UWC’s First North Korean Student: Kim Han-sol, Grandson of Kim Jong-il

Kim Han-sol (left) at UWC Mostar. Image from guardian.co.uk.

The United World Colleges are open for everyone – and that’s one of the reasons why I love them. Last year I heard rumours that a North Korean student would be attending a UWC for the first time ever – and not just any North Korean student, but Kim Han-sol, a grandson of the former North Korean ruler Kim Jong-il and nephew of the current ruler Kim Jong-un. Some people seemed to be not too happy about the news, however, I thought it was brilliant: I think it’s crucial that persons from whichever part of society they are born into go to UWC, because whatever ideas they might come with, they will be challenged in a way they won’t have been challenged before. That’s why UWC alumni include the Dutch crown prince Willem-Alexander, Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla, orphans from SOS villages in China and Afghani refugees (and plain ol’ nobodies like me 🙂 ). It’s the extreme multi-cultural/multi-societal kind of exposure and the realisation that there isn’t just one way of existing in this world that leads to better understanding of our differences and, in the long term, might make a difference (as overly idealistic as that may sound).

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Photologia: Around Vasant Vihar, New Delhi

Note: All photographs copyright by alualuna. Please do not use without permission. Also: large resolution, page may take a while to load.

Not the best of photographs – terribly overexposed. But this kid ran into my picture (which was meant to be of the barbershop in the background) and it ended up like this. I edited what I could (darkening mostly and cropping a bit), but this was the best I could manage. And though it breaks all kinds of textbook rules, I still feel there is something that works here. Maybe it’s just the charm of this kid, his big smile and cheekiness of jumping in front of my lens. Continue reading “Photologia: Around Vasant Vihar, New Delhi”

Back from Kashmir: A Bit of Travelogue with Photographs

Village Shop, Aru, Jammu & Kashmir.

I’m back in New Delhi after a short trip up north to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Jammu & Kashmir is India’s most northern state, which borders with Pakistan (west), China (north) and Tibet (east). Except for Ladakh, which is the Buddhist part in the east of Jammu & Kashmir, the state is not a common tourist destination for Westerners, although Hindus from the rest of India do travel here for pilgrimages (most importantly the Armanath Yatra). Indeed, because of dispute over part of the territory of the state with Pakistan, many governments advise “against all travel to rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir other than Ladakh; all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, other than Wagah; and all travel in Manipur” and “all but essential travel to Srinagar and Imphal” (in the words of the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office).1 Continue reading “Back from Kashmir: A Bit of Travelogue with Photographs”

An Ode to Film Photography

… or a lament?

From a project for a course I took on Gothic Literature in North America at the University of Costa Rica. The original photograph was a self-portrait taken in the Netherlands, but in this print I completely ‘burned’ away everything except a sliver of the face to create a ghostly (uncanny?) image. I also considered adding a mirror image of the face, but never got to it – it’s technically quite involved (but not impossible) to do that in the darkroom.

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