Tsunami at the Opera …

It never falls to amaze me where (and when) my images turn up in a publication or find another airing.

A couple of months ago I received an email from the most unlikely source … Opera de Lyon in France … who requested the use of an image of mine made way back in January 2005 during the tsunami disaster aftermath in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. They requested a licence to use the pic in their material promoting and supporting this years opera season “I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky” … and they nicely offered (without persuasion) to pay rather royally for the privilege.

The photo was made amongst the rubble of the unspeakable disaster that was Banda Aceh after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. It certainly wasn’t the best, the most dramatic or most memorable image that I made covering that massive disaster in Thailand, Myanmar or Indonesia … but it was this specific photo that Opera De Lyon requested to adorn their seasons brochure 2019/20, web site, promotional material and The Theatre de la Croix Rousse opera program. Who am I to argue …

i wasn’t on my own to be selected to have an image grace this years Opera de Lyon season material. They also selected work from highly regarded photojournalists … Bangladesh born Washington DC based photographer Andrew Biraj … and Paris based PJ Véronique de Viguerie.

Opera de Lyon’s rationale for the use of the images was quoted as … “The vitality of opera today – and its relevance – lies essentially in its ability to decipher and to see the world, the world of yesterday and the world of today. Great works and great shows open windows on our time and our news. We wish to present photos that illustrate and counterpoint the works of the program; images that expand and enrich the perception we can have of these operas, and come to open our reflection to the wider world”. So there …

First … but hopefully not the last … time that my images made it to the ‘Opera’. 🙂

Image © Brian Cassey 2005 for Opera de Lyon 2019 … top from the Opera de Lyon web site … below from the Opera de Lyon seasons program for “I was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky”. Sadly both suffered from clumsy cropping.


Opera de Lyon - 'I was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky' - image by Brian Cassey made in the aftermath of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Opera de Lyon - 'I was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky' - image by Brian Cassey made in the aftermath of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia


More Trip Pics …

Still trying to find the time to edit all the images from the just completed trip to the UK, France, China and Japan. (See previous post below).

Came across these two when doing a further cursory edit yesterday.

The top image was made at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa Tokyo Japan.  A Buddhist devotee is praying amidst the incense smoke – worshippers believe that immersing oneself in the smoke purifies, heals and brings good luck. The temple complex dates back to 645AD.

The second image was made at the village of Beizhai about an hours drive from Beijing China. An itinerant worker rests from the carting of all his possessions.

Images © Brian Cassey 2014



Travel … UK, France, China, Japan …

Just returned from a five week trip to the UK, France, China and Japan. Ostensibly it was for recuperation and a respite from taking pics (with the bonus of a UK Christmas).

However, as a freelance, the reality is that far too many pic opportunities regularly rear their heads whilst travelling … and I always found myself lugging at least one camera (Nikon Df, Fuji XE-1, Fuji X100), sometimes more (in addition to the obvious iPhone for the odd Instagram). There is a persistent deep seated optimism that images made on a trip may make the odd dollar/quid somewhere down the track!

Occasionally hefting the kit paid dividends … (although how I failed to leave at least one camera or lens in any of bar, bistro, boulangerie, museum, gallery, palace, temple, hotel, hutong, noodle or teppanyaki restaurant is beyond me … )

Below I’ve posted just a few of my favourite images from the past weeks overseas.

Unfortunately, I left Japan on the day the big January Grand Sumo Tournament commenced at the National Sumo Hall in Ryogoku Tokyo, so I decided to get up very early the previous day and attempt to catch Sumo in last minute training at their ‘Beya’ or Sumo ‘stables’. The stables were very difficult to find … and when found even more difficult to gain access. (I now understand the Japanese ‘sign’ for ‘NO’!)

However, persistence paid off … and I made the top image below through a small glass window of Sumo going through their final training session.

What must be the most bizarre rail journey on the planet was the subject of the second image.
The weirdly named ‘Shanghai Pedestrian Transit Tunnel’ runs from the beautiful Bund under the Huangpu River to the new Pudong skyscraper district of Shanghai China. It isn’t a ‘pedestrian’ tunnel at all … passengers are transported under the river in little carriages and assaulted with a trippy light and sound show during the four minute journey. Money … and not just a few dollars … well spent! (in contrast the ferry across the river costs less than 35 cents!).

The image gives some sense of the insanity of the journey.

In the third image … there is no place better to read a book on a sunny but bloody cold winters day than on the pavement of the Avenue Victoria on the west bank of the Seine in Paris !

Images © Brian Cassey


Shanghai Pedestrian Tunnel