Pecha Kucha / Japanese for Chit-Chat

As part of my Final Major Project for the last year of my UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course at Croydon College, I was asked to produce a 6 minute and 40 second presentation on a time-keeping tool called Pecha Kucha, which is the Japanese term for Chit-Chat.

Pecha Kucha, which is Japanese for Chit-Chat, is where you produce 20 slides that have to be exactly 20 seconds each. For every slide, you would need to explain in 20 seconds for each slide a brief run-down of the kind of work you are going to produce, regardless of whether it is project-based or not. The 20 slides would have to consist of one or more short sentences you can talk about within 20 seconds, including any work you have currently produced to date.

For me, because I am fascinated by Facial Expressionism, which was a concept I worked on last year, I am interested in a photograph that captures the subject’s facial expression and emotion, and for me, I will make sure I can research certain photographers, such as Cecil Beaton, Walker Evans, August Sander, Thomas Ruff and any other photographer that specialises in Facial Expressionism; the field of work I want to produce.

These are all the notes I gathered together as part of my Pecha Kucha presentation yesterday, which went brilliantly for me yesterday considering I was nervous but showed confidence the moment I presented the work I am looking to produce for my Final Major Project. Please keep in mind just a few of the noted photographs that aren’t mine will have the name of the photographed subject, including the year the photograph was produced, also the name of the website I found the photograph from, including the website address and the recorded date that specific website was last visited. The photographs that aren’t mine at all that I referenced in this presentation as part of my Film & Photography coursework can be found on Page 4 & 9. I take absolutely no credit from the photographers who produced the work I have referenced. Those photographers whose work I have referenced in this presentation are Thomas Ruff & Bert Stern.

Over the coming weeks, I will be making sure to work my absolute hardest to really push for the best final grade possible as I want to succeed in my final year of the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course. I will also be making sure to work as hard as I can to really push for the highest possible grades in both GCSE English & GCSE Maths.

If you enjoyed reading the notes and research I gathered together for this Pecha Kucha presentation, please feel free to comment below. All feedback is much appreciated and the all of the notes and research from the Pecha Kucha presentation, including the photographs I produced from my visits to Kelsey Park, Dulwich Park and Beddington Park can be found in my E-FOLIO.

Alex Smithson

The Nostalgia of Yesteryear.

It’s very hard to believe, it was almost one year ago that I finished school, the time just flies by like a shot. If you want me to be honest, I knew my time at primary school had gone quick, but for 5 years to come and go in a flash, it doesn’t feel like I left school.

Almost one year ago, I started my UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course at Croydon College, and in that short space of time, between September & now, it’s just gone like a blip, but the good thing is, I’ve been accepted onto the Level 3 Lens-Based Media Course for September, just weeks before I finish this course. By being accepted on to this course before I even finish the course I am currently on, this will give me the chance to make my photographical skills much better than before.

In all honesty, I hate the thought of the time flying so fast, because before you know it, you’ll get to a certain age and wonder where all of that time went. I just find it very hard to believe that the time flies so fast, but, like they say, time flies when you’re having fun.

In my eyes, I always believe that it’s good to make the most of the time that you’ve got on this mortal coil of a planet that we call Earth, because it’s wise to make the most of the time you’ve got now, and make sure to make something good out of it, because it will never come around ever again.

What I find very hard to believe is how quick the time goes, because you don’t realise just how quick it goes until you’ve finished your primary and secondary school years, and it’s when you move on to the last two years of your secondary education for college that you begin to realise: “Where has 16 years of my life gone?” Although I sometimes think that, I’ve realised that I want to make the most of the time that I still have whilst I’m still in secondary education.

College has been great this past year, and I won’t lie to you, I have enjoyed college. As I prepare to take on the two-year Level 3 Lens-Based Media Course, which begins in September, this will give me the chance to prepare for the kind of materials I am going to need for the course, which will run until 2017.

Croydon College has an extremely large range of opportunities in store, and it is also a fantastic college, because whatever course you choose to take on at this college, they give you all of the help and support that you feel you may need, and the staff at this college are very supportive, and they would do anything to make sure that you get to go in the right direction that you want to go in for the future.

There is one thing I always believe in, and that is to be yourself, because being yourself means that you get to take full control of the things that you want to do in life, and not be controlled by those who have their own lives to worry about. Be yourself and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something that you can’t do something that you want to do. If you want to do something that could benefit your chances of success, go for it. Don’t let anyone hold you back, in fact, don’t let anyone control your life. Control your own life in the style that you want, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Control your own life in the way that you want, but for all of the right reasons.

With Mother Nature coming up to its 2-Year Anniversary on the 6th June 2015, it is absolutely fantastic to know that Mother Nature has gotten stronger in just the short space of two years. It was also around this time last year that I started work on my second book: “A Year in Photography“, which is available for free download under “Free Books“. This was a rather dangerous risk for me to take though, considering the fact that I had my exams to worry about, four of which I passed, with the final result being that I got 6 GCSEs out of the four exams I managed to pass.

With my third book: “My Journey Through a Lens” being almost ready for release, this book is set to be the loftiest book I have ever produced, with this book being expected to cross over the 400-page mark. In turn, I have worked on this book throughout almost the whole entirety of my UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course, as I have balanced my coursework, this website, and also my work on this third book effectively.

With my 17th birthday coming up shortly, which has come around awfully quick due to how much of a busy year I’ve had, I have got some bits and pieces of artwork to submit & prepare beforehand, before all of my Final Major Project work goes on show privately, and to the public. Hopefully, this time around, I won’t feel as stressed as I did last year after I finished my exams. I have found this year to be less stressful, given the fact I’ve only been doing 4 subjects at Croydon College, which are Art & Design, English, Maths and Enrichment.

Sacrifices have been made down the line, and although I may have not been happy to make sacrifices for certain things initially, I am glad to have made those sacrifices, as they have helped me to become far better at the things I can now do.

Before I made those sacrifices, I admit, I used to be laid-back, and I would leave a lot of my work to the last minute, which would make me panic the night before, but after making those sacrifices, I have been able to keep on top of my work, I have also been able to find the time to write and publish articles on Mother Nature, and as well as that, I have been able to work on this third book, which is out soon.

In life, we all have to make sacrifices in order to become better at certain things we weren’t better at before, and by making sacrifices, this will make us all become stronger in ourselves, all of us will also believe in ourselves more for the sacrifices we’ve made, and at the end, all of the hard work and effort will pay off. Make sacrifices to make ends meet, and also make sacrifices so that all of the hard work and effort you’ve made pays dividends.

The colours I’ve used, which are Purple & Green, are how I sense nostalgia, as those two colours combined symbolise my own nostalgic views with reality.

If you have nostalgic views with reality that focus back to yesteryear, please feel free to comment below.

Alex Smithson

DoxDirect | The Easy Way to Print.

This article comes hot on the heels of the book that I recently published, which was: “A Year in Photography”. As DoxDirect are now a special featured printing service which I am delighted to feature on Mother Nature, this gives me the absolute pleasure to announce to all of you that my second book has been printed as a proper A5 Paperback, Matte Laminated book. I have to tell you, I was absolutely over the moon, because this week has been absolutely positive, and the one person I want to mention that helped me along the way with helping me to get this book printed is Louise Gipps.

Louise Gipps of DoxDirect has been getting a lot of positive feedback all across the board from many of the customers that have used this service. As this is my first time printing my book through DoxDirect, I was given so much support by Louise, who I must say is an absolute credit to the company, as she helped me with changing certain parts of the book spine that I created, given the fact one of the spines I created was a little too big.

The book spine, I must admit, was sort of the difficult part, because certain parts of the spine would eventually need re-sizing in order for the pages and the full back, spine and front cover to be printed. However, I received an Email from Louise late Monday night, in which she notified me that the book was despatched and it was on its way, and, the day after Louise notified me of the book being despatched, I received it by delivery on Tuesday. The delivery process was at blazing speed, because I was initially expecting to wait a few days, but, it was despatched on Monday, and arrived the next day, which left me with absolute happiness.

The loveliest part of DoxDirect was that they sent me some freshly made Haribos as a treat, which came as part of the order. Even everyone is talking about this printing service, because you ask them to print something for you, and they like to give you something back as a way of saying thank you for using their service. I wanted to say thank you so much to Louise, because, without your help, I wouldn’t have got my own printed copy of this book. Thank you :-)!!!!!!!!

Overall, I recommend DoxDirect to all of you, as this company has got a fantastic customer experience, and the DoxDirect team are always supportive if you ever need help with printing anything, and from a range of binding options, you cannot go wrong with such a fantastic company like DoxDirect.

Below are the pictures of the front cover, the book spine and the back cover.

The 10 binding options that DoxDirect provide for if you want to get something printed are:

  • Loose Leaf
  • Poster
  • Saddle Stitched
  • Ring Binder
  • Hardback Book
  • Paperback Book
  • Spiral Bound (white)
  • Sprial Bound (silver)
  • Spiral Bound (black)
  • Corner Stapled

I recommend DoxDirect to all of you, as it is one of the most fantastic services I have ever come across, and I would recommend you to try it out.

Also, it gives me the absolute pleasure to announce that a third book is currently in the works, and will be released over the course of 2015. The third book, titled: “My Journey Through a Lens” is focused a lot more on my own form of photography, given the photographical skills I have been expanding on since I started at Croydon College. There is an official awards ceremony coming up on Monday, which I have been invited to attend, so this will also be added to the new book as it gradually develops over the course of now, and over the course of 2015. This new book will also contain segments of certain articles that I have picked from Mother Nature, which will give this new book an all-new, and in-depth journey into what Mother Nature holds in store.

If you want to print a book that you may have written, I recommend DoxDirect. To print your book, or anything regarding the 10 options, please feel free to click on the DoxDirect logo via the Directories page. You won’t be disappointed. DoxDirect are a fantastic company, and they know how to work the magic when it comes to printing what you have asked them to print.

I would like to thank DoxDirect for printing my book, and to Louise. You and this company have been an absolute help, and with the third book, I will release it digitally for free first, and after that, I will use this service again to print this new book. Again, thanks so much to Louise and the whole of the DoxDirect company, you have been an absolute help, and I shall continue to use DoxDirect again.

Alex Smithson 🙂

© DoxDirect

Monthly Roundup: September 2014

Hello everyone, as today marks the final day of September, before we all journey into October, I wanted to take a look-back over September as it unfolded.

On the 1st September, I published my 2nd book, A Year in Photography, which is packed with a lot of information, and is also bigger and much better than my first book: “My Journey Through Photography”. Despite recurring problems with Microsoft Office Word 2013’s server claiming that it went down, I was still able to publish the book with no problem whatsoever.

A few short days after the release of the 2nd book, I updated you all, notifying you that an updated copy of the book was available to download via Dropbox, which meant that you would need to delete the old copy that was released on the 1st September in favour for the new copy that was updated.

Aside from this, I also mentioned in the same article that there were some small changes that would be made to this blog, such as a few small additions of some new social buttons, which were Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook and Tumblr.

During the course of the month, I wrote an article based on the Mount Tavurvur volcano that recently erupted a couple of weeks ago. This volcanic eruption that was captured on camera by Phil McNamara also caught a Sonic Boom, which makes a sudden banging noise that is almost loud enough to perforate your ear-drums. This resulted in Phil saying on the recording of the video: “Holy smoking Toledos.”. The shock-wave also changed the cloud formations in the Earth’s atmosphere, as the volcano had erupted bad enough to blow almost everything out of all proportions. The video that Phil McNamara recorded of the volcanic eruption instantly went viral across the whole of the internet after he published it.

To mark the beginning of college life, I began my first day at Croydon College on the 8th September, and I absolutely loved it. After my first week was over, I published a second article which would round off what was a perfect first week. The atmosphere at Croydon College has been absolutely peaceful, and has also been fun as well, as everyone treats each other with respect, which just goes to show how much of a massive impact college life can have, it leaves such a positive impact not just on me, but also on everyone else.

After 5 years since their 12th studio album, No Line On the Horizon, was released, U2 came back with a bang as they announced their 13th studio album: “Songs of Innocence”, which is now available for free until the 13th October. This album was announced at Apple’s Media Event, which took place at the Flint Centre on the 9th September, where they would also go on to unveil the two new iPhone’s, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Also, after a long while, Apple finally redesigned their whole website to make sure their website had the same metro-matching appearance to iOS.

For 4 days, the Invictus Games took place in London, which would give all of our soldiers, and many other soldiers from around the world the chance to compete, which was such a fantastic opportunity for our soldiers. This gave the soldiers from the UK and all of the other soldiers from around the world the chance to prove to everyone that even if they may have been unable to do the things they used to do, they would still carry on with sheer determination no matter what, to make sure that they could get the chance to be able to do something again that they may have missed for such a long time.

When iOS 8 was released on the 17th September, everyone was absolutely on it to install the new update, which to me was also a relief, as this update fixed the battery woes that I had to put up with for a whole year, considering the fact that the iOS 7 ecosystem in terms of the battery was absolutely poor. iOS 8 fixed all of the problems that I had with iOS 7 completely. The battery life was absolutely fantastic, because, just like iOS 6, the battery would last for more than one day, possibly a week. This, however, made me think that it’s always the even number updates that tend to make all iDevices last for a long time, but it’s the odd number updates that always tend to drain the battery the most.

iOS 4, iOS 6 and iOS 8 are the 3 main updates that have made the battery life on almost all iDevices last for a long while, whereas, for iOS 5 and iOS 7, the battery life for iOS 5 and iOS 7 would continually drain non-stop.

Overall, this month has been perfect, I couldn’t have asked for a perfect start to life as a college student, and for everything else, I will always keeping fighting the good fight to make sure I can get to where I want to be in the future, and that is to become a professional photographer.

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for making my life special in blogging, and also for supporting me along the way when it came to my exams, I shall make sure to keep up the good work…again, thank you :-).

Alex Smithson

Small Changes | Quick Update Change of Certain Blog Pages

Hello everyone, in light of the features some blogs have got, I have only just learned to create a drop-down menu for the two “About” pages. Recently, you may have seen all the pages disappear suddenly without warning, as I was trying to find out how to create a drop-down menu, but it’s only now that I’ve just learned how to create one.

The process, for me, was actually quite hard to do, as this kind of process of creating a drop-down menu can be quite a bit to take in, considering the guidance of how to create one. I initially found it quite hard at first, but, once I learned how to do it, I was able to create a drop-down menu via the Dashboard by going to Appearance -> Menus.

Also, I wanted to quickly update you all that I have slightly tweaked the book a bit, as one of the page’s title fonts appeared to be somewhat squished, and I’ve also added in a really tiny bit of information. One or more images have been slightly enlarged to make sure there are no gaps left, so that any gaps that may have been in some pages are all gone now. If you have a copy of the book that was released on the 1st September, please make sure to delete the old one in order to download the updated copy. Don’t worry, the updated book is free, and always will be, and any future books I may create will always be free.

Thank you for reading this article.

Alex Smithson

A Year in Photography: Book Update

Hello everyone, I wanted to quickly update you all on the new book that I’ll be releasing on September 1st by showing you an early preview of the final design of the book. “A Year in Photography” is set to be the biggest second installment.

Much bigger than the first, this book contains over 50 pages worth, though some page fonts have been shrinked to certain sizes and some have also been enlarged for some pages to fill up any gaps left near the bottom of cetain pages that had finished information beforehand.

There’s a lot of information and ideas that I have put into this book, some old, some new, but mostly exclusive information that talks pretty much about everything regarding when I started blogging, and many other things that I do when I’ve been away from blogging for a certain time.

Below, I have put a design comparison of both book designs, which will show you what the design looked like before, and what the new design looks like now. Also below this Book Design Comparison is the Final, Official Cover art of the book: “A Year in Photography”.

Book Design Comparison
Book Design Comparison
A Year in Photography
Final, Official Cover

Please let me know what you guys think of this final and official cover :-).

Thank you for reading this article :-).

Alex Smithson