Click on Your Interests or Scroll through Them All
Dinosaur Monument
The Incredible Galápagos Islands
Charles Darwin Research Station
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
Symbolic Creativity
The Touch of Culture
The Globalization of Good Ideas
Visiting Charles Darwin
We're Great Apes Too
Roots and Wings
Fundamentalist Thought
Brazil 2010
Let's Go to the Fair!
Oaxacan Wood Carvings
Autism


(Unless otherwise noted, all images by James Lull)

Dinosaur Monument How ironic that the Mormons staked out their homeland in the very place where many dinosaur species lived. Like all Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious tribes, the Mormon belief system is founded on the story told in Genesis (the Earth is about 6,000 years old), which of course has been completely debunked by scientific knowledge—including the fact that dinosaurs lived on land that is now North America more than 100 million years ago.

The view from Dinosaur Monument, a 260,000 square mile protected land on the Utah-Colorado border. Below is the Green River canyon, near the point where it meets the Yampa River.
A powerful way to teach the true history of our planet is by facilitating sensory experience. At the Dinosaur National Monument, visitors are allowed to touch dinosaur fossils embedded in the rock. Every child in America should have this experience and be told how this powerful empirical evidence explains a chapter in our common, authentic natural history.




The Incredible Galápagos Islands. From September 15 through October 20, 1835 Charles Darwin explored the Galápagos Islands located 525 nautical miles west of mainland Ecuador. What he found there still awaits adventurous travelers. I had the great joy of taking a naturalist-centered cruise through the Islands in 2011. Ecuador has smartly turned the Islands into a national park with strict enforcement of environmental protection. A sample of the bird and animal wildlife appears below. An extended gallery of photos can be found by checking my Facebook page.

The Galápagos Islands were formed by volcanic activity.
The famous Galápagos tortoises. The name of the islands comes from the Spanish word galápago, a type of horse saddle. Spanish explorers thought the enormous shells of the tortoises looked like the saddles. The English word “gallop” has the same Latin root.
The comical blue-footed boobie is one of the Islands’ famous attractions.
Marine iguanas on the lookout. They dive to feed on algae growing on the sea floor.
Male frigate bird signaling his inconvenient but eye-catching sexual qualifications.
Seals and sea lions play with no worries about the presence of visitors. Galápagos wildlife occupies a unique ecological habitat and doesn’t fear humans.




Charles Darwin Research Station. Aboard the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin first landed on San Cristóbal Island when exploring the Galápagos archipelago. Keeping with the great naturalist’s work, the non-profit Charles Darwin Foundation supports research and efforts to ensure the conservation of the environment and biodiversity of the Galápagos.

Arriving at the Charles Darwin Research Station
For centuries the Giant Galápagos tortoises were slaughtered, eaten, and sold by pirates, mariners, and military personnel who landed there. The research center has made preservation of these amazing creatures a top priority.
Specialists at the research center tag baby Galápagos tortoises so they can be properly tracked.
A vital reproduction program is designed to ensure the tortoises will survive on the various islands.
The research station features an Information Center where tribute is paid to Darwin.
Darwin’s journey through the archipelago and around the world—“the voyage that originated a new vision” of life on earth.




The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. Located near Bogotá, Colombia, this is certainly one of the most bizarre churches in the world. Buried deep underground in a defunct salt mine, The Salt Cathedral functions as a Roman Catholic Church and major tourist attraction. Church officials have turned all the tunnels inside the mine into altars. Each one pretends to explain some stage in the life of Jesus Christ. Religious leaders have long understood the symbolic power of architecture to impress the flock; the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá takes that to new depths!

Getting ready to enter the cathedral
Main entrance
Tour guides explain the history of the museum.
Pews in the main chamber of the underground church.
One of the creepy side shafts. Each shaft represents a stage in the life of Jesus Christ.
And of course you can buy religious paraphernalia at the underground shop on your way out.




Symbolic Creativity. Nurturing our need to create and express ourselves as routine cultural practice in everyday life.

Vacationers in Maui, Hawaii, USA.
Appropriating an institutional slogan to sell tacos locally. Tijuana, Mexico.




The Touch of Culture. The sensual qualities of culture affect us deeply and never go away. Returning to the spot where I went fishing as a young boy in the little farm town in Southern Minnesota where I grew up.

The Straight River, Owatonna, Minnesota, USA
Putting my hands on the same stones I touched many years ago provokes a powerful cultural rush.




The Globalization of Good Ideas. Globalization is rightly criticized for problems it creates and intensifies. But there are many positive sides to media and cultural globalization too.

Individual human rights, social justice movements, protecting children, protecting the environment, and transparency are among many positive globalized discourses.

Bono and Project Red in the fight against AIDS. (Sharpbyte.net)
Globalization promoting women’s rights. Monterrey, Mexico.
Raising global consciousness about smoking. Campus of Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.
Does anybody think Shakira’s world tour is a bad idea? C’mon, hips don’t lie!
Even cultural practices like audio street-crossing devices that help blind people navigate urban terrain are globalized concepts. Buenos Aires.
Handicap access to the Aztec Ruins at Monte Albón, near Oaxaca City, Mexico.




Visiting Charles Darwin. Down House, the home of the great naturalist, outside London near Orpington. Visitors can sit in the room where Darwin authored The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, among the greatest scientific volumes ever written.

Face-to-face with Charles Darwin at the entry to Down House
Walking the path behind Down House where Charles Darwin mulled over his revolutionary ideas




We're Great Apes Too. Museums and zoos present undeniable evidence of evolution.

Who’s Who? James joins his brothers and sisters in the trees at the London Zoo. Common ancestry among all the great apes, including modern humans, was one of Charles Darwin’s insights inspired in part by closely examining animal morphology.
Hanging out with Charles Darwin at the Natural History Museum, London. The museum introduces visitors to the principles of evolutionary theory with many interactive exhibits. How deeply religious people can visit museums like this and then promptly ignore the proven scientific data and continue to believe in their religious fantasies seems to be a great mystery. The answer to the riddle, of course, lies in the effectiveness and power of religion's social functionality which is itself an evolutionary adaptation!
Charles Darwin visited the London Zoo frequently. Evolutionary theory was mightily influenced by the gorillas he saw at the zoo. Visitors today are asked to notice the similarities between gorillas and humans, the same resemblance that impressed Darwin so much.
Darwin’s perceptions of similarities among apes coincided with the massive evidence he was gathering from all over the world.




Roots and Wings. We are connected to our home territories, but we search great distances for sources of cultural inspiration too.

Beautiful British Columbia , Canada.
Indigenized black saints share symbolic spaces with satellite signals in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.
Immigration. The “Arab immigrant” statue, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
The Mexico we left behind. Deterritorialized fans of Jorge Hernández and Los Tigres del Norte in San Jose, California.




Fundamentalist Thought—especially religious fundamentalism—is the most profound barrier to the development of true human potential and peace. This is a central argument I make in Culture-on-Demand: Communication in a Crisis World.

The mix of religion, nationalism, and militarism on display at the Museum of National History, Monterrey, Mexico.
Blind trust in religious mythology and superstition. Greenwich, England.
Oh, really? Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, USA






Brazil 2010. A visual retrospective on a great trip to a place that is dear to my heart.

The Brazilian Beyonce.
Getting into the Brazilian mood, Rio de Janeiro.
Praia do Amor, Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte.
Bra-beyo with her favorite drink, agua de coco.
Clash of civilizations.
Shrimp and fried yucca (aipim) for lunch at Praia do Amor.
Baía dos Golfinhos (Dolphin’s Bay). Note the stratification of the rock edifice. Brazil was a crucial stop on Charles Darwin’s round-the-world voyage. He was impressed by nature in the tropics and began to question the biblical version of the age of the Earth by analyzing rock formations like these.
Walking among the volcanic boulders at Dolphin’s Bay.
Human creativity in action. Brazilian boys play football (aka soccer) in the surf.
The path to our pousada in Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte.
View out the door of the pousada.
Our guest every morning at breakfast. At the green pousada, the monkeys are not fed people food, only what they would eat naturally.
View from our room at Hotel Serhs, Natal, the day before returning home.
Curried shrimp served in pineapple, Ponta Negra.
Friends and family in Rio de Janeiro.
Partying in Lapa, the coolest new neighborhood in Rio (where some of the insulting film, “Expendables,” was shot) with my friend Renato Torreira.






Let’s Go to the Fair! World cultures began to truly develop when nomadic groups settled down and started to live off the land.

Agriculture is culture
Young family farmers face intense and unfair competition from agribusiness corporations
Holstein judging between 4H Club members
Taking care of the bacon
Farm equipment, history, and patriotism
Preparing for a life of hard work; young children compete in tractor pull contest
Annual women’s nail-pounding contest
Diverse 4H Club members and volunteers take orders from customers on “Pork Feed Night”




Oaxacan Wood Carvings. Artists in Arrazola, a small village outside Oaxaca (wah-há-ka), capital city of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, create the fantastic alebrijes for the global market.

Men carve the figures from green wood of Copal trees.
Women do the expressive, detailed painting in groups.
Total concentration meets artistic imagination.
Bought this powerful beast from a family in Arrazola. Son finds the wood, dad carves it, mom paints it.
Some of the small figures are among the most beautiful.
The art combines local realities with the supernatural in perfect harmony.




Autism: Increasing awareness and understanding of this condition which affects one of every 50 children in the United States is absolutely necessary.

Autism Walk, Pleasanton, California
Roseanne Anderson and children John and Ashley
© James Lull