13 Vintage Photographs Showcase the Soft Sensuality & Elegance of 1940s Women

Russian photographer Nina Leen is known for her timeless black and white photographs that have graced the pages of Life magazine. After emigrating to the United States of America, she captured the classic beauties, poised and graceful in the face of the camera, of the 1940s period. 

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George Hyde Pownall (1866 or 1876-1932, England/Australia)


Pownall was an English painter of the Edwardian period, His small, vivid paintings of London, the West End, and the Thames are often overlooked when people consider city painting in the early 20th century, and this has not been helped by inaccurate or lacking biographical information relating to the artist’s life.

An accomplished musician and landscape painter, Pownall was born in England in 1866 (or 1876) and emigrated to Melbourne, Australia in about 1911. He worked as a conductor, composer, tenor singer and pianist, painting in his spare time. His paintings are in the plein air style of Impressionism, and the sketch-like fluidity also resembles artists of this school, though Pownall’s technique is recognisably his own.

Episode 025: Interview with Steve Ahn, Director for DreamWorks TV Animation’s Voltron: Legendary Defender!

In today’s inteview animation veteran Steve Ahn shares his experiences growing up in various regions in South Korea, emigrating to the U.S., and being accepted into CalArts. Along the way Steve used his artistic skills to express what he felt he could not express in words as he navigated through the field of animation to become a director on Voltron: Legendary Defender. His tale is an inspiring and uplifting story for anyone with a dream and a desire to create amazing worlds and share the joy of storytelling with others!

Steve Ahn’s Websites





Action Adventure Cinematic Online Storyboard Workshop

Replay Vol. 2 Sketchbook

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Siddis of Gujarat

The first Siddis are thought to have arrived in the Indian subcontinent in 628 CE at the Bharuch port. Several others followed with the first Arab Islamic invasions of the subcontinent in 712 AD.[15] The latter group are believed to have been soldiers with Muhammad bin Qasim’s Arab army, and were called Zanjis.

Most Siddis, however, are believed to be the descendants of slaves, sailors, servants and merchants from East Africawho arrived and became resident in the subcontinent during the 1200-1900 CE period.[16] A large influx of Siddis to the region occurred in the 17th century when Portuguese slave traders sold a number of them to local princes.[2] . …….

Supposedly presented as slaves by the Portuguese to the local Prince, Nawab of Junagadh, the Siddis also live around Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, the last refuge in the world of the almost extinct Asiatic Lions, in Junagadh a district of the state of Gujarat, India.

On the way to Deva-dungar is the quaint village of Sirvan, inhabited entirely by Siddis, a tribe of African people. They were brought 300 years ago from Africa, by the Portuguese for the Nawab of Junagadh. Today, they follow very few of their original customs, with a few exceptions like the traditional Dhamal dance.[21]

Although Gujarati Siddis have adopted the language and many customs of their surrounding populations, some African traditions have been preserved. These include the Goma music and dance form, which is sometimes called Dhamaal(Gujarati: ધમાલ, fun).[22] The term is believed to be derived from the Ngoma drumming and dance forms of Bantu East Africa.[22] The Goma also has a spiritual significance and, at the climax of the dance, some dancers are believed to be vehicles for the presence of Siddi saints of the past.[23] 

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Siddi Folk Dancers, at Devaliya Naka,Sasan Gir, Gujarat, made to dress like wild people with facial paint and leaf cloths for domestic Gujarati tourist.

Read more about the Siddi’s here


Scrubbing the myth of the asexual gay asian man frame by frame

Culture is conflict in Andrew Ahn’s debut feature, Spa Night. Protagonist David (Joe Seo), who, like Ahn himself, is the son of parents who emigrated from Korea, awakens sexually in the Korean spas in Los Angeles that he frequents with his family and friends. Meanwhile, his family’s expectation that he’ll settle down with a nice Korean girl (and furthermore, their financial dependency on him) pull him away from immediate acceptance of his sexuality. Ahn’s film is as muted and meditative as it is sexually frank—this movie is as much about tenuous family bonds as it is public cruising.

Not only is Spa Night well-acted and economically written, it strikes me as a crucial piece of gay culture for providing what is lacking: the depiction of a gay Asian man as a sexual being with desires and agency. Yesterday (as the professional world around me crumbled, as luck would have it), Ahn visited the Gawker office to discuss his film, the polarity of culture, and the politics of expressing gay sexuality in this context. I found him to be as frank and sharp as his film. An edited and condensed transcript of our conversation is below.



According to a report of the French senate, 2.800 churches across the country, many of them centuries old, will be demolished as restoration costs exceed the cost of demolitions over the next years. This church, Église Saint-Jacques d'Abbeville, a Neo-Gothic masterpiece in Abbeville, Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie dating back to 1868, was demolished for a total cost of 350,000€ in 2013. The reasoning: It was much cheaper to demolish it than it would cost to restore.

As the number of Frenchmen in France continues to decline due to record-low birth rates, high emigration and Muslim immigration, so do the members of catholic faith, who are now at an all time low. For many cities in France, especially cities in which Christians are the minority, the lack of interest and high property value on which the buildings stand simply does not justify the cost of restoring the churches. Many mayors choose the cheaper demolitions over costly restorations. Thousands of churches are to be demolished over the next years and replaced with shopping malls, stores, apartments or parking lots.

Mosque on the other hand, flourish. The Grand Mosque of Paris recently got a modern, fully retractable Roof, as it is usually only found in football stadiums and hundreds of new Mosques are built every year for the hundreds of thousands of new Muslims born or immigrating into French society, often with taxpayer money.

We’re witnessing the spiritual death of a nation.

On one hand, every American knows immigration is a struggle – we have iconic old-timey images of people huddled on boats drifting up to the Statue of Liberty after a months-long journey, and we know that illegal immigrants risk death to cross the desert and sneak across the border. So, Americans realize that getting into America is hard. But when we get fed up with our own country and talk about how, “I’m just going to move to (New Zealand/Canada/France/Japan) and get away from all this!” we tend to talk like the hardest part is buying the plane ticket.

It’s as hard, or harder, to get into other countries as it is for foreigners to emigrate to America. Most countries have strict entry requirements that you can’t get past by explaining that you really, really want to come in. Immigration to Canada, Australia and New Zealand works by giving “points” to immigrants who have skills or other things that the country needs. For example, New Zealand and Canada have lists of “preferred professions,” most which require college degrees and years of experience.

If your dream is the European Union, the news is even worse. People applying for a work visa not only need to prove that they’re better suited for the job than anyone in the country, but also more suited for it than anyone in the entire European Union. Oh, and then there’s the high unemployment and the fact that most of the EU residents you’re competing against will speak, like, six languages.

6 Reasons Your Plans to Move Abroad Might Not Work Out

Findians – The story of Finns' distant cousins

Part Finnish, part Native American

In the Great Lakes region there are people with roots in Finland and among indigenous North American peoples. It’s impossible to know how exactly many of these so-called ‘Findians’ exist, but their numbers are estimated in the hundreds. Author Katja Kettu, journalist Maria Seppälä and photographer Meeri Koutaniemi documented their lives over the course of three years. Their experiences form the basis for their book, ‘Findian country’.

A pow wow is a social gathering held in many indigenous North American communities. Dancing is a way of honouring participants’ ancestors.

Descendants of immigrants

Between 1860 and 1924 some 370,000 people left Finland for North America to seek a better life. The main reasons to emigrate were unemployment, social problems and the period of ‘Russification’ before Independence–but a desire for adventure was also a factor. In America Finns worked in the forests and the mines. While out in the woods and at trade union meetings they met Native Americans and even married some of them. The majority of marriages were with members of the Ojibwa tribe, the largest in the region. Finns tended to have less knowledge about their new home country–and therefore also fewer prejudices about the people native to the land than immigrants from other European countries.

In the Great Lakes region there are places called Oulu, Finland, Nisula and Toivola.

25-year-old Findian Shyloh Lussier studies at the college on the reservation.

Lyz Jaakola, 48, is a musician and teacher. Her father is Finnish, her mother Ojibwa.

United by forests

There are many reasons for the common understanding forged by Finns and Native Americans, but above all they were united by their intimate relationship with the forest. Just like the Ojibwa Finns hunted, fished and foraged. The locals also valued Finns’ handiwork skills: the ability to build a boat or carve skis. Finns learned how to cultivate maize and use medicinal herbs, among other things. In return they lent their expertise in building log cabins and weaving shoes out of birch bark.

Finnish ‘sisu’ is a well-known quality in the Great Lakes region. Everyone featured in the Findian country book have a sauna at home.

Arne Vainio’s shirt has a sad backstory: his Dad killed himself when Vainio was just five-years-old. A man in a bar had surprised him with the question “Got sisu?”. He replied that he had, and shot himself.

Finnish-American Rebecca and Findian Jim Gawboy met in 1990. Jim’s mother left Finland in the early 20th century, and his father was Ojibwa. Rebecca’s father’s family left Finland in 1909.

Fighting for the forest

Large corporations are threatening to expand natural resources extraction in both the reservations and the surrounding forests and waterways. Native Americans are continually fighting to protect their environment, and have close links with conservation organisations.

70 percent of remaining sources of energy in the US and Canada are located on indigenous lands.

Life on the reservation

Most Findians live on reservations. They tend to feel closer to their Native American roots than to their Finnish heritage. Links with Finland have withered, and the majority have never visited. On the reservations there is a lot of poverty, drug problems and unemployment. The reservation is no longer, however, a synonym for poverty. There’s now more pride in their roots, and there’s no longer shame attached to a Findian identity.

Rebecca Gawboy and her husband run a home for abused and orphaned Native American children in the Minnesotan backwoods. One of the residents is young Findian Isaac Sulo Gawboy.

Carl Gawboy spends his winters in traditional reindeer-hide moccasins.

Nowadays many young Findians are interested in both their Ojibwa and Finnish traditions.


Did you know that Russian fairytales start not with “once upon a time” but with “in another place”? Regina lived in Moscow until she was 9 and then her family emigrated to the United States as refugees. She moved to the Bronx, she started taking piano lessons again. She and her family didn’t go back to Moscow until 2012, when she was 32. Sometimes the shape of a place is defined by the fact that you left it. Some places only ever seen as other, some places only ever seen in motion, like a perspective smear. When I think of the German city I was born in, all of the buildings are impossibly tall—they stretch thin and high above my head, I crane my neck far far far back to see them. I fly back once every two years but I still think of every street, every bridge, every house as if I am a toddler. If I let myself evaluate them with 19-year old eyes they are disappointingly small. I imagine the apartment my family lived in when I was born and I give it the same furniture as our house in the Midwest has now. I don’t remember any different. Sometimes ‘hometown’ is just a word for the place you can’t really get back to. Sometimes I imagine myself, more an archaeological dig than a girl—if I excavated myself gently I might find the bones of every place I have ever left. There’s a small town in my mind.

Regina’s voice is so stretchy, can be enormous. She is so good at saying a word over and over until it turns back into a feeling. Oh baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby it’s all about the moooooon, a soft little coyote howl. I still say coyote as two syllables. I listen to the cars drive by outside my window in Chicago but sometimes, half asleep, I think I am back in my tiny Midwestern second hometown. I think I have to get up, chase the coyotes away. Even at college I still let my voice sink all the way into a drawl when I’m not paying attention. Still think about my horse and her head on my shoulder and my bare feet wriggling around in the mud at the bottom of the creek behind my house. Still think about the deer standing in the clearing behind my house, their eyes enormous. Still think about my Oma in her house in Dresden making East German dumplings and clucking when I cut them with a knife instead of only with the left side of my fork.

There are 233 steps up to my Oma’s house. I am visiting her in September, I will sleep in the same bed my mother slept in when she was a little girl. Sometimes I forget what she looks like but that’s a secret. My dead grandmother’s house had red currant bushes and a cherry tree and we used to stain our hands red picking them. Everywhere there were pictures of my father, his hair just like mine. We sold that house but even before then, it belonged to a different time. There’s a small town in my mind. Today we’re younger than we’re ever gonna be. Do you ever think about how looking at the Orion Nebula is also looking a thousand years back in time? A thousand years for a particle of light to reach our eyes from so far away. When I think about Germany the light takes years and years to reach me. All my old small towns belong to old selves. When I was six I stopped speaking German for two years and it broke my mother’s heart but I remember just trying to scrape the foreign-ness off my tongue. Just trying to be a different girl, to build a new home out of all the right language.

How can I leave without hurting everyone that made me? This question asked over and over again and thereby already answered– you can’t, you can’t, you can’t. I have never seen where my grandmother is buried. How can you know a place when you don’t know where it keeps your dead? You can’t.

- s