Monthly Roundup: July 2017

This month certainly has been busier than the last, though I have been working on finding jobs in the meantime, whilst also trying to fit a few articles in. I can only apologise again for being less frequent with publishing articles, I’ve been making sure to prioritise my time more on finding a job whilst also going out and enjoying myself with friends following the end of my time in education at Croydon College.

I will be publishing some articles over the next few weeks but please keep in mind that it might be less frequent depending on how busy I have been lately considering I am searching around for jobs, so I can only apologise if I don’t publish articles as much.

Without further ado, I will take a look back at the articles I have published over the course of July.

1.7.2017 – Welcoming you all to July on Mother Nature, I described that the weather was expected to be getting much hotter and more humid, whilst also mentioning that I would be looking around for jobs considering that my time at Croydon College had almost reached the end.

14.7.2017 – This day officially marked the end. My education came to a remarkable close as I finished my final year at Croydon College. The end result from my final year of the two-year UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course was that I passed with my final grade being a Pass.

25.7.2017 – After hearing about the beautifully artistic mural that the artist, Bareface, had produced of the late music legend, Amy Winehouse, who sadly passed away at the age of 27 on the 23rd July 2011, on the Croydon Advertiser, I just could not resist seizing the opportunity to photograph the mural.

31.7.2017 – Would you find it hard to believe that it was exactly 21 years ago since Crash Bandicoot graced our screens? Remember the days where you would jump over obstacles, smash through boxes and tackle side-scrolling levels? Well, those days are finally back! As the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy is back to true form, with all three of the original Crash Bandicoot games completely remastered from scratch.

Well, those days are finally back! As the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy is back to true form, with all three of the original Crash Bandicoot games completely remastered from scratch.

Also, to kick off my own photography series, titled: “The Concept of Expression”, I photographed two close friends of mine as I mentioned I would be intending to explore the concept of expression, as well as to how a facial expression can alter or change the mood of a photograph. In this case, the two close friends I photographed for my own photography series were Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford.

Thank you so much for such a great month. It’s been quite a busy month but it sure has been a great one.

Thanks again for such a great month and I shall see you all in August!

Alex Smithson

The End of the Road! I’ve Passed!

It’s officially the end. My education comes to a remarkable close as I have finished my final year at Croydon College.

Who would have thought that this time three years ago I would be starting my first day at Croydon College, only for the time to fly so much quicker than school? Even I am shocked myself by how far I’ve come since I started at Croydon College.

This time, three years ago, I had just marked the end of secondary school for good as I finished Year 11, and I can even remember starting my first day at Croydon College. I introduced myself to everyone and within the first day, I had made a lot of friends, as we instantly clicked with one another. Three years later, I have so many friends who I keep in contact with and even now, the support I’ve received from my family and my friends has made me realise that I can talk to anyone if I ever feel down about anything.

Croydon College, despite the ups and downs I went through over the course of the three years I studied, gave me the chance to realise my potential and now as I am at the stage of applying for a full-time job, I have officially decided to take a gap year to apply for jobs as I am considering possibly doing a degree in photography next year, which, for me, will really help me in many years to come.

I have enjoyed this year better than the last, but it’s safe to say I will miss Croydon College and everyone in that respect. On the plus side, I have left with my head held high knowing that I have done so well and I cannot wait to take on the best opportunities that become available to me.

Although my work is sufficient enough for a Pass instead of a Merit, I will settle for a Pass instead as I have managed to pass my final year of the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course. That’s good because I have passed my final year. Result!

I am so chuffed to have worked so hard because despite spending a countless amount of hours getting work done, even whilst having to pull all-nighters that would last up until 8:35 AM or 9:00 AM in the morning, I am glad to have passed because now I can officially bring my time at Croydon College to a remarkable close.

Thank you, Croydon College, for all that you have done to get me to where I need to be and I shall continue to go the extra mile to really get the best out of the work I produce in the foreseeable, and thanks for giving me the chance to realise my potential to become a photographer. None of this would have been possible without your help and guidance, so thank you, Croydon College, I’ll miss being at Croydon College but my time at Croydon College has now officially come to an end. Thanks for everything.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to July!

Welcome to July! As the weather is expected to be much hotter and more humid over the course of the next few weeks, it’s safe to say that everyone, including myself, will need to be prepared in the event of sunburn, given the scorching hot weather we had at the beginning at June made us all feel like parts of our houses were saunas even after letting some fresh air in.

As I am looking around for jobs considering my time at Croydon College has almost reached the end, it’s safe to say I am going to miss Croydon College so much, given that this college gave me so much and helped me to realise my potential, and the fact that this college got me through difficult times that I went through in the past year, I am so glad that Croydon College was my first choice of college as this college changed my life for the better. Fingers crossed I can get myself a job as I don’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing when I could be going out and earning money for myself, whilst also contributing to my family.

Fingers crossed I can get myself a job as I don’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing when I could be going out and earning money for myself, whilst also contributing to my family.

I will be making sure to publish more articles this month considering June was an extremely busy month for me, even though it was a fantastic month for me in the process given that I celebrated my 19th Birthday on the 16th June, whilst also celebrating the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy which only came out exactly two weeks after my 19th Birthday. On the 8th July, I will be heading around to my friend’s house as she is holding a party at hers, so it’s me and quite a few people who’ll be going next Saturday, so if there’s no sign of an article or signs of any articles on that day, it’s because I’ll be partying and making sure to make the most of the free time considering I won’t be able to do this as often once I’ve secured myself a full-time job.

The holiday is almost here so that’s a good sign but for now, welcome to July!

Alex Smithson

HOUSEKEEPING

As I was able to meet my deadline with all of my coursework backed up to some hard drives, I did a massive clear-out on my laptop. I needed to get that much-needed storage space back as my laptop was being cluttered with all of the coursework I’ve done over the course of the entire year.

I was so glad to have taken all of my work off my laptop, as it’s completely spacious once again, and after defragmenting and optimising the drives built into my laptop, I have managed to get some extra space back, and I have noticed my laptop is running much faster now and it’s also working much more efficiently than before.

I won’t lie, I didn’t realise how much coursework I did this year until I got all of my coursework together in one folder. I am pleased that I have done all of my work, as this gives me a sense of relief knowing that I can use the research and photography skills I have by putting them to good use.

It’s hard to believe that after Monday 3rd July, my time at Croydon College comes to an end. Croydon College has given me so much and has helped me to realise my potential in becoming the photographer I am now, and never did I think I would be saying this three years later that I have managed to achieve so much in such a short space of time. Photography has always been a passion and a hobby for me as it is a hobby I want to take up as a full-time career, and I have noticed lately with this website’s Instagram account that some of the photography work I have published on this website’s Instagram account has been receiving a lot of positive feedback, which has helped me to come up with all new ideas for this website.

But again, doing a much-needed clear-out has done me a favour as I can now come up with better ideas that are free-flowing, which is essential for me in that respect considering I love photography and now that I have had the opportunity to photograph some friends of mine for my Final Major Project, including the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, I actually want to photograph people as well as producing photography work that is nature-based, landscape-based and portrait-based, as photographing people fascinates me, given that facial expressions are something that interest me. A facial expression, in my eyes, can describe more than just a thousand words. A facial expression can describe unlimited amounts of words, as well as speak volumes.

I will miss Croydon College, but life has to go on and I can honestly say that despite all the ups and downs I have had, that all of us have had in that respect, this college got me and everyone else through and allowed us to realise our potential, and this college have been so supportive and given me and everyone so much to be thankful for. Croydon College is a good college but I will miss it, but still, life goes on and I will work my socks off from here on out even after I finish my last ever day at Croydon College as a college student, as I want to become a full-time photographer and even get the opportunity to do photography-based projects that I actually want to get paid for.

It feels so good to do a lot of housekeeping but now I can come up with better ideas from this point forward. I haven’t published in goodness knows how many weeks due to the coursework, as I met the deadline and did my last Maths exam, and I have had a lot of free time to use lately. I have been gearing up and preparing myself for the hype of this Friday, as this Friday sees the remarkable gaming legend make a comeback after 21 years, and that legend is Crash Bandicoot. The Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, produced by Activision (original Crash Bandicoot series by Naughty Dog) will be released on Friday 30th June! Keep your eyes peeled for the article I’ll be publishing that will be celebrating the release of the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy on Friday.

Does it feel good for you when you have done a lot of housekeeping? Please tell me, I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Headshot Photographs / #1 to #10 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Contact Sheets

As I prepare to end my Final Major Project, which comes to a close on Monday 5th June, I have created Contact Sheets for my Final Major Project, which will be in my sketchbook once printed.

All of the Headshot Photographs which consist of my close friends, which are Jonathan McCartney, Steven Geer, Oli Regan, Leonardo Mouza, Terrence Mathew, Mhamad Rauf & Kasra Soltani, are almost ready for the End of Year Show, and all I need to do now is get the photos put on to a large number of slides, timed around 10 to 20 seconds each, and then all that’s left is to finalise my proposal and then the sketchbook annotations, along with the Final Evaluation.

I hadn’t anticipated my last year of college would fly so quick! Time flies when you’re having fun, also when you’re working your socks off to make sure you can achieve the best from the work you produce.

Below are all of the contact sheets from #1 to #10, including the photo edits and black and white versions of the original photographs.

Headshot #1 – Jonathan McCartney

Headshot #1 – Jonathan McCartney / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / Black Backdrop & Red Backdrop

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / WordFoto Edits / Black Backdrop & Red Backdrop

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani / Monochrome (Black & White) / Facial Expressionism Photographs + A Continuation of the First Set of Facial Expressionism Photographs

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

These contact sheets are essential for the project work I have produced, as they cover all of the work I have produced for the Final Major Project and given the fact I have named the photographs, this is beneficial for me as I can prepare for the end of the Final Major Project whilst I prepare a photographic presentation for the End of Year Show.

It’s hard to believe that on Monday 5th June at 11:30 AM, all of the work I have produced will be handed in for what will be the last time. I still cannot get my head around the fact I have only a few weeks left at Croydon College. The time sure flew! School went quick, there’s no denying that, but college, on the other hand, went like a blip!

These contact sheets, which go in conjunction with all of the coursework I have produced, will be viewable in the E-Folio.

Please submit below your response on whether there are any improvements I can make for when I produce photography work similar to the headshot photography work I have produced in the future. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Headshot #10 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Kasra Soltani

Bringing my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project to a remarkable close, Headshot #10 marks the end of my Final Major Project Practical Work as I have photographed my close friend, Kasra Soltani.

For this final collection of headshot photographs, I have made sure to get Kasra to do some facial expressions like before, but for these headshot photographs, I have adjusted the lighting to accommodate for better focus on Kasra so that each expression he has made connects to the photography work I have already produced. Taking a new direction on the photographs, Kasra has done some new facial expressions that I initially didn’t have in mind at first and this has given me a better outlook as to how I can assign each expression with its own name, as well as to how that specific emotion connects to the facial expression I have not only asked him to make, but the facial expressions he has made naturally in most of these photographs.

This final headshot collection has informed my critical thinking, as well as the research I have done on the five photographers, which are Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn, Thomas Ruff, August Sander & David Bailey.

Below are the final headshot photographs for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, complete with the WordFoto Edits and Black & White Versions of the Original Photographs.

Canon EOS 1200D

WordFoto Edits

Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

I am so pleased to have achieved such fantastic results from the photography work I have produced throughout the course of the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, and I have noticed that every headshot collection I have produced I’ve seen improvements every time. Now that I have got together all the photographs I have produced for my Final Major Project, I will be making sure to pick a selected number of photographs from all of the headshot articles to present them as my chosen final pieces. Contact sheets are being produced at this stage which will be going in my sketchbook and my aim is to get the Final Major Project Proposal done and finalised and then get the last of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project work done and ready before Monday 5th June.

All of the research and headshot photographs I have produced as part of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project coursework can be found in my E-Folio.

Headshot #10 brings the practical work for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project to a remarkable close. I am so pleased to have worked my socks off over the last few weeks. All this hard work will eventually pay off and considering it’s my final year at Croydon College and my final year of the two-year film and photography course, I want to make sure I can aim for a higher grade with all of this coursework. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get the best final result possible by the end of this year.

I am open to your responses and critique, so please feel free to suggest any improvements you feel I could make when it comes to producing any future photography work.

Your responses and critique are greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

If you want to follow my close friend, Kasra Soltani, on Instagram, I have provided his Instagram username here: @Kass.ll7

Headshot #9 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Kasra Soltani

Continuing on from Headshot #8, I have photographed my close friend, Kasra Soltani, for Headshot #9 of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

For these headshot photographs, just like I did with Jonathan McCartney, Steven Geer, Oli Regan & Leonardo Mouza, I have used a black backdrop to bring out the emphasis of the facial expressions I have asked him to make.

As my research has influenced, informed and helped me to develop my critical thinking and photography skills further, I have made sure that these photographs stand out and give the facial expressions I have asked Kasra to make a better insight, so that each facial expression brings to the surface the emotion that goes with that specific facial expression.

As well as the facial expressions I have asked Kasra to make, I have also photographed him doing different facial expressions naturally, so in this case, when I say natural, I mean he has been able to do facial expressions I wouldn’t usually expect him or anyone else to do. I’ve even got him to do some of the expressions again, but this time, in his own way, so at least then his natural facial expressions compared to the facial expressions I have asked him to make put more emphasis on the photography work I have produced.

Below are the headshot photographs, including the WordFoto Edits and the Black & White Versions of these photographs I have produced featuring my cl0se friend, Kasra Soltani.

Canon EOS 1200D

WordFoto Edits

Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

I feel that these photographs I have produced of my close friend, Kasra, for Headshot #9, show dramatic improvements in my photography skills, as I have made sure to adjust the position of the light to set the tone of these photographs correctly to the emotions I have asked Kasra to make, and I have noticed that my photographs have more of a shallow depth of field. I have also noticed and improved over the course of time with the clarity of the photographs I have taken, and I strongly feel that Headshot #9 has helped to inform and note the improvements and changes I have made to make these photographs stand out. To improve for next time, I will be making sure to explore the emotions effectively as opposed to Kasra’s body language, so that his body language can reflect the facial expressions I have asked him to make, as well as the facial expressions he has made himself.

These photos of my close friend, Kasra Soltani, that I have produced for Headshot #9 can be found in my E-Folio.

I am open to your responses, so please let me know if there are any improvements I can make for next time and if so, please highlight the areas you feel I could improve on for next time when I publish Headshot #10. which will be the final headshot article to close much of the practical side of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

Your responses and critique are greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

If you want to follow my close friend, Kasra, on Instagram, I have provided his Instagram username here: @Kass.ll7

Headshot #8 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Kasra Soltani

As part of my Final Major Project, Headshot #8 follows on Headshot #7, which focused on the subject, Mhamad Rauf, and Headshot #8 focuses on my next subject, which is my close friend, Kasra Soltani.

For these photographs, I wanted to create a different approach to the facial expressions I wanted Kasra to make by getting him to do those facial expressions as to the way he makes those facial expressions naturally.

I experimented, just like with Headshot #6 of Terrence & Leonardo and with Headshot #7 of Mhamad, with the graffiti as a backdrop, as I wanted to photograph Kasra down in the walkway that is just on the right-hand-side outside the rotunda of Croydon College.

All of these headshot photographs build further on all of the research I have done over the course of the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, and the five photographers I have done research on are Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn, Thomas Ruff, August Sander & David Bailey.

Below are the headshot photographs I have produced of Kasra, including some Monochrome photographs that I produced after I finished photographing Kasra making the facial expressions I asked him to do for these photographs.

Canon EOS 1200D

WordFoto Edits

Monochrome (Black & White) / Facial Expressionism Photographs + A Continuation of the First Set of Facial Expressionism Photographs

I feel that the research I have done over the course of the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project has really informed and developed my photography skills further. I have noticed with these photographs I have taken of Kasra that my photography skills have rapidly improved. Up until I photographed Terrence, Leo, Mhamad & Kasra, I was initially against the idea of photographing outside the college, but I was glad to have experimented further with my photography skills by photographing outside the college. as I have noticed in just the short space of a few weeks that my photography skills are now a lot better.

These photographs I have taken of my close friend, Kasra Soltani, including the edits I have produced can be found in my E-Folio, but stay tuned, as I will be publishing Headshot #9 very soon, in which I have photographed Kasra again, but this time in the photography studio. I can guarantee that the next batch of photographs I have produced for Headshot #9 featuring Kasra will be the best photographs I have produced yet.

I would most certainly love to get your response on these photographs and please let me know if there are any improvements I can make for next time. Your response is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

If you want to follow my close friend, Kasra, on Instagram, I have provided his Instagram username here: @Kass.ll7

David Bailey / Research

Drawing the research stage of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project to a remarkable close, the fifth and final photographer I have chosen to research for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project is David Bailey.

David Bailey is an English Fashion & Portrait photographer, who became a photographic assistant at the John French studio in 1959 and in 1960, David Bailey was a photographer for John Cole’s Studio Five before he was contracted for the iconic and internationally renowned fashion magazine, British VOGUE.

Below are the slides in the exact order, and the work I have done Harvard Referencing for which references David Bailey’s photography work I take absolutely no credit for. I also take absolutely no credit for the self-portrait photograph produced by David Bailey himself. I’ve merely referenced David Bailey’s photography work in my research as inspiration to inform and develop my own photography work and photography skills further as I approach the end of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

The pages that are referenced can be found below, complete with Harvard Referencing, which describes in short detail who David Bailey is, the best photographic pieces of work he has produced, the publications he has released, the exhibitions he has done to showcase his photography work, including the awards he has received, with references and external links to further research. All credit goes to David Bailey.

Now that I have managed to cover all five photographers for the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project I have been working on, David Bailey’s photography work, including Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn, Thomas Ruff & August Sander‘s work have helped me to develop my headshot photographs better. As I am wrapping up the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project very soon, I can promise there are three more headshot photography articles on the way.

This research presentation on David Bailey can also be found in my E-Folio and the next subject I have photographed, who is the last subject I have photographed for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project before I submit all of my Final Major Project coursework on Monday 5th June 2017 will also be featured in the E-Folio once they’re published. I can confirm there are three more headshot photographs on the way, so keep your eyes peeled, as these photographs I have taken have shown my improvements in my photography skills, as well as the locations I have shot these photographs whilst in Croydon.

If you found this final research presentation on David Bailey useful, please let me know. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Headshot #7 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Mhamad Rauf

Continuing on from Headshot #6, in which I photographed Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza, Headshot #7 focuses on my next photographed subject, which is Mhamad Rauf.

For this photographic set, just like I did with Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza, I photographed Mhamad outside and got him to do the facial expressions I asked him to make, but also photographed him in different positions, including some modelling headshots.

The graffiti on the walls of the walkway really help as they put an emphasis on the facial expressions I have got Mhamad to make, as the colour of the walkway, including the graffiti, can help to compensate for the facial expressions I have asked Mhamad to make.

At this stage, these photographs have informed the research I have done on Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn, Thomas Ruff & August Sander.

Below are the headshot photographs of Mhamad Rauf, including the WordFoto Edits and Black & White Versions of the Original Photographs.

Canon EOS 700D

WordFoto Edits

Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Overall, I am so pleased with the end result that has come out of these photographs I have produced and by experimenting again with the walls of graffiti found in the walkway outside Croydon College, this has actually allowed me to let my creativity run wild, ultimately giving me the chance to produce these photographs with more vibrancy so that they connect to my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

These photographs I have produced will help me to build on, develop and inform my photography skills further and will most certainly inform the creative work, research and headshot photographs I have already produced.

The Headshot #7 photographs I have taken of my close friend, Mhamad Rauf, including the edited versions of these photographs that I produced in WordFoto and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) can be found in my E-Folio.

I would most certainly love to get your response on these photographs and please let me know if I can make future improvements for next time. Your response is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson