La mémoire des Hommes brûlés

Train station in the rain. Brussels, circa 1980. © Michel Botman Photography.

Gare Centrale sous la pluie. Brussels, circa 1980. © Michel Botman Photography.

— C’est une histoire de grands hommes. Une histoire triste qui se murmure. Une histoire comme d’autres qui font l’Histoire. Comme celles qui soufflent sur les braises et sur nos âmes. Comme celles qui font craquer les digues à Scheveningen. À Scheveningen, petit. Continue reading

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Memories of a Shabbat Goy (part 1)

Pride of Israel, 2013 © Michel Botman Photography

Pride of Israel, 2013 © Michel Botman Photography

Commentaries on the all-so-important theological article published in The Times of Israel on April 17, 2015: Is kosher switch really kosher for Shabbat?

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It’s my country …

"It's my country, and ..." On the road to Esmeralda. Ecuador, October 2014. © Michel Botman Photography www.north49exposure.com

“It’s my country …” Schoolkids taking a ride home at the back of a construction truck. On the road to Esmeralda. Ecuador, October 2014. © Michel Botman Photography

I travelled through Ecuador with my friend Gary a few weeks ago. On the bus from Otavalo to Esmeralda, a young man was sitting alone on the bench right in front of us. In his early twenties, short hair in a Mohawk, he was drinking beer after beer, burping loudly and tossing can after can through the window, along the Andean roads that meandered towards the coast. Continue reading

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God’ma & Dogma

“The Shadow of a Doubt.” Self Portrait of an Agnostic. © Michel Botman Photography 1980, north49exposure.com

After resisting for years the song of the sirens, I reluctantly took the plunge on facebook yesterday. Isolation from distant friends and family “de la vielle Europe” got the better of me. I longed for the bond, although virtual and cyberspaced. As I duly filled out my on-line profile, I stumbled on the “What is your religion?” question. I usually give two responses to that rather inquisitive and unattainable query – both equally true and agnostically defensible: Continue reading

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This is not a Pipe … or a Prophet …

This is not a Pipe, or a prophet

This is not a pipe … or a prophet …

What is the punishment for drawing pipes?

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It’s life and life only

Self Portrait, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 2012. © Copyright Michel Botman Photography

Self Portrait, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 2012. © Copyright Michel Botman Photography

Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with a small cancer. Nothing major at all. Nothing grand. A pesky malignant nodule, the size of a shriveled plum, sitting insidiously over my Thyroid was surgically removed. It took a bit of a toll on me, but I am much better now, thank you. I am, as medical professionals peremptorily declared; “in remission” – suspended temporarily between life and death, as we all are, most often in blissful denial.

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Histoire pour Noah

Noah025

Michel and Noah, Toronto Island, 2001 (© Copyright Michel Botman Photography)

Sometimes, one goes back in time, searching for memories. This 15-year old story is for Noah:

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A few words on my favorite Canon L lenses

Canon EF 100mm 2.8L Macro IS USM, f/8.0, 1/125s. Copyright Michel Botman Photography ©

Canon EF 100mm 2.8L Macro IS USM, f/8.0, 1/125s, ISO 2500. Copyright Michel Botman Photography ©

Since I often get questions about the equipment I use, I have decided to embark on a quick practical comparison of my favorite Canon L lenses; the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, and EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM.

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Mandela

Young South African Supporter. Cape Town, 2011.  Copyright Michel Botman Photography ©

Young South African Supporter. Cape Town, 2011. Copyright Michel Botman Photography ©

A few weeks ago, on the way to school, Jesse, one of the many bright kids in our carpool, and our son Noah were discussing Machiavellianism.  Jesse made a particularly interesting and surprising comment on human nature and political systems.

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iPhonography

The invisibility of the ubiquitous

Ai Weiwei exhibition, AGO, Toronto 2013. Copyright Michel Botman Photography ©

Ai Weiwei exhibition, AGO, Toronto 2013. Copyright Michel Botman Photography ©

I have started exploring the iPhone as an on-the-go option for personal documentary work. I recently took a couple of interesting images with an iPhone 5, roving the Bowie and Ai WeiWei exhibitions, at the AGO, and Rick Mercer Report show at the CBC.  The results were rather surprising …

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“Arribada” – Rescuing Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

By Noah Botman

Juvenile Olive Ridley turtle, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. © Michel Botman Photography, 2013.

Juvenile Olive Ridley turtle, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. © Michel Botman Photography, 2013.

In July 2013, I was fortunate to travel to Costa Rica with my family to experience the incredible biodiversity in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

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The Frozen Moment

By Noah Botman.

Handwritten signs left on the railway track to Auschwitz. (Middle sign and Photograph by Noah Botman, April 2013)

Handwritten signs left on the railway track to Auschwitz. “For the 1900 of Rhodes Island; and the 151 who survived Hitler’s Evil.” (Middle sign and Photograph by Noah Botman, April 2013)

Although I had never been there and then, at that moment, that was exactly where I was. I stood there, locked in time, the tears still suspended in the air, inches beneath the battle hardened soldier’s red eyes. We had won and lost the war at the same time, for as we placed the flag in the hill, we realized it was not a hill of earth, but of corpses. Looking back on it, I will never forget the carnage. It was as if the most despicable evil was dredged from the darkest reaches of hell, right from Satan’s claws; and that evil was man. For looking at the hill, made of thousands of corpses, their arms interlocking in a festering pile of sin, I realized that there were thousands more hills, each with a flag, and each with crying soldiers. Many corpses walked, more skeleton than flesh. The skeletons huddled together, eyes deep and dry; their tears had been cried away, there was nothing that could harm them now, nothing they hadn’t been through. There were others there as well; demons dressed as men, and men dressed as demons. It would take a while before all the real men were out of their demon costumes, and then they would finally cry and beg silently for forgiveness, all while the real demons were finally sent back to the hellish pit they crawled out of. In that frozen moment of time, I looked to the sky, and saw a million brilliant eyes look down on me, wishing they could help, but stars and gods cannot sway the hearts of men or demons, no-matter their supposed power. I looked back down, to the walking skeletons, each also living in this frozen instant, with the look of sheep, not knowing anything except they must stay together, for that is where safety is. I rounded the skeletons up, and led them away. I led them east and south, to a land where the sun always shone, to a land where the seeds of life had just begun to grow among the ashes of death, to a land where skeletons were lions, lions men, and men strong enough to kill demons.

Please read the following Post for additional information about the Jews of Rhodes and the story of Noah’s relative, Laura Codron, who was one of the very few survivors of the Island’s Jewish community.

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On Religion and Bovine Scatology

(Copyright Michel Botman Photography, Jerusalem 2009).

“The flying Rabbi” (© Michel Botman Photography, Jerusalem 2009).

A few weeks ago, I was sent a joke by a Jewish friend of mine with whom I had had a rather challenging Shabbat dinner conversation on Judaic laws.

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March of the Living – Israel

Noah Botman and Toronto students, Massada, Israel April 2013 (The March of the Living)

Noah Botman and Toronto students, Massada, Israel April 2013 (The March of the Living)

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March of the Living – Poland

March of the Living (Poland April 2013)

March of the Living (Poland April 2013)

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