Reflection

Often, we are so focused on what’s ahead of us, that we forget to look back.

The things we have done and seen as we travel this road through life have shaped us, whether those things were good or bad; the people we’ve met, the places we’ve been, the experiences we’ve had, they all add up and influence our decisions one way or another.

When we look back it is probably more important to see the beauty that was and is there, rather than dwell on the bad memories; not to say we should ignore them, but nothing good usually comes of dwelling on negative things, and reflecting on brighter moments will likely put us in a better mood than we had been in before.

There are times we can look back and see a moment in quite a different light, see that there was definitely something there worth having happened, having seen, having done, and know then that because of it, we are changed.

As we continue the journey, just take a moment every few miles to look back, the reflection might be more pleasing that it appeared while passing through.


Pakaraima Reflection  |  2016  |  Canon EOS 6D,  Canon 24-105L


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery

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The Fourth

Apparently, I took this photograph on the Fourth of July, last year.   I remember taking the photo, but the date doesn’t ring a bell; I only know it was the 4th because the metadata says so.  Metadata is handy, you can tell a lot about an image from the metadata, from the type of camera used, to the focal length, ISO, speed and aperture settings, to a host of other miscellaneous  fields, these days, even the GPS coordinates.  The Canon 60D doesn’t have built-in GPS though, so that wasn’t included.

Across cultures we find that the importance or significance we place upon one thing may not be the same that those who live in another country place up a similar thing.  Take the Fourth for example;  Americans (as in those who live in the United States of America, and not just anyone who lives in the Americas) are very proud of their Independence Day, the 4th of July, it’s a big deal, so much so, that by just saying “the Fourth” anyone in that country knows what you’re referring to.  In Guyana, it used to be the case that our Independence Day passed largely unheralded, with more emphasis being place on Republic Day, or as it is more commonly known here, Mashramani.  That has changed over recent years, but the emphasis is still skewed that way.

I suppose photography is similar, as a parent taking quick photos of their children, the emphasis is centred on the child (most times literally centred in the frame); as a fashion photographer, the subject is the model and the articles being displayed by said model;  as a wedding photographer, the bride better be the main subject or somebody’s not getting paid; I get asked sometimes about my seawall photos, why do I shoot them?, what is it I see that makes me take so many?   I figure I have to be a lousy photographer to be asked what it is in the frame that I’m trying to show.

The subjects of my photos are not always front and centre (hardly ever actually, unless it’s people on Mash Day, or that kind of thing), the subject is often the entire scene; the lines, the textures, the tonal variations, the clash or harmony of nature and man; If a photo doesn’t make an impact on you, just move on; if it made you stop for a second, then it was good, if it made you feel something, anything, whether good or bad, then it was a great photo for me.


Meander – 15-9718  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  Georgetown Seawall, Guyana


Click on the image to see it in the Collection, along with others in the Black and White Gallery

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2015 Deck – Week 20

I’m using this blog-post to express some opinions.  No one has to agree with me, or even bother reading, you can skip to the photo 🙂

Guyana’s Sound  –  recently there has been talk about developing a unique sound for Guyana, someone was even telling me that there was talk about using the Ringbang name –  I say stop right there!!  For one thing, Ringbang is not Guyanese, it’s Caribbean, it’s more encompassing than what most Guyanese think and it is not “we own” (I know, Ringbang is Eddy Grant’s creation, and while he is “we own” the idea behind Ringbang was regional and not local).   Not many people might remember that Guyana actually had a sound, a unique style of music that died off as suddenly as it was born… and all before our time, it was called Shanto, and the man responsible for its popularity was Bill Rogers, while I don’t remember all the songs I do recall the Fifteen Cent Sweetheart and BG Baghee.  Another identifiable style was that of David Campbell, very folk oriented and probably unknown to most Guyanese living here…  Our world-famous artistes all sing or trade on existing genres, and they do it well.  Eddy Grant is arguably our most famous musician outside of our borders, I think most Guyanese can name at least two of his songs (which in itself is a tragedy, melodically the albums were very good; lyrically, let’s just say that Guyanese should really listen to more of his tracks than just Electric Avenue and Johanna).  Dave Martins is likely the most well-known and well liked, it is not uncommon that people know the lyrics of his popular songs perhaps even better than he does, his music speaks to us as a nation, we identify with it, is we own.  Is it a unique sound?  That is hard for me to say, it is calypso and folk, and a lot of Dave.  Our newer artistes like Natural Black, Timeka Marshall, Jomo, Adrian Dutchin and Slingshot all sing in the reggae, dancehall and soca genres (with some R&B influences), the ever popular Terry Gajraj and similar artistes of the Chutney field did very well for a period.   There was a period in the 1980s when there were a lot of Bands, and while many were mostly cover bands some were striving to get original songs on the airwaves and played publicly; these included the Yoruba Singers (out of which came Charmaine Blackman), Mingles Sound Machine and EC Connection, to my ear, EC Connection had a different sound to many other performing bands across the region, likely due to the compositions of Burchmore Simon.  Here’s my opinion on the Guyana Sound that we seem to be looking for, you can’t necessarily develop it, it has to be born then nurtured; encourage musicians to create, encourage them to be the drive that the industry needs, this is where the DJs come in, they simply play more to the imported music, understandable, but they need to be creative themselves and help make the sounds of Guyanese heard here.

I was going to try posing a “plan” for a weekly event for musicians, but that will have to be a different forum I think…

Another local blogger raised a question recently asking about where or when is Guyana’s Renaissance happening…   I think it is now.

We are living in a time of change, of relative hardship, of freedom of expression, of creativity.  Nothing is going to be handed to us, so stop expecting the government to give you something, or the corporations to want to give you contracts just because you say you’re an artist.  The arts collectively cannot have one plan to do this together, that is impractical, the needs and the development of each genre is different and diverse, but I also say we cannot each do it alone, we must be supportive of the other, to work together when possible, and to let creativity be the driving force as individuals, but the love for art be the driving force collectively.

Copyright and Intellectual Property rights are always touted as the factor that hinders the arts from progressing, while I agree that it forms a basis upon which the artists can earn from their work, the lack of proper legislation should not stop us from creating.  There is always a lot of talk about IP legislation, but little action, I have yet to see a group of advocates put forward the writings that may form the basis of any legislation, but I may be in error on this.  I think that now is the time for these advocates to act, to put forward the documents, the artists are eager to give voice.

This is the time of our Renaissance, we have musicians eager to perform with some breaking through, we have writers eager to be published, we have performance artists making headway on stage and on-screen, we have painters, sculptors, photographers and every type of visual artist expressing themselves daily through their work.  To everyone in the Visual arts, the performing arts and the literary arts, I say it is time to create, to get your work out there, we are the artists of Guyana’s Renaissance.


Geotube Groyne – Thomaslands, Georgetown.


If this photo has anything at all to do with what I’ve written is entirely up to each reader, if you are a member of the creative people of Guyana or simply like to see the works of the creatives, ask yourself what element would you be in this image…

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with the other photos for this year’s Deck Project.


Message

In the larger picture, the broader landscape, what is the message?

Is there a message in the bottle, or is the bottle the message?

Do we read the message, do we even notice the bottle?


2015  |  Canon 6D, Canon 24-105mm


Click on the image to see it in the Seawall Gallery in the Collection


Tree

Georgetown, the Garden City; our fair city, once replete with Victorian and Colonial architecture, dutch built and inspired drainage canals reminiscent of European cities, and tree-lined streets and avenues, now laughingly referred to by it’s denizens as the Garbage City, floods with the slightest rain, governed (I use that word as loosely as is possible) by a city council that was elected two decades ago (although faces have changed, but not through any democratic process that I know of), and, sadly, losing it’s trees through neglect, sabotage, and lack of foresight (or hindsight it seems).

Most of the trees lining our streets predate us, they were planted, nurtured and cared for by colonial masters (and slaves) before our independence, before the Republic came into being, before self-governance and the long road that led to where we are today.

As we have travelled that road through time, our leaders, our people, we ourselves have forgotten or ignored what it was, what it is that makes Georgetown a place we want to live in, to visit, to be proud of…  We as people, are not as welcoming as we should be, we as humans are not as caring of our environment as we should be.

Saving or replanting trees is not THE answer, but it’s a small part, one that is likely to go unnoticed or ignored.

Yesterday, Kamal Ramkarran wrote (on his own family’s place in our past and present):

As clichéd as it is, the lives of the six generations who followed them is the history of Guyana (from 1875 anyhow). All of us from here are, in a very real way, part of the history of this country. The history of Guyana is our own story, whether we know that story or not.

Since we are part of the story then, the story happening around us and through us, it ought to follow that we should make ourselves responsible for its present and future, just as we try to make ourselves responsible for the present and future of our own lives.

What part are we playing?  Will what we do stand the test of time as those trees still standing attest to the work and acre of our predecessors/ancestors?


2013 |  Tree in St Joseph Ursuline Convent compound, Camp and Church Streets.


Technically, the tree is in the portion of the compound now housing the St Angela’s primary school, the Ursuline compound also houses the St Rose’s Secondary School.  Schools once run by the Ursuline Sisters, but were “nationalised” under the PNC government.

Men and Boys

I was originally just going to upload the photo and post a link to Facebook, but then I decided I actually had something to say…

Across the globe things are changing, rapidly in some places, slowly in others.  While everyone is striving for an education and a job that earns a high salary, I think we too easily forget the way of life that actually matters; satisfaction at the end of the day’s work, a ready smile for friends and strangers alike, playtime as well as work-time, and actually caring about another human being.

This photo reminded me that we should pass onto other generations the joy of life, of actually living, and not just the drudgery of daily toil that has no reward but a monetary one.

Work hard, but enjoy the benefits of your labour, be able to say “I did that” with pride and with satisfaction; play easily without the need for satisfaction, but able to enjoy it for what it is, human interaction and the joy of Life; cry for joy and for sadness, because sadness means you were once joyful.

Look towards the horizon, curiosity is a good thing, but remember your roots, remember Home.


Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 18-270mm  |  1/125s, f/8.0, ISO 200 (46mm)


Click on the image to see it in the “Up East” Gallery (it only has 14 pieces so far) 🙂

Glee and Garbage

It is usually a breath of fresh air to read in the newspapers that some small group of people have embarked upon a “clean-up campaign” along our seawalls; one of the more recent ones would have been the one involving the Ministry of Natural Resources, the EPA (Guyana) along with the Pick It Up Guyana campaign, in the past the Guyana Shines group did a stint, on International Coastal Clean-up Day various NGOs came out in numbers, even the national Football (real football, not that American thing) Team even joined Youths For Guyana on a round of cleaning.

I prefer to re-iterate that cleaning up is an after-the-fact solution, our primary goal should be NOT to litter in the first place, we should be encouraging our peers, and children on a daily basis to do the right thing and put it in the trash!

How hard is it to keep your trash with you until you reach a suitable receptacle (the garbage bin in your yard works marvellously for this) to dispose of it in the right way?

When I take photos along our coast, invariably there is trash within spitting distance, much less within the scope of my camera lens, some of us include it deliberately to make a point, many of us (myself inclusive) try to compose to minimise the presence of the debris and detritus.


When I took this photo two years ago, I dismissed it out of hand as not appropriate for what I was doing at the time, but now, I think it makes a statement.  Why should our children, who look forward gleefully to playing on the seawalls and seashore, be subject to the dangers, physical and health-wise,  of the abundant and widespread disposal and accumulation of garbage on the seawalls?

We shouldn’t have to “Pick It Up” because we shouldn’t have thrown it down in the first place, let us live not for now, but for the future, our children’s future.


Click on the image to see it in the “Streets” gallery