Postcards
Summer and the Sea, Santorini

Summer and the Sea, Santorini

Is this paradise? The warm morning sun, a cool salt breeze, gently laced with the perfume of summer blossoms. Not to mention a view across the Med that simply cannot be put into words. Easy to see how the place sells so many postcards.

Cascade, Santorini

Cascade, Santorini

These neat, whitewashed villas cling from hilltop to shore on every square inch available like polished barnacles to their seaside perches. Quite a bit of fun it is to pick your way among the twisting cobbled streets that thread the way invisibly between them.

Stairs, Lisbon

Stairs, Lisbon

Wandering past an alleyway behind the Cafe Sao Luiz in the Chiado district of Lisbon, I was arrested by the simple but decisive play of elegant cast iron staircases against the bold yellow backdrop. One of my all-time favourite compositions.

The Pantheon, Rome

The Pantheon, Rome

Piazza della Rotonda on a warm spring evening. The resting place of Renaissance artist and ninja turtle Raphael, the Pantheon is also noted for its "oculus" that leaves the domed temple singularly exposed to the elements. Try a visit on a rainy day.

Street Party, Rome

Street Party, Rome

The Trastevere district makes the bold claim of being the most traditional part of the Eternal City. Open to debate no doubt, but it's impossible to dispute the authenticity of its full-blooded Roman flavour. Not to mention it's also the home of my favourite pizza place Pizzeria Ai Mami.

Nights of Future Past, Rome

Nights of Future Past, Rome

It's difficult to think of another piece of architecture that inspires the same sense of awe and introspection as the Colosseum. The weather-beaten monolith stands across the ages as monument to the desperate struggle between life and death. Carpe diem my friends.

To Work, Hong Kong

To Work, Hong Kong

The early morning is a magical time to see this usually bustling metropolis come drowsily to life. As one worker trudges his way past this converted pawn shop, the long shadows seem to grasp at his heels. A day's work to keep poverty at bay.

Art Yard, Hong Kong

Art Yard, Hong Kong

Like discovering a chocolate chip in your cookie, it's a refreshing surprise to find a spontaneous burst of artistry where you might only expect to find concrete and commerce. The local community had converted the entryway of an otherwise drab apartment block into an exhibition space.

Urban Heritage, Hong Kong

Urban Heritage, Hong Kong

A quilting of the vibrant colours and old-school vibes from my hometown. If you've ever been a native of Hong Kong, you may be struck by the same curious thought that you can almost hear and even smell these photographs.

Open Learning, Ephesus

Open Learning, Ephesus

As a student of Scripture, it is always a thrill to set foot in these ancient, biblical places. Ephesus was a Greek city of no small renown, and the inspiring Library of Celsus is one of the remarkably well-preserved monuments that can be seen at this heritage site.

Space Port, Paris

Space Port, Paris

UFO landing? The futuristic-looking cabin makes for an interesting feature against the equally interesting fascade of the Musee de l'Institut du Monde Arabe. The shutters are photosensitive metal plates that close up in the sun.

Chapelle Royale, Versailles

Chapelle Royale, Versailles

The stunning, two-tiered grand chapel inside the Chateau de Versailles is probably my favourite room inside Louis XIV's principal royal residence. Opulent rather than humble as you would expect from the Sun King, but still tasteful.

Apex, Paris

Apex, Paris

A brief window of sunshine on a dark, overcast day, beams down on I.M. Pei's famous glass pyramid and the magnificent fascade of the Musee du Louvre. The black, foreboding sky makes it quite the dramatic scene.

Weekend Retreat, St Albans

Weekend Retreat, St Albans

No phones, no TVs, just nature and the company of other pilgrims at this tranquil, converted convent. A time for reflection, a time to be still. Like cool, life-giving water for the soul.

Catwalk Soldiers, Barcelona

Catwalk Soldiers, Barcelona

Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi's surreal creations are so incredible because his vision wasn't simply executed on canvas, but in real-life brick and mortar. The rooftop of the apartment block Casa Mila, popularly known as La Pedrera, is a fantasyland of the bizarre and beautiful.

Elevador da Bica, Lisbon

Elevador da Bica, Lisbon

Looking at this picture hits me with the same sense of "saudade" as listening to fado. The fading sun setting behind the hills, the soft glow of street lights, the lapping water you can hear in the distance. When will we meet again?

Escheresque, San Francisco

Escheresque, San Francisco

The play of light and shadow on the geometric balconies at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero created an optical effect of such masterful symmetry even M.C. Escher himself might have approved.

Goldmobile, San Francisco

Goldmobile, San Francisco

A city of two faces. Sometimes pristine and well-to-do, sometimes shabby and rundown. With San Francisco, you get beauty and the beast. Walk half an hour in one direction and you're bound to see both.

Forgotten Treasure, Faro

Forgotten Treasure, Faro

On the outside, a crumbling, boarded-up villa in Faro's old town. The dingy foyer was what you would expect – a ruin of broken stones. But further in where the cracked ceiling let light through the gloom, this azulejo treasure was waiting to be rediscovered.

Anglo-Roman Style, Bath

Anglo-Roman Style, Bath

A majestic combination of Roman remnants, soaring Georgian architecture, and glorious situation astride the River Avon, it's difficult to think of another English city with as much style and romantic appeal.

© 2021 Derek Tong

 

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