Khaled Akil: Pokemon Go in Syria

Laurie says:

I just put Pokemon Go on my phone and I’m finding it unexpectedly charming and delightful. The whole world is playing it, children and adults alike.

Then I saw these images by Syrian artist Khaled Akil and knew I needed to put them up now.

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What one sees when looking into Akil’s images is a dual universe wherein creatures and symbols merge with the visual fragments of war and abandonment. His work is a hybrid of photography and painting, with a digital final product, various layers, created in direct relation with the photographic work and the issue presented. Khaled Akil subjects his original photographs to countless layers of manual intervention that ultimately result in digital prints. With their mixture of photography, painting, and sometimes Arabic calligraphy, the dense surfaces of the works make them expressive and strongly palpable
. Wikipedia

A Syrian boy walks with his bicycle in the devastated Sukari district in the northern city of Aleppo on November 13, 2014, after more than three years of fighting and shelling. Syrians are increasingly unable to escape their country’s war as tougher policies in potential host nations are preventing them from taking refuge in the region and beyond.



These photographic creations of Khaled Akil, juxtaposing the devastation, Pokemon Go characters and the children playing in the ruins, are not simply “powerful or moving.” We are acclimatized in these times to distance ourselves from the constant images of devastation and despair. His images pierce our defensive numbness and put us into the realities we try so hard to avoid.

Exquisite Colors In Nature And Vision

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Laurie says:


I’m exploring color for the first time as a photographer in my Memory Landscape project. This made the BBC article quoted below particularly interesting. It’s called Color And Vision:Through The Eyes of Nature.

A new exhibition exploring the relationship between colour and vision in the natural world is opening at the Natural History Museum in London

Intense and vibrant natural colours will be displayed in specimens and photographs of insects, animals and plants. The message we hope people will take away from the exhibition is that colour and vision are inextricably interwoven in evolution


The vibrant hues found on the wings and feathers of some birds and insects can be explained by two different types of colour…structural and colour and pigment.

Structural colour is produced by light interacting with microscopic structures on surfaces.

This sort of colour is on some bird feathers and [the] metallic surface of beetles…

Different pigments absorb different wavelengths of light and reflect other wavelengths – this affects what colour we are seeing… Sometimes colour is created by the combination of pigment and structural colour.

Vibrant colours might stand out in the wild, but they can also be a warning to potential predators…Bright colours can mean the animal is saying, ‘Don’t eat me’.


The close up below of a starling’s wing illustrates the underlying scientific principles. And it is simply an exquisite abstract photograph in itself.


This video from the Natural History Museum shows the world through the eyes of dragonflies, dogs, snakes and horses.

The article has a great deal more about color, construction and how the eyes of varied creatures work. All of this gave me a lot to think about color and how humans perceive it.  I expect it will show up in my work.