Headshot #2 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Jonathan McCartney

Following on from the first set of headshot photographs I took of my good friend, Jonathan McCartney, I present to you the second headshot photographs I took of my friend, Jonathan, but this time, with a black backdrop, which I must say actually works 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 have not only improved my photography skills, but it does make a lot of sense to use a black backdrop in these photographs, including any other photographs that I will produce.

I have made sure to experiment carefully with these photographs by editing them in WordFoto and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) so that they can retain the facial expressions I asked Jonathan to make, as these headshot photographs tie in with my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, including the research I have done so far on the Facial Expressionism photographers, Fazal Sheikh and Irving Penn.

Below are the Headshot #2 photographs of my friend, Jonathan.

Just like before, I have edited these photographs with WordFoto and used more than one word on one of the edited photographs shown below.

I have made sure to develop the photographs further by also changing the selected photographs to black and white whilst raising and lowering some of the curves on the photographs so that the lighting on Jonathan brings out his facial expressions better with a sense of depth and detail.

Overall, I am absolutely pleased with the end result that has come out of these photographs, and being critiqued on my work has actually helped me to develop my photography skills better, not just from receiving peer critique whilst in my Film & Photography lesson, but also from receiving critique from a close friend of mine.

The Headshot #2 photographs I have taken of my friend, Jonathan McCartney, including the edited versions of these photographs that I produced in WordFoto and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) can be found in my E-Folio.

I would love to get your feedback on these photographs and please let me know what improvements I can make for when I produce more Facial Expressionism headshot photographs for next time. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Battersea Park / Revisited / 13.4.2017

As it has been four years since I last visited Battersea Park, it is safe to say that not a lot hasn’t changed since my last visit.

The weather was absolutely lovely; the scenery gave me a sense of relaxation because it is a place to relax and unwind.

Whilst me and my family were at Battersea Park, we played a game of cricket, and twice in one day, two dogs grabbed the tennis balls we were using, though two of the tennis balls were knackered after a couple of whacks with the cricket bat, but it was good for us all to get out and enjoy ourselves while the two-week holiday lasts.

It’s hard to think it was four years ago that I last visited Battersea Park. Where has the time gone? I still find it hard to believe that I was just about to sit my final year at Oasis Academy: Shirley Park and 4 years down the line, I am sitting the last few months of my UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course at Croydon College. That’s quite scary knowing just how fast the time has flown, because it only felt like yesterday I started my first year at Croydon College and now I’m in my last year at Croydon College and it just feels so unreal knowing I’m sitting the last few months of my education before I finish my education for good and go into the world of work.

Below is the large photographic collection I have produced of Battersea Park.

iPhone 5

Nikon D3300

I won’t lie to you, I’m absolutely glad to have revisited Battersea Park after such a long while, because the weather was just right, the temperature was just right and not only that, but there wasn’t a single spot of rain which was a bonus! Mind you, I will revisit Battersea Park in the future as I want to photograph the plants again soon considering I photographed the plants mostly the last time I visited Battersea Park back in 2013.

Overall, I absolutely enjoyed my time at Battersea Park after such a long wait and I cannot wait to go there again soon.

If you enjoyed this photography collection, please feel free to submit a response. Your feedback is much appreciated and if you have visited Battersea Park before, please let me know, I would love to know what you think of Battersea Park.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to April!

Welcome to April on Mother Nature! As this month is set to be just as relaxing and as peaceful as last month, it’s safe to say that the weather is set to get better, and this month is also set to be quite the busy month for me, because I will need to travel up to places 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 am currently working on.

During the holiday break, I will be doing coursework and revision, as I’ve got my GCSE English exam on the 5th May which I have to prepare for and I also have my GCSE Maths exams coming up soon as well, so I can only apologise in advance if I don’t publish as much on here over the next few weeks.

It’s hard to think, by the end of June, beginning of July, I will have just finished my last year of being in education. The time has flown so fast! I wish it could slow down but time isn’t slowing down anytime soon, so it’s time to make the most of it and make use of the time available whilst I am still in education to work hard and to succeed in my coursework.

Who has been loving this nice and sunny weather lately? I’d love to know if you love the nice and sunny weather that we’ve been seeing more of lately.

Until then:

WELCOME TO APRIL!

Alex Smithson

CROYDON / FRIDAY 31ST MARCH 2017

Today, as part of the photographic collection of Croydon I produced last week and published yesterday, I continued to develop my photography skills further with the pre-installed Camera app, and as today was such a wonderful, lovely, peaceful and happy day, I couldn’t resist producing an up-to-date collection of photographs of Croydon. For this photographic collection of Croydon, I wanted to make sure that the beauty and essence of Croydon were captured in these photographs, considering that on a sunny and beautiful day like today, Croydon is vibrant, colourful, bold and bursting with life.

Shown below are the most current photographs of Croydon that I produced today.

What a better way to end March! For once, the weather has been lovely for a change and right at the end of the month too. It’s safe to say I was not at all disappointed with the way this photographic collection turned out and I am so happy with the final end result I have managed to achieve from this photographic collection.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this photographic collection I have produced of Croydon. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Does the UK Need More Policing?

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 the 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.

It’s disgraceful to know that the police numbers have been cut, but the bigger picture myself and everyone have to look at is how the lack of policing is going to have an impact on all of us as a country. The harsh reality of the bigger picture is that by there being a lack of policing, this country and its counterparts where security is concerned is seeing a potentially dangerous downside in protection where security is concerned.

I am sickened by the fact that there is not enough policing on the streets. Years ago, the gun and knife crime rates were much lower compared to today’s gun and knife crime rates, as the odd occasional stabbing and gun crime was committed, but was nowhere near as frequent as it is today, and it really does get under my skin knowing that myself and every single one of us have to face the harsh reality of knowing our own safety is at risk no matter where we are.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, broke his silence following the devastating terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge, London, which has officially been dubbed the worst terrorist incident since 7/7:

Today London suffered a horrific attack near Parliament Square which we are treating as a terror attack. A number of people have lost their lives and at least twenty people have been injured. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and to everyone who has been affected. Tragically, a Metropolitan Police officer who was doing his duty protecting out city is amongst those who have been killed and my thoughts are with his family this evening. I want to express my gratitude, on behalf of all Londoners, to the police and emergency services who have shown tremendous bravery in exceptionally difficult circumstances. I have spoken to the Acting Commissioner Metropolitan Police Commissioner Craig Mackay and national lead for Counter-Terrorism Policing and Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley and remain in close contact with them. Londoners should be aware that there will be additional armed and unarmed police officers on our streets from tonight in order to keep Londoners, and all those visiting out city safe. I want to reassure all Londoners, and all our visitors, not to be alarmed. Our city remains one of the safest in the world. London is the greatest city in the world and we stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. We always have and we always will. Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.” – Sadiq Khan’s official statement released to all mainstream media sources on the 22nd March 2017.

To show solidarity in light of the horrific terrorist attack, Paris switched off the lights of the Eiffel Tower to pay full respect to the injured victims, including those who lost their lives. The police officer that was sadly confirmed to have passed away as a result of being stabbed was named as PC Keith Palmer. Other landmarks around the world showed solidarity to the United Kingdom by lighting themselves up in the colours of the Union Jack, and today, thousands of people came together to remember the victims exactly a week after the horrific terrorist attack took place down Westminster Bridge, London.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, broke her silence following the devastating terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge, London, which saw 4 people (3 victims and one police officer), with the 5th person being Khalid Masood, who was shot dead after committing this disgraceful terrorist attack:

I have just chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee, COBRA, following the sick and depraved terrorist attack on the streets of our Capital this afternoon. The full details of exactly what happened are still emerging. But, having been updated by police and security officials, I can confirm that this appalling incident began when a single attacker drove his vehicle into pedestrians walking across Westminster Bridge, killing two people and injuring many more, including three police officers. This attacker, who was armed with a knife, then ran towards Parliament where he was confronted by the police officers who keep us – and our democratic institutions – safe. Tragically, one officer was killed. The terrorist was also shot dead. The United Kingdom’s threat level has been set at severe for some time and this will not change. Acting Deputy Commissioner Rowley will give a further operational update later this evening. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected – to the victims themselves, and their family and friends who waved their loved ones off, but will not now be welcoming them home. For those of us who were in Parliament at the time of this attack, these events provide a particular reminder of the exceptional bravery of our police and security services who risk their lives to keep us safe. Once again today, these exceptional men and women ran towards the danger even as they encouraged others to move the other way. On behalf of the whole country, I want to pay tribute to them – and to all our emergency services – for the work they have been doing to reassure the public and bring security back to the streets of our Capital City. That they have lost one of their own in today’s attack only makes their calmness and professionalism under pressure all the more remarkable. The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorists chose to strike at the heart of our Capital City, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech. These streets of Westminster – home to the world’s oldest Parliament – are engrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe. And the values our Parliament represents – democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law – command the admiration and respect of free people everywhere. That is why it is a target for those who reject those values. But let me make it clear today, as I have had cause to do before: any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to failure. Tomorrow morning, Parliament will meet as normal. We will come together as normal. And Londoners – and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great City – will get up and go about their day as normal. They will board their trains, they will leave their hotels, they will walk these streets, they will live their lives. And we will all move forward together. Never giving in to terror. And never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.” – Theresa May’s official statement released to all mainstream media sources on the 22nd March 2017.

It sickens me to the core that violence still exists in this world. Why can’t we all just get along? There should be no violence, no hatred, no inequality and there most certainly shouldn’t be a lack of diversity in this world. All of have to come together and end violence, end hatred, end inequality and end a lack of diversity, and we should all come together and respect one another, and always be equal and diverse towards one another. Regardless of sexuality, religion, gender, skin colour, background, place of origin and culture, we should all stick together and treat one another with respect and also treat one another equally and diversely.

Here’s the open statement I issued on Thursday 23rd March 2017, exactly one day after the horrific terrorist attack took place down Westminster Bridge, London:

In light of the devastating terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge on Wednesday 22nd March 2017. Listen to this. We stand with solidarity. We stand with dignity. We shall not be silenced by violence. We, as a country, as a nation, as a community, will not be silenced. We are all stronger than you think and we will not & shall not be silenced! We shall never bow down, let alone take this horrific attack lying down. We shall all stand together and never be silenced. Take this opportunity to pay tribute to the victims who sadly lost their lives on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 and also take this opportunity to pay tribute to PC Keith Palmer, but take this opportunity to know we are not afraid. We shall never be afraid.” – Alex Smithson

I will say this. We shall never bow down to violence, we shall never be silenced. We shall stand resilient and never be defeated. This world doesn’t deserve violence at all. We are not afraid. We shall never be afraid.

Do you agree that this world should never be full of violence, inequality and a lack of diversity, and should be filled with equality, diversity, love, care, compassion and respect? If you agree, please let me know by commenting below. We shall all remember the victims who lost their lives and also pay our full respects and condolences to the family of PC Keith Palmer.

Alex Smithson

Pecha Kucha / Japanese for Chit-Chat

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.

For me, because I am fascinated by Facial Expressionism, which was a concept I worked on last year, I am interested in a photograph that captures the subject’s facial expression and emotion, and for me, I will make sure I can 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.

These are all the notes I gathered together as part of my Pecha Kucha presentation yesterday, which went brilliantly for me yesterday considering I was nervous but showed confidence the moment I presented the work I am looking to produce for my Final Major Project. Please keep in mind just a few of the noted photographs that aren’t mine will have the name of the photographed subject, including the year the photograph was produced, also the name of the website I found the photograph from, including the website address and the recorded date that specific website was last visited. The photographs that aren’t mine at all that I referenced in this presentation as part of my Film & Photography coursework can be found on Page 4 & 9. I take absolutely no credit from the photographers who produced the work I have referenced. Those photographers whose work I have referenced in this presentation are Thomas Ruff & Bert Stern.

Over the coming weeks, I will be making sure to work my absolute hardest to really push for the best final grade possible as I want to succeed in my final year of the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course. I will also be making sure to work as hard as I can to really push for the highest possible grades in both GCSE English & GCSE Maths.

If you enjoyed reading the notes and research I gathered together for this Pecha Kucha presentation, please feel free to comment below. All feedback is much appreciated and the all of the notes and research from the Pecha Kucha presentation, including the photographs I produced from my visits to Kelsey Park, Dulwich Park and Beddington Park can be found in my E-FOLIO.

Alex Smithson

Beddington Park / Croydon School of Art / Curiosity / Self-Directed Project / 1.2.2017

Following on from my visit to Dulwich Park, I decided to visit Beddington Park 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.

Of course, as I am continuously making sure to improve my photography skills every time I make a photographic collection, I like to make sure I can play around with my Nikon D3300 DSLR‘s camera features, as this can help me to produce a professional collection of photographs, so I made sure when I was at Beddington Park to try and photograph certain areas in and around the graveyard, especially the scenery and also the church.

It was freezing cold, but wasn’t raining when I took these photographs which was a relief for me, as I was able to produce this photographic collection to a much better standard than I expected, but I did make sure to change the ISO throughout producing this photographic collection as I wanted to make sure these photographs were full of clarity and also full of vibrant colour, so that they were presentable and professional enough to be a photographic collection.

As far as my photography skills go, I am pleased to say I have experimented more with the ISO, as this has helped me to produce this photographic collection of Beddington Park to the best standard where possible. I have acknowledge some of these photographs may be slightly darker than they should be, but it’s because I want for you to see how I’ve worked with the landscape, as well as to how I see Beddington Park generally.

Have you been to Beddington Park before? If you have, please let me know, I would love to hear your feedback, and if you haven’t been to Beddington Park before, don’t worry, as this photographic collection I have created of Beddington Park will give you an insight into what Beddington Park, not to mention the hindsight of the landscape.

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.

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.

Madness / Can’t Touch Us Now / Saturday 10th December 2016 / Tour Exclusive!

As the legendary 1970s music group, MADNESS, recently released their album, Can’t Touch Us Now, it was safe to say a tour wasn’t far behind, as they would perform live at the O2 in London.

I went with my family to see Madness perform, and considering that it was my first time setting foot in the auditorium of the O2, even though I’ve been to the O2 before when the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition was on in 2011, I was absolutely blown away by how massive the auditorium is in the O2. However, I went to see Madness perform with my family and I was not disappointed at all. I’ve listened to some of their music over the years, and especially their recent hit, Mr. Apples, which is really good, and the whole auditorium was more or less full when they performed.

They performed some of the songs off of their new album, Can’t Touch Us Now, and they even performed classic hits, such as Our House, It Must Be Love, including Baggy Trousers, Blackbird (dedicated to Amy Winehouse) and many other famous hits that they released over the course of their 40-year career in the music business.

Below is a large photo collection that I gathered together, including footage that I gathered whilst I was with my family to see Madness & The Lightning Seeds on Tour.

Overall, I am absolutely glad I went to see Madness live in concert with my family. I loved every second of the tour and I will treasure this night for the rest of my life.

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

Alex Smithson

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

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

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