The Concept of Expression: Samuel Cato

Following the first photography article I did after the beginning of 2018, which featured my close friend, Wesley Baker (CDN), I have now photographed my close friend who I’ve known since secondary school, Samuel Cato.

Despite the odd spot of rain, mild warmth and a hint of sunny weather, I was able to travel to Sydenham to photograph Sam for this photography series, and I was able to get him to express himself freely as I believe in the idea of being able to express yourself free from judgment, but where he could express himself without conforming to society’s needs, beliefs and expectations, and that getting him to express himself will always be about being equal and diverse without any forms of judgment.

Below are all of the photographs I took yesterday of my close friend, Samuel Cato.

I am so pleased with the end result given that the days are getting brighter and are staying brighter for longer, as the lighting conditions improved and it was nice and sunny after a small spot of rain, but I am really blown away by the end result of these photographs. Of course, I acknowledge the photos may look grainy, but that’s because I wanted to try and capture the essence of the early Spring weather before Spring really kicks in once the Winter season ends.

If there are any improvements you feel I could make, please tell me in the comments, as your feedback will help me improve my photography skills in the future.

Also, if you enjoyed this photo-set, please share this article around with anyone you know.

Alex Smithson

DSLR Used: Nikon D3300

Lens Used: NIKKOR 18 – 55 mm Lens

Date of Photo-Set Produced: Tuesday 6th March 2018

Brrrrrr….It’s a Winter Wonderland!

Just as the Beast of the East was set to reach its end, Storm Emma wasn’t letting the wintry weather disappear fast enough. Snow continued to batter the United Kingdom, with schools, colleges and even stores shutting early due to the blizzard.

I photographed this moment on my phone and made an edit to give the photo the wintry warmth it truly needed. It definitely was like Winter Wonderland as it was freezing cold, but what a brrrrrrilliant time it sure was to seize this opportunity of a lifetime to photograph the snow!

I was lucky to photograph this moment as I finished earlier than my shift time as my place of work closed early due to the weather, which couldn’t have come at a better time as I’m on annual leave now for a whole week, and with my annual leave being my first, I’ll be making sure to use the time wisely to go out and have a good time, and even photograph some friends of mine.

Did it snow heavier where you are? Please tell me, I am so keen to hear whether you made the most of this snowy weather.

Alex Smithson

Device Used: Motorola C

The Cold & Sunny Winds of Oxted

Despite some travel chaos with a tree that fell on the line on Saturday, with most of the trains being delayed and cancelled due to the travel disruption over last weekend and the freezing cold, the sunny weather was absolutely beautiful, and to have that little bit of warmth even after wrapping up warm made my journey to Hurst Green that extra bit special.

The travel chaos was disrupted so much that the rail replacement bus that was initially meant to be put in place once I got off at Sanderstead Station wasn’t even put into place at all, which left me and some of the passengers stranded, but luckily the workers at Sanderstead Station booked me and some of the passengers a free cab ride to make up for the rail replacement bus we never got and I was able to get to Oxted Station with no problem, which was beneficial considering I was going from that station to Hurst Green once I arrived.

On the way to Hurst Green, I couldn’t resist seizing the opportunity to quickly photograph Oxted Station and The Oxted Inn whilst I waited for the train to arrive.

Despite the freezing weather on Saturday, I was happy to have seized the opportunity to photograph the station considering it was an adventure rather than just a train journey.

What was the weather like for you on Saturday? I would love to know.

Please feel free to comment on what you thought of my photographs of my journey to Oxted and Hurst Green, and please feel free to share this article on.

Alex Smithson

Device Used: Motorola C

The Concept of Expression / Wesley Baker (CDN)

Kicking off the first photography article of the year, I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to photograph my close friend, Wesley Baker.

With his work being featured in and Croydon, with one of his most notable pieces of artwork being the centrepiece of Croydon Flyover of the hit cartoon, Astro Boy, Wesley’s CDNZine and CDNStore Instagram accounts boom with artistic values and energy, and I’m honoured to have been given the opportunity to photograph him.

Despite the wet and windy weather conditions near Ambassador House, Thornton Heath, I was able to produce a good set of photographs, which can be found below.

I acknowledge the ISO was on the noisiest setting, but that was due to the torrential weather conditions on Saturday. I will be improving on making any future photographs I take less noisy and more focal and masked. At least then, this gives me a chance to learn from and improve on the final outcomes of any photo-sets I produce in the future.

Other than that, I am really pleased with how this photo-set turned out as I was able to get Wesley to do some facial expressions, natural and put-on, as this helped me to understand his personality and charisma through his work.

If you have Instagram, follow Wesley’s Instagram accounts, @cdnzine and @cdn_store and sign up to his mailing list by clicking here.

Also, if you are interested in getting some art installed on your living room walls or anywhere you know or you want to get a fleecy top, support Wesley’s brand by purchasing his branded CDN Shirts and his most current work: “NEVER MIND THE CONCRETE” through his BigCartel store by clicking here.

Please tell me in the comments below your tips on how I can improve my photography sets next time, as this will help me to improve and help me to develop my photography skills better. Also, please share this photo-set with everyone you know and even share it on social media platforms.

Alex Smithson

© Wesley Baker, CDNZine & CDNStore, 2018

© Permission was granted by Wesley Baker to use the CDN logo. Full copyright goes to the respective owners.

Camera Used: Nikon D3300

Lens Used: 18 – 55 mm NIKKOR Lens

The Discomforting Perceptions of Airbrushed Photographs.

On every magazine cover or newspaper you’ve read, you may notice there’s been the odd airbrushing or two on all of the magazine and newspaper covers of someone famous you know.

Every photograph I’ve produced that features any friends of mine have never been airbrushed and have never been photoshopped. Of course, I’ve edited some of my photographs by changing some of them to black and white to bring out the facial features of the subjects I photograph so that you still see an all-natural look, but I would never even dream of airbrushing any photographs I produce as I would rather you all see the subjects I photograph for what they actually look like naturally, not what society wants them to look like when airbrushed as airbrushing is not normal.

Airbrushing was the topic of conversation on today’s edition of Loose Women, as body dysmorphia is becoming worryingly common, as a vast majority of some people feel insecure about how their bodies look and they feel they should fix what makes them insecure when they shouldn’t.

Personally, I find airbrushing to be completely uncomfortable, as I would rather look at a photograph of someone famous, especially if it’s a close friend of mine that shows them completely natural with no airbrushing applied rather than look at a photograph of someone famous, especially if it’s a close friend of mine that shows noticeable airbrushing because airbrushing is a complete turn-off. It also promotes negativity for mental health, as airbrushing is another leading example of the stigma that surrounds mental health, considering mental health is only just being taken notice of after so many years of being ignored.

Airbrushing is the vanity card of the future that will alter anyone’s appearance and personally and honestly, I would rather be realistic by saying I would rather see a famous celebrity or close friend of mine all-natural rather than see constant airbrushing in photographs.

I know I’ve probably repeated myself over and over again but I will say this. Don’t ever expect to see any airbrushed photos on here as I am going all natural with my photographs so you actually see what any of my subjects actually look like rather than see any photos that are unnatural.

Mother Nature intends to stick to the all-natural realism of photography, and as for airbrushing, airbrushing is banned!

Do you find airbrushed photographs to be discomforting?

Does it make you uncomfortable knowing you’re looking at the discomforting perceptions of an airbrushed photograph as opposed to an unedited, all-natural photograph?

Do you believe airbrushing promotes negativity for Mental Health in the sense people should be made to look at a photograph that isn’t natural, but is airbrushed?

Please tell me in the comments. I would love to hear what you’ve got to say about the whole unrealistic world of airbrushing.

Alex Smithson

A Wonderful, Breezy & Sunny Day Out in London.

It was the perfect time for me to travel up to London on the 26th September as the weather was lovely, the scenery was beautiful and on a clear day like this, it was wonderful.

Whilst I was up in London, I used the opportunity wisely to photograph certain areas of London; Borough Market was beautiful, but so was the landscape. To tell you the truth, it’s not the first time I’ve been up to London on my own as I went up to London just a few short weeks before when I was planning my route to get to Camden, which I must say is also beautiful, but the fact that it was nice and sunny gave me the perfect opportunity to seize the moment by photographing certain areas of the landscape, whilst also photographing the Shard.

Honestly, London is absolutely beautiful on a sunny day, and the 26th September was the perfect example of how sunny days should be; warm, breezy, bright and beautiful and that’s why I had a wonderful, breezy and sunny day out in London.

I experimented with the low-light features on my Nikon D3300 DSLR to see how the landscapes and portraits would appear in certain situations if it was light or dark, as this helped me to visualise the landscape differently as if it was daylight one minute and sunset the next.

Below is the full collection of photographs I produced whilst I was up in London.

It was absolutely wonderful, but busy when I went up to London towards the end of September and I was glad to have seized the opportunity to visit London at the peak of Summer.

If you ever get a chance to visit London and Borough Market in the Spring and Summer months, I suggest you do because London and Borough Market are beautiful places, and you’d be crazy to not seize the opportunity to visit London and Borough Market.

If you enjoyed my photography collection of my visit to London and Borough Market, please tell me in the comments. I would love to hear your responses.

Alex Smithson

The Concept of Expression: Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford / Beyond the Expression

Going back to the drawing board with the photographs I previously produced that featured my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I produced some more photographs that follow on from when I photographed my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, of Saviyon & Shaquille.

As I wanted to make sure these photos had that cut and thrust appeal about them, I went beyond the expression by exploring their personalities a little more in-depth. In this case, I wanted to capture off-the-cuff natural facial expressions that Saviyon & Shaquille made, whilst also capturing the essence of their emotions in their facial expressions.

Saviyon & Shaquille’s facial expressions were really natural, and what I feel made this photo set more interesting was the naturalism of their expressions, as I caught them off-guard without them noticing, that was, until I showed them the photographs, of course. They were really pleased with the end result of these photographs, and I too was impressed.

Below are the photographs I produced, featuring my close friend, Saviyon Thomas.

Saviyon Thomas

Shaquille Roachford

These photographs are a notable improvement in my photography skills, but at a later stage, I will want to experiment with portrait photography more, whilst experimenting further with lighting, including the saturation, contrast and more so.

I will be working on this photography series over the course of 2018 but will be making sure to try and find the time, when I can, to photograph more people. In this case, I will be looking to try and photograph some of my friends so that I can gain confidence more with portrait and landscape photography, whilst working much harder behind the camera.

Please let me know if there are any improvements I can make to my photography skills as this will help me to become better at photographing people in the future, as well as becoming better at photographing landscapes, nature and everything else photography-based in general. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

Photography Collection Produced: Saturday 5th August 2017

Camera Used: Nikon D3300

The Sky Was All Yellow…

Noticed the sky turn yellow today? Me too! The sky turned yellow as a result of sand and dust. This is because as Hurricane Ophelia is currently creating a destructive path of its own, it’s no surprise that the United Kingdom is no stranger to this kind of weather.

To be fair, it was 30 years ago today that the infamous hurricane, or the Great Storm of 1987 as it is most commonly known by, so it’s ironic to think the sky would turn yellow exactly 30 years to the day, and yesterday also marked 30 years since the infamous weather report that Michael Fish did, and bless him, he didn’t know it was going to happen considering the hurricane happened instantly without any given warning. I fully respect Michael Fish because it was a completely innocent mistake and he had no idea that the Great Storm of 1987 would affect the United Kingdom.

Below is one photograph I took of the yellow-like sky and cloud formation. Please accept my sincere apologies for the photograph being so grainy and noisy, as I was trying to produce the photograph exactly how the sky looked and this is unedited so that’s even better so you get the genuine result. I took inspiration from Coldplay‘s record, Yellow, which has done the rounds on social media so I wanted to shine a light on the weather in the musical sense, not literally, of course.

If anyone has been affected by Hurricane Ophelia, please know I am keeping you in my thoughts and will pray the hurricane disappears soon.

Did you witness the extraordinary yellow sky? Please tell me, I would love to know what you’ve got to say about it.

Alex Smithson

Camera Used: Nikon D3300

Monthly Roundup: September 2017

September sure flew like the wind, though to be fair, because I’ve been so busy applying for jobs whilst getting a good result back despite having to send my laptop in for repair, it’s safe to say I have been quite the busy bee.

Without further ado, I shall take a look back at the articles published over the course of September.

1.9.2017 – As I welcomed you all to September, I mentioned that this month was set to be just as busy as the last, as I mentioned I wouldn’t be publishing as often as I used to, considering that I would prioritise my time effectively around looking for jobs.

18.9.2017 – ‘The Harsh Reality of Social Media (Parental Guidance is Advised)’ was my way of expressing my own realistic views on how social media has changed the way we communicate with one another, as opposed to how negatively used social media can be, given that social media is often used by some or most people to criticise and judge those online without them even having the bottle to say their comments to that person’s face.

25.9.2017 – ‘My Personal Note to Reality’ was my way of finally being open to everyone about where I stand, and that I would treat everyone equally and diversely, but that I would refuse to tolerate, let alone mix with the judgmental type that are in-equal and lack diversity for others.

On the same day, I published an article, called: “Mindfulness”, in which I would give a short but straightforward run-down about how mindfulness can be helpful to certain aspects of our everyday lives, based on the life experiences that we are or may have already been through.

26.9.2017 – ‘Camden’ was an article I wanted to share with you all, as I had paid a visit to Camden a few weeks prior to writing the article, given that Camden is a wonderful and friendly place, which is home to the late music legend, Amy Winehouse.

29.9.2017 – ‘Should We Listen to the Non-Believers?’ was my way of describing how the non-believers were and always would be the bad people who would spread poison wherever they go, intentionally bringing others down when they don’t deserve it.

On the same day, I published a small but quick-fire article in which I announced I had decided to put publishing my photography work on hold, given that my laptop was sent off to be repaired after the Audio Enhancements tab wouldn’t work whilst headphones were connected, but that I would publish the photography work I wasn’t able to publish at a later stage. I also mentioned that I finally passed GCSE English after three years and that I no longer have to do GCSE English, which is the best result I wanted.

Thank you so much, everyone, for such a fantastic month, and although I haven’t published as much lately considering I have been making sure to put my priorities first, I will try to fit a few articles in now and then when I can get the free time.

Before I say goodbye to September, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Coronation Street actress, Elizabeth Dawn, who sadly passed away on the 25th September 2017, but I want to take this opportunity to also pay tribute to Bobby Knutt, who also passed away on the same day. They will be greatly missed, but shall never be forgotten and we’ll all remember them for bringing positivity, humour and joy into our lives. Also, to the victims of the recent earthquakes that have devastated Puerto Rico, I want you all to know I am thinking of you at this time and that I am keeping you all in my prayers and hope that something good comes soon.

Again, thanks so much everyone for such a fantastic month and I shall see you all in October.

Alex Smithson

Photography Work on Hold. Please Read.

As my laptop went off for repair due to a problem with Audio Enhancements not working when headphones were connected, I have decided to put the photography work I produced in August for the photography series: “The Concept of Expression” on hold, and an article which I was supposed to be publishing before the end of this month that is photography-based is also going on hold for the short time being.

However, I can still publish articles briefly with my HP Stream 11 whilst my other laptop is being repaired, but don’t worry, the photography work I have produced that is due to go up on here will be published soon, so rest assured they will still be published but at a later stage whilst I get everything sorted.

On the plus side, I have some fantastic news I would like to bestow.

As my former GCSE English lecturers felt the D grade I got was an unfair result, I am pleased to announce that after my former GCSE English lecturers sent my paper off to be re-marked, I have finally passed GCSE English with a C grade after three whole years! It took me long enough after some ups and downs, including some bumps in the road, but I finally got there and I no longer have to do GCSE English. Result!


On a positive note, the photography work will go up soon, but in the meantime, I will be continuing to apply for more jobs whilst I work hard.

Thank you so much for your patience so far, it really does mean a lot to me and I will do the absolute best I can to get everything back up and running soon.

With love,

x Alex Smithson x