Mother Nature: Why Did I Start Up This Website?

I started this website up because I wanted to be able to do something that I could set my mind to, something that would keep me occupied, but most of all, something that I would be able to build my skills on and develop further on as well.

Starting this website up gave me the chance to come up with all-new ideas, all-inclusive and exquisite ideas that would help me to develop and even improve on certain things I wasn’t so good at before.

I always aim to try something new almost every day, and although I may feel at times that Mother Nature has gone I’m a different direction than I had planned, I’m pleased I can still work and develop on what I love the most, photography, whilst working on other core areas that aren’t necessarily connected to photography, including core areas where photography is not involved at all and vice versa.

I made sure to start this website up and to keep working at writing and publishing articles as I wanted to make sure that I could keep as active as possible at what I do, as well as what I do when I’m not writing articles.

Setting up this website gave me the chance to be creative with my ideas, and I made this website my sole purpose to work hard and to make sure that I could pursue my career as a photographer.

It’s hard work setting up a website and making it into something you want to make it into but it’s absolutely worth it. If you keep working hard on your blog or website and you keep to a daily publishing schedule, you’ll find that your blog or website will pick up and people will start to notice you.

It takes a lot of time to get everyone to view your blog or website, but it’s all about standing the test of time and making the effort to keep your blog or website looking relevant and also with fresh new content.

If you want an article or a hobby that you like or love, or even hate to peak someone’s interest, you’ve got to make sure it’s something that will get people talking.

When I published the photo article: “A Bright & Breezy Spring!” sometime last year, I wanted it to peak everyone’s interests and sure enough, it was actually good that it got people talking, as I ended up with over 80 people liking the article as a result, which was an achievement for me, as it was a set based primarily and secondarily on my own photography skills at that time.

I always aim to make sure to create an article that will get everyone talking, but at the same time, I aim to make sure that the article I publish is something that can not only get everyone talking but also give people the chance to look at the points I may have covered in that article, as well as the article’s sole purpose for viewing.

Overall, I love writing and publishing articles, as I can keep myself motivated at what I do and can also keep myself as productive as possible.

I will and shall aim to pursue my dream career in professional photography and also possibly in filmography.

What made you want to start-up your blog or website? Please let me know by submitting feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Remembering Amy Winehouse 5 Years On (1983 – 2011)

It’s hard to think it was exactly five years ago today that we lost the iconic music legend, Amy Winehouse. The time has flown but it doesn’t really feel like it has when you consider the news of Amy’s death was announced on this day five years ago, it just feels unreal. I was actually heartbroken when I found out she died because it’s like the musician we all came to know and love over the years had gone within a flash.

I wanted to pay tribute to Amy Winehouse by reflecting on her music career, as well as iconic songs that I felt really got to the bottom of what life can be like from anyone’s perspective as well as her own.

Amy Winehouse’s record, Stronger than Me, which came from her first studio album, Frank, had that sensual, yet realistic feeling that I could relate to, as it was based on someone who she may have felt was a lot stronger than her, but really she was the strong one, but I could relate to that song almost instantly, because it’s like the feeling I would feel, such as whether I know someone who is stronger than I am, was creating the bigger picture. It was, to me, like a concept, but except it was like a jigsaw puzzle where even though she sung it, it’s like she wasn’t stronger than she thought, given she may have thought someone else was stronger than her, but really she was stronger than she first thought.

The song, Tears Dry On Their Own, taken from Amy Winehouse’s album, Back to Black, had that instant connection, because although she did that song based around the relationship she was in, I felt that song connected to me completely because it’s like you may feel that sense of hurt, that sense of pain from an experience you want to forget, but as you forget, you get stronger, and you find that those tears will dry themselves and you won’t cry anymore for anything that is now past history, and to me, that’s how I feel every time I listen to Tears Dry On Their Own, because you don’t necessarily have to be in a relationship to know what it feels like, even in friendships or even at certain stages where you may feel like you have been taken for granted, you know what it will feel like if you have experienced a certain period of time in your life where something’s gone horribly wrong, but although you may feel weak inside, really you’re not, you’re actually stronger than you think and you know that you can move on and forget what you shouldn’t care about anymore.

Back to Black brought with it a relatable feeling, because when Amy Winehouse said this line: “We only say goodbye with words, I died a hundred times“, it’s like every time you say goodbye to someone, or even to anyone, it’s like you lose a part of yourself, the same for the other person as well, and it’s like you have died more than once, but really, you’re in the state of mind where everything just appears to be out of control, but also out of your hands, and also at the same time, like as if your whole world has fallen apart just the same as the other person in mind. I sometimes feel like that, which is why this song in general, does make me feel like I have been there, and I have, I have experienced moments of upset recently after going through a seriously bad patch whilst at college, but it was having everyone there, friends and family, and even close friends that kept me going through a seriously bad experience and I feel a lot stronger now than before, because I have got through the pain with everyone by my side. That’s why this song connects me to the overall feeling of what Amy said in this particular song altogether.

Our Day Will Come, which is taken from Amy Winehouse’s posthumous third studio album, is the song I love because it has that positive feeling that goes with it, as it not only has that positive connection to it, but it’s a song I would always listen to everyday and never get tired of. I would never get tired listening to Amy Winehouse and her music, because her music is the kind of music I will listen to.

Although Amy Winehouse is gone, she will never be forgotten. She will always be remembered in mine and everyone’s hearts forever. We miss you Amy Winehouse xxxxxxxxxx.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to an All-New Look for Mother Nature! Karuna is Here!

Welcome to the all-new look for Mother Nature! Karuna is here. Motif is gone!

It’s been a long time coming, but I have finally done away with the Motif theme altogether for the Karuna WordPress theme, which is a professional theme that caught my eye.

Having the Motif theme has served me very well over the past two years, given that I have been able to keep a productive look for Mother Nature, but this time, I felt it was right to give this website a much-needed facelift.

As you can now see, the theme is officially live and Motif is gone. I absolutely love the new Karuna theme, and considering the fact WordPress only released this theme for free just a few days ago means that this finally gave me the chance to make Mother Nature breathe a new lease of life, pumped with all-new energy that will make this website more professional and better than ever.

As well as the theme change, I have also made some changes to the menus, and I have also changed the look of the bottom of the page, which means you will still continue to see the Akismet Spam Prevention Widget, including the Social Widget. I have made changes to the arrangements of the menus as I wanted to tidy up the website so that things are easier to get around, which means you’ll now see the Home Menu as the third menu out of the six, considering that the other menus have been placed in Directories and Famous Icons as drop-down menus. The Famous Icons Menu is now the first of the six menus, as I wanted to make sure that some of the menu buttons, even if they slightly go off of the page, are easy to access.

The Famous Icons Menu is now the first of the six menus, as I wanted to make sure that some of the menu buttons, even if they slightly go off of the page, are easier to access.

For the first time, I can now make changes to the header image of this website, and the first header image I have used for this website is the black and white version of one of the colour photos I took and used as the main photo for the article: “The Natural Roots of June“.

Also for the first time, any article you click on will now take centre stage, because when you click on the name of the chosen article, the featured image will fit to the size of your Laptop/PC screen’s resolution, with the article information being placed firmly below the feature image.

I love the Karuna theme, as it’s professional and is also an opportunistic theme for any keen photographers like myself who aim to have a career in photography. The Karuna theme is also the perfect theme for making sure your voice gets heard loud and clear.

If you love the all-new look of Mother Nature now the Karuna theme has gone live on this website, please feel free to let me know by submitting feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Historical Photographers: Walker Evans

To kick 2016 off with a bang, I will be introducing the next article in the Historical Photographers series by talking about the historical photographer, Walker Evans.

Walker Evans (3rd November 1903 – 10th April 1975)

Walker Evans was an American photographer who was best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), where he would document the effects of the Great Depression (a.k.a. The Wall Street Crash). Much of his works from the FSA period used the large 8 x 10-inch camera. He had said that his goal as a photographer was to make pictures that would be “literate, authoritative, transcendent”. Many of his works are in the permanent collections of museums, and have also been the subject of retrospectives at many institutions, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the George Eastman House.

Walker Evans’ Biography

Early Life

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Jessie (née Crane) and Walker, Walker Evans had come from an affluent family, and his father was an advertising director. He had spent his youth in Toledo, in Chicago, and also in New York City. There, he had attended The Loomis Institute and the Mercersburg Academy, before graduating from the Phillips Academy in Andover, in Massachusetts, in 1922.

He had studied French Literature at Williams College, for a year, and spent much of his time in the school’s library, before dropping out. After spending a year in Paris in 1926, he had returned to the United States to join the edgy literary and art crowd in New York City. John Cheever, Hart Crane, and Lincoln Kirstein were among his friends, and he was a clerk for a stockbroker firm in Wall Street from 1927 to 1929.

Walker Evans took up photography as a hobby in 1928, and around that time, he was living in Ossining, in New York, and his influences had included Eugéne Atget and August Sander. In 1930, he had published three photographs (Brooklyn Bridge), in the poetry book: “The Bridge”, by Hart Crane, and in 1931, he had taken on a photo series of Victorian houses in the Boston vicinity, which was sponsored by Lincoln Kirstein. In 1933, he had taken photographs in Cuba as part of an assignment for the publisher of Carleton Beals’ then-forthcoming book: “The Crime of Cuba“, in which he would photograph the revolt against the dictator, Gerardo Machado, and in Cuba, Walker Evans had briefly known Ernest Hemingway.

Photography During the Depression Era

In 1935, Walker Evans had spent two months at first on a fixed-term photographic campaign for the Resettlement Administration (RA) in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and from October onwards, he would continue to do photographic work for the RA, and later on, the Farm Security Administration (FSA), primarily in the Southern United States.

In the Summer of 1936, while he was on leave from the FSA, Walker Evans and the writer, James Agee, were sent by the Fortune Magazine on an assignment to Hale County, in Alabama, for a story that the magazine had subsequently opted not to run, and in 1941, Evans’ photographs and Agee’s text which detailed the duo’s stay with three white tenant families in Southern Alabama during the Great Depression were published with the groundbreaking book: “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men”.

It’s detailed account of the three farming families had painted a deeply moving portrait of rural poverty, and by noting a similarity to the Beals’ book, the critic, Janet Malcolm, in her 1980 book: “Diana & Nikon: Essays on the Aesthetic of Photography”, had pointed out the contradiction between a kind of anguished dissonance in Agee’s prose, as well as the quiet, magisterial beauty of Evans’ photographs of the sharecroppers.

The three families that were headed by Bud Fields, the Floyd Burroughs and Frank Tingle, had lived in the Hale County town of Akron, in Alabama, and the owners of the land in which the families had worked had told them that Walker Evans and James Agee were “Soviet agents,”, although Allie Mae Burroughs, who was Floyd’s wife, had recalled during later interviews that she discounted that information.

Evans’ photographs of the families had made them the icons of the Depression-Era misery, including poverty, and in September 2005, Fortune had revisited the Hale County, including the descendants of the three families for its 75th Anniversary issue. Charles Burroughs, who was just four years old at that time when Walker Evans and James Agee visited the family, was “still angry” at them for not even sending the family a copy of the book; the son of Floyd Burroughs was also reportedly angry because the family had been: “cast in a light that they couldn’t do any better, that they were doomed, ignorant”.

Walker Evans had continued to work for the FSA until 1938, and that same year, an exhibition, titled: “Walker Evans: American Photographs”, was held at The Museum of Modern Art, in New York. This was the first exhibition in this museum that was devoted to the work of a single photographer, and the catalogue had included an accompanying essay that was made by Lincoln Kirstein, whom Evans had befriended in his early days in New York.

In 1938, Walker Evans also took his first photographs in the New York subway with a camera that was hidden in his coat. These would be collected in book form in 1966, under the title: “Many are Called”. In 1938 and 1939, Walker Evans had worked with and also mentored Helen Levitt.

Walker Evans, like many other photographers, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, had rarely spent time in the darkroom, making prints from his own negatives, and he only very loosely supervised the making of the prints of most of his photographs, where he would sometimes only attach the handwritten notes to the negatives, with instructions on some aspects of the printing procedure.

Walker Evans’ Later Work

Walker Evans was also a passionate reader and writer, and in 1945, he became a staff writer at TIME Magazine. Shortly afterwards, he became an editor for the Fortune Magazine company through 1965. In that year also, he became a professor of photography on the faculty for Graphic Design at the Yale University School of Art.

In one of his last photographic projects, Walker Evans had completed a black and white portfolio of the Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.’s offices and partners for publication in “Partners in Banking,” and published it in 1968 to celebrate the private bank’s 150th Anniversary. In 1973 and 1974, Evans had also shot a long series with the then-new Polaroid SX-70 camera, after his age and declining health had made it difficult for him to work with elaborate equipment.

The first definitive retrospective of his photographs, whose works would “individually evoke an incontrovertible sense of specific places, and collectively a sense of America,”, and according to a press release, they were on view at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1971. These were selected by John Szarkowski and were simply titled: “Walker Evans”.

Walker Evans’ Death & Legacy

Walker Evans had died at his home in New Haven, in Connecticut, in 1975.

In 1994, The Estate of Walker Evans had handed over its holdings to New York City’s The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the sole copyright holder for all works of art in all media by Walker Evans, but the only exception is a group of approximately 1,000 negatives in collection of the Library of Congress, which were produced for the Resettlement Administration (RA) / the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Walker Evans’ RA / FSA works are also in the public domain.

In 2000, Walker Evans was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

The third Historical Photographer case on Walker Evans, and the first Historical Photographer case for 2016 comes to an end.

Please feel free to submit feedback based on what you thought of Walker Evans and his photography career. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: August 2015

To round off what has been a good month on Mother Nature, I will take a look back on the articles that were published over the course of this month.

1.8.2015 – I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for a relaxing, peaceful & joyous August, as this month was set to be the most relaxing month, despite the scorching hot weather that I thought would be impacting the UK. It definitely was safe to say that this month would be full of joy and relaxation, given just how lovely the weather was.

In light of recent events though, I made sure that I would make and publish a tribute article as soon as I could to pay my respects to the Formula 1 Racer, Jules Bianchi, who sadly passed away on the 17th July 2015, coming just 9 months after a racing accident that left him with severe head injuries.

As Windows 10 was the most-talked-about Windows Updates, in the 72 hours that Windows 10 was downloaded, it was downloaded by as many as 14 million users around the world that use Windows, due to unprecedented demand. As I was lucky to download my copy of Windows 10 on release day, I had found the Windows 10 Operating System to be a damn sight faster than Windows Vista and Windows 7. Windows 8 and 8.1 were really good though, they were both speedy, but to me, they were finally balanced in speed, and now that Windows 10 is out, I find that speed and connecting to the internet is more important, because as long as you have both of them, then you’re well on your way to finding things quicker.

4.8.2015 – As the hot weather was officially back, it was safe to say that Mother Nature didn’t slow down just yet, as she decided to provide us some hot weather, despite the humidity, and the hot weather had proved to be almost as hot as it was at the beginning of July. As this day was a lovely day, it was the perfect time to take some photos. I had also taken some photos towards the end of July, and Mother Nature didn’t disappoint at all, as she had created a trail of happiness, slight destruction, given the preparation of the hot weather, and not only that, but she had certainly made the path to Summer feel beautiful.

5.8.2015 – As Mother Nature needed a bit of a refresh in readability, I took the chance of changing up both the font choices by switching to a more readable user interface. The original default fonts were okay, but they were beginning to look dated, but, as I wanted to give Mother Nature a fresh new face and lease of life, I changed the heading font to Oswald, and the Base font was also changed to PT Sans, to accommodate for better viewing.

10.8.2015 – Following the longed-for release of Microsoft’s Operating System, Windows 10, which hit all laptops and PCs running Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 with Bing, I was absolutely delighted to write this article as a way of saying thank you to Microsoft for really nailing the best of both operating systems in one OS.

21.8.2015 – Following shock news reports, the world had lost a true icon in the world of racing on the 17th July 2015. Jules Bianchi sadly passed away on the 17th July 2015, and his death came just 9 months after a racing accident which had left him with severe head injuries. Jules Bianchi’s death came just 21 years after the former Formula 1 Racer, Ayrton Senna, lost his life in the 1994 San Morino Grand Prix, following an accident whilst on the track.

The news of his death had come as a shock to the racing world, and his death had also shocked me, as I hadn’t realised just how bad the extent of his head injuries were until they had announced his death.

The tribute article I made to pay my respects to Jules Bianchi would take a look back on his life as it unfolded, and it had also included the highlights of his career up until his death on the 17th July 2015. We will miss you dearly Jules Bianchi, but you are forever in our hearts.

31.8.2015 – On Friday 1st August 2015, the world had lost an international music & TV icon. Cilla Black, who was best known for being on the hit TV shows, such as Surprise Surprise & Blind Date, which had both ran for 18 years, sadly passed away at the age of 72, at her holiday home in Spain. The tribute article would take a look back on Cilla Black’s life as it unfolded, and the timeline of events that had occurred throughout her life up until her sudden death on the 1st August 2015.

Thank you all for a very good month, this month has gone so quick, and it’s been really good, and eventful as well, and I’ll see you all in September.

Alex Smithson