Once in a while – just for fun – I like to post an image that when you see the thumbnail you say: “What the heck is that?” and then cannot resist opening the thumbnail ;)
Then when you open this I am sure you will say: “Of course, it is a giant replica of a Cycladic idol head from 2700 BC – so obvious!”
Actually I didn’t know that until I read Vagelis’ critique below, so that prompted me to rewrite the intro to this note (thanks Vagelis).
This was taken at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. Rather than posting the usual lighting-of-the-torch photograph or the athletes parade (both of which did made very colourful photographs), I thought it be a change to post this more unusual low-light composition from that part of the opening ceremony which depicted the development of Greek civilisation, which was one of the more unique parts of the ceremony. For those of you who may not have been there or seen this on television, I’ve posted two photographs to the workshop that were taken in the minutes after this one, the first one of which shows the Cycladic head breaking apart to reveal a replica of a Kouros statue from about 600 BC.
After Vagelis identified what this was, I did a Google search on Cycladic idols and came up with this interesting story from the Washington Post about an American TV viewer who had complained to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission about his TV network (NBC) showing ‘pornography’ during the opening ceremony.
He wrote: "How could NBC be allowed to show the male genitalia on national television. I am referring to when the giant white mask that broke apart into a statue of a nude. First we had to be subjected to the breast of Janet Jackson in the Superbowl and now an even more gratuitous display of pornography and indecency during what was supposed to be another family viewing event.”
I am tempted to add a witty comment about Americans who suffer statue-induced tumescence, but as there are many kind-hearted Americans who have given me green smileys on TrekEarth, I shall restrain myself ;) [but it did prompt me to change the title of this photograph]
There is quite a lot of noise in this because I used a very high ISO setting as it was quite dark, and flash would have been useless at this distance (I expect all the hundreds of people flashing away on the other side of the stadium wondered why their photographs came out black!) – I think it was ISO1600 or 3200. I’ve done no post processing to these images except to crop this one to a square format and to remove some of the noise with NeatImage (partly successful) and applying a modest USM.
Just something different for a change!
Critiques | Translate
spyros60 (158) 2006-02-21 16:33
Excellent low light composition.
I like the colors too.
Emile (20352) 2006-02-22 1:10
Nice night picture taken at the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, with great perspective and depth. Colors and composition are very good.
There is some noises that doesn't help your picture, I did a WS. Took your picture to Neat Image and removed the noises, hope you like it.
kensimage (8565) 2006-02-22 10:24
Nice capture of the atmosphere at an Olympic opening ceremony, David. (Not that I've ever been to one to really know that atmosphere...) I'm not sure if I like the NeatImage version, which does have less noise but looks slightly blurred, or the original. Anyway, it's tough to take this kind of shot, with weird contrasty lighting that makes it hard to pick an exposure, but you picked correctly. Nice framing and color scheme, too. Regards, Ken.
david (3992) 2006-02-22 11:19
hey david ... good to see you posting again!
i'm extremely jealous that you were at the opening ceremony of the olympics. either you've got too much money, or an excellent job! ;)
your note is spot on ... this is an image that just begs to be looked at. the colours are awesome and the camera flashes make for an amazing background.
i like the dominance of the huge white sculpture, compared to the small red figures.
a very intriguing photograph. very nicely done!
evagelosm (144) 2006-02-23 3:07
Excelent photo indeed.
As i come from Greece, please let me help you a litle more about this part of the ceremony. This head is a part of a Cycladic art idol (a civilization grown in the Cyclades islands betwewen 3000 - 2000 BC). From inside the head of this idol came out another statue from another period of greek civilization (i think it was from the archaic period 800 - 500 BC) and so on. The hole idea of this part of the ceremony was to show the different and continious periods of greek civilization wathing through the art of that periods.
Kenny10pin (19301) 2006-02-23 20:26
nice work here, I like the two extreme colours and ofcourse the red, great one
capthaddock (28790) 2006-02-24 8:49
Hi David - no superexotic locale this time but the subject is unusual enough, and the note entertaining, perfect positioning of the objects, greetings from Yemen.
elmec (12210) 2006-02-25 6:45
Very interesting shot!
I like the contrast betwenn big white and small red
riclopes (35577) 2006-02-25 6:52
What an interesting shot and note, along with the sequence in ws to complement. Indeed, it captures the attention from the thumbnails. USA is a big country full of contrasts and I guess, we can expect the best and the worst from there...
Excellent artistic shot of this attractive artistic event. The POV and composition are very good and the colours are wonderful. The noise, doesn't bother me at all, although Emile had done a great job, improving the image. Good work!
gaby (19819) 2006-02-25 15:27
David bonsoir and thanks for this big tooth on your view - superb compo in low light with very amazing colors -
This morning, I was looking for your personal website : very interesting and great stuff - congratulation David, I love your old shots -
Have a nice sunday
richtersl (3546) 2006-02-27 18:53
Great note, David! And a very wonderful group of photos to go with it. If that centaur's size is true to life then the scale is amazing.
Emile's workshop is also very good.
sarju (5324) 2006-03-01 15:22
lols ... I liked your note.
you seem to be confused about the americans ... well, i can tell you that you are not alone. Personally i feel that some of the best and the worst people on the planet earth are in the US ... lols .. it is the country of extremes.
Thanks for the informative note ... i had missed that controversy
cheers for now .... sarju
AiresSantos (56155) 2006-03-04 6:23
Hi my friend David,
Excellent capture of the Olympic opening ceremony. I like the contrast between the big white, the small red and the blue.
I also like the note.
TFS and have a nice weekend,
rbcy1974 (20758) 2006-04-11 7:34
You have caputred this scene wonderdully, it has a sense of awe and spectacle, good exposure of the lights and colours
cyrrhus (2878) 2006-05-03 22:14
This is my third critique in a row.. but I am so enthusiastic !
I am a fanatic of Cycladic idols since a very long time because they look so modern (as compared to modern art :-) ... and I couldn't resist laughing while reading your note.
This being said, the picture is again a masterpiece... only three colours... and a constellation of inefficient flashes !
salda (37) 2006-05-08 8:30
First, I have to say your commentary though sad & true for some, is hillarious!
Having studied in the US I came to see some ignorance myself.
As far as this photo goes, I love how you have focused on the cycladic idol, as it sticks out from the blue in the background!
KostasKon (0) 2006-09-18 13:23
Amazing photo. Besides the poor light the colours are very beautiful.
Xalkida (11744) 2006-10-16 11:36
I think it's a very nice souvenir photo from the most succesful modern Olympics ever! :)
The noise it's not a problem due the hard conditions during the shooting. I think colors and lighting are very original. Well done.
MLINES (12516) 2007-10-13 1:55
Hi David, Your note certainly is what i was thinking before seeing the large version. Good mystery unravelled now. I like the unusual way it is set up. Good to learn about this from your gallery. TFS. Murray.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2004-08-13
- Categories: Ceremony
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED
- Exposure: f/5.0, 1/80 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): OAKA Hellas [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2006-02-21 10:20
- Favorites: 1 [view]