Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'photography'

Everybody Loves the Sunshine

March 15th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Having been raised to think that all of the Soviet Bloc resembled the drab realm depicted in this infamous Wendy’s ad, I’m always amused to come across depictions of our Cold War foes basking in the sun. The photo above, of a crowded beach in Odessa, is part of a terrific Ian Berry series from […]

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The Hidden Beauty of the Panelaks

February 1st, 2013 · No Comments

Working-class apartment blocks—particularly those built by authoritarian governments—don’t exactly have stellar aesthetic reputations. When you think of the high-rises erected for the proletariat, adjectives such as “brutish,” “drab”, and “grim” are what immediately pop to mind. Yet it is important to remember that even when budgetary constraints and government ideology factored into the construction equation, […]

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The Accidental Challenge

July 9th, 2012 · No Comments

The French photographer Marc Garanger, best known for his 1960 series on Algerian women, began his career while serving in the army. He was assigned to Algiers in 1960, right as France was beginning to accept that the jewel of its North African empire was fated to achieve independence. The inevitably of this outcome caused […]

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End of Act One

May 4th, 2012 · 3 Comments

As you read these words today, I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my book manuscript—an 84,000-word tale of a young couple that pulled off an amazing heist many moons ago, then went roaming about the world. Tough to believe I’ve reached this point in the process; I started working on this project nearly three […]

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The First of Many Final Laps

April 26th, 2012 · No Comments

After a day spent haggling with the callous mandarins of America’s health-care system, I’m back to working on the final chapter of the book. I actually came up with a killer last line while walking Microkhan Jr. to school this morning; everything else, alas, is a mess, which is why I’m just leaving you with […]

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America’s Penchant for Reinvention

April 24th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Our vast nation’s architectural history boasts few curiosities more delightful than the Nuwaubian pyramids of Eatonton, Georgia, captured here in drive-by video. Some approximation of a backstory is available in this Macon Telegraph story; suffice to say that one must always be wary of religious leaders who were once aspiring musicians. (See also: Koresh, David; […]

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Biblical Wisdom

April 19th, 2012 · 1 Comment

I highly recommend this set of Papua New Guinea images, by the Australian photographer Ben Bohane. The one posted above (larger version here) is a personal favorite for the way it juxtaposes the firearm with the quote from Psalms. I read that quote as so sinister in this context, but alternate translations give quite the […]

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The Overreach

March 14th, 2012 · 4 Comments

This spot-on passage from Mark Bowden’s Guests of the Ayatollah is something that I’ll be keeping at the forefront of my thoughts today, as I tackle an especially tricky section of my book: Revolution gives ordinary people the false belief that they can remake not just themselves, their country, and the whole wide world but […]

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Hard Life in the Urals

March 13th, 2012 · 2 Comments

When I first traveled in the post-Soviet world many moons ago, one thing that struck me was how all the restaurant menus listed foods by specific amounts. In Michal Kováč-era Bratislava, one did not order a small or large platter of dumplings; you either got the 200-gram size or the 500-gram size. And I have […]

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The Samurais of Sugar

October 7th, 2011 · 3 Comments

One of the main keys to writing a non-fiction book is resisting the urge to go off on non-essential research tangents. Nothing breaks your rhythm like spending a needless 25 minutes delving into the world of, say, Soviet helicopter design when you really should be focusing on character development. It is to my great discredit, […]

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I Want You to Want Me

November 18th, 2010 · 7 Comments

There’s a scene in My Best Fiend in which Werner Herzog reveals what made him believe that Klaus Kinski possessed rare talent. It was a brief moment in a film whose title now escapes me, about a German soldier who is executed for deserting the army to be with his girlfriend. (A Time to Love […]

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The Eyes of Ms. T.J. Eckleburg Diaz

July 15th, 2009 · No Comments

We recently stumbled across the photo above while sifting through the National Archives “Picturing the Century” website, in search of images of child coal miners. Something about the two girls’ sharply differing expressions stuck with us—the one on the left strikes us as the contemplative member of the duo, the one on the right the […]

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Phantoms of Industry

April 1st, 2009 · 5 Comments

Some of my favorite 19th-century paintings are those depicting mythological creatures (primarily fauns and satyrs) dancing amidst Roman ruins, presumably after downing several skins of plummy wine. So it follows that I’m also a big fan of artists like Harald Finster, whose focus is on the ghostly remnants of industry. His must-be-seen latest work has […]

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