2017: A Year in Review

What a year it has been! It only felt like it was yesterday we started this year and now we are right at the very end of 2017. It’s been a fantastic year considering that so much good has happened, but this year has been an emotional rollercoaster in itself considering we lost quite a lot of famous celebrities this year, but also because of the terrorist attacks that took place over the course of this year. To all the loved ones who lost celebrities this year, including the loved ones of those who were killed in the terrorist attacks over the course of this year, always know I support you even when times get tough, but always know you have all the rights in the world to open up and show real emotions. It will help you get all the support you need and know that you will always have the best support network behind you.

To close 2017 on a high note, it’s now time to draw the final curtain on 2017 by taking a look back on the year in review.

January 2017

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 DukeDavid 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.

February 2017

1.2.2017 – As this month was set to be just as busy as January, I welcomed all of you to February on Mother Nature. I mentioned that this month would be a lot busier considering I had a Maths mock exam just around the corner, but also because I would be making sure to get out more and make use of the free time I have on my days off to photograph nature-based places for my Self-Directed Curiosity Project.

Also, in a surprise announcement, Beyoncé announced to the world that she was pregnant with twins. Her last pregnancy came in 2011 when she was pregnant with her first child, Blue Ivy Carter, who she gave birth to on the 7th January 2012.

2.2.2017 – As the hashtag, #TIMETOTALK, was officially trending on Twitter, Oli Regan asked me to write this article as this day was Time to Talk Day, in which anyone suffering from Mental Health can speak up about their Mental Health, as well as to how they feel the negative stigma affects and negatively impacts them and anyone else suffering from any kind of Mental Health condition. Oli Regan also appeared live on BBC Two at 9:30 AM and again at 10:30 AM on the Victoria Derbyshire Show. He would also go on to talk about Mental Health on BBC Newsbeat at 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM, including how suffering from Mental Health affected him over the course of his life.

3.2.2017 – Continuing on from my first set of photographs that I took previously at Kelsey Park, I headed to Dulwich Park on the 31st January 2017 to photograph the scenery and also some ducks and birds. I saw some Mallards and Parakeets whilst I was there, including some squirrels, though to tell you the truth, some of the squirrels I came across looked bigger than their usual size, so I did make sure to walk very slowly to photograph them and I was pleased with the end result that I achieved from this photographic collection.

5.2.2017 – Following on from my visit to Dulwich Park, I decided to visit Beddington Park on the 1st February 2017 to photograph some of the scenery, and I also photographed some of the gravestones, given the names on some or most of the gravestones consisted of people who may have died a few years earlier, including those that may have died up to more than 100 years ago.

7.2.2017 – As I wanted to set the tone of this article, I recommended Madonna’s True Blue record to soothe the soul, as this article was titled as Relaxation. I mentioned that after a relaxing day, despite doing the mock exam for GCSE Maths the day before, I mentioned that I wasn’t stressed, which was a first for me in a long time considering that I’ve been so focused on the coursework lately.

17.2.2017 – Just a few months after we all witnessed the marsupial make his comeback, it was officially announced that Crash Bandicoot would be coming back to PlayStation on the 30th June. I mentioned I would be pre-ordering the Crash Bandicoot N⋅Sane Trilogy, and the release date of the trilogy comes exactly two weeks after I mark my 19th birthday.

19.2.2017 – As it was almost a year since we lost the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, who passed away on the 21st April 2016, I wanted to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the iconic music legend by drawing for this sixth artistic interpretation. This drawing was the first Artistic Interpretation for 2017 and I wanted to make sure that Prince Rogers Nelson would be the first musician I would draw for 2017.

24.2.2017 – After months of rumours and speculation, Cheryl officially announced she was pregnant! This news came at the perfect time and it was only a few weeks before that Beyoncé announced her pregnancy with twins to the world. February was most certainly shaping up to be a fun-filled and heartwarming month.

25.2.2017 – Following hot on the heels of my previous Artistic Interpretation which was based on the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, I worked and completed my 7th Artistic Interpretation which focused on the Destiny’s Child musician and solo hit-maker, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.

Also on this day, the world lost a face of the film world. Bill Paxton, best known for appearing in Apollo 13, Titanic & Twister, sadly passed away at the age of 61 after complications following surgery.

March 2017

1.3.2017 – Welcoming all of you to March on Mother Nature, I mentioned that I decided to go retro with the article image and did it up in the inspired style of Sonic Mania, considering that Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017(now officially titled ‘Sonic Forces’) would be released over the next few months. I also mentioned that the next few weeks would be much busier considering my Summative Assessment deadline for the Self-Directed Curiosity Project was just around the corner.

3.3.2017 –  After a three-year break from music, and after his hotly anticipated second studio album became the most streamed album on Spotify and other music services, Ed Sheeran is back with his third studio album, ÷. Shape of You really sets the tone of his latest album, because it has a unique vibe that really sets the mood you want to experience when listening to this album. I mentioned that ÷ is the first ever vinyl record I have owned and that I felt so honoured to go retro for the first time and it was an absolute honour to review Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Deluxe) album.

8.3.2017 – As this day marked International Women’s Day, I wanted to make sure all women across the world get to celebrate being the women they are and to always be themselves. I also mentioned that all women deserve equality, diversity, respect, compassion, care and love regardless of skin colour, sexuality, gender, culture, religion and place of origin and that it’s right for all of us, including myself to celebrate all women as part of International Women’s Day.

15.3.2017 –  Let’s face it. We’ve all seen for ourselves the negative stigma that has become attached to Mental Health. The negative stigma has all too often put a strain on all governments and organisations, with Mental Health sufferers having to experience the harsh reality that they may end up not being allowed to access the help, support and treatment they need. Writing this article gave me the chance to be open about my anxiety, and although I am not officially diagnosed, I do suffer from Anxiety, and writing this article gave me the chance to be open about my Anxiety, as well as to how I have been able to manage and keep my Anxiety under control.

20.3.2017 – It was an absolute honour for me to share with you, my review of Oli Regan’s recently released début album, My Diary of Pain. I talked about how the rawness of Oli’s voice on this album really stands out, as he spoke from the heart, the mind and the soul about how he really feels. If you get a chance, please do listen to his album, My Diary of Pain, it is so good!

22.3.2017 – 24.3.2017 – No articles were published as I released an open statement on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 in light of the horrific terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge, London, in which 3 victims died, including the police officer, PC Keith Palmer.

25.3.2017 –  After months of rumours and speculation that she was pregnant, Cheryl & Liam officially announced a few weeks before that they were expecting their first child together. It became official that Cheryl & Liam officially welcomed their first ever child together!

Also, on this day, I asked you all if you were ready for the clocks to go forward, considering that the time went quicker than expected and that it had only felt like it was yesterday we had just put the clocks back one hour, which proves and rings true even to this day that time sure does fly.

26.3.2017 – As this day marked Mother’s Day, I wished all mothers around the world a Happy Mother’s Day and hoped that all mothers had their Mother’s Day filled with love, happiness, joy, respect, compassion and care.

28.3.2017 – 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.

As my Pecha Kucha presentation focused solely on Facial Expressionism, I mentioned that I would 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.

29.3.2017 –  In the last few years, the police numbers have gone down due to cuts that have been made to save our government money, our money of which is supposed to be used to keep our police officers on the streets. On Wednesday 22nd March 2017, exactly one year to the day of the devastating attacks that took place in Brussels, which saw 35 people killed (32 victims, 3 perpetrators), with more than 300 people injured, a terrorist attack took place down Westminster Bridge, where 5 people were killed as a result, one of which was the terrorist, while the other was a police officer who was stabbed and sadly died as a result of his injuries.

31.3.2017 – I published two photographic articles that focused on Croydon, considering that I seized the opportunity to photograph Croydon while the lovely weather lasts. The weather has been absolutely peaceful lately and it was good to see that the weather was finally looking up and that it was most certainly shaping up to make the two-week holiday as relaxing and as peaceful as ever!

April 2017

1.4.2017 – Welcoming you all to April on Mother Nature, I mentioned that this month would set to be just as relaxing and as peaceful as March, but that it would also be set to be quite the busy month for me, considering I would need to travel to places up in London that I can photograph, including heading to certain galleries in London to further my research and development for the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project that I’ve been working on.

7.4.2017 – The Blossoming Feels of Spring highlighted how wonderful this day was because it was nice and sunny, the temperature was just right. and I had ceased the opportunity to photograph some parts of my garden. I experimented with the ISO frequently to see which ISO setting suited the lighting conditions the best.

8.4.2017 – Nature is Beautiful proved that even Mother Nature herself continued to amaze us and because there was a small breeze in the air with the lovely sunny weather on this day, it was safe to say that this weather was beautiful and that Mother Nature is also beautiful.

9.4.2017 – Inspire to be Positive was my way of inspiring others and to promote positivity, equality and diversity towards everyone, and that we should all drown out negativity and inequality.

11.4.2017 – This day marked the beginning of a new chapter for Windows 10. As Windows Vista officially ended extended support on this day, the Windows 10 Creators Update was officially released. I gave a full run-down on the features I came across in the Creators Update considering that I made the jump to the Windows 10 Creators Update a week early ahead of this day’s official release and mentioned that another major Windows Update was set to be released in the coming months.

15.4.2017 – As it was four years since I last visited Battersea Park, it was safe to say that not a lot had changed since my last visit. During the course of my time that I revisited Battersea Park, I produced a large photographic collection that consisted of my journey to Battersea Park, including perspective photographs that I took throughout certain areas of Battersea Park itself, even though two dogs had caught two of the tennis balls me and my family were using when we played cricket on the large field, which were eventually knackered after a few whacks with the cricket bat.

21.4.2017 – As part of my Final Major Project, I did research on the photographers that influenced me in the photography work I wanted to produce, considering that my Final Major Project is based on Facial Expressionism. The first photographer I researched for my Final Major Project was Fazal Sheikh, as his work aimed to document and even personalise the power of portraiture whilst bringing the displaced parts of the world, including its own people, into focus.

23.4.2017 – Continuing on from the first photographer I researched for my Final Major Project, the second photographer I chose to research was Irving Penn, as he was an American photographer who was best known for his portrait, still life and fashion photography collections, and his photography career consisted of work he produced with the top fashion magazine company, VOGUE, including Clinique and Issey Miyake.

24.4.2017 – Following on from the research I did so far for my Final Major Project, I started to develop my photography skills further, and the first subject I photographed for my Final Major Project was my good friend, Jonathan McCartney. As Fazal Sheikh & Irving Penn’s photography work inspired me in the development of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, I experimented with a white backdrop on the first set of photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan and acknowledged that some of the emotions might not connect to some of the photographs depending on which way the first headshot photographs were viewed. I also experimented further with the same photographs by converting the photographs into words with the app, WordFoto.

25.4.2017 – Following on from the first set of headshot photographs I took of my good friend, Jonathan McCartney, I presented to you the second headshot photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan, but this time, with a black backdrop, which I must say actually worked much better compared to a white backdrop, and the black backdrop was an idea a close friend of mine suggested to me after he critiqued the Headshot #1 photographs I took of Jonathan. These headshot photographs not only improved my photography skills, but it made a lot of sense to use a black backdrop in these photographs, including any other photographs that I would produce. I made sure to experiment carefully with these photographs by editing them in WordFoto and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) so that they could retain the facial expressions I asked Jonathan to make, as these headshot photographs would tie in with my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, including the research I did so far on the Facial Expressionism photographers, Fazal Sheikh and Irving Penn.

28.4.2017 – Continuing on from the first and second photographer I researched for my Final Major Project, the third photographer I chose to research was Thomas Ruff. Thomas Ruff is a German photographer who lives and also works in Düsseldorf in Germany. As he shares a photography studio with other German photographers, such as Andreas Gursky, Axel Hütte and Laurenz Berges on Düsseldorf’s Hansaalee, the photography studio itself formerly comprised of a municipal electricity station, which was converted between the course of 1998 and 2000 by the architects, Herzog & de Meuron, who are part of Tate Modern fame, with an updated basement gallery that was completed in 2011.

29.4.2017 – Following on from the research I did so far on the photographers, Fazal SheikhIrving Penn and Thomas Ruff, the second subject I chose to photograph for my Final Major Project was Steven Geer. For the Headshot #3 photographs, just like I did with the Headshot #2 photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan McCartney, I had made sure to use the black backdrop again, so that the facial expressions I would get Steven to do wouldn’t just have a real sense of depth, but that the expressions that Steven would make would capture a real sense of emotion. I experimented very carefully with the photographs as these photographs would build on the research I did so far on the 3 facial expressionist photographers; Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn & Thomas Ruff.

30.4.2017 – Following on from the research I did so far on the photographers, Fazal SheikhIrving Penn and Thomas Ruff, the third subject I am honoured to have photographed for my Final Major Project was the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness Campaigner, Oli Regan. For the headshot photographs I took of Oli, I experimented with a black backdrop so that the facial expressions I asked Oli to make would give the emotion from the facial expressions he made more emphasis and more depth. After I photographed Oli with the black backdrop, I then opted to try out a red backdrop, so that I could capture some of the facial expressions again, but this time, I wanted to try and photograph Oli like as if I photographed him for a magazine cover photoshoot.

May 2017

1.5.2017 – Welcoming you all to May on Mother Nature, I mentioned that May was set to be one of the busiest months for me considering I had a lot of revision and coursework to, and I also went on to mention that the next few weeks would be full of a lot of hard work and dedication.

7.5.2017 – As this day marked the end of such a fantastic weekend, considering I went out and partied the night before at my friend’s house, I seized the opportunity to photograph BOXPARK before heading home after staying at my friend’s house for the night.

11.5.2017 – I continued the Headshot photographic collection I was developing for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project by photographing my close friend, Leonardo Mouza, for Headshot #5. This headshot photography collection came after I photographed the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness Campaigner, Oli Regan.

15.5.2017 – I continued the research phase of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project by picking August Sander as the fourth photographer I would research and I included Harvard Referencing as Harvard Referencing is essential for my coursework.

16.5.2017 – Headshot #6 continued on from Headshot #5, as I photographed Leonardo Mouza for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, along with his close friend, Terrence Mathew. The photographs I produced for Headshot #6 involved photographing both Leonardo and Terrence in the walkway outside Croydon College.

18.5.2017 – For Headshot #7, I photographed my close friend, Mhamad Rauf, but just like before, I photographed Mhamad in the walkway outside Croydon College, and also did some modelling headshots whilst the etched graffiti walls were present.

20.5.2017 – My good friend, Miles Khan, launched his website, and his website contains work he has produced of his multi-coloured pills, which he has been advertising on Instagram. I also detailed the pill designs that Miles Khan has produced so that you can choose from a wide array of choices of the type of pill design you want to purchase.

Also, on this day, I drew the research stage of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project to a remarkable close, as the fifth and final photographer I chose to research for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project was David Bailey.

22.5.2017 – As part of my Final Major Project, Headshot #8 followed on from Headshot #7, which focused on the subject, Mhamad Rauf, as I photographed my close friend, Kasra Soltani, for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project. I used the walkway again outside Croydon College to create an entirely different approach to the facial expressions I wanted Kasra to make by getting him to do those facial expressions I asked him to make in the way he does those facial expressions naturally.

Also, on this day, I notified all of you in advance of the General Election on Thursday 8th June 2017 that you had until 11:59 PM on this day to register to vote so that you could vote for your choice of government, including getting the chance to get your voice heard on Thursday 8th June 2017.

24.5.2017 – I continued on from Headshot #8 by photographing my close friend, Kasra Soltani, again for Headshot #9 of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, but instead, just like with the subjects I photographed earlier on in the Final Major Project, I used a black backdrop to bring out the emphasis in the facial expressions I asked Kasra to make.

26.5.2017 – Headshot #10 brought my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, as I photographed my close friend, Kasra Soltani, for my Final Major Project. As Headshot #10 was the final collection of photographs I had produced for my Final Major Project, I did make sure to adjust the lighting so that the lighting could accommodate for better focus on Kasra so that each expression he has made would connect to the photography work I have already produced.

30.5.2017 – As I prepared to end my Final Major Project, which I mentioned would come to a close on Monday 5th June 2017, I produced Contact Sheets for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project which I would stick into my sketchbook once they were printed. All of the Contact Sheets I produced would feature all of the photography work I have produced throughout the duration of my own Facial Expressionism Final Major Project work, which would feature my photographed subjects; Jonathan McCartney, Steven Geer, Oli Regan, Leonardo Mouza, Terrence Mathew, Mhamad Rauf & Kasra Soltani.

Also, on this day, I mentioned to all of you that after a lot of hype, anticipation and a lot of excitement, Sonic Mania would officially grace our screens on the 15th August. I also mentioned that this news couldn’t have come at a better time, as 2017 would mark 26 years since Sonic the Hedgehog graced our screens.

June 2017

1.6.2017 – Welcoming all of you to June on Mother Nature, I mentioned that the weather was set to get warmer and humid considering we had lovely weather in the weeks leading up to the beginning of June. I also mentioned that I was preparing to finish my final year at Croydon College as all of my Final Major Project coursework, which solely focused on Facial Expressionism, was due on Monday 5th June 2017.

6.6.2017 – I released an open statement that followed the horrific terrorist attacks that took place down London Bridge & Borough Market, and I even did make sure to lay it all down on the line how I really felt about why I felt the foreign aid budget should be cut, though I paid tribute to the victims in the open statement by letting all those who were affected know that my heart, thoughts, prayers and condolences went out to all those who were affected by these sadistic terrorist attacks.

26.6.2017 – 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.

30.6.2017 – After 21 years, Crash Bandicoot marked his return to PlayStation in the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy. I mentioned how it was ironic that I mentioned in an article on the 9th July 2015 that it would be nice to see the trilogy being remastered, with mine and everyone’s prayers finally being answered on the 13th June 2016, just before my 18th birthday, that the Crash Bandicoot trilogy was being remastered and would be released for the PlayStation 4. This day was perfect and it was finally a relief to see Crash Bandicoot make a remarkable comeback to PlayStation.

July 2017

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.

August 2017

1.8.2017 – Welcoming all of you to August, I mentioned that the next few weeks were set to be peaceful, but also a little busy, as I had my next batch of photographs on the way very soon, which would feature a certain someone who is a very close friend of mine.

2.8.2017 – “Should We Change at the Expense of Others?” was my way of getting all of you to see the way I see things from a personal perspective, considering that changing ourselves at the expense of others would mean we would put ourselves in a position where we’re made to change ourselves in order to be socially acceptable to everyone else.

9.8.2017 – A few weeks prior to writing the article: “Croydon Murals Defaced Beyond Recognition”, I spoke about the beautifully exquisite Amy Winehouse: “Tears Dry On Their Own” mural, which was produced by the artist, Bareface, in conjunction with and as commissioned by the RISE Gallery.

I published this article, because on Saturday 5th August 2017, me and two close friends of mine paid a visit to Katharine Street because we wanted to find out if the mural of Amy Winehouse was still in the same finished state it was when I photographed it just a few weeks before.

Sadly, on closer inspection, I was devastated to discover that not only had the mural been defaced, but a grey block and teardrop were drawn just below her eye, with some graffiti etched onto the back of Bareface’s clothing, which ultimately destroyed Bareface’s true work of art.

15.8.2017 – It was a long time coming! Sonic Mania finally arrived and officially marked a nostalgic return to form with the help of Christian Whitehead, Tee Lopes, PagodaWest Games, Lola Shiraishi & Headcannon!

Reliving 26 years of some of the most iconic levels from Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic CD and Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Mania revisited Green Hill Zone with an easter egg of an old landscape that was ditched from the final release of Sonic the Hedgehog, with the zip-line being re-introduced, and a lost level which was meant to appear in the original Sonic games but never got used finally came to Sonic Mania, and that was Mirage Saloon Zone. Studiopolis Zone, which is an all-new level, officially débuted in Sonic Mania with a city-like landscape that made it feel a little like Stardust Speedway, Casino Nights and Carnival Night Zone mixed in.

22.8.2017 – Following on from when I photographed my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I was honoured to have been given the opportunity to photograph my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, again, but this time for my photography series: “The Concept of Expression”.

As I look to explore the concept of expression in the subjects I photograph, photographing Oli gave me the chance to explore his personality, regardless of the angle, but more importantly, as body language is a consistent boundary for the subject’s facial expression, photographing Oli again gave me the chance to explore his personality through these photo headshots, as well as his persona, so in this case, because he’s an actor, he puts on a serious face, which makes the photos interesting, considering that being serious really makes him stand out.

September 2017

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.

October 2017

1.10.2017 – Welcoming you to October on Mother Nature, I mentioned that October was set to be just as busy as the last considering I was looking around for jobs, which meant I wouldn’t be publishing as much as I used to.

10.10.2017 – As this day marked World Mental Health Day, I wanted to raise awareness by telling you to make a difference, so that if you are or know someone who has a mental health condition, this day was about coming together and supporting everyone regardless of what mental health condition you and everyone else has or may have.

13.10.2017 – It’s been five years since The Truth About Love, but P!NK is back with a bang! Beautiful Trauma is the hotly anticipated album of the year and it’s no surprise to see P!NK bless us with such good music. In case you missed it, to read my review of P!NK’s album, Beautiful Trauma, click here.

16.10.2017 – This day was strange, to say the least, and for a good reason too. The sky was all yellow as a result of a sand and dust storm. This was due to Hurricane Ophelia leading a destructive path of its own, considering that the United Kingdom is no stranger to this kind of weather.

26.10.2017 – “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.” was my way of telling all of you that it’s okay that you’re not okay, that you should never keep your emotions inside and open up to everyone, and that you’ll begin to notice that you’re much stronger than before.

30.10.2017 – After months of job-hunting and a lot of hard work, I finally secured myself a full-time job! This day was the best highlight of my year alongside passing my UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course with a Pass, as well as passing GCSE English with a C.

31.10.2017 – As Halloween Night finally arrived, everyone got into the spirit of dressing up to look like some characters from films or TV Shows, even with some going to such effort to dress up like the zombies from The Walking Dead, but what about the films? Well, to get into the Halloween spirit, I recommended up to almost 50 horror films for all of you if you wanted to put some fright in your ghoul for Halloween.

November 2017

1.11.2017 – Welcoming you all to November, I mentioned that November was set to get a whole lot busier for me considering I was about to embark on my first ever full-time job considering I finished my education for good in July, which meant I wouldn’t be free mostly as I would be putting myself first to earn from my full-time job whilst I learn and re-take Maths.

Also, on this day, ahead of the 3rd November release of Apple’s hotly anticipated tenth anniversary iPhone, the iPhone X (officially pronounced 10), I published a wallpaper pack that would consist of some wallpapers with Mother Nature’s cube, with a further set of wallpapers that would all be the same colours, just without Mother Nature’s cube.

2.11.2017 – As I use this product on a regular basis to make sure the style of my hair always stays as trendy as possible, I wrote a review on L’Oréal’s Matt & Messy Putty and I recommended this hair product to all of you considering it would give your hair that roughed up natural look, which would make your hair look as natural as possible whilst keeping the hairstyle you have in check.

6.11.2017 – Fireworks are used now and then when it comes to a special occasion; a party, or even during Bonfire Night and on New Year’s Day, but why is firework safety important? Well, the article I wrote: “Firework Safety: Why it’s Important” would allow me to air my views and reasons for why I believe that firework safety is important. I also highlighted considering I take your health and safety seriously and wanted you to stay as protected as possible by asking you to stay safe and wrap up warm, and that your health and safety are both important, and that no one, and I mean no one, is allowed to compromise that.

December 2017

1.12.2017 – Welcoming all of you to December, I mentioned it was hard to believe that we finally reached the last month of 2017. I also mentioned that time flew so fast, but that 2017 was a fun year and a better one too.

15.12.2017 – Living our lives outside the comfort zone means there are new challenges that can help us to prosper and succeed if we work hard, and writing this article: “Living Life Outside the Comfort Zone: What Was it Like for You?” was my way of expressing what life was like after I started living it outside the comfort zone considering I had completed my first month of working full-time in my first ever full-time job, and then I asked all of you what it was like for you the moment you started to live life outside the comfort zone.

28.12.2017 – 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 followed on from when I photographed my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, of Saviyon & Shaquille. Considering this was an updated collection of the photographs I produced that featured both Saviyon & Shaquille previously, I had made sure that the updated photo-set would have that cut and thrust appeal about them by going beyond the expression, in which I would explore their personalities a little more in-depth.

I also published another photography collection on this day, but this time consisting of my trip up to London on the 26th September 2017, which was a wonderful day considering it was breezy, warm and sunny.

It is finally time to close the doors on 2017, and on a highly positive note too. Thank you so much, everyone, for such a fantastic, wonderful, emotional, joyful and positive year. This year was special and was also an interesting year too, but it will always be one of the best years of my life, and also one of the most eye-opening years of my life too.

See you in 2018!

Alex Smithson

IT’S OFFICIAL!!!

After months of rumours and speculation that she was pregnant, Cheryl & Liam officially announced a few weeks ago that they were expecting their first child together.

It’s just become official that Cheryl & Liam have officially welcomed their first ever child together!

Congratulations to both Cheryl & Liam on giving birth to a baby boy! Both of you are going to make such wonderful parents!

Sending my love, compassion, kind regards, happiness and joy to Cheryl & Liam Payne on the birth of their baby boy!

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 5 (Tuesday 10th May 2016 – Thursday 12th May 2016) – Final Major Project

Continuing on from the fourth Weekly Log, here is the fifth Weekly Log from the Final Major Project.

Research / Context

During the course of the fifth week, I continued with developing my photography skills, based on the research I have gathered so far and I also worked on my evaluative notes, which were based around the best photos I took over the course of the past few weeks since the first week of the Final Major Project.

Based on my previous set of photographs which I took of my third subject, I started my fifth shoot of photographs, which focused again on my first chosen subject, but this time in a different location that didn’t involve graffiti. I did experiment more with facial expressionism in these photographs, as I had made sure to capture my first chosen subject simulating some of the similar emotions I asked him to do for the first shoot of photographs, but this time with some new emotions that I hadn’t tried before in my photo experiments.

Based on the research and shoot photographs I have so far, I used the car park below the outside of Croydon College to take my fifth set of photographs of my first subject. The research from the Barbican Gallery also gave me more ideas for my own concepts, given that the exhibition I went to see at the Barbican Gallery was called Strange and Familiar, which contains a collection of works that were curated by Martin Parr.

In terms of the fifth set of photographs I took of my first subject (previously used for Shoot 1), I wanted to make sure that I didn’t use the graffiti spot this time, but instead where he would be centred in the middle of a brick-wall. This was useful for me, as I was able to create a similar amount of emotions in the photos I took, including some new emotions as well.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure that my fifth set of photographs were of the same standard of the photographs I took of my first, second and third subjects, I did make sure to set the exposure correctly, including the aperture correctly, not to forget to mention the white balance correctly and also the light setting correctly. I had made sure to change the light setting to Sunlight, as this would help me to take my photos with perfect exposure, rather than the photos be too underexposed or too overexposed.

I did find taking these photographs of my first chosen subject again difficult at first, given that I did have a small amount of trouble in trying to keep the camera still, which did notice in a few of the photographs I took, though the slight camera shake appeared only in some photos, but not all of them. I did also worry that the changes I made to the settings on the Canon EOS 1200D would affect the photos I would take.

What did work well for me, however, was I was able to produce these photographs with the settings I used, which helped me to produce the photos I wanted and I feel pleased with how some, if not most of the photos turned out.

To improve, I will be making sure that the exposure, the aperture, the white balance and the light setting are set correctly for my photographs, as this will help me when it comes to producing my final set of experiment photographs before I proceed onto my final piece, including hanging my work for the show.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I did make sure to refer to the research I gathered, the shoot photographs I took, including the notes I gathered whilst I was at the Barbican Gallery on Tuesday 10th May 2016 to produce my fifth set of photographs. As I had previously taken photographs of my first, second and third chosen subjects, I thought it would be a good idea to use my first chosen subject again for the fifth set of photographs. The photo research presentation I did consisted of certain photographs I chose that were by August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff. This photo research presentation, including the Chosen Photographers presentation I did had helped me to produce a better set of experimentation photographs for the Final Major Project. This will help me considering the concept I have in mind is developing a lot better than I thought and is the concept I will want to produce in my work, but most importantly, in my final piece as well.

I feel that I have developed a better understanding now, considering that I recently took the fifth set of photographs, but of my third subject, which has developed a lot better than I thought. I also feel that I have developed a better understanding based on the research that I have gathered over the course of the Final Major Project. I feel I have developed a better understanding of the concept I have produced and I hope that the concept I have developed is at the standard I want it to be at for when I produce my final piece, including the last set of photographs I want to produce. This concept I have is genuine and I will be making sure that I can produce it for my final piece, including my photographic prints as well, which I will aim to produce and hang for the show in June.

This brings the fifth Weekly Log for the Final Major Project to a close. Please make sure to check back soon for the final Weekly Log from the Final Major Project.

Alex Smithson

The Truth About Abstract Art? It’s Interesting & Innovative.

Why is abstract art interesting and innovative? Because abstract art is where you can let your creative skills run wild.

Over the course of yesterday, I spent late yesterday morning and yesterday evening completing an abstract piece I made, after seeing a video on Instagram that was based on the idea of using different patterns on paper, and I used that video as an idea for my own abstract piece.

This took me under 24 hours to produce, and it was all done with the use of a pen. It was about that time

Below is my own abstract piece, inspired on the video I watched on Instagram.

The Truth About Abstract Art - It's Interesting & Innovative
Name: The Truth About Abstract Art? It’s Interesting & Innovative.

I have also produced some colour edits of the same abstract drawing I produced with the use of a pen, and they can also be found below.

I must admit, this is my first time with going abstract, so please feel free to comment and also please feel free to suggest to me some ideas for the kinds of abstract patterns I could make.

Alex Smithson

Blogger Recognition Award | The First Award of 2016 | Mother Nature

I feel absolutely honoured to have been nominated by Brooke (The Utopia Universe) for the Blogger Recognition Award, which is the first award that Mother Nature has received since the start of 2016. Thanks Brooke :-)!

Below are the rules of the questions if you have been nominated for this award:

The Rules.

  1. Write a post to show your award
  2. Give a brief story of how your blog started
  3. Give two advice notes to new bloggers
  4. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to your blog
  5. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.

Without further ado, I will answer the questions provided to me as a result of this fantastic nomination.

Mother Nature started as “Photography | Nature – To bring the vibrancy back into your life.” and this website has always been based around nature, among many other interests. Rebranding to Mother Nature was the best refresh this website needed.

The two advice notes I want to give to all new bloggers who are interested in setting up a blog or website on WordPress are:

  • Always have a professional blog/website design, as this will make viewing your blog/website a lot easier, especially if you want it to be professional, even on a mobile device, tablet or smartphone.
  • Also make sure to post frequently with stand-out featured images, as this will bring more visitors to your blog/website who may have similar interests to you.

Thanks to Brooke over at The Utopia Universe for nominating me for this award, it really means a lot :-).

Without further ado, here are my 15 nominees who I have selected to receive the Blogger Recognition Award (please feel free to decline if you don’t want to accept this award for any personal reasons or any given reasons that may be involved):

  1. Half-Eaten Mind – News & Views from a Partially Digested Brain
  2. Advocate for Mental Illness: Walking in God’s Footsteps – In Memory of Mom
  3. The Phil Factor
  4. Rolling Harbour Abaco
  5. Styx Communications
  6. Dear Kitty. Some Blog.
  7. A Harlem Point of View
  8. Musings in the Key of Devin
  9. aVeryAwkwardBlog – Books, Music, Laughs & My Awkward Life
  10. Step Out – Oh Darling, let’s be adventurers
  11. Tranquil Yet Alive
  12. Nil’s…Photography – Fotografie
  13. It’s All Coming Back to Me Now by B.A ~ About me and the world, through my words and photos
  14. Sacred Touches – Life is a time of purpose and anointed blossoming…
  15. Stephen G. Hipperson – My photography and other stuff

Thanks again to Brooke for the nomination, and congratulations to those of you who I’ve nominated for this award.

Alex Smithson

My Artistic Interpretation of Madonna

From Friday 11th March 2016 to Monday 14th March 2016, I worked on my drawing of the Queen of Pop songstress, Madonna, and this drawing that I worked on was inspired on one of the photos that was taken of Madonna during the Ray of Light era. I can be honest with you all, this was my first proper attempt at drawing someone including their face, considering that a few years ago, I couldn’t draw a face properly unless I used a photo to trace over the original.

In this drawing, however, I did use a photo of Madonna from the Ray of Light era, but I didn’t trace her at all. Instead, I did the drawing freehand by looking at my computer screen, and then I drew freehand as I went along. I studied the photo while I was drawing, so that I could create my own interpretation of Madonna during the Ray of Light era.

Because it took some time to complete, I wanted to make sure that I could show my creative side to life in the artistic sense, and because my drawing skills had rapidly improved over the course of last year and the year before, I thought it would be nice to pay homage to Madonna as she has left a positively remarkable impact not just on my life, but on the lives of all of us, and there is no doubt that she is actually one of the most revolutionary musicians around.

I don’t care about the controversy at the end of the day that centres around her, all I care about is that she is putting herself out there for all of us and making sure to stand up and fight for what we all believe in, and it’s about time. I look up to Madonna as she is always there to inspire and make us all believe in ourselves and that we can be the best we can be.

But one thing I can say about her is she is brave at being dangerous at certain things, because I certainly couldn’t take the kind of risks she can take, and I admire Madonna entirely, because she might feel afraid to do something like any of us would, but she is brave because she goes for those risks head-on and it’s been a lot of strength, determination, courage, passion and love that has made Madonna the independent woman she is today.

As yesterday drew Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour to a remarkable close, I thought it would be a good idea to showcase the drawing I’ve done. Please keep in mind that it will of course look different to the original drawing, but I wanted to make sure my artistic interpretation of Madonna was original.

Without further ado, here is my artistic interpretation of the Queen of Pop Songstress, Madonna, in drawing form.

My Artistic Interpretation of Madonna

It’s the first time in almost a year since I last did anything drawing-based, and this is the first time I’ve ever attempted drawing someone famous including their facial features and hair, so as you can imagine it was difficult for me to draw this, but all that hard work and free time drawing Madonna was absolutely worth it. I love how it’s turned out to be honest, and it’s a way of me saying with inspiration from Madonna that we should all be ‘Living for Love’ no matter what, because after all, love really does lift us up even at the most difficult of times. I hope my drawing inspires all of you :-).

If you liked my first ever artistic interpretation of Madonna, please feel free to feedback your thoughts on my first ever artistic drawing. Your feedback is absolutely appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Croydon Before Dusk

While I waited yesterday at one of my bus stops further down from the one I usually wait at to board my 367 bus, I took some photos with the Camera+ app, considering that my bus was taking some time to arrive (like it usually does), which tells you just what the level of transport is like in this day and age, also because of road-works, and I must admit, I do sometimes, on the odd occasion, use the Camera+ app to take some of the good, if not best photographs that I wouldn’t be able to take so well sometimes with the pre-installed Camera app.

As the sky stayed bright for a little longer yesterday, I was able to get these photos in a really good resolution with the Camera+ app, which I strongly recommend you all use, as it is much better to use if you’re someone who uses the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad on a frequent basis. Also yesterday, I took two photos outside Croydon College‘s Rotunda of the landscape, with Fairfield Halls being easy to spot in the distance, but one of the photos is panoramic, as I was able to get a full, wide-scale view of the outside of the college, but of the whole landscape. Luckily, and for the first time in quite a long while, this is probably the best panoramic photo I’ve taken in a long time.

Which app do I prefer to use more to take these kind of photos, the pre-installed Camera app or the Camera+ app? I personally prefer the Camera+ app, as there are more features at hand that can prevent the photos I take from looking fuzzy and diminished, and not only that, but it’s one of the best camera apps out there, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to you all.

Tomorrow, I will be publishing another article of photos, which will centre again on Croydon, but this time showing Croydon in Broad Daylight, but you might just be surprised at how well I’ve taken these photos, considering that there was some nice weather today, despite it being chilly of course. It is safe to say that I am absolutely enjoying the UAL Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course that I’m on. I can promise you that the photographs that I took will not disappoint you.

Please feel free to feedback your thoughts on the photos I took yesterday. This is my first attempt at taking photos just before dusk.

Alex Smithson

The Croydon Museum | Tuesday 12th January 2016

As I’m currently in my second year at college, whilst being on the first year of the two-year film and photography course, I took a trip up to the Museum of Croydon with my class, and while we were there, there was an awful lot of research at hand based on a large number of photographers, as well as certain collector’s items, such as an old-fashioned retro 1950s car.

They also had a design model of the Anderson Shelter, which was often a call for protection during the Second World War, but from the objects that were installed into the wall just opposite the Anderson Shelter design model, they’re there so when you touch any of them, they play audio recordings of certain items or things that either occurred or may have been used during the course of World War II.

I must admit, when I went to The Croydon Museum, I was really surprised by the large amount of information and pieces that they had in store, because I was able to do research on them, whilst taking photos of them, I mean, of course, the old-school Commodore computer is in The Croydon Museum, and was once a computer that was often used back in the 80s and 90s, before Commodore went defunct in 1994. They have, as of last year, been revived, and they’ve released their first ever smartphone, called the Commodore Pet.

If any of you ever get the chance to, I recommend that you visit The Croydon Museum to see what they have on display, as they have got quite the large amount of information available in store if you want to check it out.

Alex Smithson

© Croydon College 2016.

© The Croydon College Logo is Copyright of Croydon College. Permission has been granted for the logo to be used on here. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Monthly Roundup: November 2015

After an eventful month, I will be rounding off November by taking a look back at the articles I’ve published over the course of this month.

1.11.2015 – I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for what would be a bitter cold and chilly November, as this month would see the cold and bad weather getting even worse, given that patches of mist and fog had opened November to a near-wintry landscape. In this article, I also mentioned that the next few weeks were going to be very busy for me, considering that I had my studies to worry about, among other things.

3.11.2015 – As censorship is often the most-talked about controversial issue that is still going on today, I decided to express my own views, and also explained why I thought that censorship was a very good idea, and how it would help all of us to put an end to abuse, forms of bullying, including cyber-bullying.

7.11.2015 – It was exactly one year ago to this day that I had my braces off, and I explained what it’s been like for me since I had them off on the 7th November 2014, and I mentioned that not much had changed, though I did admit that it felt completely different to the way my teeth felt before I had the braces fitted. I also mentioned that there would come a time in life where we would all face the possibility of having a few teeth out in order for the process to become a lot easier for us. Well, my time came to experience the pain of having two of my teeth out, and yes, it was horrible, but at the same time, it was going through that horrific pain that got me the perfect smile that I wanted.

Also on this day, I asked you all how life in general would matter to you, as I saw from my own perspective that life in general matters to us, as we should value the lives that we are given, and to make sure that we make the most of the time that we all have in this world. I also said that I appreciate life entirely and that I am entirely grateful for the fact that I was brought into this world, as I have learned so much in the space of the time I’ve been around.

8.11.2015 – On this day, I gave a 5 bullet-pointed list based on the five main fears that scared me, given that I asked all of you: “What 5 Main Fears Scare You?”. My 5 main fears were having a fear of heights, the second fear was to do with the level of protection that the United Kingdom has at the moment. The third fear was to do with travel, given that I often fear for my own safety. The fourth fear was to do with falling over when I would least expect it and the fifth fear was the tendency of fearing the element of time going so quickly.

13.11.2015 – Exactly 5 weeks after he released his collaboration of Second Hand Heart with the Piece by Piece American singer, Kelly Clarkson, Ben Haenow finally released his long-awaited debut album to the world. After spending 10 months out of the spotlight, considering he won the 2014 version of The X Factor, Ben Haenow decided to take as much time as he needed to make sure that this album would achieve the sound that he wanted. I gave my full overview on his debut album, considering that it was absolutely perfect, and I also mentioned that his debut album would be available to listen to on Mother Nature through the Spotify widget located in his own widget, which would also remain as a permanent fixture on this website. I gave the overall album rating of Ben Haenow’s self-titled debut album a 10/10.

15.11.2015 – In light of the horrific events that occurred in Paris, following a devastating massacre that resulted in the loss of 132 or more lives on Friday 13th November 2015 (Vendredi 13 Novembre 2015), I announced on Mother Nature that I would not publish any articles for one whole week, as I wanted to pay my full respects to the victims who lost their lives in Paris on the night of the 13th November. I also requested for all of you to put the Pray for Paris sign up on your blog, as I wanted to make sure that we could all pay respect to all of those who lost their lives as a result of the devastating massacre.

Also on this day, Mother Nature changed it’s orange and white colours to the blue, white and red flag colours, as I wanted to make sure that my full respects were paid to the 132 victims who lost their lives on the 13th November 2015.

[1 Week Hiatus Out of Respect to Paris – 16th – 22nd November 2015]

27.11.2015 – With their EP, Life Goes On, being made available for release the following day, my close friend Charlie Philbrick from the Drowned Out band treated me to an early listen of him and his band’s EP (Extended Play), and it was an absolutely awesome EP, and also mind-blowing as well. I also mentioned that one of the band members in Charlie’s band has certain vocal elements in her voice that remind me of Christina Aguilera.

28.11.2015 – On Thursday 26th November 2015, I headed down to some parts of Croydon with some of my classmates from my UAL (University of the Arts London) Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course, as we were doing some filming for our project which is currently based around Ghost Stories. I thought, considering that I was with my group, it would be the perfect opportunity for me to snap some photographs down Surrey Street Market, Crown Hill and also around Croydon. As of Thursday 26th November 2015, filming for my group was actually finished, and I was absolutely pleased with the way the production of the film had gone, despite a small faux pas moment from a member of the public, but aside that, me and my group absolutely enjoyed filming for this project, despite the weather conditions. I snapped the photographs in that article with my iPod touch (5th Generation).

30.11.2015 – With her third album becoming the number one most pre-ordered album, with her album still remaining number one just after it was released, Adele finally delighted us all with her much awaited album, 25, which is the first album in a while since she last released music. In just the space of the first week alone, Adele officially broke the sales records in the US with 3.38 million in sales, with her ‘Hello’ video spanning over 500,000,000+ views, also with the sales record in the UK showing that a whopping 800,307 copies of Adele’s 25 album were sold in the first week alone, which had beaten the 18-year long record that the former music group, Oasis, once held with their 1997 album: “Be Here Now”.

Thank you all for a good month, and I’ll see you all in December. This month was eventful in so many aspects given what happened in Paris, including other events that happened in the world, but to any of those victims in Paris, including the victims outside of Paris that lost their lives this month, my full respects go to you and all your families at such a sad time, but, at the end of the day, we will all unite together now to make sure that everyone is protected, and that what happened in Paris and everywhere else never happens again, ever. Still, my full respects go out to you, your families and everyone you know at such a sad time xxxxxxxxx.

Alex Smithson

My First Year at Croydon College: A Perfect Success!!!!!!!!!

After a year of hard work, studying and revision, I am absolutely pleased to tell you all that I have officially, as of today, passed my UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course with a high Merit grade.

This news comes in light of the 8 units that I have completed and passed, with a Distinction on my research, which resulted in me getting that high merit grade for the whole course overall. I am also pleased to tell you that I received two certificates from Croydon College today, one of which celebrates the outstanding achievement I’ve made in terms of my exemplary attendance, while the other celebrates my outstanding achievement I’ve made in terms of excellent achievement.

I had never thought that I would come this far in just one year, literally in the space of one year since I left school for good, I have suddenly exceeded my expectations, even without realising it. I feel more than overjoyed to have come so far in just the short space of one year alone.

Over the past 10 months, I have been making sure to keep on top of the work that I’ve been given by my course lecturers, and as well as that, I have been able to not only manage my time effectively, but I have also been able to balance the work, revision, and also the things I love to do, such as writing and publishing articles on Mother Nature, that’s including writing my own books.

Since Monday 8th September 2014, I have gone from being above average in confidence to being fully confident in my studies, as I have been able to prioritise more of my time on my college studies and everything else, as well as the ability to do other things that I initially didn’t feel comfortable with.

In the space of those 10 months, I have been making sure to keep on top of the work, though I was very lucky to have kept on top of it as quick as I did, because within the first few weeks of the course, I ended up accidentally falling behind in my studies, which has since been resolved as I had gone in on days that I was initially supposed to be off.

I must admit though, although I initially didn’t like the thought of going to college on the days that I wasn’t scheduled in for, I am absolutely glad that I did, as this has not only benefitted me in the long run, but it has also opened a lot of doors to so many opportunities, opportunities of which I didn’t think I would actually get, and I feel absolutely thankful to have studied and completed my first year at Croydon College.

Croydon College alone has to be one of the best colleges around that I have ever been to, and not only that, but Croydon College alone is also completely diverse and equal, as you get treated with the best respect you could possibly think. Everyone I know at this college are so friendly, I instantly click with them, and I have noticed that quite a lot since I started at the college on the 8th September 2014.

If you want me to be politely honest, I absolutely love this college, even though it is just my first year, I have enjoyed every single day, as I have been able to keep my friends company, I’ve been able to share laughs with everyone down the line, and I want that to continue for the last few years of secondary education that I still have left.

On the 15th April 2015, as you may recall, I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum (a.k.a. the V&A), as I went there to take a lot of photos that would not just record my visit to that museum, but it would also mean that I would record a lot of the works that were designed by a huge, huge amount of artists. There was one notable artist whose work I did take a photo of, and that was Cornelia Parker‘s “Breathless” masterpiece.

Cornelia Parker’s “Breathless” work was done in a way where you can immediately see an entirely different form of destruction, as she had taken bits of silver, especially those that may have consisted of musical instruments, and she had flattened them with a steam roller. Much of Cornelia Parker’s works can be found in loads of museums across the United Kingdom.

I must admit, when I took a few photos of the “Breathless” masterpiece by Cornelia Parker, I was extremely lucky, as I had just stepped away from the balcony where this piece was hanging up, when the left-hand side of the camera strap for my Nikon D3300 DSLR had come off, thankfully, my hands were still tightly clutched on the camera, and with some help from one of the students from my class, they had helped me to reattach the left-hand side of the strap back onto the Nikon D3300 DSLR.

Exactly one week after I started my UAL (University of Arts London) Level 2 Art & Design Course at Croydon College, I took a trip up to London to go to the National Portrait Gallery, where the two most famous pieces of Julian Opie’s works were displayed. Those two famous pieces that Julian Opie had created were of James Dyson, and Blur.

The music group, Blur, used Julian Opie’s artwork for their Greatest Hit’s album: “Blur: The Best Of”. Julian Opie is a visual artist, who is a part of the New British Sculpture movement. The painting that Julian Opie did of James Dyson, which was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in London, was titled: “James, Inventor.”

At a certain stage in the course, I took a trip up to the Tate Britain, which is also in London, and it featured a memorable, yet iconic piece by David Bomberg, titled: “The Mud Bath”, which was created in 1914, as an oil-on-canvas painting.

Back to the gist of the article, I have come a very long way since I started the course, and to finally finish it today, I can officially say that I am absolutely glad to have completed all of the work, my work for this course is finally done, and all of the hard work has officially paid off, thanks to my family, all of my friends, my two main role models and also some of my true friends, and also to every single one of you on WordPress, I couldn’t have done this all without you.

My determination is always going to stay at an all-time high, and I’m not preparing to slow down anytime soon, I will be making sure to keep as active as possible, and I will also make sure to keep myself in the loop, so that my time is prioritised in a much better way than how it originally was before, and that I can fit time in to write and publish articles for Mother Nature.

I have taken photos down the line since I’ve been at Croydon College, as I want to make sure that whatever photo I take, I can take that photo home with me to keep as an everlasting, long and happy memory.

A lot of happy memories have occurred and been created down the line, and I feel absolutely thankful and fortunate to know that I can do a lot of things now that I couldn’t do originally before. I have noticed down the line when it came to my college studies that my workloads were less busy, given that I had kept on top of the work, and what I feel is a massive relief and a massive weight off of my shoulders, is that I can finally keep what I’ve created, so that when it comes to the future, I can take what I’ve created with me and use it for many different uses in more ways than one in the years to come.

It’s hard to think, it was this time last year that I was relaxing, putting my feet up and working on my second book, and to turn the clock forward 365 days from 2014 to 2015, I am absolutely amazed as to what I have achieved. A lot of hard work and dedication has paid off, and I will be making sure to keep to that so that I can make sure I excel further in life.

You may have noticed about me this past year that I have been very fussy with what I’ve been designing and also creating, this is because I have been making sure to improve on my skills in design, and since I started the UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course at Croydon College, my own initial ideas and my own designs have gotten much, much better than how I had first thought.

With the work I’ve been producing, I have been making sure to fine-tune and make sure that what I create is perfect, whether it be work that I’ve been doing at Croydon College, or whether it be that I’ve been working on designing something for Mother Nature.

For those of you who are planning on going to Croydon College in the future years to come, I strongly recommend this college, this college is an all-round diverse and equal college that focuses on you being respected for who you are, and not only that, this college will do anything to make sure you can get to where you want to be in life.

For the last few years of my secondary education, I will be going on to doing the Level 3 Lens-Based Media Course, as I have my strong intentions to become a full-time photographer in the future. I love photography, and I also love writing and publishing articles on Mother Nature, and my further interest is that I love writing my own books.

Be yourself, and make sure that you get the best out of the life you have, and also, make sure your life is worth living, and not only that, make sure that you excel in life, as all of the hard work and dedication you make now will pay off in the end.

Dream big, think big, and also think of the best things that you want to do. Make sure to go for every opportunity that hits you, and if there is a fantastic opportunity that strikes, go for it!!!

Over the course of the Level 3 Lens-Based Media Course, I will be making sure to use my Nikon D3300 DSLR more frequently than before, as I will be making myself absolutely sure that I can get out a lot more than before and use my camera to take more photographs.

If needs be, I will be making sure to get out more over the course of the Level 3 Lens-Based Media Course, and not only that, but I will also be making sure to take dozens more photos over the course of 2016, and for many more years to come.

After such a fantastic year, I am finally glad to say that my first year of college is over. Although I will miss this year, I will still be able to look back on this year in the years to come, and I will make sure to do anything to make sure that my future is secured, and that my future is bright. Also, I will be making sure to keep on top of everything, and even if it means working harder than before, I will, if it means that I succeed and get further and further in life.

My final thoughts on my first year at Croydon College? I absolutely loved every second of it, and I have also loved all of the memories that have been created down the line. In the last few years of my secondary education, I will most definitely be making myself absolutely sure to create a lot more memories down the line, so that when my secondary education does officially come to an end, I will be able to look back on it all, including the memories that I have gathered, not just from Oasis Academy: Shirley Park, but also from Croydon College.

Overall, I am absolutely glad to have successfully completed my first year, and I am also absolutely glad to have passed my UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course. Roll on the Level 3 Lens-Based Media Course, and also, roll on the last few years of my secondary education. I can’t wait to create and keep a lot of happy memories over the next few years.

Alex Smithson