Updated Interview With Photographer Cindy Knoke

The Pandemic has changed everyone’s life’s in so many ways that I wanted to check in with Cindy and see how she is coping with the Pandemic and how it has had an impact on her travels.  

I’ve updated the post to include a few more of my favorite photos. 

A little about Cindy’s background.

Cindy is a psychotherapist by training and had a thirty-year career as a therapist and mental health director. She retired early to travel and that is when she started paying more attention to taking photos. On Cindy’s first trip to Africa, I took photos as usual with those throw-away cameras you could buy in drugstores.

My husband was the family photographer and had a decent, but not pricey, Canon camera. He looked at my photos, said they were better than his, gave me his camera, and showed me how it worked…… That is the extent of my photography training. 

How has the Pandemic, from a time and photography standpoint changed your life? 

The pandemic has dramatically changed my life as it has for everyone. Going from traveling 4+ months every year, to being mostly housebound, and taking care of my two-year-old twin grandsons while their parents work, is quite a change. 

How many publications have you been published in and which ones?

My photos do end up all over the place, but I don’t keep track of where. People/magazines and even businesses are good about asking if they can use my photos and I am always pleased when they do. I don’t enter contests or submit to professional journals. Actually, that’s not entirely true, I did enter The Nature Conservancy photo contest about a decade ago when I first started taking photos and made it into the finals which shocked the bejeezus out of me. I was using a really cheap camera!! 😉 Most of my photos are taken with a sony HX 400 which costs under $300.

Have you traveled stateside lately?

We did some limited stateside traveling after we were vaccinated and before the Delta variant messed everything up. We traveled up the California coast and into Oregon. We stayed in the desert. We are renting a beach house at the end of the month with the kids and grand twins, but no travel by plane or out of the US. I miss traveling viscerally. 

How many future trips do you have planned at this time? What are some of the locations you are traveling to? 

Antarctica is still on the books for a return trip in January. It was canceled this year. It looks very unlikely that we will go due to delta, and the fact that many of the countries we would be traveling through are being overwhelmed by covid. I do wonder if/when life will ever return to the way it was before.

Has COVID changed your life? 

I am certainly much closer with my grandsons than I would have been before the pandemic. My daughter and son-in-law relocated their family from The Bay Area and bought a house close to The Holler, and this has been a very positive change for all of us. But there is a lot we all have given up. Just going places locally without considering crowds, distance and safety is a thing of the past.
I am glad I live in The Holler because we are surrounded by nature and open space and that is a balm for me.
 
The pandemic has dramatically changed my life as it has for everyone. Going from traveling 4+ months every year, to being mostly housebound, and taking care of my two-year-old twin grandsons while their parents work, is quite a change. 

Previous Interview

Cindy Knoke has traveled the world, to the most unusual off-the-beaten-path places you can imagine. Her photography is a window to the world. I ask Cindy a few questions to learn about her photography background and how she plans for the monumental trips.

At what age did you pick up your first camera? Did the world look different thru the lens?

My first camera was a silly Swinger Polaroid camera which I got at around age 6. It had a jingle associated with it which I loved and remember verbatim today, “Meet the Swinger. Polaroid Swinger. Only 19 dollars and 95! Swing it up. It says Yes! Take the shot. Rip it off.” This was the essence of my photographic knowledge!! Laughing……. Here’s the jingle starring Ali McGraw:

I had family members growing up who were talented photographers but I never even thought to be one of them and never had any cameras. In adulthood, my husband, Jim, was our photographer and had good cameras. I used to buy those throw-away cheap plastic cameras at drugstores for trips since I liked taking different photos than he did.

When we retired, we started dedicated chunks of travel time. Jim looked at my photos from the cheap camera, compared them to his, said, that I had something “special,” and gave me his camera a Canon, and showed me the basics on how to work it. That was my introduction to photography and it has been a serious joy in my life ever since. Jim is the person who encouraged and guided me to it for which I remain very grateful. He still encourages me to this day. I am not a trained photographer by any means, definitely self-taught and a hobbyist, not a professional.

What type of camera and software do you use now? 

I use two cameras a Sony HX400 and a Sony RX10 V. I use the 400 the most due to its variable zoom up 1200mm equivalent. I also have a Sony underwater camera which I hope will have a chance to use during our upcoming trip to the Cook Islands.

What software package do you use for editing?

I use Sony Play Memories Home and Windows Photos.

You travel extensively, how do you plan for each trip?
 
Jim and I discuss, propose, and agree on where we want to go. We use the internet to do all the research and planning.I propose an itinerary and Jim tweaks it. We devise the modes of transport together although Jim takes the principal role here. I book the accommodations and Jim books the transport. Half of the fun we have in traveling is in the planning. When we are not traveling, we are planning!
 

How do you get access to the amazing Cathedrals and the intricacies of others visited? 

We use the internet extensively. We research online before we go, and while we are traveling. Whilst traveling research for each specific locale is key to finding unusual places.  Blogs are excellent travel resources leading us to interesting out-of-the-way places.  Travel is so much more fun when you plan a trip according to your particular interests, and internet resources allow everyone to do this!

Thank you, bloggers!! Your posts improve my travel, and my life too, of course! Bloggers Rock!

You can visit Cindy’s blog at cindyknoke.com

You won’t forget the great places she’s been.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from her extensive collection. 

Would you like to see someone interviewed for For the Love of Art? Drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do.

I love to bring you intimate stories about artists.

Melinda

Interview With Photographer/ Guest Blogger Cindy Knoke

Cindy Knoke has traveled the world, to the most unusual off the beaten path places you can imagine. Her photography is a window to the world. I ask Cindy a few questions to learn her photography background and how she plans for her extraordinary trips.

At what age did you pick up your first camera? Did the world look different thru the lens?

My first camera was a silly Swinger Polaroid camera which I got at around age 6. It had a jingle associated with it which I loved and remember verbatim today, “Meet the Swinger. Polaroid Swinger. Only 19 dollars and 95! Swing it up. It says Yes! Take the shot. Rip it off.” This was the essence of my photographic knowledge!! Laughing……. Here’s the jingle starring Ali McGraw:

I had family members growing up who were talented photographers but I never even thought to be one of them and never had any cameras. In adulthood, my husband, Jim, was our photographer and had good cameras. I used to buy those throw away cheap plastic cameras at drugstores for trips since I liked taking different photos than he did.

When we retired, we started dedicated chunks of travel time. Jim looked at my photos from the cheap camera, compared them to his, said, that I had something “special,” and gave me his camera a Canon, and showed me the basics on how to work it. That was my introduction to photography and it has been a serious joy in my life ever since. Jim is the person who encouraged and guided me to it for which I remain very grateful. He still encourages me to this day. I am not a trained photographer by any means, definitely self-taught and a hobbyist, not a professional.

What type of camera and software do you use now? 

I use two cameras a Sony HX400 and a Sony RX10 V. I use the 400 the most due to its variable zoom up to 1200mm equivalent. I also have a Sony underwater camera which I hope will have a chance to use during our upcoming trip to the Cook Islands.

What software package do you use for editing?

I use Sony Play Memories Home and Windows Photos.

You travel extensively, how do you plan for each trip?
 
Jim and I discuss, propose, and agree on where we want to go. We use the internet to do all the research and planning.I propose an itinerary and Jim tweaks it.  We devise the modes of transport together although Jim takes the principle role here. I book the accommodations and Jim books the transport. Half of the fun we have in traveling is in the planning. When we are not traveling, we are planning!
 

How do you get access to the amazing Cathedral’s and the intricacies of others visited? 

We use the internet extensively. We research online before we go, and while we are traveling. Whilst traveling research for each specific locale is key to finding unusual places.  Blogs are excellent travel resources leading us to interesting out of the way places.  Travel is so much more fun when you plan a trip according to your particular interests, and internet resources allow everyone to do this!

Thank you, bloggers!! Your posts improve my travel, and my life too, of course! Bloggers Rock!

Cheers,

Cindy

You can’t miss Cindy’s blog cindyknoke.wordpress.com.  You won’t forget the great places she’s been.

Have a great day,

Melinda

Photos of homes in unexpected places

IDEAS.TED.COM

Necessity as the mother of invention: Photos of homes in unexpected places

Oct 16, 2013 /

Iwan Baan is not as interested in what architects build as he is in the beautiful ways that people appropriate the spaces once the planners are gone. In his TED Talk, Baan — whose breathtaking image of lower Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy hangs on at least one of our walls — shows incredible images from communities thriving in ways that seem quite opposite to the uniformity of suburbs. First, Baan takes us to Chandigarh, India, where people inhabit buildings created by modernist architects Le Corbusier in very different ways than expected. Then, Baan takes us to Caracas, Venezuela, where an abandoned 45-story building has become a miniature city. From there, Baan takes us to a Nigerian slum built on water, to a community in Cairo thriving amid recycling heaps, and to an underground village in China.

Baan’s talk will have you marveling at human ingenuity. In it, the photographer shows 154 images. Since they appear rapid-fire, Baan has selected some to share here, where you can take your time and appreciate the details.

See the homes of 70% of Caracas’ residents

In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, nearly seventy percent of the population lives in slums that seem to drape over every corner of the city.

Welcome to the world’s largest vertical slum

In the centre of the city is the Torre David, a forty-five story unfinished office tower that was in the midst of construction until the developer died in 1993, and the crash of the Venezuelan economy the following year. About eight years ago, people started moving in to the abandoned construction site, and today it is considered the world’s largest vertical slum.

The forty-five-story walk up 

With no lifts or escalators, the tower is essentially a forty-five-story walk up. You’ll find seniors or those less physically-abled on the lower floors, and the young and healthy near the top. Public spaces like this stairwell are painted with care in order to make the tower feel more like an apartment building.

The hole in the wall. Or, how to build airflow into a tower

With the average temperature in Caracas reaching twenty-eight degrees, the inhabitants needed to find ways to induce airflow, and this also serves as a circulation system to help inhabitants better navigate the building.

It’s humble but it’s home

In an exercise of ingenuity, inhabitants like this family typically mark their space with whatever materials they can find or purchase. Here, newspaper becomes wallpaper.

Decorated with care

Every home in the tower is designed with love and passion – at least up until as far as one can reach.

A town in a tower

The tower functions on an entire system of micro-economies, and on each floor, you’ll find a collection of shops and services. You’ll find the church, the grocery store as well as the gym on the thirtieth floor, where all of the weights are made from the unused elevator equipment.

A space for creativity 

Like a beehive, the tower provides a skeleton framework for each inhabitant to create something for himself or herself by whatever means they can afford.

A community built on a lagoon

In the centre of Lagos is Makoko – a community of approximately one hundred and fifty thousand who live and work on stilted structures, just meters above the Lagos Lagoon.

Human adaptability in Makoko 

Makoko is both an example of Nigeria’s seemingly irrepressible population growth, and an incredible illustration of our human ability to adapt to seemingly inhospitable conditions.

Life on the water 

From the barbershop to the movie theatre, every aspect of life in Makoko has been adapted to meet the demands of life on the water.

Floating, live music

Despite being a highly disadvantaged community, when it comes to good live music, the atmosphere in Makoko is quintessentially Nigerian. At any given time, you’ll find a band floating down the lagoon, for all of the community to enjoy.

A community fighting eviction 

In Makoko, forced evictions are a daily reality. In response to the government’s plan to clear out the area to make room for development, the Nigerian Architect, Kunle Adeyemi built a school for the children of Makoko. Today, the entire community uses the structure, and the building appears like a beacon against the landscape.

Meet the Zabaleen 

Under the cliffs of the Mokattam Rocks one will find the Zabaleen – a community of Coptic Christians who make their living by collecting and recycling waste from homes and business across Cairo.

Those who take trash home 

The collected waste is brought back home where it is sorted and crushed before being sent off to a third party. To those in the Zabaleen, the waste becomes nearly invisible, as living amongst piles of garbage is merely a new definition of normal.

A wild sense of decor

On the street level, the area seems to be in complete disarray, but step inside one of the homes, and you’ll be met with all manner of elaborate interior design choices.

Homes dug into the earth

In the provinces of Shanxi, Henan and Gansu you will find collections of yadongs – underground cave dwellings that are dug out from the soft and malleable Loess Plateau soil. Up until the early 2000’s an estimated forty-million people still lived in sunken courtyard houses which sit seven meters below-ground.

Home is wear the heart is

For the poor farmers, building a yadong costs next to nothing – all one needs is a shovel and a few friends to dig the soil.

All photos courtesy of Iwan Baan.

%d bloggers like this: