Kalle Koponen Photography: slideshow image 1
Kalle Koponen Photography: slideshow image 2
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Sweat, tears and plenty of blood too…

German heavy weight boxer Edmund Gerber bleeds as he is losing the fight agains british boxer Michael Sprott in Nurenberg, Germany. (Kalle Koponen)

Blood on his face Edmund Gerber is losing a fight

Boxing is a really hard way to make a living. Some recent images here

The little girl was crying for her father

A man runs from an office building of local media outlets after it took a second direct hit and a couple of days in Gaza City. (Kalle Koponen)

A man runs from an office building of local media outlets after it took a direct hit in Gaza City.

I could hear the girl crying. Her father was driving our car and had earphones connected to his mobile phone. The father was crying too, wiping his eyes while avoiding wrecks and potholes Gaza streets and trying to comfort his daughter weeping on the phone. The girl wanted her father, not on the phone, but beside her bed in the hospital. She was sobbing, and I could hear her, and it was a true moment of insanity. Earlier, an Israeli missile had torn three fingers from the girls hand. Afterwards Israeli authorities had taken the girl to an Israeli hospital. Mother went with the girl while father was left to cry – and drive our car. I thought about my own daughter.  After the father finally ended the call and wiped again his eyes, we sat in silence in the car and drove on to meet more sorrow. Images from Gaza.

Sad things are happening in Greece

A homeless man from from Thessaloniki begs and sleeps on the street of Athens. The continuing recession and repeated austerity measures has visibly increased the amount of beggars on the streets. The Greek parliament is due to hold a key vote on new austerity measures on Wednesday. Both public and private sector unions have scheduled a general strike to coincide with the vote. The measures, including controversial tax hikes, wage reductions and other changes in labor regulations have to be passed if Greece hopes to receive fresh aid for the EU and the IMF. (Kalle Koponen)

A homeless man from from Thessaloniki begs and sleeps on the street of Athens.

One thing became clear on my latest trip to Athens: poverty is increasing. More shops had been closed since my last trip. More beggars were on the streets. More aggressive graffiti adorned the walls everywhere. More people are trying to make a living with a smaller salary than before and ever more people are totally losing their jobs. At the gates of a municipal soup kitchen, hungry people were leaning on the fence before is was time to open. Formerly middle class people have joined the line of traditional penniless in the soup kitchen. Meanwhile there is a section of the society that seems to survive whatever hardships. The cafes and bars of up market Kolonaki – a stone throw from Syntagma square were real stones are regularly thrown – are full of fashionable people sipping expensive drinks and enjoying quality dinners. Greece seems to be polarizing terribly and violently. Extremist right wingers of the Golden Dawn party harass and beat up immigrants with impunity, sometimes with the passive co-operation of the police. A measure of how bad things have become is that a Bangladeshi shop keeper we met actually was contemplating returning to his homeland. Think about that. See more images from Athens here.

Beauty and passion at the opera

Nelly Hakkarainen strikes an elegant pose in Bizet´s opera Carmen

Finnish dancer Nelly Hakkarainen performs in Carmen.

Volker Schlöndorf directed Geoge Bizet´s opera Carmen for the Seebühne in Wannsee, Berlin. The location is fantastic, outside with the setting sun forming the backdrop of the stage. Full of dance, passion, shadows and light, Schlöndorfs Carmen was visual delight. See here for more images.