ARCHIVE KENYA 12 – MEMBERS OF A FARMING FAMILY (MONO)

 

 

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Members of a farming family, near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.  I very much 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 ever seen – she is feeling absolutely at ease with both the Fatman and his 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 huge amounts 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.

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

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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ARCHIVE KENYA 6 – KIKUYU GIRL WITH FANTA

 

 


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Little Kikuyu girl at a wedding near Thika; late 1970s. The bottle of Fanta fizzy orange is about 10 inches tall – and evidently her treasure!  She’s chewing the white Fanta bottle top while wondering with horror what this fat mazungu (white man) with his camera is about to do to her!

I enjoyed my years in Kenya.  The people were hospitable and friendly, and humorous too.  And the children were an especial delight.  I was often off the beaten track, far from the tourist areas, collecting bird records for the bird atlas I was later to write, and for many of these small children I may have been the first white person they had ever seen – or at least seen closely.  When I neared habitation, they would rush out and swarm around me – “Mazungu, mazungu!” – brimming over with vitality and fun, and vast curiosity too.  I remember them touching my skin, and especially my hairy arms, with great wonder.  Very human moments; certainly moments to treasure, all these years later.

And, as always, “all these later years” brings thoughts.  Let’s say this was 1980 for ease of maths (never my strong point, despite having worked in data management and analysis for 20 years …), so that’s 40 years ago so, if she has survived – always that big if … –  she will now be a woman of 43 or so, with her own children probably.  I wonder if she will still remember that far off wedding day? Probably not but, anyway, here she is.

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

Technique: OM-2 with 75-150 Zuiko lens; colour slide film.

THE ARCHIVE KENYA SERIES

I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.

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THOUGHTS 10 – RAINBOW

 

 


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I walk in the lockdown in the early mornings – off at 0550 today.  The streets are deserted, sometimes I’m walking down the middle of the roads >>> and always looking  ahead, and taking care at blind corners, so that I don’t inadvertently walk smack bang into anyone.  But at this hour and in this pandemic, there is almost no one else on foot, and very few vehicles away from the main road.  I see many disposable gloves in the gutters, and discarded face masks too.  But the windows of the houses are cheerier –  they have messages of support for the NHS, our National Health Service >>> and many, many drawings of rainbows, mostly made by children, which have become a symbol of hope in these troubled times.

Well, this morning I actually saw a real rainbow.  It was beautiful, it raised my spirits and I thought you might like to see it too.  Its no great picture at all but, like the children’s drawings in the windows, it is a symbol of hope.  Stay safe, everyone, and take great care.

My first coronavirus post is here, and you can find more images taken while walking in the lockdown by clicking onto the coronavirus tag below.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 1 May 2020.

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ANNIVERSARY – FATMAN PHOTOS IS NINE

 

 

1: Spectacled Owl; 2014.

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FATman Photos has been infesting cyberspace for 9 years.  Getting to 10 would be nice but, in these uncertain times, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.  As always, I want to thank everyone who follows my blog or more casually looks at it.  Your Likes give me encouragement and motivation – its always good to be appreciated –  and likewise its always a pleasure to respond to your Comments.  I try to be inventive with my pictures and to include various genres, and in this anniversary post I’ve set myself the challenge of showing faces  – mostly with eyeball contact – from the animal (as opposed to the plant) world.  I hope it all hangs together, and that you enjoy these shots.  Thank you all, again.  Adrian

Click onto any image to see it enlarged in a separate window.

 

2: Mannequin, Penzance, Cornwall; 2011.

 

3: Newquay Aquarium, Cornwall; 2011.

 

4: The Somerset Levels; 2019.

 

5: How did Paul Simon put it? … I met an old lover on the street today

Nairobi, Kenya, 1979 – where have all the years gone?

 

6: Nightmare, dead in a bunch of bananas, Nairobi, Kenya; probably late 1970s.

 

7: Cape Teal regarding me with extreme suspicion as I crawl towards it, inching forward

with a long telephoto;  Slimbridge, Gloucestershire; 2010.

 

8:  Farm cat, on the Somerset Levels; 2019.

 

9: Cow, and flies, on the Somerset Levels, 2010; the animal’s flank forms the backdrop.

 

10: Fish market, Sohar, on the Batinah coast of Oman; mid 1970s.

 

11: Great Grey Owl; 2014.

 

12: One of a flock beside the road in West Littleton, South Gloucestershire; 2016.

 

13: Black-headed Gull, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 2011.

 

14: Young photographer, aged three in fact, 2012 >>> but growing up very fast now!

 

15: Red Ruby Devon, on the Somerset Levels; 2012.

 

16: I find that talking very quietly to cats engages their attention – they open their eyes and look at you.

And so it was here. Bristol, 2017.

 

17: Turnstone, a type of wader or shorebird, in breeding plumage, St Ives, Cornwall; 2013.

 

18: No-Time Toulouse … looking guilty about something …

or perhaps aghast at reports of a Belgian beer shortage …

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ARCHIVE 465 – ASSAULT BY COMPACT CAMERA

 

 


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Assault by compact camera; 24 Mar 2012.

At a party recently, our little friend – now aged three – got hold of her dad’s camera and started taking flash pictures of me.  At which point, still being quite a child myself, I started pretending that each of her camera’s flashes was almost knocking me off my chair – which she loved and found hilarious.

So here she is, simply delightful – and maybe one of tomorrow’s photographic movers and shakers.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 400 ISO; bounced, diffused flash.

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OUTER SUBURBS 209 – CORONAVIRUS 2: THE DAYS WE LIVE IN

 

 

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Still with some (hopefully decreasing!) leg problems, I’m out walking the early morning streets of the Outer Suburbs again.  Decidedly quiet and deserted streets, a strange hush and calm over most areas and, in this lockdown, I’m allowed to walk as this counts as my one period of exercise outdoors per day.

I thought about taking some pictures of the lockdown but, mostly, its just that – nearly everything quiet, closed, shut down, locked down, hardly the stuff of interesting images – I’ll leave someone else to document it.

But this did catch my eye.  Outside a favourite pub, with the sun coming up, the children’s playground in lockdown too – no one goes on the swings today.  I found this very striking, and moving too, the virus reaching down through all age groups of our society.

The pub itself, behind, is closed indefinitely as are all pubs in this country, with notices on the windows saying that no cash or food / drink stocks are stored within – for even in times of trouble and distress like these, there are always those ready to take advantage of any opportunity.  And in the background, a car park beside a major supermarket, with but a single car.

However, sad though all this is, I will continue to walk the streets: it makes me feel good and, quite apart from the virus, we need to keep up our mental health too – and its always good to be out bright and early in the day.  And I’ll continue to drink world class Belgian beer too, for that matter – though I realise that this may be a rather less than universally accepted panacea …

My first post on coronavirus is here: 1 .

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

Technique: TG-5 at 28mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 28 Mar 2020.

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ARCHIVE 443 – BOYS FISHING (MONO)

 

 


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Boys fishing at Dunga, near Kisumu, on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya; April 1979.

A moment 41 years ago, frozen in time, and to me, now, many of these children seem like statues – they have a simple and unknowing grace.

Photographing dark-skinned people on any sort of bright day can be problematical if any kind of detail, facial features, etc is required.  In such a situation, its best to seek out some shade or to use a little flash.  I had neither of those options here – and I probably wasn’t even thinking about them anyway – so, decades later, I’ve used a high key preset to strain every last bit of detail out of the scene.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 75-150 Zuiko lens at 150mm; Agfa CT18 colour slide film, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Key 1 preset.

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ARCHIVE 439 – A YOUNG FRIEND (MONO)

 

 


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A  little friend, aged two; 30 Aug 2011.

Who is she?  She is the younger daughter of friends, and we love her – and regard her friendship – very dearly.  People discuss the really worthwhile things in life, the things that life is all about, and our friendship with this little girl – and her big sister too – fits squarely into that category.  And I am doubly blessed because not only am I allowed totally unrestricted photographic access to these two sisters, but their parents have no problems at all with my publishing the resulting images here – not such common attitudes in England these days!.

And why is this image very special to me?  It is unposed; it is simple, candid and completely uncontrived.  Its is just a little girl – she was two at the time – glancing round at me with a perhaps questioning look.  I can’t get enough of it.

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

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 12,800 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

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OUTER SUBURBS 199 – I LOVE THE SMELL OF TILL ROLLS IN THE MORNING …

 


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The simple fact is … I love kids.  Why?  Well, because not yet having acquired adult minds through that “wonderful interval”, adolescence (which has now been found to extend up to the age of 32 by the way), kids have a different outlook on the world, and I’ve long been truly fascinated to hear about it.  I want to see and think as they do >>> and of course it has often been said that one way to become a better photographer is to try and retain a childlike sense of wonder at the world – which I suppose translates into being able to look at and feel a sense of wonder at something that the adults find facile and mundane >>>> bring it on!!!

And so, one early morning, I was more than happy, inspired and sheer plain thrilled in fact to find this kids play park, which I regularly pass on my walks through the outer suburbs,  thoroughly festooned in till rolls from the local Asda supermarket, they were everywhere!  Ah, the simple pleasures of Life …

I imagine that a group of kids had found or stolen a box of these paper rolls and, with that vast imagination that kids have, promptly set about thoroughly decorating their play area.  So that when an ageing and somewhat portly photographer passed by early the next morning, the while place was “thoroughly decorated”, as witness this tree with its multiple floating streamers caught by the breeze >>> and said photographer was instantly and MIGHTILY amused!!!

And the title of this post?  Its from the superb film Apocalypse Now , and the speaker, Colonel Bill Kilgore, is referring to napalm, rather than to till rolls – and so this post ends on a more serious note.

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

Technique: TG-5 at 74mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait profile; south Bristol; 16 Jan 2020.

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ARCHIVE 434 – HOUSE ON A FARM

 

 


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

These are Luo people who live in the immensely fertile far west of Kenya, not far from Lake Victoria – a vast body of water that supplies them with vast quantities of fish, and with frequent thunder storms which keep their land totally green.

The structure consists of mud walls, above which a conical thatched roof is mounted on a great mass of wooden poles. There is quite a gap between the roof and the walls but, in this hot, equatorial area, cold weather is not an issue. This hut has at least two rooms: the doorway to a second room is to the left of the people. The mud walls have decorations drawn straight onto them, and there is an oil lamp hanging up. Notice how everything, including the chest of drawers and some of the pictures hanging on the walls, has cloth covers.

Food and water are not an issue for these people, they live in a wonderfully fecund landscape. But there are diseases – it was here that malaria first got its claws into me, despite my using nets and prophylactics.

Click onto the image to see a slightly enlarged version.

Technique: OM-1 with 28mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.
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