Readers’ photos

Remember that I will consider photos of nearly every subject, so long as they’re good. I count everything on the planet as “honorary wildlife.”

The wildlife in this post are specimens of Homo sapiens, again photographed by Joe Routon. His notes are indented:

When I carry my camera, I’m always looking for something that’s beautiful. There’s so much ugliness and turmoil in the world today—I need beauty to maintain my sanity. A favorite subject of mine is the dance, one of the most beautiful and inspiring art forms in the world.

Through ballet, the human body is transformed magically into a thing of great beauty.

In my travels, I look for opportunities to photograph dancers, usually folk dancers in foreign countries. This is a traditional folk dancer I photographed in Thailand.
Here are two Malaysian dancers I photographed.
Here is a folk dancer from the Ballet Folklórico whom I photographed in Mexico City.
This photo shows folk dancers I photographed in India. I was not able to ascertain the meaning or this dance, which was unlike anything I’d ever seen.
In today’s hectic world, we need to be mindful and aware of the beauty around us. It’s there—we just have to take the time to see it.


  1. merilee
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Really beautiful shots, Joe! Where did you film the classical ballerinas? And what were the Indian dancers trying to lick?

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted August 18, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      At first glance I thought they were after some paper money, and naturally assumed it was just how Trump entertains his guests when it’s payday for the staff at Mar-a-lago.

    • Joe Routon
      Posted August 18, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Merilee, I filmed the ballerinas in Washington, DC. I was not able to determine the purpose of the Indian dancers. However, it was fascinating!

      • merilee
        Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Really beautiful photos, all.😻

  2. darrelle
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Beautiful pics! I couldn’t agree more about the beauty of dance. It is astonishing to see what accomplished dancers can achieve. Almost superhero like.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Intriguing set!

  4. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Great pictures!

  5. rickflick
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Terrific. When I travel, I’m on the lookout for bugs and birds. Maybe I should pay more attention to our own species.

  6. Posted August 18, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Great pictures, Joe! Is the ubiquity of dance across all cultures a reflection and celebration of the animal world and our position as sometimes predator or sometimes prey? Or is it simply a surplus exuberance emerging from the fitness required to survive in such climes, before we had dance halls and auditoria to recapitulate our ancestral past?

    • Joe Routon
      Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Art, the evolution of the dance probably began with natives imitating the movements of animals, while dressing themselves in feathers, fur, bones, etc.

      Ritual dances for hunting, war, and rain were important parts of the lives of tribes. Dances were also performed for entertaining, life events, and celebrations. Dances at receptions are still an important part of our wedding receptions.

      Some animals have been described as dancers: snakes, birds, elephants, and bears, to name a few.

      Another question has to do with beauty. Male birds tend to be more beautiful and colorful than females. Does the beauty of the design attract them or do the bright colors, or both?

      These would be worthy topics for Jerry to handle!

  7. fishnet123
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink


  8. Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Very good! Thank you for sharing.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I curse my ballet teacher to hell. She harmed my body by screaming at me as a small 6 year old child and forcing me to dance on injuries…body isn’t so beautiful now.

    • merilee
      Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      I got yelled at by Robert Joffrey for being on the wrong foot.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted August 18, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        My ballet teacher was so crazy that she once lost her shit on us and screamed at us to keep jumping over and over and over “jeté!!!!” until her daughter, who was her assistant, stepped in and said, “mom, they are tired” and her daughter never did this. She just couldn’t bear her mother losing her shit and making us suffer. Many times she screamed at me. What little self esteem I had was ripped away from her. A horrid person who picked on weak children like me who had issues already. I remember that witch every time my legs ache with their ropey scared muscle tissue pulling on the tendons.

        • Paul Matthews
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          I’ve often read that, unfortunately, the beauty of ballet is often achieved at considerable cost to the dancers.

          Sorry to hear that you had to endure that at such a young age. I’d like to think that that kind of thing would not be tolerated today, but maybe I’m being naive.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted August 18, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            I think it wouldn’t at all be tolerated as people are much more sensitive to child abuse, etc. My teacher would not allow parents to observe at all where now I think they do regularly. All the dance moms I know never witness anything like that and if they did I’m sure that person wouldn’t be teaching dance for long. The funny thing was my parents wouldn’t allow me to do gymnastics because they thought the coaches were nasty. They had no idea what the ballet teacher was like as I didn’t tell them anything, thinking I was probably just a bad kid and that’s how ballet teachers were.

            • Paul Matthews
              Posted August 18, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

              Only a few years ago we enrolled our son in a fairly intensive tennis program run by two guys. One was young (late twenties) and lovely with the kids but the other older one (40s) was a bit of a head case. Unfortunately our son, as an older kid, got the older coach. He used to write long verbose emails to the parents. In one of his longest and most verbose he tried to convince me that I should not attend the sessions but leave my son with him and come back later. This coach was from Eastern Europe and my impression is that they’re traditionally very hard on kids in sports program there. I ignored the email and kept attending the sessions. I think you still have to be very vigilant, particularly with private programs that are not, say, associated with your child’s school.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted August 18, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

                Oh yes, I agree re: vigilance. People are jerks. I have so many horrible memories of frankly being abused by adults. I remember an elementary school teacher who made my friend and I stay after school and then proceeded to scream right in our faces “do you like being laughed at?!” I had no idea what he was talking about and it slowly dawned on me that he thought we were mocking him because we had the giggles (we were in grade 6 so about 11 or 12 years old). Immediately, my very gentle friend burst into tears. I shut down which is a very good defence you learn if you’ve been abused before because any movement or word can provoke violence. I really hope I run into that guy so I can do to him what he did to me.

                So all that is to say that there are some really pathetic adults out there who are intimidated by little girls. I can only imagine what horrid spouses they must make if their egos are that fragile. I think if I ever witnessed something like that I’d go completely triggered and just beat the crap out of the adult.

      • Posted August 18, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Holy Cow. To me that would be a huge honor and I’d have it memorialized somehow. I got off on the wrong foot with Robert Joffrey! Were you at the Academy of Dance?

        • merilee
          Posted August 18, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          No, sadly, I was not that talented. Joffrey and Co. ran some summer programs at UC Berkeley while I was doing my teaching credential. Our regular teachers were fine, but Rob’t J decided to give us plebes a thrill one day and teach a class. I somehow misheard and started on the wrong foot and he yelled at me and called me immature. A real jerk. I don’t think I’ve ever been in as good shape as I was that summer, doing 5 ballet classes a week plus all my regular boring teacher ed classes.

          • Posted August 18, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

            Geniuses are often jerks. But still, what an experience, and a great cocktail party story. Those were the days, huh.

            • merilee
              Posted August 18, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

              That they were😻 I still have my toe shoes which I used to totter around in for fun…make my kids laugh. Today I’d immediately go ass over teakettle….

          • Posted August 18, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

            I really love the film The Company based on stories by Joffrey dancers. It really made me realize how grueling a job it is to be a dancer.

            • merilee
              Posted August 18, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

              I don’t think I saw that. Grueling it is, especially to make it look so easy!

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted August 18, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

              Even as a kid, wearing point often meant bleeding toes and those shoes are not comfortable because they fit skin tight and cut into you. I laugh at the idea of “ballet flats” for regular shoes. If they only wore them like actual ballet dancers. When you see someone dance en pointe, they are in pain at every move. They just learn to ignore it.

              • Posted August 18, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

                My podiatrist treats many dancers of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. He has told me many horror stories of broken feet and distorted tendons. Ballet dancing has to be a labor of love. The typical dancer is paid modestly and has a short dancing career. But they are lovely to watch. And to photograph.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted August 18, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

                My feet are totally screwed but I don’t think ballet caused it. I am not sure what caused it other than I have flat feet though most people don’t have the horrible pain with it. Perhaps nerve issues. Getting another nerve test tomorrow.

                I can’t imagine doing ballet professionally and getting away with an injury free body. It is most likely quite hard on the soft tissue even though they are careful to build a lot of strength into the demanding exercises (no choice really). It did give me a rock solid core of a rather weird rest of my joints. I always explain to physiotherapists, I’m not as flexible in the hamstrings as you think, touching my toes comes from hyper flexible hips from having done ballet while growing.

              • merilee
                Posted August 18, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

                I never had them on very long.

              • Posted August 18, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

                Do you have bad bunions, Diana? My wife was a dancer and has terrible bunions. She has trouble finding shoes to fit her deformed feet. She blames it all on dancing, but who knows?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted August 18, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

                Nope. My dad is the one with the bunions. My feet actually look quite lovely but they hurt and don’t quite work right. I wear orthotics to help with the flatness and pronation. I have Achilles tendonosis as well as plantar fasciitis so issues from having flat feet and long term tendon damage. Saw an orthopaedic surgeon and he doesn’t think it’s a surgical issue so most like;y pain from nerves and inflammation. He prescribed a great compounding lotion that really helped and I’ve been taking magnesium (for migraines – helped the feet noticeably but not so much with the migraines). Because of the results with the compounding lotion (contains Amitriptyline, Baclofen, Ketorolac, Lidocaine, Pregabalin) being so good, I really suspect nerve issues.

  10. Posted August 18, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    What an exquisite ensemble of photographs, Joe! Many thanks.

    • jezgrove
      Posted August 18, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t put it better – ditto!

      • Joe Routon
        Posted August 18, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Thank you!

  11. Posted August 18, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Soothing. Inspiring.

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