Friday, October 31, 2014

Coffee culture hits Northfields Avenue (hard) and another Picture of the week

Northfields Avenue W13  use to be more Greasy Spoon than frothy coffee but the area has moved upmarket and when this happens the drug of choice for the UK in 2014 takes a sinister hold - the dealers are out there but at least in this area  it seems the 'big' chains are not featuring (yet).

Here are couple of the  recent entrants into what is getting to be a crowded sector.

There must be at least six  coffee shops in about half a mile - I suppose people prefer coffee to beer and wine?

The Fields- by The Plough

It might sound like a Laundromat but it says it's Artisan 

Picture of the Week no 9

Last week I was at the Ealing Art Group Exhibition their 99th and learnt that the PM Gallery most likely wont be available for the 100th - we need a really good exhibition area in Ealing failing that I'd say the Questors might do the job.

Anyway here's the picture that was published in Today's Ealing Gazette.

Nice work but I don't think it's real gold 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CityLit Key Themes - Session 5 Free Will and The Business of Philosophy

Philosophy it seems should occupy the space beyond the sciences be they Physics, Psychology or even sociology - over the years as Science has come more and more to offer explanations of what subsequently occurs the area for Philosophy has become more contested.
Can this be without cause?

The words that framed this weeks philosophy Key Themes (City Lit Style)  session were to quote loosely 'we might have to face something we may not be comfortable with...'

The question we sought to answer then was do we make choices? (or is choice illusory?)

What it came down to - I think was that if we choose to credit a view beyond the mechanistic one (known often as Newtonian) where given enough information we can calculate the outcomes of a given situation - the answer we get is even more troublesome as we must, it seems ascribe outcomes to some 'random' explanation.

As history has developed we change our views and improve our predictions be they of the weather of our region or the creation of the universe.

If we go back some time even such things as pregnancy were without explanation to some.

So the social scientists like the late  Pierre Bourdieu have written works like 'Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (looking at the type of Art appreciated)  that have been  able to predict behaviour by reliance on factors of upbringing, things like Father's occupation and education along with  statistics.

Psychologists (particularly those of the Freudian persuasion) can explain why we may have certain proclivities or tendencies based on their upbringing and early relationships.

 Neurologists can monitor brain activity and ascribe activity within the brain to external stimuli.

So it is (perhaps) that as Nietzsche says 'Why should you make a principle out of what you yourselves are, and must be?'

 The Business of Philosophy

It is perhaps a sign of our times that the experience of  finding  out about  Philosophy is becoming increasingly a marketable business it could be that this is partly a failure of 'Public' (as opposed to commercial) education.

 With academies like The Idler and The School of Life   there is now a new small scale operation - Philosophy off Brick Lane a micro brewer in terms of the other s mentioned but one to consider if philosophy has become your calling.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Grayson Perry asks Who Are You?

Yesterday I took the treasure trail within the National Portrait Gallery - for me it finsihed with Grayson's autobiographical map which (of course) shows humour and technical skill and reveals much about the man and artist.

Grayson Perry is an enigmatic guy who describes himself as having a chip on his shoulder.
As well as being confusingly both 'blokey' and a cross-dresser he engages in modern life and relates to popular culture.
Invites us into the NPG

Grayson is an Essex boy and retains his roots  having even gone as far as creating  A house for Essex.

After a successful Reith lecture series and some documentaries Grayson has now created a series of 'portraits' around British identity which has spawned a TV series (on Channel 4 TV) and artefacts amongst pictures of the Great and Good in the National Portrait Gallery.

As well as throwing light on the characters that he works with including the seemingly impenetrable  Chris Huhne Grayson has helped bring a whole new audience into the National Portrait Gallery and raised some questions around Identity and Family.

Go and visit and perhaps look at some of the other work too!
(oh yes Grayson's media blitz  continues on BBC radio 4's Midweek today too)

The National Gallery  with a lovely blue sky -The NPG is just around the corner. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week 4 taking it to the Street (Photography) and celebrating the work of René Burri

As a result of the school's half term holiday this week there was somewhat reduced number of participants in yesterday's OPEN Ealing Photography Class but the subject was nonetheless stimulating and engaging.
Quite literally a Street Photograph 

One of the things that is challenging for me is actually categorising the subjects and the subject of this week session Street Photography it seems to me can cover an awful lot of ground.

On this interpretation I take loads of photo's and think most would be described as 'Street', they're taken on the run and sometimes almost clandestinely.
An un-staged photo taken today in Central London

Henri Cartier-Bresson perhaps the daddy of Photo -journalism looms large in the world of Street photography but he has many who follow in his trail.

Street Photography I suppose tends to be un-posed (although it seems that many examples were actually posed or at least rehearsed) and the photos tend to be shot with available or 'simple' flash only (rather than complex lighting rigs)

A couple of the photographers that I'd not heard of before that I liked the look of were the Brit Martin Parr (often humorous) and someone who offers a somewhat left field interpretation of a Street brief  is the London based Slinkachu.

Of course the enigmatic French Nanny Vivian Maier who took so many photo's in her life time remains a lodestone to many documenters of the everyday

A street bustling with life in Camden, North London

René Burri

René Burri who created some great iconic  photographs recently passed away to see some great photo's take a look here

Monday, October 27, 2014

4 (other) examples of Twittering

Well some time ago I said I didn't get this twitter thing and to be honest for most things I still don't but when I did my Business of Photography Course the teacher (Grant Smith) did make the point about how important Social media was (although he did admit to being a little less than a perfect example) so now I do twitter (pictures mainly).

(1) So since then I've often twittered pictures (which it seems almost ideal for) - last week I took a couple of pictures of a local pub where the police were in attendance and it was interesting to see how the story developed.
Police attend incident at The Plough, Northfields

(2) I also got a twitter back from a splendid project (thank you David Whitelam)  connected with helping kids - after commenting on a bicycle I'd seen near Ealing Broadway Station in June.
Here's the entry he pointed me at.
A great project - keep it up

(3)I have seen some of  and got back in contact with Simon Perry who I met via the Royal Television Society  and his Digital Lifestyles Blog.

Simon is now the IoW's own  top news-hound and his twitters cover a bunch of  varied items.

(4) Mike Coe is the other person I follow, Mike  exorcises his Eco-Anger and is a regular tweeter. - working under the 'Monica' The Doctor of Music.

I only follow 10 people - and this seems to generate quite a bit of noise but the splendid HistoryinPics is full of great pictorial content.

So I will probably continue with the odd photo's that might be of interest (#tjbourne).

And here's my weekend twitter of The Avenue Market West Ealing..

"No rain and Monroe shines out for the second of the three scheduled 2014 Antique Markets in The Avenue, West Ealing "

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Photography at the V&A and EAG's 99th show

Easy to forget how lucky those of us in London or with easy access to it are.

Yesterday I spent some time at the V&A and as well as a really lovely café there's a surprisingly succinct and holistic Photograph section on the third level (I think)

In fact the history of photography in some ways is surprisingly short at around 150 years although there are some arguments that would extend this to include such devices as the Camera Obscura and associated projection tools used in Artist studios (including perhaps da Vinci) to assist in the making of their creations.
Horst- Now open at the V&A

What I drew from the Photograph room at the museum was that from the earliest days there were tensions between the science and the art as well as the medium being used as an instrument of record and a creative tool.

What I noted were the following

Edward Hartwig's -Vienna by Night is the picture on show

Wolfgang Suschitzky -Salzburg is a cracker of a picture

of course one can not omit 

Henri Cartier-Bresson  and the picture here is Shop Window (Hungary)

the stand-out for me was

Berenice Abbott and her New York at Night - it's amazing and here's the background story.

The curation is key to a strong room and there's plenty of monochrome works in evidence with some interesting early pictures that have been hand coloured.

As well as the works on show the Museum has a great amount in storage and a nice on-line presence too.

Ealing Art Group celebrates its 99th  at Pitzhanger Gallery

It's only on for a couple of days or so but local arty types are showing their wares at the 99th Exhibition- question is where the 100th will take place?

I've been told that Pitzhanger Gallery is  unlikely to be available in 2015  as the exciting expansion plans will put  the Gallery out of service until 2017.

It must delight the creators of works to see others admiring the efforts and some of the pictures are snapped up by the visitors to the show

No shortage of views of Osterley Park and the like

Friday, October 24, 2014

CAB aiming to help and Holland Park to Ladbroke Grove

Earlier in the week I went to a Money Fair event as part of a CAB presence, it's a great shame that such events are not able to positively engage with the people who would benefit most from them - some people there do seem to realise this but for others it's accepted as the norm.

Plenty of professionals there but not so many 'service users'.
Could we use better delivery methods?

I tend to think that what needs to be done is a McDonald-isation of such services,this is not meant to be derisory, McDonald's (to my mind) are an example of providing a service that the market wants and needs.

Show what you offer and train the people delivering/helping.

Why is that when we try to help people we use unpleasant premises with non-professional levels of service?

Worthy people and motives alone are not enough to help people an entrepreneurial vigour and spark is needed.

Not a Harry Potter figure

Holland Park to Ladbroke Grove

On my way to the above noticed a couple of  things:

1) Statue to Ukrainian St Volodymyr  - he's the guy who delivered Christianity to Ukraine and seems that he's a rallying figure for the nationalists at this difficult time.

2) House where  Howard Staunton a great British Chess Player lived .
Not forgotten

A nice house in West London with a  blue plaque to ....

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Turner (prize and late period) at Tate Britain and Dock no more

Turner prize contenders for 2014

Back at Tate Britain this week where there's a chance to see some Late period Turner (get ready for the Mike Leigh film coming out soon) as well as some exciting contemporary stuff.

Seeing the ' Late period' works reminded me what an un -British (exciting) artist he was.

 If you get the chance do take a look at 'Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth'  and Peace- Burial at sea and perhaps like me you'll see something of what Mark Rothko was trying to capture in his 'colour fields'.

Anyway the prize for  2014 ...

It's worthwhile pausing  outside the exhibition of the works by the 2014 nominated artists to look at the roll call of winners and contenders  over the last 30 years these  include such notables as  Gilbert and George (winners in 1986), Patrick Caulfield (nominated in 1987) and Richard Long famous for his walks  finally winning in  1989 after several nominations

The Turner Prize short-list contenders for 2014 that are on display at Tate Britain show a varied group of four selected by the jury who will soon choose  a winner; they are.

James Richards is the first artist to greet you of the Prize exhibition working in various medium (including slides and woven materials) his work can be confrontational and on show were blankets that showed the US artist and Social Activist Keith Haring with  different friends and acquaintances.

Tris Vonna Michel  is from Southend-on-Sea and now living in Stockholm and his work too used audio along with projected images and artefacts  in interesting ways

Ciara Philips is a female Canadian born artist now living in Glasgow and for me her work the most immediate and accessible mainly using printed works her work was colourful and showed a boldness that was (for me) refreshing and perhaps a little less 'knowing' than much of the modern art (or I could have course been missing the point)
A hint of what Ciara Phillips has on show


Duncan Campbell who is another artist working in  Glasgow (although he was born in Dublin) was another artist working in Video (perhaps another aspiring director) - his work references other artists including Sigmar Polke (not my favourite artist at present).

Other works

There are some new exhibits in the later period of Tate Britain I couldn't help but notice The Body and Ground by Brian Griffiths (born in 1968) - cool to see canvas and ropes in a piece.

Carry on Camping perhaps

Sad too to see that Phyllida Barlow's Dock is being dissembled, not sure what will take it's place?
'Dock' no more

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What sets us apart - Words, Sentences and Language & Nova Scotian Traffic

During yesterday's Philosophy session Scott  had what I thought was a throw away anecdote about one of his students and the recognition by this student of  a question not being so easy (I paraphrase of course and of course one could offer a Freudian analysis too).
A ''Tree'  describes both the  unique and the universal 

Well I'm not sure that Scott's words during the course are often not thought about and certainly the theme of the session, taken from a chapter of Thomas Nagel's book What Does It All Mean add (perhaps) greater weight to the story.

The chapter we were looking at was The Meaning of Words and (of course) I feel more concerned with language after the time thinking about it than I did before.

The example Nagel focuses on to bring some of the issues out is Tobacco and how it can be used by us to distil a discussion around world consumption meaning all the Tobacco now and in the future without us seeing how tha language is permitting such a discussion to take place.

What's a Black Taxi in South Africa - well Scott provided another anecdote from a friend who had visited South Africa when he mentioned getting a Black Taxi while he (the friend)  was there it had a different connotation than that used in London (where it means a  heavily regulated form of transport).

Well that raises even more questions, my feeling was that South Africans speak a different English but if we unpick this then do people in Manchester speak a different English and do the under 30's speak a different English (and so on) - of course the answer is yes so is my definition tha same as yours - does it have 'Truth' that is able to survive 'discovery'?

 So in terms of Philosophy it may seem worthy of note  that the real interest in language is more or less (sorry for the lack of precision) a 20th century phenomenon.

 If you need to know more look at John Locke (Human Understanding), the Wittgenstein/Russell areas of devbate and the American Donald Davidson.

Other works around the Theory Of Language  are illumination - I tend to favour a sort of Darwinian view of why we favour language  but this does not answer a lot of the questions that language poses such as do we have an inherent ability for languages - how does a child learn the use?

For me when I worked outside the UK particularly at Euronews in a multi lingual community in France I was interested to hear people speak about how they dreamt in French (when they had mastered to some extent the language) - I also recall that Wolfgang Spindler, a German journalist was impressively capable of discussing non material concepts and ideas without seeming to struggle for the 'bon mot'.

A perspective which most of us take (perhaps without undue observation) is to avoid 'looking under the bonnet' while language is doing the job we set it, like a game of football which proceeds best when it is unimpeded by the appearance of the referee and the rules - but in both the case of language and Football  the mechanisms and precedents are complex and textured.

A couple of observations:

Language used to be less unified and different tribes a few miles apart had discernibly different languages - gloablisation has changed this.

Language is of course living and adapting - look at how text and abbreviations move from the marginal to the mainstream.

Things are not necessarily unchangeable.

It's over 7 years since we visited Canada, it's an enormous country with vast open spaces and exciting cosmopolitan cities, it's a country of contrasts and a 'new' country when compared with the European nations I'm more familiar with.

What I am reminded of at this time from our visit was how  Nova Scotia was similar in some respect to Scotland (did this name make it attractive to Scottish natives who then recreated Scotland there?)
Drivers in Halifax (Canada) behave differently

And the big point in Halifax (The state capital of  Nova Scotia) somewhat unnervingly traffic gave way to pedestrians -so my point is that things (like language) can alter and change and it can be for the better.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

OPEN Ealing Photography course continues with 'Week 3 Portraiture' and more from The School of Life

Last night it was night school and week 3 of the OPEN Ealing Photography class.

This time almost literally we were focusing on Portraiture - some very good tips provided and a useful review of many pictures.
Lighting up time

Lauren had brought along some lights and we had a very willing model suitably decked out in a black T shirt .

The good thing about the lights was that they included a modelling light and triggered flash  via camera flash.

The three points to note when composing a portrait are:
'I have been expecting you Mr Bond.'

1) Golden Triangle

2) Golden Spiral (The Mathemeatician Fibonacci's Rule)

and last but not least

3) Golden Rectangle (yeah like the other two)

 blimey, it's like a good night at the  2012 Olympic games.

The choice of whether to use available light or artificial depends on the nature of the project and of course personal taste - flash can bring problems with reflections that are not always apparent and can give a harsh unforgiving effect on the subject.

Another recommendation we were given was to focus on the eyes, generally the one closest to the camera.

Here are some pictures that I describe as almost portraiture.

[Next week is Street Photography which is having something of a renaissance with a  nod, hopefully back to Vivian Maier  ]

School of Life 

I was pretty sure that Alain  de Botton was having a joke with his existentialist line in jumpers (I was wrong though)  but anyway two good videos on YouTube (one embedded here) .

Something of Plato explained in 'idiot's terms' (not necessarily a bad thing as far as I'm concerned) and good to see that like me others are opting for at least a day away from the all pervasive web ( I did okay this Sunday, nothing sent and no time at the keyboard).

Monday, October 20, 2014

Limeyard is 'so-so', Christo and Jeanne-Claude & CAB gets extended Pensions role

At the weekend having seen a positive review of Limeyard we decided to take a lunch break at the new restaurant in Ealing High Street.
We can expect more than just a 'chain' restaurant

It's well decorated in a sort of North American style but for me a little disappointing in a formulaic approach that reveals it as very much of a chain establishment, no genuine quirks or nods to the season or place in its menu.

The price for what was 2 sandwiches and 2 (non-alcoholic) drinks was nearly £25 (fixed service charge which I don't like) and I think that's at the upper end of expectations

Efficient enough but a very limited menu and quite a mark-up on fairly routine food, so it's a possible for future breakfast but nothing more (for me).

For it to be a restaurant that I want to visit it needs to have something extra be it the food the ambience or the locale as it is I can find something more engaging just a short walk away and I probably will.

A hint of  Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Many years ago reading the Sunday Times Magazine I was really very impressed with the enormous scale of the endeavours of  Christo Yavachev   (and so it now appears his wife Jeanne-Claude) in covering structures and landscapes, they say there was no  agenda for their work other than the aesthetic but I was reminded of it by the covering on a local building under some routine work .
Just by Haven Green

You can find out more about Christo here.

I don't know if  other artists are continuing this type of project but I'd certainly like there to be.

CAB to cover pensions

I do some volunteering with a local borough's CAB Bureau (in fact I'll be at a Money Advice Fair on Wednesday) so I  know that it's not easy to provide the sort of help the community needs with a mixture of paid staff and keen 'do-gooders'.
The funding is provided by a mixture of groups that includes funded local government contracts, charity donations and Central Government.

Much of what I did last year was tied to domestic consumer Energy issues and although the drop in energy prices may reduce the pressure in this area the idea that there's a resource that can be turned on like a tap to cover complex pension changes might show undue optimism from George Osborne - training and funding will certainly be needed.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Seeing photo's in print (once again) and a little helper

Perhaps it shouldn't but it does give me a lot of pleasure to see one of my pictures (the 8th time I think)  in the local paper and yesterday I again had this treat as the picture below (you can see a similar picture of OPEN  from a few days back here) was published -in fact the decision by the editor is very much an editorial one and the accompanying words need top have a relevance/resonance.
The latest Gazette  Picture of The Week

Although I could have taken an amazing picture of  the most beautiful woman in the world (in  Ealing) it wouldn't necessarily fit the requirement without some local connection and even then it might not be suitable.

I've mentioned before my personal history of cameras and although I know a DSLR or another camera can produce some amazing pictures for me the need is to be always (or most of the time) with my camera so I used a compact (currently a Canon SX280)  one accessory that I'm also carrying more often is a small 'table tripod' it can fit in a jacket pocket and is a big help for long exposure night shots or pictures I want to be in.

Three small legs better than my two

Here's a picture I used it on - not great but shows that a long exposure can be managed using walls, benches or similar and a small tripod.

Just by Hans Sloane's Statue

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Cult Of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ make a noise at the Saatchi Gallery

A sign 

I'm not sure how benign  Charles Saatchi is but as far as I'm concerned he does do some good things chief amongst these being the Saatchi Gallery (just near Sloane Square), last night the gallery provided me with a beer and a chance to experience a noise that made The Jesus and Mary Chain sound like Mantovani.

Don't get him started

I guess every month or so there's an invite to Gallery Supporters  (why not become one it's free) to attend an opening or other celebration but yesterday was the most full on I've been to so far.

Perhaps this is the sort of thing that happened in the 1960's but then the Social media was just that - Social, people talking and passing on the things to do and see.

All hell was let loose - Mad Max meets the Spice Girls doesn't begin to describe the fun
Maybe too at that time the experiences were less self reverential - here you can see so many people taking pictures and detaching themselves (yes I'm guilty too) - the performers really gave it their all, crazy outfits including Cricket Pads and plenty of car hubcaps.

For the group (The Cult Of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ ) I wonder how they'll look back on this when thy're settled in Suburbia (with  a little patch of land).

Highlight for me was when one of the whirling dervishes stepped away ( in the process destroying what there was of a  fourth wall) and took a swig of beer from the girl just in  front of me who was Video-ing the performance - great stuff.

An idea that's illuminating

Thursday, October 16, 2014

More trying to get to grips with Philosophy - The Mind Body problem


I was somewhat ambiguous about the anticipated effect of the London educators strike - what in fact happened was that the 'action' was declared illegal (by the courts) and cancelled (by the union).
On London's Southbank - well  It looks red to me.
On a selfish point of view I was really pleased as I enjoy the sessions and did not think that a lecturer -less session would produce much in the way of greater understanding of the subject, but as a former active Trade Union member (of the TV technicians union  ACTT) I was reminded how much things have changed since I was active (1980's and 90's)

The Session

We spent some time reviewing the previous session which had been around the question of 'Other Minds'.
But the topic that we focused on this Tuesday was 'The Mind Body problem' and goodness me it's another challenging theme to look at.

We were introduced to the ideas of:

Physicalism - all that there is is the Physical world and everything has a physical explanation -

Here's Patricia Churchland saying pretty much this.

And here's a somewhat scruffy looking Australian Professor called David Chalmers giving another view (very well),.

Dualism-  This idea has in essence a split between the brain and the mind  (Cartesian Dualism) is a form of this.

Aspect Dualism -which puts forward the idea (I think) of a single entity looked at in different ways -it seems Baruch Spinoiza might be classified as a supporter of  Aspect Dualism

and a phrase I hope to use in conversation Eliminative Materialism - this is a radical (some might say far out) view that our common sense of the mind is wrong  and what we take for granted does not exist.

The Mary Argument

Another aspect which brings the question to life is The Mary Problem  this is a 'thought experiment' about  someone who has spent years researching colour knows all about it (theory etcetera) although unable to perceive it and then suddenly can see it.

Here's a video that covers the Mary Argument.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tate Modern am I missing something about Sigmar Polke?

Yesterday in town and after my weekly City Lit Philosophy session (more of this tomorrow), I decided to take the shortish trip to St. Paul's and walk across the Millennium Bridge to see the new installation at Tate Modern by Richard Tuttle.
Part of a very big work by Richard Tuttle

The work is in Fabric and Wood and called  I Don’t Know . The Weave of Textile Language' it is very big and seems to be getting a lot of attention particularly from school groups.

Tuttle is an American artist working in multiple fields and is also having a retrospective at Whitechapel.   
A school group enjoying the scale

As well as looking at the enormous presence in the Turbine Hall I took a (second) look at the Robert Mapplethorpe photographs, very relevant following Monday's photography session and the impending one on portraiture.

Mapplethorpe who died in 1989 has many fine pictures on display they are of assorted artists in monochrome who are generally looking at the camera there are also a selection of some more controversial images on show .

 Amongst the artist I recognised  I really  like the photo's of Roy Lichtenstein and William Burroughs - Burroughs not being fully contained in the frame.

Sigmar Polke exhibition 

A nice programme 

I also looked at the Sigmar Polke exhibition which was extensive and varied  which was a chance for me to see the work of a German multi media artist who was new to me. 

Sigmar Poke disappointed me on some levels
I felt a little like I was looking at work by an 'invented artist' who mainly captured the Zeitgeist (surely appropriately for a German artist?)  but I didn't feel that I came to his essence, much as Faust the German band  were clever and influential (but for me) not loved I felt that Sigmar was an encapsulation of various projects and trends but that his work was more about a considered attitude without a real commitment and heart.

Having said that I did like some (of very many) of the artefacts on show including 'Women at the Mirror' (1966), 'Moderne Kunst' as well as a Mao print on Fabric.

What I was not so keen on were the messy (to my mind) films of various trips(?)- not sure why these were such a feature of artists of the period

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 2 of The OPEN Ealing Digital Photography Sessions -Landscaping

Well it's Landscape format -Westminster Bridge (by me)
So last night I went along to number two of  the OPEN Ealing eleven digital photography session course
The course is  being run by Photography practitioners Monika and Lauren and very enjoyable it was last night too with some new 'students' as well as many returnees.

The session had been billed as being about 'Landscape' which it largely was  we were told about the 'Golden Hours' which are the hours (one of each) after sunrise and before sunset when the light is potentially at its best.

We were also told about the rule of thirds which you can see in great paintings (at The National Gallery for example) as well as many photos it relies on breaking the frame into a three by three grid.

Like all rules it is (some say) designed to be broken but it's useful to know the rule so that you break it by design rather than ignorance.
Lindos in Rhodes - my favourite of mine

As well as critiquing various pictures that we'd taken and defining Landscape photography as best we could we looked at some of the big names in the field.

The stand-out guy is the american  Ansel Adams and you can see some of his genre defining masterpieces on the net with a search on your preferred engine and find out more about the man  here.

Other photographers of note for their landscape work include Michael Kenna (a British Photographer working mainly in B/W), Andreas Gursky (A German working mainly in Colour) and Michael Wesely who uses extremely long exposures)

Justin Quinnell was also mentioned - his work use extreme pinhole cameras and there's some interesting stuff about him here.

Next week we're looking at Portraiture and this'll include some practical work - was really enthused by the end of class even took a picture on the way home and many more today too.
West Ealing at night

Monday, October 13, 2014

Some good signs in Ealing, an (almost) Email free Sunday for me & Politics

Well almost managed to go a day without sending e-mail (just sent a message that had bounced back troubles with BT Mail) and the world doesn't seem to have stopped.

A new face in the High Street.
Out and about in Ealing and had a look around Wholefood Organic store that's opened in the High Street, full marks to the people behind it great to see something fresh that isn't an 'Eatery' or Coffee shop -early days and they have some way to go to catch up with As Nature Intended across the road but it looks like they do drinks and soups to takeaway which is a plus.

There's a bit of a green/independent  tinge on the shops leading down to Ealing Green  - which brings a nice vibe hopefully the non-chain retailers can survive.
Asking for Ideas in Ealing

Good to see too that a survey is being run to get feedback on Ealing Centre -  What's the best idea to improve the centre of Ealing?

What's needed? How can we improve the place?

It can't be a bad idea to ask people what's missing - for me it's more of the quirky stuff- the loyalty card (Make it Ealing) hasn't really worked (we've all got purses wallets full of them) but there might be something that can make Ealing more fun and draw people in, perhaps a mixture of things.

  I saw someone suggest a fountain - I think that might be a little clichéd but perhaps something with lights and projection that would be bright and bold and reflect the localities' heritage  in terms of Art and entertainment?


Well has this been a (another) historic week in British Politics with a UKIP MP in the house or just another protest vote?

The election is only months away and there are questions and concerns about Labour's ability to win the arguments sad (for me) to see them taking the 'easy' way out in the choruses about immigration - certainly in London the new entrants to the capital bring a lot (and this is from The Telegraph).

Let's face it when the electorate is looking down the barrel of a gun (as in the Scotland referendum) they often step back and I think this will be the case on any (real) suggestion about leaving the EU.

And let's face it just because they're 'blokey' doesn't mean that they could bring any intellectual rigour to the complex issues of a twenty first  post industrial  economy

Looking back on the recent conference season  I am thinking that the Lib- Dems do seem to have show some integrity particularly in championing the issues around mental health.

The campaigning will be interesting but for me I will vote for what I believe rather than a second guess of tactical voting to deny power to another party.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Google's version of 'My Wednesday afternoon in London (24th September 2014)'

It's interesting how Twitter and Google can get smart about what we do - telling us that we've got a good eye in the case of twitter look what Google's done about me and my 24th September which is quite nice to my mind.

Here's the background, Google + Stories is apparently is able to pick out your photos and organise them into a pictorial  journal.
Google say that it will "weave your photos, videos and the places you visited into a beautiful travelogue," 
Stories are created automatically when users who back-up their photos and videos to Google+ return from a trip . The tool relies on Google's Auto Awesome and landmark detection tools, as well as a user's location history and the 'geotags' of individual photos. It will be able to automatically find the best photos from your library, tag images with city names, and display the names of restaurants, hotels and other places  you visited
So there you go.
'Do you think Google will rate us as Auto -Awesome or just rough?'

Friday, October 10, 2014

How we might be more thoughtful about those living with Dementia and life is a walk in the park

Dementia is a challenge to society as more people live longer in developed countries it is likely that we will see more people living with the condition.
Why not?

Yesterday evening I went to  listen to a talk about being a Dementia Friend given by Kate Moffatt, from Dementia Friends.

The introduction was useful for me in demystifying (a little) the disease and how we might better behave with respect to those living with Dementia.

Kate used analogies that were indicative of the challenges that the condition creates - if we imagine the brain, physically  in 3 dimensions  with fairy lights indicating activity those with Dementia will have some of their lights unlit or dim as the disease impacts the brain and some areas of functionality are impacted.

Five important messages were given:- 

1) Dementia is not a normal part of ageing.

2) Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain.

3) Dementia is not just about the loss of  memory.

4) It is possible to live well with Dementia.

5) We should remember that there is more to the person than the Dementia.

There are several different types of Dementia chief amongst them is Alzheimer's disease named after the German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer who  diagnosed it one of his patients  in 1901.

Other types include Vascular (which is linked to strokes) and posterior cortical atrophy (known as PCA, the variant that Terry Pratchett has).

It was good to have a presentation that sought to provide better understanding and create change in our behaviour rather than just be about raising funds, we should all do something to widen understanding of the topic it is likely that we will be impacted in one way or another by Dementia

Having been a participant in the information session I am now one of over 460,000 people who are registered Dementia Friends.

You can become a friend  too by making a pledge, these can be simple things like avoiding labelling those who live with the disease as 'sufferers' or using your social media account to help highlight the  importance of treating people with dignity and compassion.

Parks in Autumn

Autumn might have only just started but already the trees are showing hues and leaves are falling -here are some pictures from Pitshanger Park in Ealing. 
A view towards Horsenden Hill
Trees are not just green

Having Fun!