Sunday, April 15, 2012

Of cats and photography

It never seizes to amaze me how cat pictures (good, bad, and anything in between) are so incredibly popular on photo-sharing sites and social networks.

Cat in Frituur Fabiola
It looks we might have to thank our brains for this.  It dawned on me earlier this week while reading 'The decisive moment' by Jonah Lehrer.  Lehrer talks about an experiment done by Timothy Wilson (So Wilson Came: Wilson et al., 'Introspecting about Reasons').  In this experiment the psychologist asked a group of female students to make a choice of their favorite art poster.  They were given a choice of a Monet landscape, a van Gogh painting and 3 - yep - cat posters.  The group was split up; one group had simply to rate the posters; while the other half had to answer a number of questions as to why they liked or disliked the posters.  Every one was allowed to take their favorite poster home.

The two groups made completely different choices.  The 'non-thinkers' took the Monet or the van Gogh while the 'thinkers' were almost equally split between the cat posters and the art posters.  In follow-up interviews the women who took the art picture home were happier with their choice than the cat posters. 75% percent of the cat poster owners regretted their selection.  None of the art poster owners regretted theirs.

The women listening to their emotional side made better decisions than the women reasoning about their decisions.

So the next time I see a hugely popular cat picture on a photo-sharing site, I know that (maybe) the viewers really thought about it :-)


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring colors

Photo taken in the Haller Bos - April 2011

My favorite time of the year!  The days get longer, the weather gets warmer and the trees are finally getting some foliage - at a remarkable speed.  The beautiful fresh colors only stay a short while before the darker greens take over.  Throw in some bluebells and the color scheme is breathtaking.


PS interested in seeing more ?  Visit my Flickr photostream or my website.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012


I know I am ready for Spring when I start looking for something 'springy' to work on and to post.

We don't know what happened but one day the parents didn't show up at the birdhouse to care for their eggs anymore. After a couple of days, my Mom carefully removed the nest from the birdhouse so other occupants could move in.


PS interested in seeing more ?  Visit my Flickr photostream or my website.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Did you get framed today ?

How many of you did fall for an April fool's day joke today ?

                                          Photo taken last week at The Egg, Brussels

When I was a kid we got sent to get non existing stuff from the store, or sent for foolish errands. Nowadays it seems most jokes are funny articles in the press. An interesting story today when the Google algorithm sent a spoof story to the number 1 spot in the news - see here.

There seems to be a bit of confusion as to where the April Fool's day originated. Some people think it started when the switch was made to the Gregorian Calendar, as New Year was celebrated between 25th March and 1st April before the new calendar. But this story is probably not true. Le Poison d'Avril was first written about in France in 1508, in Flanders there is a poem dating from 1560 mentioning 'verzenderkesdag'.

In the middle ages, there was a festival called 'La FĂȘte des Fous', which was very popular in France in the 5th through the 16th century. What the basis was for this festival, we don't know.


PS interested in seeing more ?  Visit my Flickr photostream or my website.