Monthly Roundup / January 2017

What a busy month! January sure did come and go like the wind and we only started 2017 a few weeks ago. It does feel completely surreal considering the time has flown. Over the first few weeks of 2017, I have been extremely busy with coursework to tell you the truth and I haven’t published as much, which is a good thing in certain aspects as I have been working very closely on my self-directed film and photography project, as the Self-Directed Curiosity Project I am working on is based around Nature. As you’ve seen just recently, I published a photography collection of Kelsey Park as part of my coursework, as I have been using the film and photography skills I have learned or built on and improved them over the course of time.

Without further ado, here is the full Monthly Roundup for January.

1.1.2017 – Kicking off 2017 with a bang, I welcomed you all to January on Mother Nature. As 2017 officially opened its doors and began with high spirits, I mentioned that 2017 will be a year of looking forward to the future and not back. As I finally decided to break the tradition with Spotify, I decided to do away with “The Mix of…” playlist and replace it with “Alex’s Mix” as I was getting bored of constantly replacing playlists every year, and I mentioned that “Alex’s Mix” would remain a permanent fixture on this website from this day onwards.

10.1.2017 – As it was exactly one year to the day since the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer, I had made sure to pay my full respects to the Starman by drawing David Bowie, also because the 8th January 2017 would have marked his 70th birthday. Blackstar, which was David Bowie’s 25th and last ever studio album, which was released on his 69th birthday, was classed as “…a parting gift,” to his fans.

18.1.2017 – As I wanted to kick 2017 off with a bang, I decided to revisit the photographic collection I took on the 15th December 2016 by publishing a more up-to-date collection titled: “CROYDON / REVISITED”, which would revisit Croydon with more of a positive approach, given that there was some lovely weather in my first few weeks back at Croydon College.

On the same day I published this photography article that revisited Croydon, I published another photography collection, titled: “NIGHTLIFE IN BECKENHAM”, which followed my close friend’s birthday party the week before. I mentioned that Nightlife in Beckenham was absolutely tranquil and so peaceful, and the quietness of Beckenham gave me goosebumps as it was pin-drop silent, even though it is usually busy during the daylight hours. I kept in mind there were some blind spots in and around Beckenham so I did make sure to keep myself aware of everything around me so that I could make sure that I was safe.

24.1.2017 Mental Health is not a laughing matter, especially considering that the negative stigma is attached to anyone who suffers from Mental Health, but when social media gets involved, it does everything to exploit mental health in such a negative way that you can’t help but feel disgusted at the level of negativity that makes your blood boil. I worked with the famous actor, Oli Regan, on this article as I wanted to raise awareness and join forces with him to end the negative stigma against Mental Health, and I also mentioned in this article that I had set up a page on Mother Nature called: “Mental Health Organisations“, given that I wanted to do my bit to help end the stigma against Mental Health, even though I don’t suffer from Mental Health myself. I published this article as a way of highlighting the negative stigma against Mental Health and that I wanted to help end the stigma, given that I previously worked with Oli Regan on the article: “Are Autism & Mental Health Overlooked? (Parental Guidance is Advised)”.

27.1.2017 – As part of my Self-Directed Project, I travelled to Kelsey Park to snap a collection of photographs given that my Self-Directed Project focuses around Nature. For this Self-Directed Project, I researched 5 different nature photographers; Ansel Adams, David Muench, John Shaw, Art Wolfe & Joel Sartore. As it was three years since I last visited Kelsey Park, I wanted to make sure to showcase how much my photography skills had improved over the course of time. This photography collection was created on the 24th January 2017 and published on this day (to reduce confusion).

29.1.2017 – As I joined forces with more than a million people who signed the petition to block Donald Trump’s State Visit to the United Kingdom, I published a small article with the link to the petition. I also published this article as I highlighted that I am entitled to a freedom of speech and also my own human rights, given that Equality & Diversity always matter in this world, and that all women are entitled to the same type of freedom as men and that they shouldn’t be controlled, shouldn’t be forced and shouldn’t be objectified just for being themselves. I also mentioned that if all of us men can have freedom, then all women can have the same freedom as all of us men.

Thank you for a fantastic start to 2017 everyone and I shall see you all in February.

Alex Smithson

Remembering David Bowie: One Year On / The Thin White Duke. Our Starman. A Music Legend. (1947 – 2016)

As today marks exactly one year since the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer, I wanted to pay my full respects to the Starman by drawing David Bowie, also because the 8th January 2017 would have marked his 70th Birthday. I also drew David Bowie sporting the famous Aladdin Sane Lightning Bolt as he released his 25th and last ever studio album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday.

It feels unreal, to think it was a year ago today is surreal yet hard to believe, because never did I think the time would fly so fast. On this day last year, I was told the news early in the morning that he had actually died and I was shocked and devastated, but fast forward to today and you still can’t quite believe that our Starman, the Thin White Duke, had passed away.

He is a music legend who was taken from us too soon, as he had so much more to offer, but his 25th and final studio album, Blackstar, was classed as “…a parting gift,” to his fans, which just goes to show that he not only wanted to go out with a bang, but that he would really prove that his music is timeless, that it will never date and will always be listened to, which is what made David Bowie not just a music legend, but a cultural icon given that he always had the eccentric change of image that would define and inspire many generations.

I drew the lightning bolt below his right eye (appears on the left by how you see it), as the blue and red lightning bolt was featured on the iconic album, Aladdin Sane. Although I haven’t been around long enough to truly appreciate his music, I saw him as an inspiration to me and to us all, because he made it okay for us to be ourselves, and to not care what societies and generations think of us and I will never forget that. Let’s Dance, Life on Mars & Ashes to Ashes always give me goosebumps because it’s not just the Aladdin Sane Lightning Bolt that caught my attention, but his right eye’s pupil was blue, which is what made him the iconic music legend he truly is. Even in death, he will always be remembered as the iconic music legend that made it okay for everyone to accept themselves and to be themselves regardless of who they are.

David Bowie as Aladdin Sane.
David Bowie as Aladdin Sane.

I wanted to say this as a way of paying tribute to David Bowie:

David Bowie. Our Thin White Duke. Our Starman. Thank you for everything. Thank you for giving everyone in this world, including myself, the chance to be ourselves, but most of all, thanks for making this world a better place. You are truly an iconic music legend and you are always missed, but you’ll never be forgotten and you shall always remain in mine and everyone’s hearts forever. David Bowie. Thank you for everything!

Alex Smithson

Bonfire Night / Croydon Road Recreation Ground / Saturday 5th November 2016

As I visited the Croydon Road Recreation Ground on Saturday 5th November 2016 to see the Firework Display, I was in for a great evening, as the recreation ground was packed and had a turnout of nearly 3,000 visitors. The firework display itself stood out for everyone including myself, as the organisers paid tribute to David Bowie, who sadly passed away on the 10th January 2016 at the age of 69 from liver cancer. As the 5th November marked Guy Fawkes Night, the celebrations came in light of the failed Gunpowder Plot in which Guy Fawkes attempted to commit treason, which saw him being hung, drawn and quartered as a result. Also, as the firework display came to a remarkable close, the organisers asked for donations for the bandstand as it was named in David Bowie’s memory, given that he used to perform down in Beckenham.

Below is the large collection of photographs that I took on my iPhone 5 from the firework display that took place at the Croydon Road Recreation Ground on Saturday 5th November 2016.

Below is the video containing the footage of the fireworks from Bonfire Night that I recorded when I was at the Croydon Road Recreation Ground on Saturday 5th November 2016.

If you enjoyed this photo and video collection, please feel free to submit feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: January 2016

Well I’ve been quite a busy bee since we all welcomed in 2016 on New Year’s Day, but in the first few weeks of 2016, we have lost some notable icons of the film and music industry. On the 10th January 2016, David Bowie sadly passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer, just two days after releasing his final album, Blackstar, and just four days after his passing, the Harry Potter actor, Alan Rickman also passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. I’ve also just heard the news as of lunchtime that Sir Terry Wogan has sadly passed away today after a short battle with cancer. I must admit, I’m really shocked to hear of his passing, because I didn’t know he had cancer until his death was announced earlier today.

Please accept my sincere apologies if I wasn’t able to publish two tribute articles on both of them this month, it’s mainly been because of the fact I’ve been so busy with the current project that I’ve been on that I’ve had trouble with finding the time to do both of the tribute articles. Please don’t worry too much though, because they are currently being made and are in progress, and hopefully, fingers crossed, I can get them published over the course of February or March, depending on the workload I receive from college. I can promise you that I won’t be leaving them to chance, so I will be making sure to work on them as soon as I get a large amount of time on my hands. I can also promise you that I will be, in light of Sir Terry Wogan’s sudden passing earlier today, writing a tribute article on him to pay my full respects and condolences to him and his family at such a sad time.

To round off what has been a really good, but sad start to 2016, I will be taking a full look-back on the articles published over the course of this month.

1.1.2016 – To kick 2016 off with a bang, I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for the New Year, and with a redesigned appearance, I mentioned that Mother Nature had changed its colours to: “accommodate for a maturer appearance, given that Mother Nature has now evolved into more of a presentable appearance.” I also mentioned that I would be doing some housekeeping, as I would be taking down some articles and some pictures to free up the website space for Mother Nature.

I had also mentioned that this news had come as I wanted to get back to my roots fully of doing more photography articles. However, all wouldn’t be lost though, because any articles I would be taking down would have their spaces filled with some new articles, as I wanted Mother Nature to focus more on photography, but also on certain interests, as I don’t want to talk too much about one thing, knowing full well that the whole idea of this website is to be a photography site.

3.1.2016 – To kick 2016 off with a bang in terms of photography, I did the first Historical Photographer article for 2016 on Walker Evans, who is the second in the Historical Photographers series that I introduced back in December 2015. In this Historical Photographer article, I would talk about Walker Evans’ life, as well as the timeline of events that unfolded up until his death on the 10th April 1975.

Also on this day, I published an article based on my thoughts about maturity and communication in modern society, as I felt that in modern society, maturity was something that shouldn’t really go amiss, especially in our generation and in this day and age, but when it came to maturity in modern society, among many other areas of life, our generation unfortunately lack almost all of maturity.

6.1.2016 – As I wanted to make sure to keep to my promise of being more productive and by also promising to publish more articles on a frequent basis, I started by doing a topic that would focus on whether the media was responsible for promoting eating disorders and negative body image problems in young people. I did also mention that I would tread very carefully when it came to writing this article, as I knew something like this would be sensitive.

8.1.2016 – As I wanted to refer to studying in general, I decided to talk about study time, and whether a large workload from school, college or even university stressed you out. I mentioned that: “Although I believe study time is crucial, I have known on some, if not, a lot of occasions, that it can be stressful, especially when you’re in school, college or university. Over the course of last year, I did notice how stressful the workload was, because I would get on a number of occasions, a lot of work piled on top of me, which, when deadlines were around the corner, I would sometimes panic about any work that may have not been completed, and in a lot of cases, I would often get stressed out.”

15.1.2016 – As violent video games are overruling modern society and my generation nowadays, given that violence is one of the most controversial subjects to talk about, I thought it was good to create a topic of discussion based on whether you thought violent video games should be banned. In this article, I had made sure to give my reasons for why I felt they should be banned, and how banning violent video games could help to prevent the younger generations of today from being brainwashed into committing violence against those around them. I did keep in mind though that a topic like this one is often touchy, and that I would tread very carefully whilst talking about it.

18.1.2016 – As this is something that is close to my heart, which also often bothers me, vanity has been something that I’ve noticed in the real world. In this article, I wrote about how I’ve heard about all these celebrities who have either had work done or had something enhanced to boost their self-esteem, and the same has happened to some of those who aren’t famous at all, and it really bothered me how vanity could cause someone to change something about themselves when they don’t need to.

23.1.2016 – As gangs are becoming a major problem in modern-day life, I focused this topic of discussion on whether the media was responsible for making gang culture seem attractive to young people. I did know for a fact that this was something that some people may be too afraid to talk about, but I decided to stand up and speak up about this topic in detail because I would not hide my views on gang culture, as I would make sure to outline in this topic whether I thought the media was responsible for making gang culture seem attractive to young people.

Also on this day, I published two more articles, one of which focused on my trip up to the Croydon Museum, as the museum contains so much information and research “based on a large number of photographers, as well as certain collector’s items, such as an old-fashioned retro 1950s car.”, while the third article was based on uplifting photo moments, given that I took a photo of Croydon College’s Rotunda, as well as getting a photo with The One Show’s Marty Jopson, who is such a nice guy and so down to earth.

30.1.2016 – With it being in the last couple of years since I last visited, and despite the fact my feet were killing me as a result of going up to London for this trip, I went on a trip up to the Science Museum with my class, and while we were there, I wanted to get some photos of the museum, considering that the last time I went, it had a dramatic overhaul in design, and not only that, but some or most parts of the museum had changed from when I made my first ever visit to the Science Museum.

Also, on the same day that I went up to London with my class for a trip to the Science Museum, we also went to the Natural History Museum to study further for our stop-frame animation project. While we were there, I also took a large number of photos, considering that I took a trip up to the Science Museum. It was also the first time in nearly 15 years since I last visited the Natural History Museum.

As I published both of these articles on this day, I wanted them both to be like a two-part photography article, in other words, a 2-in-1 article.

Thank you so much everyone for making the first month of 2016 a really good one for me. I know this month hasn’t been as easy as first thought given that we’ve lost quite a few celebrity icons in the first few weeks, but to David Bowie, Alan Rickman & Sir Terry Wogan, all three of you will be remembered in our hearts forever and you shall never be forgotten.

Again, thank you for making the first month of 2016 a really good one for me, and I’ll see you all in February.

Alex Smithson