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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Kurupukari Crossing

I was reading somewhere recently (online) a caption for a photograph that said “crossing Kurupukari” and it occurred to me that some people probably genuinely think that the river that they are crossing with the pontoon/ferry is actually called Kurupukari – the river is none other than the mighty Essequibo.

Kurupukari is apparently the historic name of the Amerindian village now known as Fairview, which happens to be the only Amerindian village located within the Iwokrama Rainforest Programme Site.  The rapids or waterfalls seen near the “crossing” is referred to as the Kurupukari Rapids or Kurupukari Falls, the area on either side of the river where the pontoon/ferry and boats come ashore is/are referred to as the Kurupukari Landing; this landing allows for the transport of vehicles across the Essequibo River along the Linden-Lethem Trail / Road.

I’ve taken many photos at the crossing, as have many other people, it has a scenic quality that is endearing but not necessarily easy to capture on camera.  While photographing it this last March I realized what was one of the things that I loved about it, it was the openness, the width of the river, the wide expanse of sky above.  In this photo I try to convey that sense of openness and also the scale (there’s a boat/canoe crossing the river).


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  Essequibo River, Kurupukari, Guyana, 2016


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery


2015 Deck – Week 33

I climbed onto the seawall to see what I could photograph, and a voice coming from near my feet surprised me.  This fellow was packing up some items in a bag.   He thought I was a foreigner, but the minute I answered him he realised I was local.

According to him, he has lived along the seawall for most of his life, he doesn’t have a regular job, he does odd-jobs, but he says he finds everything he needs to survive right there on the seawalls.   Although I’m not sure about him finding “everything”, I saw no reason to doubt he finds most of what he needs 😀


Life on the wall 15-0143  |  Georgetown Seawall, Guyana

Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm Lens


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery

2015 Deck – Week 27

My fascination with the seawalls continues.

Almost every weekend, I stop somewhere along the walls… sometimes never taking a photo, just walk along the wall, or to the water’s edge for a few minutes.

Sometimes I take photos that never see the light of day, but sometimes there’s one that falls just into the type of image that I like taking, processing and sharing.


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  10mm, 1/250s, f/11, ISO 100


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images from this year’s Deck Project

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.


Depth

This is not normally a photo that I would share, I snapped it at the seashore and didn’t think much of it, but when I was looking at it in Lightroom I kept getting drawn into it, there was a sense of unease, of vertigo even… there’s a depth to it that I can’t easily describe in words…

Of course, it could just be that I was hungry at the time 🙂


2015  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm


Click on the image above to see it in the Gallery along with other “Odds and Ends”


2015 Deck – Week 04

On a Saturday after work (which is generally after noon) I try to make a stop along the seawall, just to walk, feel the breeze, and hopefully get a few photos in, the harsh sunlight in the middle of the day is generally considered to be “not the best” light for photography…  but for me, it’s the time I have available mostly, so I have to make it work 🙂

I’ve walked past this particular piece of wood many times, but never saw anything I wanted to shoot… that happens a lot to me, but this day, the sky had some nice striations, after squinting and peering at the sky for a while I decided it had enough detail to work with for what I had in mind 🙂


Thomaslands, Georgetown.  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the 2015 Deck Project.