2017: A Year in Review

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

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

January 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28.3.2017 – As part of my Final Major Project for the last year of my UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course at Croydon College, I was asked to produce a 6 minute and 40 second presentation on a time-keeping tool called Pecha Kucha, which is the Japanese term for Chit-Chat.

Pecha Kucha, which is Japanese for Chit-Chat, is where you produce 20 slides that have to be exactly 20 seconds each. For every slide, you would need to explain in 20 seconds for each slide a brief run-down of the kind of work you are going to produce, regardless of whether it is project-based or not. The 20 slides would have to consist of one or more short sentences you can talk about within 20 seconds, including any work you have currently produced to date.

As my Pecha Kucha presentation focused solely on Facial Expressionism, I mentioned that I would research certain photographers, such as Cecil Beaton, Walker Evans, August Sander, Thomas Ruff and any other photographer that specialises in Facial Expressionism; the field of work I want to produce.

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

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

April 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 2017

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

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

26.6.2017 – As I was able to meet my deadline with all of my coursework backed up to some hard drives, I did a massive clear-out on my laptop. I needed to get that much-needed storage space back as my laptop was being cluttered with all of the coursework I’ve done over the course of the entire year.

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

July 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 2017

1.9.2017 – As I welcomed you all to September, I mentioned that this month was set to be just as busy as the last, as I mentioned I wouldn’t be publishing as often as I used to, considering that I would prioritise my time effectively around looking for jobs.

18.9.2017 – ‘The Harsh Reality of Social Media (Parental Guidance is Advised)’ was my way of expressing my own realistic views on how social media has changed the way we communicate with one another, as opposed to how negatively used social media can be, given that social media is often used by some or most people to criticise and judge those online without them even having the bottle to say their comments to that person’s face.

25.9.2017 – ‘My Personal Note to Reality’ was my way of finally being open to everyone about where I stand, and that I would treat everyone equally and diversely, but that I would refuse to tolerate, let alone mix with the judgmental type that are in-equal and lack diversity for others.

On the same day, I published an article, called: “Mindfulness”, in which I would give a short but straightforward run-down about how mindfulness can be helpful to certain aspects of our everyday lives, based on the life experiences that we are or may have already been through.

26.9.2017 – ‘Camden’ was an article I wanted to share with you all, as I had paid a visit to Camden a few weeks prior to writing the article, given that Camden is a wonderful and friendly place, which is home to the late music legend, Amy Winehouse.

29.9.2017 – ‘Should We Listen to the Non-Believers?’ was my way of describing how the non-believers were and always would be the bad people who would spread poison wherever they go, intentionally bringing others down when they don’t deserve it.

On the same day, I published a small but quick-fire article in which I announced I had decided to put publishing my photography work on hold, given that my laptop was sent off to be repaired after the Audio Enhancements tab wouldn’t work whilst headphones were connected, but that I would publish the photography work I wasn’t able to publish at a later stage. I also mentioned that I finally passed GCSE English after three years and that I no longer have to do GCSE English, which is the best result I wanted.

October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 2017

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

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

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

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

December 2017

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

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

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

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

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

See you in 2018!

Alex Smithson

Headshot #10 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Kasra Soltani

Bringing my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project to a remarkable close, Headshot #10 marks the end of my Final Major Project Practical Work as I have photographed my close friend, Kasra Soltani.

For this final collection of headshot photographs, I have made sure to get Kasra to do some facial expressions like before, but for these headshot photographs, I have adjusted the lighting to accommodate for better focus on Kasra so that each expression he has made connects to the photography work I have already produced. Taking a new direction on the photographs, Kasra has done some new facial expressions that I initially didn’t have in mind at first and this has given me a better outlook as to how I can assign each expression with its own name, as well as to how that specific emotion connects to the facial expression I have not only asked him to make, but the facial expressions he has made naturally in most of these photographs.

This final headshot collection has informed my critical thinking, as well as the research I have done on the five photographers, which are Fazal Sheikh, Irving Penn, Thomas Ruff, August Sander & David Bailey.

Below are the final headshot photographs for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, complete with the WordFoto Edits and Black & White Versions of the Original Photographs.

Canon EOS 1200D

WordFoto Edits

Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

I am so pleased to have achieved such fantastic results from the photography work I have produced throughout the course of the Facial Expressionism Final Major Project, and I have noticed that every headshot collection I have produced I’ve seen improvements every time. Now that I have got together all the photographs I have produced for my Final Major Project, I will be making sure to pick a selected number of photographs from all of the headshot articles to present them as my chosen final pieces. Contact sheets are being produced at this stage which will be going in my sketchbook and my aim is to get the Final Major Project Proposal done and finalised and then get the last of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project work done and ready before Monday 5th June.

All of the research and headshot photographs I have produced as part of my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project coursework can be found in my E-Folio.

Headshot #10 brings the practical work for my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project to a remarkable close. I am so pleased to have worked my socks off over the last few weeks. All this hard work will eventually pay off and considering it’s my final year at Croydon College and my final year of the two-year film and photography course, I want to make sure I can aim for a higher grade with all of this coursework. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get the best final result possible by the end of this year.

I am open to your responses and critique, so please feel free to suggest any improvements you feel I could make when it comes to producing any future photography work.

Your responses and critique are greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

If you want to follow my close friend, Kasra Soltani, on Instagram, I have provided his Instagram username here: @Kass.ll7

Irving Penn / Research

Continuing on from the first photographer I have researched for my Final Major Project, the second photographer I have chosen to research is Irving Penn.

Irving Penn 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.

Below are the slides in the exact order, and the work I have done Harvard Referencing for which references Irving Penn’s photography work I take absolutely no credit for. I also take absolutely no credit for the self-portrait photograph produced by Irving Penn himself. I’ve merely referenced Irving Penn’s work in my research as inspiration to inform and develop my own photography work further inspired on Irving Penn’s photography work.

The pages that are referenced can be found below, complete with Harvard Referencing, the award that Irving Penn received for his work, as well as the various exhibitions he did in his life, including the posthumous exhibitions after he passed away that showcased his work, not to mention Irving Penn’s bibliography, which consists of publications and ISBN numbers, and also his major collections, with external links to further research. All credit goes to Irving Penn & The Irving Penn Foundation.

This research will give me the chance to develop my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project better. As I’ve mentioned before, I will be photographing some subjects for my Facial Expressionism Project, so you’ll be seeing some photography work soon. This research presentation can also be found in my E-Folio and any of the subjects I photograph will also be in the E-Folio once the subjects I have photographed are published. There’s a lot of great opportunities in store so I am sure that I will be able to present to you a lot more of my creative photography work.

If you found this research presentation on Irving Penn useful, please let me know. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Fazal Sheikh / Research

As part of my Final Major Project, I have been doing research on the photographers that influence me in the photography work I want to produce, which will be based on Facial Expressionism. The first photographer I have researched for my Final Major Project is Fazal Sheikh.

Fazal Sheikh’s photography work aims to document and personalise the power of portraiture whilst bring the displaced parts of the world, including its own people, into focus.

Below are the slides in the exact order, and the work I have done Harvard Referencing for which references Fazal Sheikh’s photography work I take absolutely no credit for. I also take absolutely no credit for the photograph of Fazal Sheikh produced by the MacArthur Foundation. I’m just merely referencing Fazal Sheikh’s work and the photograph of Fazal Sheikh produced by the MacArthur Foundation in my research as inspiration to inform and develop my own photography work inspired by him.

The pages that are referenced can be found below, complete with Harvard Referencing, the awards that Fazal Sheikh has received for his work, as well as the various exhibitions he has done that showcases his work, not to mention the publications and ISBN numbers, and also his collections, with external links to further research. All credit goes to Fazal Sheikh and the MacArthur Foundation.

This research will help me to develop my Facial Expressionism Final Major Project better, as I will be photographing some subjects for my project, so you should see some photography work very soon. This research presentation can also be found in my E-Folio and any of the subjects I photograph will also be in the E-Folio once the subject photographs are published. There’s a lot of good photography opportunities in store so I can be sure that I will be able to present to you a lot more of my creative film and photography work.

If you enjoyed or found this research presentation useful, please let me know. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 3 (Tuesday 26th April 2016 – Thursday 28th April 2016) – Final Major Project

Continuing on from the second Weekly Log, here is the third Weekly Log from the Final Major Project.

Research / Context

During the course of the third week, I made sure to use the extensive research I gathered, including the photographs I took to do some further photographical research on the three chosen photographers, which were August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff.

In the photo research presentation that I did, I looked up the same photographs that the three photographers took, but instead I wanted to make sure to detail the photographs based on what they were called, what year they were produced, the year they went to print, as well as the website location I found those photographs from, including when I last visited that specific website where that photo or photos were located.

After doing the photo research presentation, I went outside and also into the photography studio to get some more photos, but this time of a different student from my class, considering that two weeks before, I did my first shoot of photographs using my previously chosen subject. I did make sure that there were some ideas available from the collection of photographs that I’ve taken so far, so that this would help me when I produce more photographs for the following week, based on the concept I want to produce myself.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure that my second shoot of photographs were of a similar standard to the first set of photographs that I produced, I wanted to make sure that I could expand my ideas further with taking my photographs of the second chosen student, but also showing improvements in setting the exposure, the aperture, including setting the camera on the correct light setting, based on the research I’ve currently gathered so far.

I did initially find taking these photographs somewhat difficult considering I was in the photography studio, though I initially was going to take these photographs outside. I did take into consideration that the lighting may not be as good in the photography studio than it would be outside, but the second shoot of photographs were a little bit more complicated than first thought, given that the exposure and aperture, although set correctly, did sometimes go off a little bit after the photos were taken.

What did work well, however, was I was able to produce these photographs with the exposure and aperture staying the same. The camera I used to take the second set of photographs was the Canon EOS 1200D. Overall, I feel pleased with the results I’ve been given from these photographs, though I will be making sure to improve on this in the future.

To improve, I will be making sure to choose a better location where there is enough light, but where it isn’t inside the college, but outside somewhere either outside the college, or somewhere away from the college. This will be better for me as I will be able to set the exposure correctly, including the aperture and white balance.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I wanted to make sure that I could use all of the research I’ve gathered so far, including the first set of photographs that I took to produce a photo research presentation, including taking some more photographs for the second shoot, based around the same amount of emotions (6 or 7) that I used previously for the first set of photographs that I did on the first chosen subject, but this time with the second shoot of photographs being taken of the second chosen subject. The photo research presentation, including the current amount of research I’ve gathered so far, including the growing collection of photographs have benefitted me as this helped me to expand my ideas further into something that I will be able to produce for the fourth week.

I do feel that I have applied my own understanding based on the research I’ve gathered, including the photographs I’ve taken, as this will help me to expand further on the concept I have in mind, including being able to develop my photography skills and experiments better as well. I am absolutely keen on expanding my knowledge of the ideas I have further, considering that the concept I have in mind is genuine and is the concept I will want to produce for my final piece in June.

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

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 2 (Tuesday 19th April 2016 – Thursday 21st April 2016) – Final Major Project

Continuing on from the first Weekly Log, here is the second Weekly Log from the Final Major Project.

Research / Context

During the course of the second week, I had made sure to use the extensive research that I did in the first week to produce my first shoot of photographs. The photographers I did research on in the first week back were August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff.

The research presentation I did in the first week helped me to produce my first set of photographs, and I used one of the students for the concept I wanted to produce. Before I took 6-7 photographs of the chosen student, I did some test shots of the student first as I wanted to make sure to set the exposure correctly, that’s including the white balance and setting the aperture correctly, not to forget the mode I wanted to take the photos on, which was manual.

After I did the test shots, I produced my first set of photographs with influences to the three photographers I did extensive research on, and although a very small amount of photographs were slightly overexposed, I was able to resolve the problems with the overexposed photographs by using Adobe Photoshop CC.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure that my first shoot of photographs were of the correct standard, I did make sure to refer to my research presentation that I did on the chosen photographers during the first week, that’s including the photographs that the chosen photographers took.

I did initially find taking the photographs a bit difficult to start with, because considering the fact we had lovely sunny weather during the course of the second week, this did cause a slight teething problem, as taking the first set of photographs were a lot more complicated, given that the settings that were chosen were compromised by the camera’s ability to keep itself focused at the levels that the camera was already set at, due to the camera becoming exposed to too much light.

What did work well for me, however, was I was still able to produce a great set of photographs with the Canon EOS 1200D, and I did find that the student I chose for the first shoot was a good choice for taking photos, as he was able to map out the emotions for each photograph that I asked him to make and I was absolutely pleased with the overall result that I was able to get from my first shoot of photographs.

To improve, I want to make sure I can choose a better location to take some more photos, as this will help me to get the lighting just right, including setting the exposure and white balance, not to forget setting the aperture correctly before proceeding on to taking experimentation photographs.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I wanted to make sure that the research I gathered for my research presentation based on the three photographers I chose would relate to the first photographic experiment I did of 6-7 different emotions. The research presentation benefitted me as this helped me to produce my first shoot of photographs, and this, including my research presentation, will help me to develop a better range of ideas for what I can produce for the third week.

I do feel that I’ve applied my own understanding of the research I’ve gathered, including the photographs I have taken, as this will help me to expand my knowledge further, including developing my photographic experiments better as well. I am keen to improve and expand further with my photography skills and I am also keen on expanding my knowledge further now that I have a genuine concept in mind that I want to produce for my final piece in June.

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

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 1 (Tuesday 12th April 2016 – Thursday 14th April 2016) – Final Major Project

To kick off the Final Major Project Weekly Log series, here is the first Weekly Log from the Final Major Project.

Research / Context

During the course of the first week back, I started doing some extensive research based on the three photographers I chose that were based on my influences for this Final Major Project. The photographers I chose that I would do research on were August Sander, Fazal Sheikh and Thomas Ruff.

I created a research presentation based on their work, as well as picking out at least 9 images that I felt would influence me for my final piece. As I want my final piece to be of a person expressing at least 6 different emotions, I looked at Thomas Ruff’s works, including August Sander’s work and also Fazal Sheikh’s work, as some of their photographs grabbed my attention, based on the concept I have in mind.

In the research presentation, I had made sure to research on the web about Wide Aperture and Small Aperture (just to save confusion), as this would give me the ability to make sure that the photographs I chose from the three chosen photographers were correctly labelled with the kind of aperture that they were taken at. Luckily because some of the photographers works I chose were Small/Wide Aperture-based, I had made sure to combine them both together, creating a mixture of both Small Aperture & Wide Aperture.

Practical Tasks Done

As I wanted to make sure to gather a lot of relevant research together for this Final Major Project, I did some extensive research on Fazal Sheikh’s work, and the notable photograph that still sticks in my mind from when I first saw it was of the: “Afghan girl born in exile, Afghan refugee village, Urghuch, North Pakistan, 1997”.

I did initially find it difficult to find some good photographs from the three chosen photographers that I intended to do research on, as I wanted to make sure to pick the correct photographs that I felt would work with what I want to produce for my final piece towards the end of the project, though I had to tread very carefully when I was doing some extensive research on Thomas Ruff’s work, as some of his photography work was known to be pornographic, and not for the faint-hearted.

What did work well for me was I was able to find a good range of photographs that August Sander, Fazal Sheikh & Thomas Ruff took, as their works have the strong connection that I want, as some, if not most of their photography pieces have strong emotive connections, as well as signs of movement in their photos too, which is useful for me as the concept I have in mind is to create 6 different emotions as well as the first emotion being normal, but to also create movement as well, as I want emotions and movement to be combined together.

To improve on this in future, I want to make sure that I can gather more photographs of their works together, and to develop the concept on paper, so that I can make my concept become a real idea that I want to produce for when it comes to producing the real final piece.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I wanted to make sure that I had gathered the correct information together, given that the research I’ve done so far is based on the concept I am keen on producing for my final piece. The research I’ve gathered has helped me as this will now give me a clear idea of what I will be producing for the second week.

I do feel that I have applied my own understanding of the research I have gathered, as this will help me to start producing my first set of experimentation photographs based on the concept that I want to produce for my final piece. I also feel strongly that the concept I have in mind will work as long as I have the research there, including the experimentation photographs, as these will help me to piece together the final result that I want to achieve from my real final piece when the final week of the Final Major Project commences.

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

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 6 (Tuesday 9th February 2016 – Thursday 11th February 2016) – Stop-Frame Animation Project

Bringing the Stop-Frame Animation Project Weekly Log collection to an end, here is the final Weekly Log from the Stop-Frame Animation Project, which reflects on what I did in the last week of the Stop-Frame Animation Project, as well as to what I did over the entirety of the Stop-Frame Animation Project.

Research / Context

Following the work that I did in the fifth week of the stop-frame animation project, I started writing up my proposal for this project, as well as to what I would do, including what kind of materials I would need, including how my sock puppet would be useful for the stop-frame animation film, given that I did some research on the Shaun the Sheep Movie, as well as doing some further research based on anthropomorphism and stop-frame animation.

I feel that the research I’ve done so far, including the development of my sock puppet, and the development of my storyboard will relate to my experiments, as I will be able to use these to create my own 30-second stop-frame animation film.

To develop my understanding, I did some extensive research on the Shaun the Sheep Movie and also anthropomorphism, as I wanted to find out how they were able to apply human-like features to the characters in the film, as well as how they created the mise-en-scene for certain parts in the film, including how they adjusted the lighting for different parts of the film as well.

Practical Tasks Done

As I want to be able to move on to doing my final stop-frame animation film, I wanted to storyboard my ideas first by planning out a map of my character, given that my sock puppet character is based on a teacher who is suffering from severe depression after receiving the sack from his job, which leaves him feeling like as if there is nowhere else for him to turn. As my puppet is anthropomorphic (as it has human-like features), I wanted to make sure I could use the puppet’s body movements as a way for me to brainstorm my ideas for my storyboard, so that when it comes to the real thing, I will be able to have a genuine idea as to how I want my 30-second film to turn out.

What I did initially find difficult was that I did become a little stuck with storyboarding, considering that I hadn’t done storyboarding for some time, so I did need to use my sock-puppet to brainstorm the ideas I wanted to put into drawing form.

What worked well for me, however, was I was able to use my knowledge of storyboarding, as well as the research I’ve gathered to create my storyboard, but also have some captions to go with my drawings, as this would help me create more emphasis by using those captions to draw more than one character. In this instance, my sock puppet character, and a different sock puppet character that any of the students in my class developed themselves. A different sock puppet character would also come in handy as this helped me to use my ideas to bring another character into the frame, but the kind of character that would be supportive of someone who is suffering from depression.

To improve, I want to be able to make sure to take certain bits out of my proposal that may not be relevant, and only keep in the relevant information and research, as well as the sock puppet character that I’ve developed, so that this can give me a better chance of being able to produce my final stop-frame animation film.

Critical Analysis

When it comes to composition, I wanted to make sure to adjust and get rid of certain parts of my sock puppet character that didn’t fit well with it, as well as how it could affect what I want to produce for my stop-frame animation film. In this instance, I had made sure to cut the knot I made around the sock puppet’s neck, as I felt that this restricted the sock puppet’s lack of head movements.

I have made sure to improve this by cutting the piece of thread that I tied into a knot off, so that I can give my sock puppet a chance to move its head up, down, left and right, as I’ve felt that this will gradually improve and speed up the animating process when it comes to producing my final stop-frame animation film. I have also done this as I wanted to make sure that I could use its body movements for some ideas that I could use for my storyboard.

I feel that my research/contextual studies that I have gathered over the course of the stop-frame animation project can be applied to help me develop my experiments, as I can use all of the research and ideas I’ve gathered to produce my final ideas before proceeding onto making my final stop-frame animation film.

This Stop-Frame Animation Project Log set has officially come to an end. Check back soon for the first Weekly Log from the Final Major Project that I did back in April.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 5 (Tuesday 2nd February 2016 – Thursday 4th February 2016) – Stop-Frame Animation Project

Continuing on from Weekly Log 4 of the Stop-Frame Animation Project, Weekly Log 5 expands further on what kind of research I did, including what I would develop and create from the fourth week onto the fifth week of this project, that’s including the final Stop-Frame Animation Project film.

Research / Context

During the course of the fifth week, I did some further research based on some of the characters whose names I missed or were unable to find over the course of the first few weeks back for my sketchbook, and during the course of this week, I did a restructured version of my research presentation based on the chosen film I wanted to talk about, as I did my research presentation on the 2015 film, Shaun the Sheep, which was created and produced by Aardman Productions.

This research presentation would help me to relate the information I gathered to my experiments, as this would help me for when it comes to setting the mise-en-scene, as well as the lighting of my stop-frame animation film.

To develop my understanding, I wanted to make sure to find out more about what the mise-en-scene meant by researching it on the internet, and how I could use the information that I researched to create my own mise-en-scene for my stop-frame animation film.

I also added some more pictures to the research presentation I did, based on the character that I chose to write about, as well as doing a profile of the film, for instance, the year it was released, who the Shaun the Sheep Movie was directed by, as well as giving a brief description of the film, given that I’ve actually seen it before.

Practical Tasks Done

The process I used was the mise-en-scene, given that the Shaun the Sheep Movie not only involved the full use of anthropomorphism (a character with human-like features), but the mise-en-scene, for a scene in the film, in this case: “The Big City”, involved a large amount of buildings and cars that, if you look at it closely, looks like the kind of layout for a city-wide redevelopment project. I used the mise-en-scene as an idea for my stop-frame animation test film by using a photograph I took when I went on the trip to the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum a week before.

What I thought was difficult was being able to select a good photograph from the large variety of photographs that I took whilst I was on the trip to use as the mise-en-scene for my test film. I wanted to make sure that the photo I had chosen would blend in with the characters that were used in the making of the stop-frame animation test film that me and two other students produced while in the photography studio.

What worked well, however, was I was able to use the photograph I took of the stain-glassed windows that the museum had in full view from the first floor to set the mise-en-scene for the test film, after we finished our green-screen and location photo sets.

To improve, I want to make sure to take out certain bits of my test film that are irrelevant, and only add in the most relevant bits that are important, so that it gives me a better chance to set the mise-en-scene better for my test film.

Critical Analysis

For the composition, I wanted to make sure to produce my film, but in a way where I could influence the film that I did some research on in my own experimental test film, by using the sock puppet that I produced a few weeks before to produce the film with a small number of students, given that other sock puppets would also be involved in the test film we would produce after making our own sock puppets a few weeks prior.

I have felt that the research/contextual studies I have gathered can be applied to help me develop my own experiments, as this will help me to develop my own version of my own mise-en-scene, and I also feel that this will help me to set the lighting of my test film for certain shots that I want to produce, before I progress onto making my final stop-frame animation film.

This brings the fifth Weekly Log for the Stop-Frame Animation Project to a close. Please make sure to check back soon for the final Weekly Log from the Stop-Frame Animation Project.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 4 (Tuesday 26th January 2016 – Thursday 28th January 2016) – Stop-Frame Animation Project

Continuing on from Weekly Log 3 of the Stop-Frame Animation Project, Weekly Log 4 expands further on what kind of research I did, including what I would develop and create from the third week onto the fourth week of this project.

Research / Context

During the course of the week, I went on a trip up to the Science Museum and also the Natural History Museum, as I was keen to look for a large number of works and pieces that could relate to my experiments with anthropomorphism, as well as to how stop-frame animation works.

To develop my understanding further after the trip to the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, I chose a photo from the large range of photographs I took as a backdrop for my green-screen and location-shot videos. This would help me with producing my green-screen and location-shot videos, as I would be able to produce my videos in a format that would involve anthropomorphism using the sock puppet I created for the test film.

Practical Tasks Done

As a practical task, I had made sure to take some photographs while on the trip, as this would give me the chance to pick from the large number of photos that I took, which I would be able to use as a backdrop for my test videos, as well as doing some research based on certain items, objects or even certain sculptures.

I did initially find taking pictures around certain parts of both the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum difficult at first, because I wanted to take photos in and around both museums, though there were certain parts of both museums that I wanted to visit, but weren’t able to due to there not being enough time. I was, however, able to get a large number of photos from the areas of both the museums that I visited on the 26th January 2016.

What worked well for me was I was able to get a large range of photos that would support and help me develop further with the stop-frame animation project, as the sculptures (e.g. Diplodocus Carnegii, also known as Dippy the Dinosaur), including the huge blue whale, as well as some of the die-cast models of some bi-planes, gave me some ideas as to how I could use them as examples for the sock puppets that we all created, for instance, how the sock puppets would move, and how they would act in the stop-frame animation anthropomorphism film.

To improve on it, I want to make sure that I can find out a lot more from both museums, and to also do some further in-depth research on anthropomorphism, so that I can get a better idea of how certain things work, and how I can apply my understandings of them to the stop-frame animation project.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I used the research and photos I gathered from both the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum to continue the development of the sock-puppet stop-frame animation film by working alongside three to four, if not, possibly five students on the film we’ve been developing for our green-screen and location experiments.

I feel that the research/contextual studies I’ve gathered from the Science Museum & Natural History Museum can be applied to help me develop my own experiments further with stop-frame animation, including anthropomorphism. I also feel that the research/contextual studies I’ve gathered as a result of visiting the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum will be able to help me develop and expand further on my own ideas of anthropomorphism, and I also believe this will be able to help me expand further with my own ideas on the stop-frame animation project.

This brings the fourth Weekly Log for the Stop-Frame Animation Project to a close. Please make sure to check back soon for the fifth Weekly Log from the Stop-Frame Animation Project.

Alex Smithson