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Mastery of winter: onto ice are skaters, swan, crabapple tree, child & sculptures at International Ice & Snow Show

Harbin, China: the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

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People visit ice sculptures for the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008.

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, China, opened on Jan. 5, 2009. The festival lasts for one month, and features large ice and snow sculptures, ice lanterns, swimming in the icy Songhua River and more. The northern hemisphere is a hospitable place for ice festivals these days, so in that spirit, here is a collection of recent photographs of all things frozen, and some of the ways we live and play with ice.

Castleford, northern England: swan trying to land

A swan attempts to land on a frozen lake near Castleford northern England Monday Jan. 5, 2009. Freezing temperatures and snow have struck large areas of Britain.

visitors sliding down ice slides at 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

Visitors slide on tracks at an ice sculpture during a preview for the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008.  read more »

Sculptures by the Sea - 107 sculptures from 7 countries on display at Australia's largest annual outdoor free exhibition

a visitor to Sydney’s Tamarama Beach enjoys a refreshment near a sculpture titled Soldier Scale 1:1

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Every year, peculiar apparitions appear on the cliffs between popular Sydney beaches Bondi and Tamarama, yet not even the gulls take fright at the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition - Australia's largest annual outdoor free exhibition of sculpture. This year, more than 100 sculptures from seven countries, including Japan, the US, Iceland and New Caledonia, are on display on the cliff tops or around the rocky foreshore, expecting to attract 500,000 sightseers.

For David Handley, who founded the event 12 years ago, its popularity never ceases to surprise. "I would have needed therapy if you'd told me 12 years ago how big it was going to be," he says. "You wouldn't believe how much work goes on behind the scenes, but once Sydney responded the way it did, you just can't stop."

the free outdoor exhibition, now in its 12th year, stretches for two-kilometres (1.24 miles) along the coastline popular with walkers, joggers and tourists. Visitors view a work by artists Andy Townsend and Suzie Bleach  read more »

Comfort food - 14th Chocolate Show opens in Paris with 400 exhibitors & 140 chocolatiers from around the world

Former Miss France 2007 Rachel Legrain-Trapani presents a creation by Jean Doucet and Ghraoui Chocolatier at the 14th Salon du Chocolat (Paris Chocolate Show) in Paris October 28, 2008

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The 14th edition of the Chocolate Fair has opened in Paris featuring 400 exhibitors and 140 chocolatiers from around the world, featuring displays and mountains of chocolate, top pastry chefs and sculptures. Visitors will be able to sample treats, creamy truffles and steaming cups of hot chocolate.

"It may be doom and gloom for everybody else, but for us all is well," said Gilles Marchal of luxury French chocolate-maker La Maison du Chocolat, speaking as the annual Paris chocolate show opened Wednesday. "Chocolate is a comfort-food," he added. "There has been no drop in sales."

in these troubled times, chocolate-makers are walking on the wild side with weird flavours such as cauliflower

The French have had a long-standing love affair with chocolate since its introduction to the country by Anne of Austria in 1615. It was presented as a wedding gift upon her marriage to Louis XIII. Anne of Austria only married him on condition that she could bring her own chocolate supplies from Spain. By the mid-1600s, the chocolate drink had gained widespread popularity in France.  read more »

Water is the theme at inaugural Prix Pictet - first international photography prize to focus on sustainability

Sebastian Copeland: Stormy Weather. Series: Antarctica: The Global Warning Melchior Islands, Antarctica, 2006

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What is photography for? Can it change our minds? An exhibition just opened at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo, of the 18 photographers short listed for the first Prix Pictet, poses these questions loud and clear.

The Pictet prize, established this year by Pictet & Cie, one of Switzerland’s largest private banks, and co-sponsored by the Financial Times, is the only international photography prize that concerns itself directly with sustainable development and environmental issues. In that sense it isn’t quite a conventional art prize but an award – of 100,000 Swiss francs (SFr) – to be given annually to the artist who best uses the power of the camera to communicate a vital dispatch on one of the most serious issues facing us all.

Sanggen Dalai, Inner Mongolia, China. Women flee the main street as dust fills the air. This shot is from Benoit Aquin's series, which has won the overall prize of £50,000. The Chinese Dust Bowl documents scarce water resources, desertification and ecological refugees in China  read more »

Work of legendary portraitist Yousuf Karsh celebrated at Boston exhibit - Churchill, Hepburn, Picasso, and more

portrait photo of Audrey Hepburn taken by Yousuf Karsh

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The work of the legendary portraitist is celebrated at a centenary exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Among the portraits -

Audrey Hepburn, 1956
"The French novelist Colette picked her out of a ballet lineup to play Gigi on stage, and her career was launched. When I photographed her in Hollywood and commented on her quality of sophisticated vulnerability, she told me of her harrowing experiences during the Second World War. Years later, in the Kremlin, Chairman Brezhnev agreed to sit for me only if I made him as beautiful as Audrey Hepburn."

portrait photo of Winston Churchill taken by Yousuf Karsh

Winston Churchill, 1941  read more »

Taking best of international cuisine, Melbourne becomes world's latest destination for inventive, delicious food

At The Press Club, chef George Calombaris brings his classical training to traditional Greek dishes, like this fusion dish of char-grilled octopus, smoked butter kozani saffron makaronadas (a Greek pasta) and edible amaranth flowers

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Melbourne has become the world's latest destination for inventive, delicious cuisine. The term "foodie" is often heard in Melbourne, such a mecca for good eating, you could call it the Southern Hemisphere Paris. Certainly, securing a reservation at chef Shannon Bennett's Vue de monde can be as tough to get as a table for two at one of Joel Robuchon's establishments. Culinary creations by Bennett, 34, a native of Melbourne who looks more like a surfer than a super chef, include what he calls a "virtual gnocchi," a cep puree treated to an in-kitchen chemistry lesson which defines its shape, then served accompanied by sautéed king brown and shimeji mushrooms and zucchini flowers and finished with a tarragon emulsion. Another crowd pleaser is the bouillabaise which is presented at the table in a glass-toped, 1950s-style coffee percolator filled with aromatic shellfish stock. After this concoction is brought to a boil, it is poured into a bowl of tartares of crayfish and king fish cloaked in buffalo mozzarella.

dining at Vue de Monde  read more »

At New York Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2009 (photos), designers bend fashions to fit a slimmer economy

Ralph Lauren spring/summer 2009 collection at New York fashion week

Vera Wang

Pamella Roland

Tuleh

Ralph Lauren spring/summer 2009 collection

Michael Kors

Complete coverage at New York Times with slideshows

Photos courtesy of Louis Lanzano/Associated Press, Getty, Firstview, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, and Telegraph UK

Related Article: Ralph Lauren at New York Fashion Week (with video)

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