Monthly Roundup / January 2017

What a busy month! January sure did come and go like the wind and we only started 2017 a few weeks ago. It does feel completely surreal considering the time has flown. Over the first few weeks of 2017, I have been extremely busy with coursework to tell you the truth and I haven’t published as much, which is a good thing in certain aspects as I have been working very closely on my self-directed film and photography project, as the Self-Directed Curiosity Project I am working on is based around Nature. As you’ve seen just recently, I published a photography collection of Kelsey Park as part of my coursework, as I have been using the film and photography skills I have learned or built on and improved them over the course of time.

Without further ado, here is the full Monthly Roundup for January.

1.1.2017 – Kicking off 2017 with a bang, I welcomed you all to January on Mother Nature. As 2017 officially opened its doors and began with high spirits, I mentioned that 2017 will be a year of looking forward to the future and not back. As I finally decided to break the tradition with Spotify, I decided to do away with “The Mix of…” playlist and replace it with “Alex’s Mix” as I was getting bored of constantly replacing playlists every year, and I mentioned that “Alex’s Mix” would remain a permanent fixture on this website from this day onwards.

10.1.2017 – As it was exactly one year to the day since the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer, I had made sure to pay my full respects to the Starman by drawing David Bowie, also because the 8th January 2017 would have marked his 70th birthday. Blackstar, which was David Bowie’s 25th and last ever studio album, which was released on his 69th birthday, was classed as “…a parting gift,” to his fans.

18.1.2017 – As I wanted to kick 2017 off with a bang, I decided to revisit the photographic collection I took on the 15th December 2016 by publishing a more up-to-date collection titled: “CROYDON / REVISITED”, which would revisit Croydon with more of a positive approach, given that there was some lovely weather in my first few weeks back at Croydon College.

On the same day I published this photography article that revisited Croydon, I published another photography collection, titled: “NIGHTLIFE IN BECKENHAM”, which followed my close friend’s birthday party the week before. I mentioned that Nightlife in Beckenham was absolutely tranquil and so peaceful, and the quietness of Beckenham gave me goosebumps as it was pin-drop silent, even though it is usually busy during the daylight hours. I kept in mind there were some blind spots in and around Beckenham so I did make sure to keep myself aware of everything around me so that I could make sure that I was safe.

24.1.2017 Mental Health is not a laughing matter, especially considering that the negative stigma is attached to anyone who suffers from Mental Health, but when social media gets involved, it does everything to exploit mental health in such a negative way that you can’t help but feel disgusted at the level of negativity that makes your blood boil. I worked with the famous actor, Oli Regan, on this article as I wanted to raise awareness and join forces with him to end the negative stigma against Mental Health, and I also mentioned in this article that I had set up a page on Mother Nature called: “Mental Health Organisations“, given that I wanted to do my bit to help end the stigma against Mental Health, even though I don’t suffer from Mental Health myself. I published this article as a way of highlighting the negative stigma against Mental Health and that I wanted to help end the stigma, given that I previously worked with Oli Regan on the article: “Are Autism & Mental Health Overlooked? (Parental Guidance is Advised)”.

27.1.2017 – As part of my Self-Directed Project, I travelled to Kelsey Park to snap a collection of photographs given that my Self-Directed Project focuses around Nature. For this Self-Directed Project, I researched 5 different nature photographers; Ansel Adams, David Muench, John Shaw, Art Wolfe & Joel Sartore. As it was three years since I last visited Kelsey Park, I wanted to make sure to showcase how much my photography skills had improved over the course of time. This photography collection was created on the 24th January 2017 and published on this day (to reduce confusion).

29.1.2017 – As I joined forces with more than a million people who signed the petition to block Donald Trump’s State Visit to the United Kingdom, I published a small article with the link to the petition. I also published this article as I highlighted that I am entitled to a freedom of speech and also my own human rights, given that Equality & Diversity always matter in this world, and that all women are entitled to the same type of freedom as men and that they shouldn’t be controlled, shouldn’t be forced and shouldn’t be objectified just for being themselves. I also mentioned that if all of us men can have freedom, then all women can have the same freedom as all of us men.

Thank you for a fantastic start to 2017 everyone and I shall see you all in February.

Alex Smithson

Block Donald Trump’s State Visit to the United Kingdom

Calling all UK Citizens. If you want to prevent Donald Trump from setting foot in the United Kingdom for his State Visit to Her Majesty the Queen, please click on the link below to sign the petition.

This petition has over 750,000 (…and counting) signatures, including my signature, so if you want to help revoke Donald Trump’s State Visit to the UK, please click the link below.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171928/

I will not deny and shall not deny as I am entitled to a freedom of speech, I don’t have an ounce let alone an inkling of respect for the man considering his misogynistic, disrespectful and racist ways, but I will not and shall not hide how I feel about him. He shouldn’t enter the United Kingdom because he is already continuing to divide communities and quite possibly nations in the process following the ban he has introduced that prevents Muslims and other religious backgrounds from entering the United States as he sees Muslims and other cultural backgrounds and religions as ‘terrorists’ and his State Visit to the United Kingdom has the potential to bring shame on us as a country.

I wholeheartedly support anyone regardless of religion, sexuality, background, skin colour, place of origin, gender and anything else that can make this world equal and diverse, but I in no away support Donald Trump. There, I’ve said it. Also, all women are entitled to the same type of freedom as men and shouldn’t be controlled, shouldn’t be forced, and shouldn’t be objectified just for being themselves. If all of us men can have freedom, then all women can have the same freedom as all of us men.

Equality & Diversity always matter in this world. Inequality and a lack of diversity doesn’t deserve to be in this world.

Of course, I acknowledge anything said here could be taken out of context and I can only apologise if anything I have said here does cause offence. Offence is not my intention, honesty is the best policy but a freedom of speech and saying how you feel really does go a long way. Also, I do not intend for anything I’ve written here to be classed as defamatory because that is not the intention at all, I have only written this to express my real feelings about the man, as well as how everyone else sees him. Defamatory isn’t in my blood at all, though I am entitled to a freedom of speech as me and everyone else are entitled to our own human rights and also a freedom of expression.

Alex Smithson

Articles of Interest

http://www.metronews.ca/views/opinion/2016/11/10/i-think-trump-voters-know-full-well-what-they-have-done.html

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/29/trump-travel-ban-peoples-stories-from-us-and-around-the-world

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/16/donald-trump-narcissist-profile

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444370/donald-trump-refugee-executive-order-no-muslim-ban-separating-fact-hysteria

http://www.smh.com.au/world/global-backlash-grows-against-donald-trumps-immigration-order-20170129-gu12f9.html

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/29/sir-mo-farah-donald-trump-made-me-an-alien

Kelsey Park / Croydon School of Art / Curiosity / Self-Directed Project / 24.1.2017

As part of my Self-Directed Project, I travelled to Kelsey Park to snap a collection of photographs given that my Self-Directed Project focuses around Nature. For this Self-Directed Project, I researched 5 different nature photographers; Ansel Adams, David Muench, John Shaw, Art Wolfe & Joel Sartore.

As I last visited Kelsey Park 3 years ago, it is safe to say that my photography skills have dramatically and rapidly improved quite a lot over time.

This large collection of photographs that I took of Kelsey Park would comprise of some species of ducks and geese, including some squirrels as well.

As I have a strong passion for nature and photography, I was lucky enough to photograph at least two swans, one of which you can see above which I changed to black and white.

I was surprised to notice that Kelsey Park’s lake was mostly frozen from the blisteringly cold weather, though one of the Moor Hen’s decided to land and slid across the ice. I did change the ISO mostly to photograph this collection considering that nightfall wasn’t far behind, so I did make sure to make the most of the daylight to snap these photographs.

I got some photographs of the Canada Geese up, close and personal, but I did make sure to walk very slowly and crouch down slowly in order to produce these photographs to the best standard where possible.

In terms of these photographs, I feel this is my best photographic collection to date because I have changed the ISO and got a bit more close up with nature which is what I’ve been looking to do for a while. I must admit, I took these photos with an 18 – 55 mm Nikkor Lens which came bundled with the Nikon D3300 DSLR and I didn’t need to opt for a bigger camera lens. On the plus side, I was absolutely glad that I took these photographs on Tuesday as this photographic collection will help me with my self-directed project.

If you have been to Kelsey Park before, please let me know, I would love to hear what your thoughts are on Kelsey Park and if you have never been to Kelsey Park, don’t worry, this photographic collection will give you an in-depth look on Kelsey Park and the beauty of nature. Mind you, I am pleased with the final results I’ve achieved from this photographic collection and I will continue to improve my photography skills and get behind the DSLR more.

If you enjoyed this photographic collection of Kelsey Park, please let me know. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

© The Croydon College Logo & Croydon School of Art Logo are both copyright of Croydon College & Croydon School of Art. Permission has been granted for these logos to be used. No copyright infringement intended.

Is Mental Health Exploited in Social Media? (feat. Oli Regan)

Mental Health is not a laughing matter, especially considering that the negative stigma is attached to anyone who suffers from Mental Health, but when social media gets involved, it does everything to exploit mental health in such a negative way that you can’t help but feel disgusted at the level of negativity that makes your blood boil.

I don’t suffer from Mental Health, but I support anyone who suffers from Mental Health, but what seriously makes my blood boil and gets under my skin is when someone or some people feel the need to make a mockery of someone or some people who suffer from Mental Health.

I will not lie, I know some close friends of mine who suffer from Mental Health who have self-harmed and it’s heartbreaking for me to know that someone I know is crying for help and they’re not being given the help they need because some feel the need to poke fun at those who cope differently.

I recently worked with Oli Regan on the article: “Are Autism & Mental Health Overlooked? (Parental Guidance is Advised)“, and I talked about an organisation and a guy who felt the need to brainwash many by making those believe that Autism & Mental Health can be cured, when they actually cannot be cured. Oli Regan suffers from bipolar and I give my full respect to the man because he raises awareness to end the negative stigma against Mental Health and has worked with the following charities; Mind – The Mental Health Charity, Time to Change & ReThink. These charities provide information to those who suffer from Mental Health, so in the event you need to seek help regarding your own Mental Health, these charities and other various charities will provide you all the information you need.

Oli Regan described in a segment he filmed for ITV News a short while ago how hospital beds were cut, with some patients suffering from Mental Health being sent miles from home, which ultimately did them more harm than good. What I was extremely cross about was the fact that those who suffer from Mental Health are being left out in the cold and are being ignored and are not being provided the help, support and treatment that they need. I agreed with Oli then and I always agree with him even now and will continue to agree with him in the future that Mental Health is always overlooked, no matter which way things go in this world and at the end of the day, why should anyone suffering from Mental Health have to endure untold amounts of discrimination and pain at the hands of our government and social media? Social media is to blame quite frequently as there are so many people out there who are quick to judge others without realising how their judgmental ways affect others, especially those suffering from Mental Health, Bipolar, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), PND (Post-Natal Depression), Autism and many other conditions that connect to Mental Health.

Why should Mental Health sufferers have to endure discrimination because of what they suffer from? They shouldn’t and it’s social media and many other things that rear their ugly head every time someone seeks help, and I’m sorry, but I am sick and tired of the fact that not much is being done to help all those suffering from Mental Health. A lack of care for those suffering from Mental Health absolutely stinks and I would always give my time and respect to anyone, including Oli Regan, because at the end of the day, Mental Health is something that needs to be acknowledged in this world and anyone who suffers from Mental Health, Bipolar, Autism and any other kind of condition should be made the first priority and should always receive all the treatment that they need.

You can see just from me stating all this that I am clearly furious at the fact that nothing is being done. Well I’m saying this. Mental Health is something that shouldn’t ever dare be ignored. Mental Health should always be acknowledged and anyone suffering from Mental Health should always receive the treatment they need; they should receive the help they need and support lines, the NHS (National Health Service) and any other services that specialise in providing support and treatment to those with Mental Health should always be on hand 24/7, not just every day of the year, but every year, in fact, scratch that, they should always be on hand for life so that any Mental Health sufferer can never be left out in the cold and never be discriminated against, but also to never be ignored.

Just recently, I saw a film trailer for a new film that is due out in cinemas soon called SPLIT, and the words used in the trailer just shows a face, but that person’s face can have many labels surrounding mental health, and that film trailer was something I didn’t agree with because it exploits and suggests that anyone with Mental Health are not as safe as they make themselves out to be, and I personally don’t agree with the film being released as it just adds a lot more of negativity to the stigma against Mental Health that all of us, even myself, want to destroy. I don’t know who was behind this film, nor do I want to know who was behind this film, but personally, I think it’s disgraceful because it exploits Mental Health and it labels those suffering from Mental Health with a bad name and it’s not in any way appropriate in my opinion.

Just before me and my family moved to the house we currently live in back in 2004, my mum suffered a relapse as a result of suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, which she has had since she was diagnosed on the 10th August 2000, which she may have possibly had for more or less her entire life, and she suffered from severe clinical depression that required cognitive behavioural therapy in order for her to be able to cope, to see things from a different light and to eliminate those negative thoughts and the people that contributed to it.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a therapy that allows you to talk about how you feel and allows you to find ways to overcome problems by managing them, which can help you to change the way you think, including the way you behave. CBT is most frequently used to treat and help those who suffer from anxiety and depression, but is also very useful for those who may suffer from physical health problems and mental health problems.

Now I saw an extremely disturbing video on Facebook on Friday 20th January 2017 whilst my internet was down and whilst I was using Mobile Data and the extremely disturbing video in question started off with a film segment from Jurassic Park, followed by a video of a black guy who was born disabled, and so many Facebook users felt the need to laugh and poke fun at this guy because of what he looked like given that he was born with a condition that affected his whole body and himself as a person.

This video appeared on my News Feed after someone I know decided to share it and tag a friend of mine, and this video really got under my skin because this guy was disrespected and laughed at for being born different to everyone else. Obviously, I didn’t hold back for one second because it really, really left me feeling extremely cross and I did use some rude language which, now when I look back on it, did surprise and shock me quite a bit but it just goes to show that if someone is made fun of because of what they look like including the fact that they’re born different to everyone else, of course it is going to get under your skin. It certainly got under my skin and seriously left me fuming. That’s for sure.

I can’t show you the video in question because the Facebook page that uploaded it was forced to take it down due to the controversy it caused, also because of racial stereotyping but I can tell you that it did not sit well with me and a massive number of people who saw the video. Still, it’s a good job it was taken down because whoever the operator of the Facebook page was that uploaded that video among a few others made themselves look boneless and senseless and got too wrapped up in themselves to notice how much it would really upset everyone else.

Again, Mental Health, disabilities, even lifelong conditions should never be made fun of, let alone be ignored. If we can all get together and support all of those suffering from Mental Health, disabilities and lifelong conditions and help them out and provide them the treatment they need, then we can make this world a better place for everyone.

Take this from me. If someone tells you to man up, don’t man up at all, open yourself up and show how you really feel. If you want to cry, then cry, it will make you feel so much better afterwards but more importantly, the sooner you show true emotions, the better you feel and the sooner you show your true emotions, you will realise that you are better off without those who feel the need to say you should man up. Those that tell you to man up clearly get their heads out of their backsides and realise that you are different to everyone else and that we are all born different and not the same.

I cried because I showed true emotions and I didn’t man up for anyone, and I feel so much better now. I was overwhelmed by all of the support I got from everyone but it goes to show that if you don’t man up and instead open up and show your true emotions to everyone, they will realise and know that it’s okay to not be okay and they will come together and support you.

My conclusion is this. Social Media does exploit Mental Health very negatively and to all those that feel the need to poke fun at Mental Health, grow up and get a grip and realise that you are your own worst enemy if you decide to judge and mis-treat others for the sake of your own stupid, self-indulgent and selfish pleasure. This world doesn’t need that and neither does those suffering from Mental Health need it either. I support every single person, including Oli Regan, who suffer from Mental Health, so let’s fight as if our lives depended on it and end this stigma once and for all against Mental Health.

If you are a Mental Health sufferer, if you are someone who suffers from a disability and if you are someone who suffers from a lifelong condition, I have set up a page on this website titled: “Mental Health Organisations”. On this page, I have made sure to outsource website links, contact numbers and company names from other websites that specialise in helping, supporting and treating those who suffer from Mental Health. I am making sure to do my bit as I want to help those who are suffering from Mental Health, disabilities and lifelong conditions.

If you want to join the fight and end the stigma against Mental Health, please let me know. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

#DONTMANUP #OPENUP #UOKM8 #MENTALHEALTH #OLIREGAN

#FACEBOOK #EMOTIONS #MENTALHEALTHAWARENESS #MENTALHEALTHORGANISATIONS #ORGANISATIONS

#SOCIAL #MEDIA #SUPPORT #BIPOLAR #DISABILITIES #LIFELONGCONDITIONS #IAMWHOLE

NIGHTLIFE IN BECKENHAM

Following my close friend’s birthday party last Friday, which I loved every second of considering we were all singing and dancing and all sorts, I produced a collection of photographs that would surround Nightlife in Beckenham.

Nightlife in Beckenham is absolutely tranquil and so peaceful, and because of the quietness of Beckenham, it gives you goosebumps knowing that it goes pin-drop silent at night, when it’s usually busy during daylight hours.

Of course, I did keep in mind there are some blind spots in and around Beckenham so I had made sure to keep myself aware of everything around me so that I could make sure that I was safe, and I was pleased to have photographed Beckenham at night because I am interested in night photography, not just standard nature, close-up and landmark photography, but also night photography.

I was glad to have photographed Beckenham at night because it has given me the chance to explore the photographical nightlife of Beckenham, not just as a place, but as a location of interest. Usually, you would expect places like this to be booming at night, but it’s so quiet and is also the best place for photographing stores and also any areas of Beckenham that peak your interest.

If you enjoyed this photographic collection of the Beckenham nightlife, then please let me know. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

Recommended Camera App: Camera+

CROYDON / REVISITED

Kicking off 2017 with a bang, I decided to revisit the photographic collection I took on the 15th December 2016 by publishing this more up-to-date collection that will revisit Croydon with more of a positive approach and given the lovely weather in my first few weeks back at Croydon College, I couldn’t have picked a better time to take these photographs. Some of these photographs consist of the Pret a Manger & Caffé Nero, including other parts of Croydon I may have not visited in a while.

I also used the opportunity to snap a few photos of Reeves Corner, considering it is more or less quiet now considering it will be six years in August since the riots took place in Croydon, which saw the bigger half of the Reeves Furniture Store being burned down as a result.

I must admit, I was taken aback by just how quiet it was around Reeves Corner, because I last went down to Reeves Corner two years ago when I was studying Art & Design, and even then it did feel uncomfortable, much like it does now.

I want this photographic collection to help you explore what Croydon is like as a place, including how Croydon is in general. For instance, there are so many stores in Croydon that you cannot exactly miss, including banks, landmarks, restaurants etc. and many more.

As I was lucky to snap these photographs when the lovely weather arrived before the slight snow storm, I was pleased to have achieved much better results this time compared to the previous collection and I wanted to make sure that you saw Croydon from a much better perspective than before.

If you enjoyed this photographic collection of Croydon, please feel free to let me know. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

Recommended App: Camera+

Remembering David Bowie: One Year On / The Thin White Duke. Our Starman. A Music Legend. (1947 – 2016)

As today marks exactly one year since the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer, I wanted to pay my full respects to the Starman by drawing David Bowie, also because the 8th January 2017 would have marked his 70th Birthday. I also drew David Bowie sporting the famous Aladdin Sane Lightning Bolt as he released his 25th and last ever studio album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday.

It feels unreal, to think it was a year ago today is surreal yet hard to believe, because never did I think the time would fly so fast. On this day last year, I was told the news early in the morning that he had actually died and I was shocked and devastated, but fast forward to today and you still can’t quite believe that our Starman, the Thin White Duke, had passed away.

He is a music legend who was taken from us too soon, as he had so much more to offer, but his 25th and final studio album, Blackstar, was classed as “…a parting gift,” to his fans, which just goes to show that he not only wanted to go out with a bang, but that he would really prove that his music is timeless, that it will never date and will always be listened to, which is what made David Bowie not just a music legend, but a cultural icon given that he always had the eccentric change of image that would define and inspire many generations.

I drew the lightning bolt below his right eye (appears on the left by how you see it), as the blue and red lightning bolt was featured on the iconic album, Aladdin Sane. Although I haven’t been around long enough to truly appreciate his music, I saw him as an inspiration to me and to us all, because he made it okay for us to be ourselves, and to not care what societies and generations think of us and I will never forget that. Let’s Dance, Life on Mars & Ashes to Ashes always give me goosebumps because it’s not just the Aladdin Sane Lightning Bolt that caught my attention, but his right eye’s pupil was blue, which is what made him the iconic music legend he truly is. Even in death, he will always be remembered as the iconic music legend that made it okay for everyone to accept themselves and to be themselves regardless of who they are.

David Bowie as Aladdin Sane.
David Bowie as Aladdin Sane.

I wanted to say this as a way of paying tribute to David Bowie:

David Bowie. Our Thin White Duke. Our Starman. Thank you for everything. Thank you for giving everyone in this world, including myself, the chance to be ourselves, but most of all, thanks for making this world a better place. You are truly an iconic music legend and you are always missed, but you’ll never be forgotten and you shall always remain in mine and everyone’s hearts forever. David Bowie. Thank you for everything!

Alex Smithson

Welcome to January!

Welcome to January on Mother Nature! Happy New Year Everyone! 2017 has officially opened its doors and the New Year begins with high spirits. The firework display in London paid tribute to the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, including the Thin White Duke himself, David Bowie and even the comedy legend, Ronnie Corbett, the man of mighty humour.

Ringing in the celebrations of 2017, 2017 will be a year of looking forward to the future, and is also the year to never look back but to look forward and to enjoy life and also to enjoy the future.

Breaking the tradition with Spotify, instead of Mother Nature having one new mix every year, there will be one mix from this year onwards that will continuously be updated, as I have finally decided to do away with the old tagline: “The Mix of…” in favour for: “Alex’s Mix”. This is because after a while, constantly replacing a Spotify playlist year after year just eventually gets boring, so now, my new mix playlist is called: “Alex’s Mix” and will remain a permanent fixture on this website from today onwards.

Over the course of this year, I will be making sure to dedicate a whole lot more of my own time to my studies considering I have only 6 months left until I finish my time at Croydon College, including finishing education altogether, which is not far away, so I will be making sure to make use of the time wisely by working hard and to also achieve the best I can from my studies, but to also succeed in my education and to get myself a job after I finish education permanently. However, I will be making sure to find the free time when it becomes available to publish articles on here so that I can be sure that none of you are going to miss out.

I won’t lie, I will miss being in education and will miss Croydon College when me and everyone else reach the end of the road, because I love everyone so much, even everyone at my college, because Croydon College including everyone who goes to my college are the reason why I want a fantastic future and are also the reason why I want to have a fantastic life. My family and my friends mean everything to me and without them, I wouldn’t be in a good place now. I feel so fortunate and so lucky to have everyone by my side because I want a fantastic future and a fantastic life and I am so fortunate to have everyone there to support me. But again, Croydon College have given me a reason to want to have a good future and a good life and I am glad Croydon College was my first choice, as I have excelled so well and my time at Croydon College has gone so fast that I actually don’t want to leave.

Life goes on and I can say this for once in my life, 2017 is a year of finally moving on and to just enjoy yourself, but most of all, is also the year to just be happy and to enjoy life.

The sidebar has been tidied up a bit and I have done away with some widgets that are no longer relevant, but Mother Nature gets a better shade of blue, as I have made sure to change the colour so it appeals to 2017 and to make for better visibility on Laptops / PCs, including on smartphones, tablets and consoles.

To kick off 2017, I just want to say:

LET’S MAKE THIS YEAR A SPECIAL ONE!

Alex Smithson