Monthly Roundup: May 2018

It sure was a productive month, which is surprising considering I’ve been publishing less frequently over the course of this year due to working full-time, but it’s a relief to know we’ve had the wonderful Spring weather, with the Summer weather taking effect.

It won’t be too long before it starts to get even hotter, though despite the thunderstorms following the hot and humid weather, expect this summer to be much hotter than last Summer, with even more thunder and lightning storms.

I will take a quick look back at the articles I’ve published over the course of May.

1.5.2018 – May was set to be a much busier month considering I would be working and completing work-related documents, which meant I wouldn’t be able to use some of the free time to publish articles, apart from the fact I would be able to publish articles here and there when I could find some of the free time.

4.5.2018 – We had the lovely sunny weather and I marked the occasion with inspiration from Star Wars, as I photographed Mother Nature in her most wonderful form on the way to work.

It sure was a wonderful day, as Mother Nature was Blushing Pink in the wonderful, sunny Spring weather.

6.5.2018 – The weather continued to be wonderful as ever as Mother Nature showed off the Gracious Greenery of Spring, which gave me an opportunity to photograph the natural landscapes whilst I was on my way to work and on the way home from work.

8.5.2018 – I made the most of the Bank Holiday with the wonderful weather, as I seized the opportunity to photograph some more plants and flowers whilst I was on the way to see Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1, whilst experimenting with the exposure of the photographs I produced.

17.5.2018 – Mental Health Awareness Week gave me the chance to urge all of you to come together to support everyone and to also be in your friend’s corner.

19.5.2018 – Nature was certainly Tickled Pink with the wonderful, yet breezy and sunny weather.

This day was special considering Prince Harry & Meghan Markle got married at Windsor Castle, meanwhile, Mother Nature was wonderful to let this day be special by going all out with the sunny weather and the beautiful royal purple flowers.

20.5.2018 – Continuing the Royal Wedding Celebration, Mother Nature let Royalty lay her red carpet of flowers to celebrate Meghan & Harry on their royal marriage.

She also made sure everything was a Silky Spring for this occasion considering I discovered a silky-looking plant that looked like a four-leaf clover symbolising luck in disguise.

Nature was bliss, however, as the Royal Weekend ended on a high and positive note, as she beamed vibrant colours, not to mention that she created a blissful atmosphere that was tranquil.

21.5.2018 – Mother Nature blossomed in Peaceful Purple during the remarkable and peaceful Royal Weekend.

The lightning was so electrifying on this gloomy Spring day that it almost knocked my internet out, as it did try to rain, with the sudden bolt of lightning explaining why my internet connection was almost knocked out.

22.5.2018 – Nature blossomed beautifully in her Mellow Yellow form and in all her glory.

24.5.2018 – Mother Nature glistened green, and it was safe to say she was making the most of the sunny weather as she blossomed and beamed with bursts of greenery.

She also managed to burst with Vivid Vibrancy, as there was a breeze in the air to make the mood of Spring feel like home.

Not only that, but she presented a Bokeh of Flowers, which proved to be a sight for sore eyes…literally!

Mother Nature even went as far as to bare her soul by creating a relaxing atmosphere that even settled me, with a hint of the breeze to set the mood to be just right.

25.5.2018 – The weather was on and off when I was on my way to work, but the weather didn’t stop Mother Nature from blossoming her beautiful side as she already blossomed beauty, with an elegance about her that was exquisite and definitive.

26.5.2018 – It was a Tropical Spring, as it was mostly sunny and warm, with a tropical feeling that lingered in the air.

There was a Sultry Summer spell before the big lightning storm that was expected to impact the United Kingdom, which was safe to say for Mother Nature, as she was ready to make us aware that a huge storm was coming!

It was shocking, as the United Kingdom did, in fact, witness a massive thunderstorm with nothing but torrential downpours after a couple of weeks of hot, humid and muggy weather, but it proved Mother Nature was ready to let rip one heck of a powerful, yet tropical storm.

27.5.2018 – Mother Nature was Beautifully Radiant, as a photo I took on Friday 18th May proved why she was so vibrant and beautiful.

28.5.2018 – Despite the ‘Mother of All Thunderstorms’ battering the United Kingdom, it was safe to say that the Sweltering Sunny Spell of hot Summer weather officially arrived.

31.5.2018 – The model I photographed for the photography series: “The Concept of Expression”, on Monday 28th May 2018, was my close friend, Christian Aranda Montilva, as I continue to aim to raise awareness for mental health.

Thank you so much, everyone, for such a fantastic month. It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride over the last few weeks, but I’m a lot stronger now, and I’m feeling more positive now compared to how I’ve been feeling recently, but I’ll be trying to publish a little more here and there over the coming weeks considering I’ll be going on annual leave towards the end of June.

I’ll see you all in June, and again, thanks for such a fantastic month, everyone!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: April 2018

The time flew really fast this month, though it’s been a quiet and tough couple of weeks for me considering I lost another close friend of mine after the beginning of this month, which is why things have been rather quiet on here lately.

I’m getting a lot stronger now but will be making sure to stay strong for my friend as I know she would want for me to be happy and to be strong for her.

I’ll take a quick look-back at the articles published over April.

1.4.2018 – As the next few weeks were set to be very busy, this meant I wouldn’t publish as much due to work, but that I would try to find the time now and then over the course of April to see if I could publish some articles when the free time becomes available.

On the same day, I officially published a new landing page for the photography series: “The Concept of Expression” as I wanted to make sure the photography series gets its own designated page.

5.4.2018 – After much hype, anticipation, rumours and a social media storm that sparked frenzy about the iconic roast master following the success of Activision’s reboot of the bestselling original Crash Bandicoot trilogy with Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, Spyro the Dragon finally marked his comeback in Spyro Reignited Trilogy, which, just like the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, comes with fully remastered versions of all three of the original Spyro games originally produced by Insomniac Games.

6.4.2018 – Since the start of 2018, the rise in knife crime has worsened, as it was revealed that more than 50 lives were lost, with most of the stabbings taking place in the space of the week commencing Monday 2nd April 2018.

14.4.2018 – It was an emotional rollercoaster, and I was away for a whole week as I paid my respects to a close friend of mine of two years who passed away on the 6th April. I chose to not publish anything for a week as I needed to come to terms with losing my close friend suddenly, but also so that I could process the news better. I paid tribute to my close friend by publishing a tribute that featured a photograph I produced of the moon with inspiration from Bruno Mars‘ ballad, Talking to the Moon.

15.4.2018 – Societies nowadays, especially now, expect you to suppress your real emotions to build an image of emotions that they expect of you. In this case, you put on a face where you look happy to everyone else, and that you are made to look like you can make it alone, but deep down, you feel broken, torn up inside, and you feel the true pain where you have been forced to suppress your real emotions because societies want you to look strong, when in reality, you are strong, but they feel the need to nitpick and make you feel like you’re weak for showing the real emotions you were born with.

21.4.2018 – Whilst on my way to work, I couldn’t resist seizing the opportunity to photograph mother nature in her finest form.

29.4.2018 – A week before, the United Kingdom baked in hot and muggy weather, with temperatures soaring to nearly 30°c.

Thanks for a great month, everyone. I’ll see you all in May.

It has been an emotional time for me mainly, but I’m feeling a lot stronger now and I’m coping better now compared to how I’ve been feeling in recent weeks, but I’ll try and find some time when I can to publish more and to make sure to get the best out of the time available as my friend would want me to go out and make sure to value every single day and to make sure to value the precious time wisely.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: February 2018

Time flew fast! It’s amazing how quick this month flew. Mind you, it was a blisteringly cold start with breezy winds and low temperatures and it’s ironic how we get snow in the last week of February, with much of the snow settled over the United Kingdom.

I’ll take a quick look back at the articles published over the course of February.

1.2.2018 – February started off with a bang with the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games being just around the corner, meanwhile, February was set to be a very busy and exciting month ahead.

2.2.2018 Justin Timberlake released his first album in five years, Man of the Woods, to the world and with a completely different and unique sound that captured the old-school nostalgia whilst reminding us all of how far he has come since his breakthrough début album, Justified.

19.2.2018 P!NK‘s record: “What About Us” inspired me to write the article with the same song title as I wanted to cast a light on the world and how the whole world has seen for itself the unrest, violence and hatred that’s been talked about on the news, but that it hurts to see that no one can get on.

28.2.2018 – Despite the travel chaos on the 24th February due to a tree that fell on the line, leaving me and some passengers stranded at Sanderstead Station, I enjoyed my trip up to Oxted & Hurst Green and seized the opportunity to photograph Oxted Station and The Oxted Inn.

Thanks for such a great month, everyone, and I’ll see you all in March!

Alex Smithson

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

Monthly Roundup: November 2017

The time sure did fly this month! It’s almost the end of 2017 and it only felt like it was yesterday we just started 2017 and now we’re almost ready to close 2017, and what a fantastic year it has been. I won’t lie, 2017 has been so much more of a better year and I cannot wait to venture into 2018 with fresh opportunities for my photography work, as I will be looking to expand my horizons in the world of photography whilst I work full-time, but I will be prioritising much of my time over next year on full-time work than I will on this website as I want to make sure I can gain all the skills I need and want to gain whilst I work full-time, as this will help me to be more confident in what I write, but next year onwards will be about photography, full-time work and raising awareness for Mental Health.

Without further ado, I shall now take a quick look back over the articles published over the course of this month.

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.

Thanks for such a good month everyone. I acknowledge I haven’t published as much, but I will try and find time over the last few weeks of 2017 to publish some articles, but I will definitely be publishing my photography set from my trip up to London that I produced towards the end of September before we finish 2017, I can assure you on that.

Again…thanks so much for a good month everyone, and I shall see you all in December!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: July 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: June 2017

June flew like the wind and it sure was one heck of a ride, and a great one too! I celebrated my 19th Birthday exactly two weeks ago and today, PlayStation, Activision & Vicarious Visions officially welcomed back the gaming legend, Crash Bandicoot, after 21 years by releasing the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy.

There were only less articles this month because I met my deadline and did my maths exam, but I also needed to recuperate and take things easy considering I pulled all-nighters ahead of the deadline, also because I went out and had a great time at a friend’s party the following day after marking my 19th Birthday.

More articles are coming next month to make up for lost time, so keep your eyes peeled for any articles I publish over the coming weeks.

Without further ado, I will take a look back at the articles that were published over the course this month.

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.

Thanks so much for such a fantastic month. I can only apologise for publishing fewer articles this month but I will be publishing a good amount of articles next month so I can assure you on that.

Again, thanks so much for such a fantastic month everyone and I will see you all in July!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: May 2017

May flew like the wind! The time flew so fast and this month has been so much of hard work in terms of getting coursework and revision done but I can honestly say that I am glad to have worked my socks off. I feel so pleased to have showcased my photography work here to give all of you the chance to see the Final Major Project work I have produced.

Without further ado, I will take a look back over the course of this month.

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.

It’s been such a busy month but was worth being busy and I won’t lie, although there have been a few ups and downs over the past few weeks with the coursework, stress and other things personal-based, I am glad to have got through this month knowing I worked my socks off and being so dedicated to aiming high and achieving the best out of the work I have produced and all of this wouldn’t have been possible without all of you by my side, so thank you so much for everything everyone.

Thanks for such a fantastic month and I will see all of you in June!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: April 2017

Wow! This month sure flew like the wind. I’ve been so busy with coursework and revision lately that the time has flown! I am so pleased to have got so much coursework done and I’m so glad to have shown all of you the work I have produced for my Final Major Project, including the research I have done for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project.

Without further ado, I shall now take a look back at the articles I published over the course of April.

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 Sheikh, Irving 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 Sheikh, Irving 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.

Thanks so much to all of you for such a fantastic, fun-filled, exciting and fun-filled month. I am so honoured to have shared my photography work and the research I’ve done with all of you. I have noticed I’ve been a whole lot more productive with the work I’ve produced, as well as the research I’ve done and I am so determined to succeed with a much higher grade this time around that I am making sure to work my socks off to get the best grades I want to get before I finish my final year of college at the beginning of July. I will make sure to work hard to succeed and to make sure I end my education on a high note and to also go out with a bang!

Again, thanks so much to all of you for such a fantastic, fun-filled, exciting and fun-filled month and I will see you all in May.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: March 2017

This month flew like the wind, and it only felt like yesterday we just kicked off 2017! Time has flown so fast lately that it’s impossible to keep up with the speed of time.

I will make sure to take a look back at the articles published over the course of this month, and of course, I will be making sure to remember the victims and the police officer that died on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 down Westminster Bridge, London, as a result of the horrific terrorist attack.

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 ceased 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!

Thanks so much for a great month everyone, and although it was a great month, it was also quite devastating as a result of the terrorist attack that took place down Westminster Bridge, London and I shall take this opportunity to pay my full respects and condolences to the families of the victims who lost their loved ones on Wednesday 22nd March 2017, including paying my full respects and condolences to the family of the police officer, PC Keith Palmer.

Again, thanks so much for a good month everyone, and I will see you all in April!

Alex Smithson