OUTER SUBURBS 9 – ENTRANCE TO A CHILDREN’S CENTRE

 

 


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The locked gates of a children’s centre, early in the morning – its alright, the little ones are not locked in, its a day centre!

What can we see?  Well, a black metal gate with its paint a little chipped, secured by a combination lock.  The white circle behind it is a 5mph speed limit instruction painted on the surface of the entry road.  And the double yellow lines in the top corners forbid any parking along this road.

The first image in this series, with context, is here: 1Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: TG-5 at 57mm (equiv); 1250 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 27 Aug 2018.
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STILL LIFE 205 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 15

 

 


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I usually post these Looking At Chairs images with only their original text but, in this case, because I’m looking at chairs, I’d like to add a little more.  The post’s original text is down below.

In a way, I suppose, this is a family arranged around a chair.  I don’t know if this is their best chair or if there are more like it in the house behind, but I had just photographed them with an elderly man, this man’s father I think, and this very solid chair had been brought out for him to sit on, whereas this man and his wife are sitting on humbler stools.  In Kenya, the family’s eldest male is accorded special respect, and having him seated on this particular chair no doubt reflected that.

I’m not a great one for symbolism, most of the time I fail to understand what symbols mean, but maybe there is something – intentional or unintentional – here, with the place of eldest male being then used for the youngest.

And, as always with these very valued images, I wonder where these individuals are now, 39 years later.  They have no doubt forgotten me and, were it not for this photo, I would no doubt have forgotten them – which says something very solid about the value of portraits in any medium.

THE ORIGINAL TEXT, AND THE USUAL LINKS, ARE BELOW

Luo family on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

The backdrop is the painted wall of a wattle and daub hut, the smooth surface layer of which is starting to flake off on the far right.  Minor points, maybe that I’ve only really appreciated now, after all these years, are the Vicks poster and the kitten.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 .  Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

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PEOPLE 316 – YOUNG GIRL (MONO)

 

 


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One of our friends’ daughters; growing up very fast now. 

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click upon that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; centre-weighted metering; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Warm Tone Paper preset and adding a moderate coffee tone.
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ARCHIVE 330 – BOYS AT A WEDDING (MONO)

 

 


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Young boys – curious, uncertain –  at a wedding near Thika, Kenya, in the late 1970s.

I think I was the only non-African at this ceremony, and so an object of great curiosity to all the youngsters there.

There is another image from this wedding here.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: OM-2 with 75-150 Zuiko lens; Kodak Ektachrome 200 colour slide (I think!); Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Landscape preset.

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PEOPLE 293 – GRANDDAUGHTER 9

 

 

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Our younger granddaughter, backlit.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;  7; 8.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that larger version to enlarge it still further – recommended.

Technique: D800 with a 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 6400 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Bristol; 9 Apr 2017.

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PEOPLE 292 – PORTRAIT OF A GIRL (MONO)

 

 


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The daughter of friends, someone I’ve known for all of her life.  And now growing up fast, and long past the time when a favourite pastime was trying to pull my thumbs off.  And also a long time since, if she was at all unhappy, I could rattle a bunch of keys to instantly brighten her mood.  And, yes, now growing up fast – time rushes on – but still, as ever, a very valued friend.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a light tone; Bristol; 24 Aug 2017.
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ARCHIVE 312 – FAMILY NEAR AKALA (MONO)

 

 


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Members of a farming family, near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

I like this picture because everyone is looking in different directions, which to me gives a very “real” air to the picture, i.e. they are not all posing for the camera.  The mother is posing for the camera but I think that her pose is one of the most placid, serene, genuine and friendly that I’ve seen – she is feeling absolutely at ease with both me and my camera, and is simply looking very calmly straight into the lens.  She gives the impression of being very self-possessed.

The young man on the left is smiling – and his smile, his averted eyes and the splayed fingers and thumb of his pale hand against his darker face add to this shot.  Finally, the young child (a girl?), sitting on her mother’s lap, is certainly unposed – with her attention attracted elsewhere – but staring somewhere different to her older brother.

Using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro, I’ve darkened the top of the picture, down to the top of the young man’s head, to help ensure that the viewer’s attention is concentrated onto these three people.

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide rated at 64 ISO; Silver Efex Pro.

UPDATE: this remains one of my very favourite pictures, along with the one in the Archive 310 postI only wish that I’d taken more pictures like this while in Kenya.  And what of Kenya after their general election?  Well, the current president has been re-elected and international observers think the election valid, but the opposition hotly dispute it.  Who knows what will happen now – and whether, for example, it will affect any of the six people shown in this and the 310 post?  Assuming they have survived, they will be 38 years older now, and living in a more modern Kenya than the one I knew.  And so to the eternal problem.  Others may vie for power, there may be violence, disease and destabilisation on a national scale, but whatever happens it is hard to see the lot of these six people improving significantly, while there must always be the threat that the chaos and aggression resulting from the ambitions of others will impinge upon them.

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ARCHIVE 310 – ON A FARM IN WESTERN KENYA … AND WITH HOPES FOR A PEACEFUL GENERAL ELECTION

 

 


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Luo people on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

I love these portraits.  The man is at ease with me and my camera, he knows me well, and in his expression we see nothing contrived, just a calm and direct gaze.  The little boy is nervous, but is being reassured by the man’s closeness – while the little girl’s radiant smile is a delight.

This smile reminds me powerfully of African children in general!  I was often in out of the way areas in Kenya, often far off the well beaten tourist tracks, searching for unusual birdlife.  And I can remember entering villages where white people were only infrequently seen – and being beset by a tide of brightly smiling little children like these, chanting “mazungu, mazungu!” – swahili for “white man, white man!”.

And sometimes they were so curious to see me, maybe not having had close contact with a european before, that they came and wondered at the pale hair on my pale arms – and touched my arms and head as if they couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing – it was a real, uninhibited examination!

I like children anyway, I vastly enjoy interacting with them – and especially so when they can talk – and these were simply wonderful and fascinating experiences.  And I also want to mention here how friendly Kenyan people were in general, throughout my years there – friendly, hospitable and humorous.

On the negative side of things though, it was on this trip that I first contracted malaria – and that is something truly unpleasant.

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that version to enlarge it.

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

UPDATE:  Today there is a general election in Kenya and, regardless of who wins, I can only hope that the whole thing goes off peacefully.  In many instances, the colonising powers of not so long ago drew lines around areas of the Earth’s surface and called them countries, regardless of the often extremely diverse ethnic mixes within those areas.  And so it is in Kenya.  Although I don’t see the fact on any of the news broadcasts, the current Kenyan president and his main challenger are from two very diverse ethnic backgrounds, and the recipe for violence, killing and yet more killing is sitting ready in the mixing bowl.  The current president has called for a peaceful vote and promised to abide by the result of the vote, and I can only hope that everyone listens to him.  Why do I hope this?  Well, I am mortally tired of the endless rounds of violence and killing that regularly break out around the world – I suppose that’s idealism.  On a more practical level, I spent many years in Kenya and found the Kenyans friendly and hospitable.  I can only wish them well – and hope that today’s election is proceeding peacefully, and that it will help improve the lives of everyone in that country.

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TALKING IMAGES 32 – FATMAN PHOTOS, SLOWING DOWN FOR AWHILE

 

 

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I’ve recently posted a series of pictures of my granddaughters – and here are two more – and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get deeply into some portraiture again and, especially so, black and white portraiture.  This short series of portraits can be found here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;  7; 8.

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But I’m now engaged on an intriguing longer term project with these two young girls and, sad to say, it has a deadline.  Which means that, for the next month or two, I have to let other things slip a little.  And so, after six years, FATman Photos is going to slow down a bit, with fewer posts and, equally regrettably, fewer visits to other blogs.

Click onto these images to open larger versions in separate windows, and click again onto these larger versions to further enlarge them.

Technique: both photos here – the younger sister above, the elder below, were taken at high ISOs with my (now ageing) D700 and the wonderful 105mm Nikkor prime.  I processed them minimally in Lightroom, and then converted them to black and white in Silver Efex Pro 2 – the upper shot started at the Center Focus preset, and the lower at the Warm Tone Paper preset; both images were given a light Coffee tone.

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PEOPLE 279 – GRANDDAUGHTER 8

 

 

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The younger granddaughter, backlit: delicate colours, high key.

The original aim of this series was to present portraits from a single photographic session, in black and white.  However, the best laid plans of mice and FATmen …  this is from another session, another time, and it caught my eye.

Earlier images in this series, with context, are here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;  7.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that larger version to enlarge it still further.

Technique: D800 with a 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 6400 ISO; window light; Lightroom; Color Efex Pro 4 to add the thin frame; 9 Apr 2017.

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