Battersea Park / Revisited / 13.4.2017

As it has been four years since I last visited Battersea Park, it is safe to say that not a lot hasn’t changed since my last visit.

The weather was absolutely lovely; the scenery gave me a sense of relaxation because it is a place to relax and unwind.

Whilst me and my family were at Battersea Park, we played a game of cricket, and twice in one day, two dogs grabbed the tennis balls we were using, though two of the tennis balls were knackered after a couple of whacks with the cricket bat, but it was good for us all to get out and enjoy ourselves while the two-week holiday lasts.

It’s hard to think it was four years ago that I last visited Battersea Park. Where has the time gone? I still find it hard to believe that I was just about to sit my final year at Oasis Academy: Shirley Park and 4 years down the line, I am sitting the last few months of my UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course at Croydon College. That’s quite scary knowing just how fast the time has flown, because it only felt like yesterday I started my first year at Croydon College and now I’m in my last year at Croydon College and it just feels so unreal knowing I’m sitting the last few months of my education before I finish my education for good and go into the world of work.

Below is the large photographic collection I have produced of Battersea Park.

iPhone 5

Nikon D3300

I won’t lie to you, I’m absolutely glad to have revisited Battersea Park after such a long while, because the weather was just right, the temperature was just right and not only that, but there wasn’t a single spot of rain which was a bonus! Mind you, I will revisit Battersea Park in the future as I want to photograph the plants again soon considering I photographed the plants mostly the last time I visited Battersea Park back in 2013.

Overall, I absolutely enjoyed my time at Battersea Park after such a long wait and I cannot wait to go there again soon.

If you enjoyed this photography collection, please feel free to submit a response. Your feedback is much appreciated and if you have visited Battersea Park before, please let me know, I would love to know what you think of Battersea Park.

Alex Smithson

Does the UK Need More Policing?

In the last few years, the police numbers have gone down due to cuts that have been made to save our government money, our money of which is supposed to be used to keep our police officers on the streets.

On the 22nd March 2017, exactly one year to the day of the devastating attacks that took place in Brussels, which saw 35 people killed (32 victims, 3 perpetrators), with more than 300 people injured, a terrorist attack took place down Westminster Bridge, where 5 people were killed as a result, one of which was the terrorist, while the other was a police officer who was stabbed and sadly died as a result of his injuries.

It’s disgraceful to know that the police numbers have been cut, but the bigger picture myself and everyone have to look at is how the lack of policing is going to have an impact on all of us as a country. The harsh reality of the bigger picture is that by there being a lack of policing, this country and its counterparts where security is concerned is seeing a potentially dangerous downside in protection where security is concerned.

I am sickened by the fact that there is not enough policing on the streets. Years ago, the gun and knife crime rates were much lower compared to today’s gun and knife crime rates, as the odd occasional stabbing and gun crime was committed, but was nowhere near as frequent as it is today, and it really does get under my skin knowing that myself and every single one of us have to face the harsh reality of knowing our own safety is at risk no matter where we are.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, broke his silence following the devastating terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge, London, which has officially been dubbed the worst terrorist incident since 7/7:

Today London suffered a horrific attack near Parliament Square which we are treating as a terror attack. A number of people have lost their lives and at least twenty people have been injured. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and to everyone who has been affected. Tragically, a Metropolitan Police officer who was doing his duty protecting out city is amongst those who have been killed and my thoughts are with his family this evening. I want to express my gratitude, on behalf of all Londoners, to the police and emergency services who have shown tremendous bravery in exceptionally difficult circumstances. I have spoken to the Acting Commissioner Metropolitan Police Commissioner Craig Mackay and national lead for Counter-Terrorism Policing and Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley and remain in close contact with them. Londoners should be aware that there will be additional armed and unarmed police officers on our streets from tonight in order to keep Londoners, and all those visiting out city safe. I want to reassure all Londoners, and all our visitors, not to be alarmed. Our city remains one of the safest in the world. London is the greatest city in the world and we stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. We always have and we always will. Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.” – Sadiq Khan’s official statement released to all mainstream media sources on the 22nd March 2017.

To show solidarity in light of the horrific terrorist attack, Paris switched off the lights of the Eiffel Tower to pay full respect to the injured victims, including those who lost their lives. The police officer that was sadly confirmed to have passed away as a result of being stabbed was named as PC Keith Palmer. Other landmarks around the world showed solidarity to the United Kingdom by lighting themselves up in the colours of the Union Jack, and today, thousands of people came together to remember the victims exactly a week after the horrific terrorist attack took place down Westminster Bridge, London.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, broke her silence following the devastating terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge, London, which saw 4 people (3 victims and one police officer), with the 5th person being Khalid Masood, who was shot dead after committing this disgraceful terrorist attack:

I have just chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee, COBRA, following the sick and depraved terrorist attack on the streets of our Capital this afternoon. The full details of exactly what happened are still emerging. But, having been updated by police and security officials, I can confirm that this appalling incident began when a single attacker drove his vehicle into pedestrians walking across Westminster Bridge, killing two people and injuring many more, including three police officers. This attacker, who was armed with a knife, then ran towards Parliament where he was confronted by the police officers who keep us – and our democratic institutions – safe. Tragically, one officer was killed. The terrorist was also shot dead. The United Kingdom’s threat level has been set at severe for some time and this will not change. Acting Deputy Commissioner Rowley will give a further operational update later this evening. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected – to the victims themselves, and their family and friends who waved their loved ones off, but will not now be welcoming them home. For those of us who were in Parliament at the time of this attack, these events provide a particular reminder of the exceptional bravery of our police and security services who risk their lives to keep us safe. Once again today, these exceptional men and women ran towards the danger even as they encouraged others to move the other way. On behalf of the whole country, I want to pay tribute to them – and to all our emergency services – for the work they have been doing to reassure the public and bring security back to the streets of our Capital City. That they have lost one of their own in today’s attack only makes their calmness and professionalism under pressure all the more remarkable. The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorists chose to strike at the heart of our Capital City, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech. These streets of Westminster – home to the world’s oldest Parliament – are engrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe. And the values our Parliament represents – democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law – command the admiration and respect of free people everywhere. That is why it is a target for those who reject those values. But let me make it clear today, as I have had cause to do before: any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to failure. Tomorrow morning, Parliament will meet as normal. We will come together as normal. And Londoners – and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great City – will get up and go about their day as normal. They will board their trains, they will leave their hotels, they will walk these streets, they will live their lives. And we will all move forward together. Never giving in to terror. And never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.” – Theresa May’s official statement released to all mainstream media sources on the 22nd March 2017.

It sickens me to the core that violence still exists in this world. Why can’t we all just get along? There should be no violence, no hatred, no inequality and there most certainly shouldn’t be a lack of diversity in this world. All of have to come together and end violence, end hatred, end inequality and end a lack of diversity, and we should all come together and respect one another, and always be equal and diverse towards one another. Regardless of sexuality, religion, gender, skin colour, background, place of origin and culture, we should all stick together and treat one another with respect and also treat one another equally and diversely.

Here’s the open statement I issued on Thursday 23rd March 2017, exactly one day after the horrific terrorist attack took place down Westminster Bridge, London:

In light of the devastating terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge on Wednesday 22nd March 2017. Listen to this. We stand with solidarity. We stand with dignity. We shall not be silenced by violence. We, as a country, as a nation, as a community, will not be silenced. We are all stronger than you think and we will not & shall not be silenced! We shall never bow down, let alone take this horrific attack lying down. We shall all stand together and never be silenced. Take this opportunity to pay tribute to the victims who sadly lost their lives on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 and also take this opportunity to pay tribute to PC Keith Palmer, but take this opportunity to know we are not afraid. We shall never be afraid.” – Alex Smithson

I will say this. We shall never bow down to violence, we shall never be silenced. We shall stand resilient and never be defeated. This world doesn’t deserve violence at all. We are not afraid. We shall never be afraid.

Do you agree that this world should never be full of violence, inequality and a lack of diversity, and should be filled with equality, diversity, love, care, compassion and respect? If you agree, please let me know by commenting below. We shall all remember the victims who lost their lives and also pay our full respects and condolences to the family of PC Keith Palmer.

Alex Smithson

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+

The Trek to Dungeness: 23.9.2016

On Friday 23rd September 2016, me and my class headed up to Dungeness as part of our course, and considering that the trip was an hour and a half via coach, I can honestly say that Dungeness is actually really peaceful and quiet. Despite the fact that I have heard it is a depressing place, to me, that is a complete understatement, as Dungeness is not a depressing place, even if the huge landscape around it suggests otherwise.

Dungeness is one of the most tranquil landscapes around and is also peaceful, and despite the fact that there is a nuclear plant on site, you can’t miss it even if it’s by a mile. The smell of the sea brings back the memories of childhood, as I forgot what the smell of the sea was like until Friday 23rd September 2016, and the trek to Dungeness couldn’t have come at a perfect time, as it was nice and sunny, the weather was absolutely beautiful and I even got to soak in a bit of the sun.

I can take a lot of good memories away now from this place, as I’ve got a collection of photos here to show you how I documented my trip to Dungeness, and I even ended up with sunburn, but luckily because I had my Apple Watch on, my wrist wasn’t burned at all, though the sunburn made my completely underexposed wrist obvious to see once I took my Apple Watch off when I got home. Usually, sunburn doesn’t go well for me, but I am glad I caught the sun on this trip to Dungeness, as I can say that I enjoyed myself regardless. Believe it or not, I didn’t have enough time to put sun-cream on because I thought it was going to rain on the trip, but luckily the sunburn was only mild as it could have been a lot worse. Still, I loved the trip and I would go back to Dungeness again any day.

We were told the moment we got off the coach that we were not allowed to take photos of the nuclear power plant even from the distance we were standing at, as certain parts of Dungeness are closely policed with restrictions to some areas. On the bright side, however, we were allowed to photograph certain areas of Dungeness, considering that some areas were completely restriction-free for photography.

The huge collection of photographs that I took while on the Trek to Dungeness can all be found below:

iPhone 5 (Standard Camera App & Camera+)

Nikon D3300 DSLR (Some Edited for Better Viewing)

Overall, I can honestly say that I loved every second of the Trek to Dungeness and I would go back there any day. It’s absolutely peaceful down there, and they’ve got a café down there too, plus, they even have their own form of transport down there, as they have train carriages down there that you can get on which will take you to a certain part of Dungeness that you prefer.

Have you been down to Dungeness? Please let me know by submitting your feedback in the comments below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 6 (Tuesday 17th May 2016 – Thursday 19th May 2016) – Final Major Project

Bringing the Final Major Project Weekly Log collection to a remarkable end, here is the final Weekly Log from the Final Major Project, which reflects on what I did in the final week of the Final Major Project, as well as to what I did over the entirety of the Final Major Project.

Research / Context

During the course of the sixth week, I started to get together my research, which were the Chosen Photographers presentation, including the Photo Research presentation, including my experimentation photographs that I have taken over the course of the past six weeks since the beginning of the Final Major Project. Based on the previous set of photographs I took of my first subject for Shoot 5, I took my sixth and final set of photographs, but this time of my fourth and final chosen subject. The location that I chose to take the sixth shoot of photographs was the car park, opposite Croydon College, as I had previously developed my experiments there when I took my fourth set of photographs but of my third chosen subject. The car park opposite Croydon College was the location I strongly believe was best suited for taking my sixth and final set of photographs, as I was able to use the settings I adjusted on the Canon EOS 1200D correctly to take my photographs of my fourth and final chosen subject and I also felt that there was a dramatic improvement in the way I took my photographs, based on my reflection of Shoot 5. In terms of the research and photographic experiments I have done, I have made sure to pick the best photos that I have taken, as I will be presenting the photographs that I feel are my best for the show, which I will also want to count as my final pieces for the first year of this two-year Film & Photography course.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure that my sixth and final set of photographs were of the correct standard that my previous experimentation photographs were at, I did make sure to set the exposure for my photos correctly, including changing the light setting to Cloudy, given the damp and dismal weather conditions during the course of this last week of photo experiments. I also made sure to keep the ISO below no more than 400, to ensure that my photographs are of the best resolution and lighting where possible and I also made sure to set the aperture and white balance correctly so that my photographs would come out the way I wanted them to look.

I did initially find taking these photographs of my fourth and final subject difficult at first, as I was worried that because of the damp and dismal weather conditions, this would affect the photographs I would take. These photos were difficult to take initially given the areas of lighting in and around the car park, so I did make sure to think very carefully about the variety of locations around the car park that I could use.

What worked well for me was I was able to produce most of these photos to a much better standard than to how I did my previous photographic experiments, as some of the photographs I took of my fourth and final chosen subject didn’t need to have the curves adjusted in Adobe Photoshop, including not needing to have the levels changed. I did feel that Shoots 4 and 6 had that standard of photographic exposure that I wanted and I feel pleased with the overall result that I have managed to achieve.

To improve on this in the future, I will be making sure to choose a better location next time for taking my photographs, that’s including setting the exposure, the aperture, the white balance and the light setting correctly, so that I stand a better chance of producing a set of photographs that will be of the best quality where possible.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I did make sure to refer to all of the research I have gathered over the course of the Final Major Project, including referring to the photographic experiments I have developed over the duration of the Final Major Project. As the photographic experiments I’ve done on my first, second, third and fourth subjects have developed over the course of the entire Final Major Project, I have noticed that I have been able to produce my photographs better each time, and when there has been the odd occasion where certain photographs I take may end up possibly fuzzy due to camera shake or being underexposed or overexposed, I have made sure to rectify any mistakes I’ve made in taking certain photos by improving on them better for the next time. August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff’s photographical works have influenced me and inspired me to create my own concept throughout the whole of the Final Major Project and I also feel that the level of research and experiments I’ve done, including doing extended research by taking notes from the Barbican Gallery have helped me to produce the concept I wanted from the very start to the very end of the Final Major Project.

I feel that I have developed and bettered my understanding over the entirety of the Final Major Project, as I have been able to reflect on the experiments I’ve done, including the research I’ve gathered to produce my own concept for my Final Major Project, which has been based around Facial Expressionism. I also feel I have developed a better understanding of my own concept, which was influenced and inspired by the three chosen photographers, August Sander, Thomas Ruff and Fazal Sheikh, and I now have a clear intention of the final pieces I will be producing for the show, given that I have the best photographs available to use now for digital printing. My concept has, from the very start, been genuine and I strongly believe that I have developed my confidence better with camera work, including getting a better understanding of the settings I can use to produce a better photograph or a set of photographs for experimentation, and I strongly feel that the photos I have chosen to use as my final pieces are ready for printing and are also ready for hanging for the show in June.

This Final Major Project Weekly Log set has officially come to a remarkable end. I hope you found all of these Weekly Logs interesting, and if so, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

The Barbican Gallery | Tuesday 10th May 2016 | Croydon College

On Tuesday, I travelled with my Film & Photography class up to London on a trip to the Barbican Gallery. Because this is the first time I have ever visited the Barbican Gallery, I was shocked to find how massive it was inside. There is so much information available at hand and whilst I was there, I took photos around certain parts of the Barbican where I was allowed, and I must say I was surprised. Despite the damp and dismal weather we had on Tuesday, this didn’t stop me from getting a collection of photos together.

Below are the collection of photographs I was able to get whilst I was on the trip on Tuesday.

I also did some note-taking whilst I was on the trip, as part of the research I’ve been gathering for my Final Major Project. Below are the notes that I gathered from Tuesday’s trip.

Strange and Familiar – Curated by the Iconic British Photographer, Martin Parr.

International photographers from the 1930s onwards.

Edith Tudor-Hart

  • Family Group, Stepney, London (ca. 1932)
  • Group Reading the Daily Worker, London (ca. 1943)
  • Gee Street, Finsbury, London (ca. 1936 – 1937)
  • Poodle Parlour, London (ca. 1936 – 1937)
  • Kensal House, London (ca. 1938)

Robert Frank

  • City of London (1952)
  • City of London (1951)
  • London (1951)
  • Caerau, Wales (1953)
  • Wales, Ben James (1953)

Paul Strand

  • Mary and John McKinnon, South Uist, Hebrides (1954)

Cas Oorthuys

  • Pupils of an Oxford Girls School (1962)
  • Car Transporter Outside Balliol College, Oxford (1962)
  • Oxford (1962)
  • Hogarth Court, Camden Road, London (1953)
  • Hyde Park, London (1953)
  • Merchant, East London (1953)
  • Arabian Merchant, Petticoat Lane, London (1953)

Bruce Davidson

  • Woman in Wheelchair, Brighton (1965)
  • Hastings, England (1960)
  • Teatime in the Car, Brighton (1960)
  • Couples on Stone Beach, Brighton (1960)
  • Lloyd’s List, London (1960)

Gian Butturini

  • Man Walking Down a Street (1969)
  • Homeless (1969)
  • A Calm Day (1969)

Jim Dow

  • Interior, Bert’s Eel and Pie Shop, Peckham, London (15th July 1985)
  • Window Display at Khatta-Meetha Vegetarian Take-Away, Leicester (21st March 1987)

Bruce Gilden

  • West Bromwich, Debbie (2013)
  • West Bromwich, Andy, from Newcastle, of the Bus Station (2014)
  • Romford, Essex, Sherry (2013)
  • Essex (2013)
  • West Bromwich, Peter at the Bus Station (2014)

Overall, I did enjoy the trip and I would love to go again sometime. It’s massive in the Barbican, so I now know what to expect if I plan on revisiting the Barbican Gallery again in the foreseeable future.

If you enjoyed this article of my trip to the Barbican Gallery, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

© Croydon College 2016

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