Monthly Roundup: January 2018

January flew like clockwork…literally. It’s been a slow but busy month but it’s good to know we got through January despite the torrential weather conditions over the first few weeks of 2018.

Without further ado, I’ll crack on with the first monthly roundup for 2018.

1.1.2018 – 2018 kicked off with a bang, and I mentioned I would publish now and then due to the fact I’m working full-time, meaning articles will be published less frequently so I can prioritise my time more on my job over writing and publishing articles.

10.1.2018 – On every magazine cover or newspaper you’ve read, you may notice there’s been the odd airbrushing or two on all of the magazine and newspaper covers of someone famous you know. “The Discomforting Perceptions of Airbrushed Photographs” aimed to get the point over clearly and concisely as an episode of the talk show, Loose Women, aired before this article went out as the Loose Women talked about airbrushing on photographs considering body dysmorphia is becoming worryingly common, considering a vast majority of some people feel insecure about how they look and appear, and that they feel they should fix what makes them insecure when they shouldn’t.

20.1.2018 – Far too often, mental health is often shunned to one side by many of those who believe it doesn’t exist. Some see it as an excuse to make anyone who suffers from mental health feel like they cannot prove their worth because they’re different to everyone else. “Mental Health: Make a Difference” allowed me to lay down on the line my realistic views and I refused to hold back my real emotions and views and I felt so much better to speak up in confidence about it considering mental health is something that’s very close to my heart and that I always support anyone suffering from a mental health condition.

31.1.2018 – Kicking off the first photography article of the year, I was delighted to have been given the opportunity to photograph my close friend, Wesley Baker. With his work being featured in and Croydon, with one of his most notable pieces of artwork being the centrepiece of Croydon Flyover of the hit cartoon, Astro Boy, Wesley’s CDNZine and CDNStore Instagram accounts boom with artistic values and energy, and I’m honoured to have been given the opportunity to photograph him. To see the full article, click here.

Ready for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games? I sure am ready! Let’s kick off next month with a bang! See you all in February and thanks for such a fantastic month, everyone!

Alex Smithson

The Concept of Expression / Wesley Baker (CDN)

Kicking off the first photography article of the year, I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to photograph my close friend, Wesley Baker.

With his work being featured in and Croydon, with one of his most notable pieces of artwork being the centrepiece of Croydon Flyover of the hit cartoon, Astro Boy, Wesley’s CDNZine and CDNStore Instagram accounts boom with artistic values and energy, and I’m honoured to have been given the opportunity to photograph him.

Despite the wet and windy weather conditions near Ambassador House, Thornton Heath, I was able to produce a good set of photographs, which can be found below.

I acknowledge the ISO was on the noisiest setting, but that was due to the torrential weather conditions on Saturday. I will be improving on making any future photographs I take less noisy and more focal and masked. At least then, this gives me a chance to learn from and improve on the final outcomes of any photo-sets I produce in the future.

Other than that, I am really pleased with how this photo-set turned out as I was able to get Wesley to do some facial expressions, natural and put-on, as this helped me to understand his personality and charisma through his work.

If you have Instagram, follow Wesley’s Instagram accounts, @cdnzine and @cdn_store and sign up to his mailing list by clicking here.

Also, if you are interested in getting some art installed on your living room walls or anywhere you know or you want to get a fleecy top, support Wesley’s brand by purchasing his branded CDN Shirts and his most current work: “NEVER MIND THE CONCRETE” through his BigCartel store by clicking here.

Please tell me in the comments below your tips on how I can improve my photography sets next time, as this will help me to improve and help me to develop my photography skills better. Also, please share this photo-set with everyone you know and even share it on social media platforms.

Alex Smithson

© Wesley Baker, CDNZine & CDNStore, 2018

© Permission was granted by Wesley Baker to use the CDN logo. Full copyright goes to the respective owners.

Camera Used: Nikon D3300

Lens Used: 18 – 55 mm NIKKOR Lens

Mental Health: Make a Difference!

Far too often, mental health is often shunned to one side by many of those who believe it doesn’t exist. Some see it as an excuse to make anyone who suffers from mental health feel like they cannot prove their worth because they’re different to everyone else.

Mental health is often ignored nowadays in the modern world, as some people actually believe it’s something that doesn’t exist.

It does exist.

No two people are the same when it comes to mental health. Everyone is different and why should those who believe mental health doesn’t exist feel like it’s okay for them to make others feel left out because they are different to everyone else?

They shouldn’t!

Mental health should be acknowledged by everyone. This doesn’t mean one person should recognise it, let alone any charities should recognise it, but the whole world has to recognise mental health and take into account that the more mental health is acknowledged, the better chances there are of help, support and treatment being provided to everyone depending on the mental health condition they were diagnosed with.

Why do so many ignore the signs of mental health?

So many people ignore the signs of mental health, not because they don’t just think it doesn’t exist, but because they believe it can be cured.

Well Hello!

It is not curable!

It can be managed, however, through the use of help, support and treatment, including support lines, websites surrounding mental health and charities that specialise in providing help and support to all those suffering from a mental health condition.

I care about mental health a lot as I have a lot of friends who suffer from mental health, or do suffer from mental health but haven’t declared it due to their fear of worrying that they may be shunned, left out or be discriminated against because they are different to everyone else. Mental health is something that is very close to my heart and I always support anyone with a mental health condition but don’t ever listen to those who say it’s curable because it’s not!

We are all different, not the same and you cannot flip two different sides of the coin and pray it can be cured. It’s incurable but manageable.

We should be making a difference by raising awareness, opening up more about mental health, and tell the naysayers that tell us to ‘man up and toughen up’ to get a life!

Let’s end this stigma once and for all!

Want to end the stigma? Let’s do this! Please tell me if you raise awareness for mental health, and if you do or don’t, that’s okay and I respect you fully, but please feel free to tell me if you are or know someone, whether it be a family member or friend who has a mental health condition who has struggled to open up or has recently opened up about how they feel. I am more than happy to hear how you felt about opening up, but I am also happy to hear about how someone you know felt about opening up and showing their real emotions.

Please feel free to refer to the Mental Health Organisations page by clicking on the link provided below this article.

Alex Smithson

https://asterisk15.wordpress.com/mental-health-organisations

The Discomforting Perceptions of Airbrushed Photographs.

On every magazine cover or newspaper you’ve read, you may notice there’s been the odd airbrushing or two on all of the magazine and newspaper covers of someone famous you know.

Every photograph I’ve produced that features any friends of mine have never been airbrushed and have never been photoshopped. Of course, I’ve edited some of my photographs by changing some of them to black and white to bring out the facial features of the subjects I photograph so that you still see an all-natural look, but I would never even dream of airbrushing any photographs I produce as I would rather you all see the subjects I photograph for what they actually look like naturally, not what society wants them to look like when airbrushed as airbrushing is not normal.

Airbrushing was the topic of conversation on today’s edition of Loose Women, as body dysmorphia is becoming worryingly common, as a vast majority of some people feel insecure about how their bodies look and they feel they should fix what makes them insecure when they shouldn’t.

Personally, I find airbrushing to be completely uncomfortable, as I would rather look at a photograph of someone famous, especially if it’s a close friend of mine that shows them completely natural with no airbrushing applied rather than look at a photograph of someone famous, especially if it’s a close friend of mine that shows noticeable airbrushing because airbrushing is a complete turn-off. It also promotes negativity for mental health, as airbrushing is another leading example of the stigma that surrounds mental health, considering mental health is only just being taken notice of after so many years of being ignored.

Airbrushing is the vanity card of the future that will alter anyone’s appearance and personally and honestly, I would rather be realistic by saying I would rather see a famous celebrity or close friend of mine all-natural rather than see constant airbrushing in photographs.

I know I’ve probably repeated myself over and over again but I will say this. Don’t ever expect to see any airbrushed photos on here as I am going all natural with my photographs so you actually see what any of my subjects actually look like rather than see any photos that are unnatural.

Mother Nature intends to stick to the all-natural realism of photography, and as for airbrushing, airbrushing is banned!

Do you find airbrushed photographs to be discomforting?

Does it make you uncomfortable knowing you’re looking at the discomforting perceptions of an airbrushed photograph as opposed to an unedited, all-natural photograph?

Do you believe airbrushing promotes negativity for Mental Health in the sense people should be made to look at a photograph that isn’t natural, but is airbrushed?

Please tell me in the comments. I would love to hear what you’ve got to say about the whole unrealistic world of airbrushing.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to January!

Welcome to 2018! Happy New Year Everyone!

Now that 2017 has finally closed its doors, 2018 opens with a bright, busy and fresh year ahead.

Things will be changing now. As I will be working a lot more, please expect to notice I will be publishing now and then over the course of this year, as I will be focusing a lot more now on my full-time job instead of publishing articles as often as I used to. I’ll still be publishing articles now and then and I will be making sure to produce more photography work this year whilst I work in my job, but I shall be prioritising my job a lot more over writing and publishing articles.

Mother Nature continues to be equal and diverse, and to make a change, Mother Nature goes green as of today as this website is going to be more about photography, as photography, to me, is an initiative of creativity, not just naturistic, but is about being able to explore the core aspects of what photography is all about, as well as the beauty of photographs and how each photograph doesn’t just tell a story, but explores the story of that photograph a lot more in-depth, whether it’s about nature, or whether it’s about close-up photography or anything else that involves landscape and portrait photography. To put it quite simply, in other words, photography isn’t just an initiative of creativity, but is about a freedom of expression in what you can see in a photograph that no-one else may be able to see the first time.

2018 sure is going to be an exciting year full of new challenges and projects but I will be making sure to continue working on my photography series, The Concept of Expression, over the course of this year, so today is where the hard work will now really begin!

Happy New Year Everyone and Welcome to 2018!

Alex Smithson

Dulwich Park / Croydon School of Art / Curiosity / Self-Directed Project / 31.1.2017

Continuing on from my first set of photographs that I took previously at Kelsey Park, I headed to Dulwich Park 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 am pleased with the end result that I have achieved from this photographic collection.

One of the Moor Hens actually came a lot closer than I expected, which was perfect for me as I was able to photograph the Moor Hen with such detail and visual imagery, and because I frequently changed the ISO on my Nikon D3300 DSLR, this allowed me to play about with the light balance, including the saturation of colour and clarity of the photos.

This photographic collection I have documented of Dulwich Park showcases my current knowledge and photography skills, based on the 5 photographers I have researched; Ansel Adams, David Muench, John Shaw, Art Wolfe & Joel Sartore.

I feel that I have managed to produce this nature-based photography collection of Dulwich Park to the best standard where possible, as I have made sure to change the ISO to suit the mood of each photograph, and I have also made sure that my photographs are in full focus and aren’t too overexposed but more or less balanced.

I have deliberately altered the ISO to make some of the photos appear as if they were taken right before the crack of nightfall, because I wanted to explore the concept of nature and its wilderness. Some of the photos I took that were quite dimmed I wanted to try and create my own inspired form of photography based on the BBC TV Programme, Planet Earth, as I remember the camera crew did record video footage using time-lapse but with the camera focusing entirely at the sky with the trees in the distance, which is what I wanted to try and recreate myself but with my own form of nature photography.

I have researched the 5 photographers above as part of my Self-Directed Curiosity Project and I strongly feel that their photography work has informed my creative knowledge including the processes I have developed for this photographic collection of Dulwich Park.

What are your thoughts on this photography collection I have created of Dulwich Park? I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

© The Croydon College Logo & Croydon School of Art Logo are both copyright of Croydon College & Croydon School of Art. Permission has been granted for these logos to be used. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

She’s a Grown Woman! Beyoncé is Pregnant with Twins!

In a surprise announcement, Beyoncé has announced she is pregnant with twins! This news comes after she uploaded a photograph to the photo-sharing service, Instagram, in which she cradles her stomach with a veil on in front of a floral display.

Who knew that this would be the best highlight of 2017. Beyoncé is pregnant! 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 and now she has confirmed along with her husband of 9 years, JAY Z, that she is pregnant with twins.

I am so excited and words cannot describe how over the moon I feel at this stage. I am sending my best wishes and happiness her way and also to JAY Z. Congratulations to both of you, Beyoncé and JAY Z. May this year be a special year for you both.

Alex Smithson

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

Block Donald Trump’s State Visit to the United Kingdom

Calling all UK Citizens. If you want to prevent Donald Trump from setting foot in the United Kingdom for his State Visit to Her Majesty the Queen, please click on the link below to sign the petition.

This petition has over 750,000 (…and counting) signatures, including my signature, so if you want to help revoke Donald Trump’s State Visit to the UK, please click the link below.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171928/

I will not deny and shall not deny as I am entitled to a freedom of speech, I don’t have an ounce let alone an inkling of respect for the man considering his misogynistic, disrespectful and racist ways, but I will not and shall not hide how I feel about him. He shouldn’t enter the United Kingdom because he is already continuing to divide communities and quite possibly nations in the process following the ban he has introduced that prevents Muslims and other religious backgrounds from entering the United States as he sees Muslims and other cultural backgrounds and religions as ‘terrorists’ and his State Visit to the United Kingdom has the potential to bring shame on us as a country.

I wholeheartedly support anyone regardless of religion, sexuality, background, skin colour, place of origin, gender and anything else that can make this world equal and diverse, but I in no away support Donald Trump. There, I’ve said it. Also, all women are entitled to the same type of freedom as men and shouldn’t be controlled, shouldn’t be forced, and shouldn’t be objectified just for being themselves. If all of us men can have freedom, then all women can have the same freedom as all of us men.

Equality & Diversity always matter in this world. Inequality and a lack of diversity doesn’t deserve to be in this world.

Of course, I acknowledge anything said here could be taken out of context and I can only apologise if anything I have said here does cause offence. Offence is not my intention, honesty is the best policy but a freedom of speech and saying how you feel really does go a long way. Also, I do not intend for anything I’ve written here to be classed as defamatory because that is not the intention at all, I have only written this to express my real feelings about the man, as well as how everyone else sees him. Defamatory isn’t in my blood at all, though I am entitled to a freedom of speech as me and everyone else are entitled to our own human rights and also a freedom of expression.

Alex Smithson

Articles of Interest

http://www.metronews.ca/views/opinion/2016/11/10/i-think-trump-voters-know-full-well-what-they-have-done.html

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/29/trump-travel-ban-peoples-stories-from-us-and-around-the-world

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/16/donald-trump-narcissist-profile

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444370/donald-trump-refugee-executive-order-no-muslim-ban-separating-fact-hysteria

http://www.smh.com.au/world/global-backlash-grows-against-donald-trumps-immigration-order-20170129-gu12f9.html

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/29/sir-mo-farah-donald-trump-made-me-an-alien

Kelsey Park / Croydon School of Art / Curiosity / Self-Directed Project / 24.1.2017

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 I last visited Kelsey Park 3 years ago, it is safe to say that my photography skills have dramatically and rapidly improved quite a lot over time.

This large collection of photographs that I took of Kelsey Park would comprise of some species of ducks and geese, including some squirrels as well.

As I have a strong passion for nature and photography, I was lucky enough to photograph at least two swans, one of which you can see above which I changed to black and white.

I was surprised to notice that Kelsey Park’s lake was mostly frozen from the blisteringly cold weather, though one of the Moor Hen’s decided to land and slid across the ice. I did change the ISO mostly to photograph this collection considering that nightfall wasn’t far behind, so I did make sure to make the most of the daylight to snap these photographs.

I got some photographs of the Canada Geese up, close and personal, but I did make sure to walk very slowly and crouch down slowly in order to produce these photographs to the best standard where possible.

In terms of these photographs, I feel this is my best photographic collection to date because I have changed the ISO and got a bit more close up with nature which is what I’ve been looking to do for a while. I must admit, I took these photos with an 18 – 55 mm Nikkor Lens which came bundled with the Nikon D3300 DSLR and I didn’t need to opt for a bigger camera lens. On the plus side, I was absolutely glad that I took these photographs on Tuesday as this photographic collection will help me with my self-directed project.

If you have been to Kelsey Park before, please let me know, I would love to hear what your thoughts are on Kelsey Park and if you have never been to Kelsey Park, don’t worry, this photographic collection will give you an in-depth look on Kelsey Park and the beauty of nature. Mind you, I am pleased with the final results I’ve achieved from this photographic collection and I will continue to improve my photography skills and get behind the DSLR more.

If you enjoyed this photographic collection of Kelsey Park, please let me know. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

© The Croydon College Logo & Croydon School of Art Logo are both copyright of Croydon College & Croydon School of Art. Permission has been granted for these logos to be used. No copyright infringement intended.