a moment to contemplate our complex relationship with nature. I depict the woman in her most natural state, one with nature. By embracing the human form in all its glory and portraying the woman and tree side by side, it is my vision that the viewer embraces nature as a precious ephemeral organism that needs to be cherished and protected.

Amy, Sliver – 2019 APPA: Portrait In Camera

”I was diagnosed with grade 3 aggressive breast cancer in January 2016. My family has the BRCA1 mutation. Each child of a carrier has a 50% chance of inheriting the gene and each carrier has extremely high risk of cancer. Five of my six great aunts died of cancer by their forties. I had four different chemotherapy drug treatments as well as radiation treatment. Luckily, I had a positive response to treatment and the 5 cm tumour was totally destroyed. I underwent bilateral mastectomy with a two phase silicon reconstruction as well as a total Salpingo-oophorectomy. I also had a hysterectomy surgical operation to remove my uterus. Knowing I have beaten what by nature ought to have been certain death, gives me a sense of immediacy and urgency in life. There is no sense in waiting or hesitating because there is no guarantee of tomorrow!”

Maasai, Sliver – 2019 APPA: Travel

The Maasai inhabit the African Great Lakes region and arrived via the South Sudan. The Maasai are famous for their fearsome reputations as warriors and cattle-rustlers. Maasai society is strongly patriarchal in nature, with elder men, sometimes joined by retired elders, deciding most major matters for each Maasai group. A full body of oral law covers many aspects of behavior. Formal execution is unknown, and normally payment in cattle will settle matters. An out-of-court process is also practiced called ‘amitu’, ‘to make peace’, or ‘arop’, which involves a substantial apology. The monotheistic Maasai worship a single deity called Enkai or Engai. Engai has a dual nature: Engai Narok (Black God) is benevolent, and Engai Na-nyokie (Red God) is vengeful. There are also two pillars or totems of Maasai society: Oodo Mongi, the Red Cow and Orok Kiteng, the Black Cow with a subdivision of five clans or family trees. The maasai also has a totemic animal which is the lion however, the animal can be killed. The way the Maasai kill the lion differs from trophy hunting as it is used in the rite of passage ceremony. The “Mountain of God”, Ol Doinyo Lengai, is located in northernmost Tanzania and can be seen from Lake Natron in southernmost Kenya. The central human figure in the Maasai religious system is the laibon whose roles include shamanistic healing, divination and prophecy, and ensuring success in war or adequate rainfall. Today, they have a political role as well due to the elevation of leaders. Whatever power an individual laibon had was a function of personality rather than position. Many Maasai have also adopted Christianity and Islam. The Maasai are known for their intricate jewelry.
The piercing and stretching of earlobes is common among the Maasai as with other tribes. Various materials have been used to both pierce and stretch the lobes, including thorns for piercing, twigs, bundles of twigs, stones, the cross section of elephant tusks and empty film canisters.
As a historically nomadic and then semi-nomadic people, the Maasai have traditionally relied on local, readily available materials and indigenous technology to construct their housing. The traditional Maasai house was in the first instance designed for people on the move and was thus very impermanent in nature. The houses are either somewhat rectangular shaped with extensions or circular, and are constructed by able-bodied women.
The structural framework of a typical hut is formed of timber poles fixed directly into the ground and interwoven with a lattice of smaller branches wattle, which is then plastered with a mix of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung, human urine, and ash. The cow dung ensures that the roof is waterproof. The enkaj or engaji is small, measuring about 3 × 5 m and standing only 1.5 m high. Within this space, the family cooks, eats, sleeps, socializes, and stores food, fuel, and other household possessions. Small livestock are also often accommodated within the enkaji. Villages are enclosed in a circular fence (an enkang) built by the men, usually of thorned acacia, a native tree. At night, all cows, goats, and sheep are placed in an enclosure in the centre, safe from wild animals.
Shúkà is the Maa word for sheets traditionally worn wrapped around the body. These are typically red, though with some other colors such as blue and plaid patterns. Pink, even with flowers, is not shunned by warriors. One piece garments known as kanga, a Swahili term, are common. Maasai near the coast may wear kikoi, a type of sarong that comes in many different colors and textiles. However, the preferred style is stripes.
Many Maasai in Tanzania wear simple sandals, which were until recently made from cowhides. They are now soled with tire strips or plastic. Both men and women wear wooden bracelets. The Maasai women regularly weave and bead jewellery. This beadwork plays an essential part in the ornamentation of their body. Although there are variations in the meaning of the color of the beads, some general meanings for a few colors are: white, peace; blue, water; red, warrior/blood/bravery.
Beadworking, done by women, has a long history among the Maasai, who articulate their identity and position in society through body ornaments and body painting. Before contact with Europeans, the beads were produced mostly from local raw materials. White beads were made from clay, shells, ivory, or bone. Black and blue beads were made from iron, charcoal, seeds, clay, or horn. Red beads came from seeds, woods, gourds, bone, ivory, copper, or brass. When late in the nineteenth century, great quantities of brightly colored European glass beads arrived in Southeast Africa, beadworkers replaced the older beads with the new materials and began to use more elaborate color schemes. Currently, dense, opaque glass beads with no surface decoration and a naturally smooth finish are preferred.

Drought, Sliver – 2019 APPA: Portrait In Camera

This image represents drought. Climate change has brought drastic changes to many regions on earth. Global warming is causing severe drought. Huge areas that were once fertile are no longer suitable for agriculture. Millions of people are already impacted by these catastrophic changes. A deadly civil war in Syria has erupted when the government decreased the allocation of irrigation water to farmers. Vast regions in Iran are no longer cultivated and the population is helpless. They cannot grow any fruits or vegetables. The earth is dry and so is the woman’s skin, both are cracked. The woman is bare, she is completely exposed – just like our land. This is a desperate call to stop the devastating impact of industrial pollution on our planet.