THE REAL WORLD IS SCARY

 


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I’m retired and, to some extent, I sit back and look at Life (note the capital).  And I think about things, especially things which societies take for granted, and also those which are for some reason avoided or actually taboo – its interesting to contemplate how we function as an intelligent, social species, and I’m lucky in having a psychologist friend who is also very much into such thoughts and observations.  I don’t think we’re looking for any profound and little known truths or answers, we’re just interested in how things go on.

Its also interesting to wonder, should intelligent lifeforms exist elsewhere in the universe, whether their societies will be organised along similar lines to ours’, and whether they will have similar beliefs, strengths, fallibilities, etc to ours’.  Certainly, in view of humans’ all too well known inhumanity to their fellow humans, some degree of caution might be required should we ever come into contact with any other beings with intelligence / technologies equal to or greater than our own. LOL! >>>> H G Wells, The War of the Worlds???  Or Predator? or Alien? or Independence Day? >>> but never, ever E.T.!!!

I watch TV, but not so much because, so far as I can see, a lot of it is absolute drivel, totally shallow and facile rubbish – and I’m hoping that, should I ever be consigned to an elderly people’s home where watching TV may be the highlight of the day, then either said home will have a liberal booze policy or, as has in fact happened before, that enlightened friends will smuggle deliveries of the Electric Soup in to me, so that I can enjoy them … under the sheets … “in those dark hours when the powers of evil are exalted.”  – as Arthur Conan Doyle so elegantly put it in The Hound of the Baskervilles, a tale set not 100 miles from here.
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But sometimes, just sometimes, TV does come it up with little gems, such as this.  It was some kind of quiz show, and amongst the contestants was a young lad who is engaged on a university course, something to do with the business world, that involves him spending one year of his university course actually out in the business world – actually out in the real world – as supposed to being cosseted in the more cloistered world of academia.

And so, after hearing that this lad was out there working in the real world, the quiz show’s compere asked him what the real world was like – and I’ll never forget the response:

“Oh its scary – you have to get up in the mornings!”.

Yes, well, pretty basic stuff, but that’s what you have to do … 🙂 ……… (as in the accompanying pictures here, which are from the Going to Work series; click onto the images to enlarge them – recommended).
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BRISTOL 161 – STREET SCENE 3

 

 


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A collection of disparate objects: street furniture, the relentless imagery of the mass media, and a moving vehicle  – modern life along a city’s roadside. 

Other images in the Bristol Street Scenes series are here: 1 2 . Searching on the “street” tag (below here) will also find these posts.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 12,800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Pop profile; central Bristol; 29 Nov 2019.
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BRISTOL 160 – STREET SCENE 2

 

 


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Other images in the Bristol Street Scenes series are here: 1 .  Searching on the “street” tag (below here) will also find these posts.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Toy profile; central Bristol; 29 Nov 2019.
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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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ARCHIVE 432 – LANDSCAPE IN THE NORTHERN DESERTS

 

 


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Nomadic tribeswoman leading tethered camels through the Dida Galgalla Desert in northern Kenya; June 1978.

Recent rains brought on a green flush of grass and other plants, which have now died and turned to straw as the desert returns to its usual hot, arid state.

Digital manipulation has turned the golden brown of this dead vegetation into pure white, as would be achieved by using infra-red monochrome film. The reduction of this landscape to mainly black (lava flows and boulders) and white (dessicated vegetation) tones has served to simplify the scene, and to show the woman and her animals virtually in silhouette.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.
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ARCHIVE 431 – ON A FARM IN WESTERN KENYA

 

 


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Sub-Saharan Africa’s love affair with bright colour: Luo woman on a farm near Akala, in western Kenya; April 1979.

She is sitting in front of the wooden door of a mud hut with a thatched roof.

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO to further saturate colour.
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PEOPLE 388 – GOING TO WORK 100: SOME PICTURES FROM EARLIER POSTS

 

 

1: the morning bus.

Well, Going to Work – images from Bristol’s morning rush hour – has reached 100 posts, and I’m both pleased and surprised.  As is usual with my photo series, I haven’t the faintest idea of how – or indeed, if – it will progress but, that’s me!  I started the series back in July 2016, and have more and more been drawn towards photographing in the dark, cold, early mornings of winter, but so far this winter I have only managed one such sortie.  Increasing years perhaps, or changing photographic attitudes / preferences / energies?  Early morning buses down to the city centre are still readily available, but these days the vast majority of my early morning forays are local and on foot – and are recorded in this blog’s Outer Suburbs series, which includes the Early Morning series, and which is steadily moving towards 200 posts.

So, anyway, Going to Work at 100, what are my thoughts? Well, on the technical side, I’m grateful for having cameras and image processing software that enable me to photograph in such challenging, early morning conditions.  And then, second – and especially since retirement has given me the space to look at and think about the world around me more – I continue to think about the dehumanisation that modern workstyles can bring – of which work-related stress (which I fell prone to, twice) is a sure pointer.  And especially with regard to working in cities and other large conurbations, with commuting long distances to work, with feeling the need to look at work emails and mobile texts outside of working hours >>> and to balancing all in the “busy modern lifestyle”.

So here are images illustrating just one of these phenomena: the morning rush hour, the morning rush to work, which most people engage in five days out of every seven. Links to the whole series, should you wish to look through them, are given below.  I hope you will like these pictures – clicking onto them once or twice will enlarge them in separate windows.

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2: the first post, 23 July 2016; the birth of an idea.

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3: the morning bus, overcrowded, overheated, steamy.

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Recent Going to Work posts are here: 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 .  Each will open in a separate window.

GOING TO WORK: THE EARLIER POSTS: 1-92.

You can see a summary of the Going to Work series here .

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 Each will open in a separate window.

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4: that expression; we’ve all been there.

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5: hurrying to work, hurrying through the cold, hurrying towards the unreachable light.

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6: a rather scary part of walking and photographing the morning rush hour is the frenetic and often careless driving of those apparently thinking of little else besides getting to work on time.  When I compiled this post, a week or so back, I wrote “I’ve seen numerous near misses, i.e. near collisions, between vehicles …”.  Well that has changed now: around dawn on Wednesday, on a well lit main road, a car pulled out into the traffic and their came the dull thud and flying debris of an impact; fortunately both drivers were only shaken up.

And I’ve avoided being hit more times than I like to think about >>> and this includes numerous occasions when people reversing out of their driveways fail to ensure that no one is behind them on the pavement!  I particularly remember a woman rushing out of her front door, slamming it, jumping into her big BMW, switching on the ignition, revving up and lurching forward a foot or so before realising that I was a couple of feet from her front bumper: I’ll never forget the totally bewildered and stunned look on her face.  Do I have great admiration for all members the species to which I belong?  Well that’s a very iffy and loaded question, I mean, you’re putting me on the spot here …
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7: waiting for the morning bus
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8: lurching forward out of the early morning gloom with a damned big camera, I can have this effect on people.

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9: going to work from way out in the Outer Suburbs – standing in a bus shelter illuminated by the rising sun and surrounded by fields and trees, but entranced only by mobile phones; a lucky, opportunistic capture with the TG-5.

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10: I’ve seen this so often – they’re looking down and preoccupied – they’re going to work.

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11: my overall favourite, I suppose; such an interesting and arresting character >>> I’d love to connect!

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12: another cold sunrise.

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13: on her radar.

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14: another favourite; short of time and the traffic banked up ahead – once again, we’ve all been there; I also like the light on the car’s dirty and “distressed” (but, to me, eminently characterful) bodywork.

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15: reality; this is how it can be sometimes.

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16: perhaps dozing, perhaps temporarily somewhere else.

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17: breakfast, on the go >>> oh, and – of course – role model!!!

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18: reading the morning paper; the couple behind gazing forwards, as if with foreboding.

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19: again, that look.

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20: “Who’s the fat geezer with the camera?”.

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PEOPLE 384 – GOING TO WORK 97 (MONO)

 

 


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Dark early morning; waiting for the bus to work.

Recent Going to Work posts are here: 93 94 95 96 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 12,800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Darken Contrast Vignette preset and adding a high Coffee tone; Victoria Street, central Bristol; 29 Nov 2019.

GOING TO WORK: THE EARLIER POSTS: 1-92.

You can see a summary of the Going to Work series here .

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 Each will open in a separate window.

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ARCHIVE 426 – GOING TO WORK 6

 

 


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Rush hour in central Bristol; Baldwin Street choked with traffic and people.  A bus passes, inbound to the city centre.  I see a moment and have just time for one shot before that moment has rushed on by.

She’s asleep, its summer and the interior of the bus is probably warm and close – and maybe getting up early is not her thing anyway.  Perhaps sleep has taken her, temporarily, to a nicer place, but what is she dreaming off?

Details.  What details are here?  False eyelashes, lipstick, smart earrings – equipped to meet the day, and other beings too.  Going out without those accoutrements may well arouse the same uneasy feelings of undress as I feel if I forget my old cap.

Then, slumped against a window and marred at least by reflections and maybe by city grime too, and with the tip of her shoulder flattened against the glass.

And lastly, the light from the rising sun, blasting in through the back of the bus, catching her braided hair and turning her left ear into a translucent splash of warm colour.

Earlier images from this series can be found here.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; 19 July 2016.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 438 – WALKING WESTON’S STREETS 5

 

 

Looking back at me through autumn leaves – an image confronting an image maker

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Weston-super-Mare, my home town, on the coast where the Somerset Levels run down into the Bristol Channel – the local, somewhat muddy, version of the sea.  Following a recent reunion with age-old friends there (here), I’ve been visiting Weston again, and walking streets echoing with things remembered – sometimes only half-remembered –  from over half a century ago.

Weston is a seaside town and, like seaside towns the UK over, it is experiencing something of an economic downturn – the era of the family seaside holiday in uncertain British weather is long past, due to cheap holidays in warmer and far more reliable, foreign climes.  So, there is to Weston something of the cheap and cheerful, a – to me, anyway – rather attractive tattiness at the edges, that makes walking here with a camera a pleasure – a definite feeling of not knowing what will appear next.  The Ghost of FATman Past perhaps?  Well, if he gives me half a chance, I’ll photograph him …

And so in Nov 2019 to pictures taken with an open mind – pictures which are, for better or for worse, in the main quite different from the preceding 400+ that I’ve posted of the Somerset Levels.  Some of them may be a little obscure / far out / radical / unexplained /  I don’t know… but I did mention photographing with an open mind, which means looking, on the spur of the moment, at anything and everything …    But, whatever, warts and all, I hope you’ll like (at least some of) these images.  (Click onto them to enlarge them)

Earlier posts in this series are here: 1 2 3 4 .

A short history of Weston is here.

View into – and through – a phone kiosk, with the blue doors of public toilets in the background for local colour

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The big, solid, expensive houses of upper class (probably Victorian) Weston, built high up on the southern slopes of Worlebury Hill, looking out over Weston Bay – and solid they are, built of great blocks of the hard, grey Carboniferous Limestone that forms this hill, most probably obtained from the many quarries nearby.  And it was on the top of Worlebury Hill where this geologist – aged about 5 or 6 – found his first fossil, a Carboniferous brachiopod, a type of shellfish, on a limestone fragment in his garden.  Excitingly asking his Mum whether he could bring it into the house, he was told that it was alright as long as it wasn’t alive.  And it was this same Mum who, left penniless after my father disappeared in search of pastures new, scrimped and saved to keep him on at school so that he could eventually fulfil what she knew was his dream, to study geology at university

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Public seating with autumn leaves

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