Sunday, May 31, 2009

So much joy!

I participated to my grand daughter birthday party yesterday: it was held in the Greenwich park. What a great place!

One can do so many things in an English park!

Hold a birthday party, play tennis or football, walk a dog, bicycle, hold hands, pic-nick, and so much more!

I was taking photos and videos of the birthday party when this delightful interesting looking old lady come near us. Immediately, I felt attracted to her.

'May I take your portrait?'

Because she did not say 'yes' but let herself be persuaded, we begin to speak, to share. What a surprise to discover: she speaks Hungarian! So we continued in that language, my mother language, that I speak so seldom.

What a joy: we'll meet each other next week again!

I am sure, we have so much to tell each other, common but also different experiences. 'Clever and youth in spirit' someone wrote a comment under her portrait published in flickr. Sometimes, others express better what I feel: another joy.

As I set down, towards the end of the party, looking at the people around, taking some of their pictures, candid or asked, I was enriched by the experience.

And again, yesterday proved to me that photography approach me to people, not distances me from them.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

From my mother

Two remain from all the service she had, all hand made and different from each other. When I look at them I remember my mother preparing the table for a special event.

When my friend who had been visiting us 55 years ago had seen this, she told me, 'it reminds me of your mother playing piano for us!'

Every flower on it is different.

And then, she added: "And it is elegant as she was!"

In fact, my mother was elegant more inside her, not as she dressed, but mostly as she did behave, like a lady she was all her life, and remained through all the ups and downs, joys or sorrows.

Another day, I'll write more about her, it is too sad for me now.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Last time, next time

It was my daughter-in-law who had taken this without my knowledge: I was thinking she was taking only images of the flowers in her garden.

Absorbed, to deliver my last speech to my grand-daughter on the swing.

I did not realize, I used so much my hands and my body while speaking!

Now, I am preparing the next speech in the Toastmasters manual which is about body language. Those photos she had taken give me courage: I already use them! I only have to be conscientious what I use and when!

My book I just bought "Body language for dummies" will help, as my familly, again. Thanks, Lili, to having surprised me with those great images and proposing to take more, even video while I prepare!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Flower arrangement in Argenteuil

Near the market, and the "Mairie Anexe" where some of the problems of the people living in Argenteuil can be handled, instead going to the central TownHall, there are always great flowers in the middle of a square.

This spring, I found them specially beautiful.

I did take pictures of them with my new Canon EOS, with different settings, one was the 'scene' to give a large clear view, the other was "flowers" that gave a very selective focus. All have their usage, I just have to learn better how to use each of them, and then, not forget to switch back!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The text as I prepared it: May I? Yes, Thank!

May I? Yes. Thank you,
Thank you ? For what ?

May I take your picture ?
Thank you for letting me taking your picture!

Mister Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests. May I tell you my story?

Thank you. Thank you for listening to me.

Thank you for accepting me.

Each photographer takes different kind of pictures. Lonely, I like to approach unknown people, and ask them if I can take their portrait. "May I?"

"You take pictures of unkown people? (Announ) are they your cousins", told me someone,

Another, young photographer told me "of course, they are not fearing you, an old lady, if it was ME..."

"Why not YOU", I answered him?

More and more I am convinced, it is not my age or white hair, nor my sex makes the chosen ones telling me "Yes, you may", but my BODY Language.

My eyes, my face, my whole body telling them
YOU ARE interesting, You are great! You are special.

My body language speaks for me, my body language speaks even before I do.

(This part I forgot to tell, I regret, it was good)
Sometimes, all passes through our body language.

'May I?'
'Thank you.'

No words are necessary then. The communication passes, an understanding. More than anything, most of the time it is the body language that gives me the "Yes, you may" I desire.

(I did not forget the following:)
But even after more than 2000 "yes, you may", sometimes I still hesitate to ask and sometimes, when I dare, the "Yes of course", takes me by surprise.

Trembling, I then forgot to look from where the light comes, or the background. It is not good to let a tree grow from somebody's hair!

I still hesitate sometimes to ask, even if I do know, there are so rare and so different "no" For example, "no I am not photogenic" or a no yes but why you want to take it, I can overcome. And even if I do not take the picture, we part being no more strangers to each other.

From time to time I succeed to catch what I observed and get it into and through the picture, so it can be seen long time after our exchange took part. To take home that warm expression and looking it day by day telling me "I understand you"

(this part I forget to tell, and I jumped to the last part)
Lately, a Thank YOU, comes also from those I take the portrait, and I realized, that I gave them also something. Not only emailing their pictures or talking about the encounter in my blog, but mostly by making them feel more confident about themselves, more appreciated, less alone.

Mister Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and most welcome guests, may I? Thanks.

Thank all of you,
thank each of you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May I? Yes. Thank you.

Last variation, told, not read this time.

It got send directly from, but to the wrong blog! So here it is now.

This is the "last" version of my 4th speech that I'll give tonight at the Meridam Speakers Club, in Greenwich.

May I take your picture.mp3


She is practicing: will the ball go where she wants it?

I am practicing my speech, "May I? Yes, Thank you."

It does modify a little, every time, and I tell it and listen to it, again and again. Still do not know it enough.

Will it fall were I want it? Will I get it right?

Practice, practice. Practice.

Tomorrow, I'll publish its text, as I told it, more or less. Because I do not learn it word by word, with the audience I'll go a little also where they lead me.

Link to my speach?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Today is your day...

Testing a new place to meet the sounds and also to tell a story (here read for children) from Dr Seuss's book I like and read them so often.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Yes, Thank you

Preparation for the 4th speech at ToastMasters, the title is "Yes, Thank you!"

I have figured out finally, how to add it here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Back to Argenteuil

A slide show of windows, streets and people, in Argenteuil, near Paris. Begining May.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A bit farther, and it

A bit farther, and it looks so different!

It is not art, but it tells what I feel. Any drab thing could be improved.

I am preparing my fourth Toastmaster speech. It is about how we use the words to tell it. At first, it did seem very tough for me.

I begun, as any French would do, to read about rhetoric devices. Then I begun to think about the words I'll repeat. I found them! "Yes. Thanks." But it still did not gel.

Yesterday, reading advices from the Toastmasters journal online, I discover advices for those for whom English is the second language.

OK, for me it is the forth language. Hungarian, then Romanian, then French. English was the 4th I learned. I did improve, living three years in Washington DC. thirty years ago, I did improve going to Toastmasters there, and I will improve it now, even more.

Still, a long way to go.

Yesterday, I learned that to sound more English, you have to use short sentences and a lot of one syllable words. The great orators, and presidents, use them. The people in my romance read this morning uses them. I could use them.

I'll try.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lewisham Speakers Club

After having decided not to go there any more, it is not easy to access it from where I live, and so on, not only I decided to stay, but took on me a role: vice president of membership.

Assuring people are happy (more then I was last month) and that guest come back and become members.

At least, that it is I understand for the moment will be my role. Also, welcoming everyone as she or he arrives. But all that means: I have to be there too! Not to complain about it either!

Humor of the situation? Or strategy from the founders?
Lewisham Speakers Club
Finally, the club is up, after six month from 3 founding members to more then 26 as I understand now. Soon a dinner to celebrate the clubs creation. Fairly expensive in my opinion, but can I not go?

How could I welcome the guests if I am not there?

Did I think clearly when I took on this task? This morning I was panniqued, but I also begin to have lots of ideas, whom to invite, to whom to speak about it...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Each of us is different, each of us finds interesting something else, also. I would not have observed this wonderful car if my daughter-in-law would not have taken something similar, but yes, I think I took it from the right angle!

Three men, drinking their beer not far from it, outside, looked at me taking it and one of them pointed to the car behind it, a mini.

"That one is interesting!"

In Paris, we have many of minis, but not many Roll Roys, but I did not tell them. I took a photo of them, pointed to a third old used car:

"I could afford that one..."

A bit later, I took the reflections of building's windows in a car window, then green cherries on the tree. After our meeting at LIP, London Independant Photographers of Greenwich, I took images of windows, lightened from inside or outside.

Creativity? Playing like children, being more intuitive, letting go. Try out different things, out of our comfort zone too. Lots of good advices, I knew already but I'll try with more confidence from now on.

But I learned something new too: make a dialog from what is inside you to the subject. Discover what it tells you by exchange.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sara's exemple

Sara had survived cancer of the breast and kept dancing, now, Sara has been diagnosed with bone cancer.

Of course, she begun to plan, to write in her diary and journals, (and Lloyd has given us pictures of her writing too), but she also went to dance, she continued to dance, dance, dance.

My teacher photographer collegue from Leeds, published dark red toes she just made, then wrote about her and showed her courage.

An example, that I cannot forget, cannot stop thinking about it, writing about it.

Here is Sara, dancing five years ago (with the author of the other pictures), and here is Sara dancing a few days ago again.

Doing our thing, originally uploaded by Dance dance dance, originally uploaded by

I did learn something from her, from him. Will not forget I hope. And will think about it, more, from now on.

What I want to do with my last years, month, days?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Learning from each other

Listening to the young speakers, first at the BBC TWO then their Web, from the first to the last episode (I think there were 8)I learned a lot. About the kids today in England and Wales, and Scotland, but also how to improve Public Speaking.

I got to love Kay Kay and the others, and listening to Duncan's last speech, (and the two sympathetic others who did not win) I did understand why he did win. His speech, delivered with mastery, seemed the most personal and sincere.

He succeeds in it to personalise a difficult given subject.

Alas, I went to France and lost the last two episodes, telling myself I'll look at them at my return. But when I opened the BBC 2 site to look at it, it was no more available. I am still morning it, and would like to look again and again at the old episodes too. I hope, it will be available sometime, somewhere.

One can learn so much from them!

Yes, at 75 I can learn from 15 years kids. Brave, smart, interesting, each with their own personality. We can also learn why some become less loved : they did not appreciate enough the others, they become to sure they will be the one to win.

Finally, the be open to others and be confident but not conceited is also necessary when speaking because our personality goes through to the audience. And also, even if we do not put it in worlds, how we perceive our subject.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Deux regards

In fact, his job was to stay at the door, and let people in, but somehow he felt as a guarding it, even if he let in anyone who wanted. In this image, he had seen while taking her, he can be inside the picture too.

I realised the image impact only home, and cut out everything not showing the difference of their expressions.

A picture can tell so many different things and can be also telling what was not there. I still like this image.

Yesterday meeting, an Art & City Meetup organized by Chris (UrbanSpace on Flickr) was very rich in event, even if we were only three. That gave us a possibility of echange between us and also stroll to unprogrammed places.

Coming home, I met a charming young couple with their baby, Melody, who live nearby and invited me for a cup of tea!
Melodie-1Looking out of my window never will be the same again: I know some charming warm young from Irland are just accross there.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Late night at Museum

We arrived late, near the closing of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square and outside was raining. Then went to the National Portrait Gallery, open partly at least until ten pm.

There, my two grand-children found some interesting paintings to discuss, while some others rested, mostly finding each other.

I could not help myself to take this photograph, while I looked from afar at the painting I liked best yesterday: the ballerina and its colors.

After that, I discovered Fabiola rooms, 300 almost identical profiles of her found in different Fleet markets in 15 years time; called my familly and we were stunned. First, by "all alike" and then discovering how each painter reproduced it in his or her own way.
Children at museum, late-6
It was a wonderful experience for all of us.

When we got out at ten pm, the rain stopped and the children were enchanted by the Trafalgar Square illuminated fountains, and me by the reflections of the museum lights and street on the humid ground.
Raining, Trafalgar Square and National Gallery reftects
In the train the children almost fell asleep, but they were happy we went together out and with their experience. "See you soon, grand-ma!"

Friday, May 15, 2009


Monique gave me this gift: a photo I love, I could never smile like this at myself, at my own camera: it had to be her, us, speaking about our lifes, understanding each other so well, to bring out all this in my expression.

I felt, I have to show you.

This is how I feel about so many of you too, near you. Causing me so much joy, as Monique, by her understanding of my life's ups and downs.

I believed she took too near, but she took what she have seen.
Paris in spring (Sony)_0400
Monique has a very moving face, perhaps this is the best I took of her before we sit down under the trees of place de Vosges center park and talked and talked.

So much more to tell about Paris, York, and this night, again London: it is the "night in the Museum" and we'll go with now, already ten years old grand daughter!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

York & Rachel Semlyen

My trip to York was wonderful and very full, but even more important then discovering a great old and still vibrating city or understanding, finally familly and its history, was to discover a great lady.

I did met her already for an hour at King Cross station's Paul, but now, I had the occasion to discover more and more about her and her life and familly.

She is ten years younger then me and so full of life!

Not long time ago had she only stopped her walks on a horse! Very active, and so many interesting different things she had done!

A Jane Austin "pride and prejudice" ball in costumes for the York Hospice: I watched the video. It was as if I were there!

Founding a museum at Elvington Airfield, where French aviators stationed during the second war. We met first the English Association members showing old military vehicles and arms, dressed up like in the old times, then two days later, five of the French Veterans who were actually stationed there during World War 2.
Veterans Français a York-12
The base is not far from the house she still lives, an old Mansion with wonderful chestnut trees on the way in, and she used to go with her husband, my second cousin I never met, there and listen to the birds. We set down there together, holding hands.
Rachel Semlyen et Julie Kertesz (46)
She was also for seven years guide to Travel Writers, showing them York: one can imagine, I could not have a better guide to show me the city. Through her, I discovered the city and its surrounding, with her and her familly personal history, and almost through her eyes, too.
York center & Rachel Semlyen-119
First evening, we visited Chantal, a charming half French young lady and her teenager daughter, who prepared us a great dinner and entertained us with her stories: she arrived in UK a year ago. Last evening, we went to the theater and enjoyed a great performance.

So much to write about, so much happened in just a few days! More to come tomorrow. Meanwhile, you may see the first images uploaded to the Flickr image site, of York visit and of the Veteran's meeting, about which I'll have to write a whole story, it was so full with real life anecdotes.
Yorkshire Air Museum Meeting (74)
She showed me a lot: old photos and the city and familly, but she also has a great gift of listening.

What I find even more enchanting, is the contact I opened with Rachel and her son that I feel will not break now but go on and on. Through them, I feel already: we are not alone in England: we do have familly!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Is there life after 70 ?

I did forget to tell part of the end, when I have seen the green light, so I told it in less then 5 minutes instead of six, here is all of it, to listen if you want.

I did tell it at the Lewisham Toastmasters meeting, last Wednesday.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Singing as in old times

the 1st of May in Argenteuil, near the Seine - short part of the song, just for the mood, perhaps

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Le Marais, one of oldest quaters in Paris

I did not find french song, but perhaps this goes with this kind of presentation: you can always make it stop the sound, or make the slide go slower or faster...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Painter and her models, Place de Tertre

I did live for 23 years on the Butte Montmartre, near Place de Tertre, where the painters draw or paint the turist's.

I love the mood, and this time I found an original woman making a drawing where she put the couple, taking their image one after the other. Happy with my prize, she let me take one with her, and them.

He was not their, but sat back so I can take it like this.

After that, she went on, drawing her, and him to take photos.

The set "place de Tertre and around" is Here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Argenteuil in Spring - first images

Argenteuil would be "the greater Paris" if it would be something like that in France, on the board of the Seine, where in the times, the Impressionist peinter Monet (or was it Manet) and Renoir went to visit too. And paint.
1 mai au bord de la Seine-137

Each 1st of May, we remember them, by dressing as in their times... painting, singing. I went this year to Argenteuil just in time for the spring and the festival.

Here the first images from there. Starting with people on the streets and flowers and followed by some pictures from the festival.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Paris in spring

First of May in Paris were demonstrations, but in Argenteuil, near the Seine, it was just the Joy of the Seine, as more then hundred years ago, the time of the impressionists, who used to paint there.

Women and men, dressed like in old times. Music of the begining of last century.

It is 4 in the morning, more, later.

A few images until then.