Considering The Year Ahead, Life, Death And Photography

It would be impossible to think of the future without considering that there is the potential for me to die from heart disease. As you’re aware I have decided not to have surgery for my heart condition. I can see how dieing could be a scary experience, but I have been at peace since making this decision.

Knowing that I have a limited time left has most certainly helped me to focus on living well and considering whether my daily actions improve the quality of my life. This doesn’t mean running around like a mad march hare and doing, doing, doing. Sometimes I just want to sit still and do nothing, others I want to read or birdwatch, and occasionally I want to be around people.

I’m not used to being around people, and I can struggle even when I’m around those who I love and feel safe with. Getting the balance right for me isn’t easy, I’ve had a wonderful Christmas, but I’m ready to go home now.

When I return home my plan is to begin meditating daily. Meditation is most definitely linked to my creativity and photography. I have a few ideas for photographic project’s and I know meditation will help with developing these. I have vague ideas about making photos with others who identify as being non-binary or gender fluid, and making use of masks or props to explore and express gender identity.

I’ve particularly enjoyed my embroidered photography this year, for my project “Some Emotional States Of My Anorexia, And The Strengths Of My Recovery.” I completed the project just before Christmas, but I don’t feel ready to make these public at the moment. The wonderful thing is that I already have a gallery/arts project who would like to exhibit the series. I can see the potential for building upon this work to explore mental health further. Meditation will definitely aid my progress in these areas.

“Snippets” is a series I’m currently working on in which I write down snippets of overheard conversation and take a photo in the area of which the conversation was heard. I got the idea from a fellow OCA photography student Chloe Halstead. The idea is to have this as a long term project using my Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and to present the series as a photo book.

Hopefully I will also have some news about my application for a bursary to study an Open Foundation in Creative Writing, with the Open College of the Arts, I can feel some more photo essays coming along.

Colour is also going to feature in the clothes I wear, it’s time to bring more colour and variety into my attire, and today I’m top to bottom in yellow. I’ve also seen some green corduroys that I like. I’ll give them some thought.

I guess I’ll need to tone the colours down when birdwatching, something which I plan to do more of this year. I’m so grateful that I discovered RSPB Rainham Marshes. One thing that would aid my birdwatching would be finding a teleconverter that I can attach to the front of my Mzuiko 75-300mm lens. I can’t currently afford one. However, I have four photos appearing in The Loudest Whispers exhibition, run by The Arts Project London, during February, March and April. If they sell then I’ll be able to afford a teleconverter. Fingers crossed. 

I don’t have a bucket list, but I would like to be able to go on a birdwatching holiday during the summer.

Wishing you all a wonderful year ahead.

A Change Of Direction

A recent health event has meant I’ve had to reconsider the direction of my life on all fronts.

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I have a heart condition, which has suddenly deteriorated, and I’ve made the decision not to have surgery. It was diagnosed several years ago, and I have known that I would need to make a decision regarding surgery for a long time. Generally the condition gets worse gradually, and mine was following the usual path until last month. After a routine scan I was held back and the registrar asked to speak to me. I wasn’t expecting the news at this stage, so it has been a shock. Creating the space to speak with my nearest and dearest has been my priority.

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My spiritual beliefs have been the bedrock of my decision to allow my life to follow its natural course. I feel a deep sense of peace with my decision.

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What I want right now is to have the best possible quality of life for as long as possible. When I consider my future a few things are important to me. My friends and family, photography and study. I had planned to move on to studying for a degree in photography, but I no longer think that this is appropriate for my health and wellbeing, so I have decided to alter my direction.

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Naturally I will still make photography and continue with personal projects, but I’ve decided to study for an Open Foundation in Creative Writing with the Open College of the Arts. I like to write, and I combine photography with my writing, especially when producing photo-essays. Converting to creative writing will minimise the stress, and it also means that during those times when I’m less able to be physically active, I will still be able to be meaningfully occupied.

Quality of life is the most important thing whilst I allow the cycle of life to play out. Daily I ask myself “What can I do today that will bring meaning to my life, and give me the opportunity to create value and culture?”

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Research For Square Mile – EYV

I haven’t signed up for the Undergraduate BA Hons Photography degree with The Open College of the Arts as yet (January), but I’m aware of the first assignment. With this knowledge I’m preparing some preliminary research.

My photography will take place in an area of London which is known as the Square Mile (also known as The City). My initial idea was to explore the disparity between visible wealth and poverty. However, with my left wing views its easy to discriminate against what my idea of the wealthy are. I’m fascinated by people and I want that fascination to be explored more fully during this assignment.

Browsing some books for sale in a church I noticed one called “The City – The Traditions And Powerful Personalities Of The World’s Greatest Financial Centre” which I will use as the starting point of my research.

IMG_20190923_091145Fig. 1. The Bank Of England (1982) “The Chief Gatekeeper and the Assistant Gatekeeper dressed in full livery and carrying the staff of office, in the entrance hall of the Bank of England.”

My research will include “Humans Of New York Stories” by Brandon Stanton. This work becomes relevant as I aim to make portraits of the people whom I encounter and involve a brief interview so that I can present image with text about the person.

 

This post is at the beginning of my research and I will update this as I progress.

 

References

Staunton, B; 2013; Humans Of New York Stories; Online; AT; https://www.humansofnewyork.com/about

Images

Figure 1 Lowe, J and McLachlan, S; 1982; The Bank Of England [Photo]; In Lowe, J and McLachlan, S; 1982; The City – The Traditions And Powerful Personalities Of The World’s Greatest Financial Centre; London; Quartet Books LTD; pp 94

The Plan, And Personal Projects

The Plan is simple. I’m taking a break between Foundations in Photography and the undergraduate BA in Photography. I will resume my studies in January. Study is so good for my mental health that I have considered enrolling immediately on the degree, but I also don’t feel that’s right just now.

I haven’t read photography books for some time, so I have reintroduced this progress. I don’t particularly enjoy reading these texts, but my practice does benefit from it.

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My personal projects are important for my development. I have started to photo the London underground stations, both inside and out. The inside is a plain photo of the sign and surround, and I’m trying to capture points of interest outside of the tube station (not always possible as some of the surrounds are dull. My intent is to do this for the whole 270 tube stations, and I want to capture the mundane commute, but also include points of peace or joy along the route. I’m considering producing a poster size map of the London underground system and making a collage using 3 inch by 2 inch photos to present this series. The following two photos are the inside and outside of Charing Cross.

Charing Cross 1

Charing Cross 2

I’m aware that photographing a square mile will be an aspect of Express Your Vision, which is the first module of the degree, and I intend to use London’s Square Mile for this.

Today I am photographing my trip to Brighton from the perspective of me kneeling down. I simply want to try a new perspective with my photography and to document a simple journey. Love, peace and joy to you all on this beautiful Sunday.

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Initial Ideas For Assignment Five – Concept – Exhibition

  • Eyes
  • Faces
  • Expression of emotion in eyes
  • Over-sewing
  • Cross stitch pattern of facial expression
  • Gerhard Richter documentary
  • Basic stitch ideas (JW)
  • Advanced over-sewing ideas (TL)
  • Keep authenticity in my photography
  • Break away from authenticity
  • Explore more fully the work of Laura Letinsky
  • Explore emotional States in the style of letinsky
  • Review photography books for further ideas
  • Create test photos
  • Seek feedback upon ideas and test photos
  • Make test photos with the public
  • Review Maurizio Anzeri
  • Review Carolle Benitah
  • Review Julie Cockburn
  • Select and print 6 photos from Ill Form and Void Full (consent gained on 28/12/18 from Laura Letinsky)
  • Leave the photos on my lounge floor in order that I breath them into my soul
  • Meditate – this will come together in its own way if I meditate
  • Review Shaun Cardinal, Diane Meyer and Annegret Soltau
  • Review Kate Aston
  • Review https://hollyocacontextnarrative.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/assignment-5-constructed-image/

http://maurizioanzeri.com

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1982113/

https://myblueprint.com/article/top-10-must-know-hand-embroidery-stitches

https://jamierawlingsartist.com/

http://www.juliecockburn.com

Any feedback upon my initial ideas would be most welcome.

Toxic Shame

Toxic Shame is a mixed media video created in collaboration by several Open College of the Arts Students. We study in different genres of the creative arts. It has been a very enjoyable process which has required thinking out of the box to respond to the work of other members submissions, based upon the theme for the month.

Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine blogger award

I have been peer nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Penchantress, She is one of my many Indian followers (yay). I follow her because I enjoy her writing style and enthusiasm, and she writes about society and sociology, but in a very gentle and personal way. She is an Indian woman who is stepping into her power in a country where this is not societally accepted to do so, and where woman still face extreme violence and oppression.

The Sunshine Blogger award is given by bloggers to bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity in the blogging community.

I would not particularly say that my blog inspires positivity or creativity, although I am creative and so is my blog. If it inspires some people then that’s an added bonus.

RULES (directions or guidance would be preferable)

  1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you for the blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

(please note that if I have nominated you, you are under no obligation to complete the task – we all have time constraints, but personally I enjoy the task and I am aware that it does bring new followers, and lead me to follow others that I would not have come across.)

What is your Native language?(I’m really curious about this one!)

Rubbish – I talk rubbish fluently, and I speak it in English.

In what profession are you? If you are a student then, what is your field of study?

I’m a photography student.

Who is your favourite author and why?

J R R Tolkein. I have read The Lord of the Rings repeatedly since being a child. It has become a source of comfort, a place of safety and familiarity, and an escape from a world which I can find quite challenging.

What inspired you to start blogging?

I enrolled on Foundations in Photography with The Open College of the Arts. They offer distance leaning degrees and foundation courses within the field of the creative arts. They accept applications from adults from around the world. One of the requirements is to submit our coursework and assignments via a blog, and that’s the reason that I started to blog, however I also wanted to include poetry which I write from time to time, and photo essays that I write. I also include a gallery of photos that I take that are for my own enjoyment, which includes birds, nature, macro and events.

Do you publicize your Blog or Just use it as your personal space?

I publicise my blog. Although it is my student blog, I also use it to promote my photography, and I enjoy the connection with other photographers and poets.

Do you really read the blogs of the Bloggers you follow?

I follow 400 blogs, and for some reason over 200 bloggers follow me (which I find quite surprising). I read as many posts from the people who I follow as I can. Sometimes this is more than others, but I do enjoy reading other peoples blogs. I cannot learn something new by my own thoughts, learning is a mutual process of sharing and receiving.

What other hobbies do you indulge in?

I love to read. I read every day. It has become an important part of my daily routine, and that helps my mental health. Although I read a lot of novels, I also like factual books. I am currently reading “Enemies and Neighbours; Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917 – 2017” by Ian Black. If I don’t understand something then I like to find out, discover and explore.

Do you stand up for what’s right all the time even if it invites a lot of debate Or do you just go with the flow and try to stay safe?

My mental health is not great, and because of this I have to exercise caution when it comes to issues that would pre-occupy me or disturb me. I cannot afford to feel too angry nor self-righteous. These are both feelings that can be quite disturbing for me.

Who is the biggest inspiration in your life?

Rupert Spira. He teaches spirituality in the form of non-duality (there is no separate self, we are all simply experiences of infinite consciousness/awareness). The link I have attached is one of his YouTube clips that I watched yesterday.

Tell us one incident when you laughed your heart out while people thought you had gone mad.

My cousin and I have a connection that is very strange. There was one time that we were amongst a whole group of family members, and we both started to laugh at the same time. We had the exact same thoughts (about something not relating to the circumstances around us) and shared a joke via our minds. I love that connection.

Say, you’ve been through a really bad time, how crazy could you get to pick yourself up? (If you haven’t been through any, then you can talk about the craziest thing you’ve ever done in your life).

My craziness tends to be self-destructive and happens during the times when my mental health is poor. The picking myself up is the hard part, and that’s where the photography comes in. Photography has turned my life around. I wasnt capable of leaving the home 18 months ago due to anxiety and paranoia. I got to the point where I couldn’t cope any more. Having a camera got me to gradually be able to leave my home, has developed my mindfulness practice, and i now interact with people to a small degree.

 

Now its my time to nominate people

Studying with OCA (Sarah’s Blog)

Exposure Empire (Lightroom hints and Tips)

Crow on the Wire (Poetry and Pictures)

Thom Lang (Photography)

Jack Shalom (Thought to ponder and humour)

Twenty Four (Photography, Haiku, random facts and thoughts)

Terra Spectra (Thoughts and feelings from a leftwing, feminist)

J C Street (Street Photography)

The Lazy Goth (Feminist, photographer, photography model)

Your Personal Motivator (Uses the Human Design approach to living in a manner that makes the most out of you as an individual)

If I have nominated to you please be assured that you are under no obligation to complete the tasks as set out in the guidance. I have nominated you because I enjoy your blog. However if you do choose to accept the nomination and complete the task then I am giving you the same questions that I was set. Best Wishes

  1. What is your Native language?(I’m really curious about this one!)
  2. In what profession are you? If you are a student then, what is your field of study?
  3. Who is your favourite author and why?
  4. What inspired you to start blogging?
  5. Do you publicize your Blog or Just use it as your personal space?
  6. Do you really read the blogs of the Bloggers you follow?
  7. What other hobbies do you indulge in?
  8. Do you stand up for what’s right all the time even if it invites a lot of debate Or do you just go with the flow and try to stay safe?
  9. Who is the biggest inspiration in your life?
  10. Tell us one incident when you laughed your heart out while people thought you had gone mad.
  11. Say, you’ve been through a really bad time, how crazy could you get to pick yourself up? (If you haven’t been through any, then you can talk about the craziest thing you’ve ever done in your life).