Posted in 20 Personal identities and multiculturalism, Coursework

Exercise 4.3: A subjective voice

To help develop your personal voice as an independent practitioner, it is important to acknowledge your subjective attitude towards the subjects you’re researching and photographing. Right now you’re dealing with themes around landscape.

Write an entry in your learning log (around 300 words) reflecting on any current and previous circumstances and experiences that you think may influence, or may have influenced, your view of the landscape. Describe how you think these factors might inform your ideas about landscape photography or related themes.

From the moment I was born my parents said I was looking around with wide eyes filled with curiosity. I took pleasure in every little thing and my Mum said seeing the world through me was a joy. The moment I could walk my chubby legs would carry me on adventures exploring the world around me. When I could read I would learn everything I could about the world, nature and animals. Reinforced with living in Scotland and touring the whole country, exploring the Scottish islands my love of the world increased and with it the passion for nature. When I think of the landscape I think of the places I explored as a child and the stunning scapes of Scotland which have a special place in my heart. Also the animals and nature which are united with the landscape and in turn ourselves. We all share the landscape. Living through the foot and mouth disease at close proximity made me realise the vulnerability of the animals. I grew up the more I learnt about the dark side of nature, the savagery and life and death happening every day. The little rabbit I gaze dreamily at, will it feed a stoat or some ruthless creature tomorrow. The way the spider web glitters. What creatures will meet a nasty end in its glittering embrace?
I prefer not to think of the violent and traumatic world of nature, I know it’s there, I’ve seen it myself. But I prefer to see the good side of nature and allow that to fill all the spaces that would otherwise be the home of the dark. It seems only natural I should see the landscape in such a way. That said there must be a part of me that still sees the dark parts of nature for the darkness or sadness at the world in my assignments, perhaps that is the way I can project those feelings that I seek to hide. Though produced in an upbeat happy way Assignment Three highlights the sadness of humanity and how much we miss. Which takes me back to my natural trait, seeing the positive, the beauty of the world, appreciating everything. The landscape is almost dreamlike, I savour the good, the positive, the joy of creation and the magic and wonder in the little things. I hide the darkness because it has no place with me but it is channelled through into my assignments where it can be used to create awareness, to hopefully inspire others and in turn be used for good.

Posted in 20 Personal identities and multiculturalism, Coursework

Tears and Ashes – A video in response to Dark days

The sheep looks ‘benign, at peace.” – John Ardwell Dark Days

Whilst I am supposed to look at John Adwell’s Dark Days the horrific events of the foot and mouth disease are just too disturbing to look at. Despite being an animal lover after living through the epidemic in Scotland I have no intention to even look at it nor would many I imagine.  I suppose that’s why the course included such an emotional image for those who wouldn’t go and look. Whenever I see that beautiful sheep, sleeping in a carnage of its dead family, looking peaceful and asleep, fat tears splash down on the picture. The photo is lost in a haze of tears. And that is the only way I will ever view such pictures, through eyes swollen with tears.

Therefore I did not click on the link.

Instead, I created a project of my own. I filmed myself writing this blog entry and wondered what to do with the video of me crying. To cry is a very soul-baring thing to do when you just can’t hold back the pain inside any longer. It was such an emotional video to create and I cry every time I watch it. Then I recorded my own account and played it over the video which I used free stock video from and some of my own to create a double exposure of fire and farm animals across my own face.

I’d appreciate any feedback. This is the first time I’ve used double exposure in a video. I edited it to create a high key effect, I feel it gives it an ethereal beauty, pure and innocent against the fire and death.


I’ve seen that photo of the sheep multiple times while flicking through the course book. The first time I didn’t know what it was about and looked closer trying to see what was in the picture before recoiling as I saw both the dead sheep and the caption. Time and time again while flicking through the course I would see it and recoil. After not having seen it for several months and I approached that dreaded page I looked at the sheep and I’d seen it so many times it felt like a friend. I can’t describe the emotion it gives me when I see such an image. I wanted to create a project to show the trauma of such images so I recorded myself writing this post.

The foot and mouth disease is especially prevalent in my own memory as only a few months after we moved to Scotland the endemic began. I am so grateful that I was a child at the time so I have no strong recollection of it. All I remember is seeing occasional hazes of smoke staining the sky. Disinfecting our shoes on a countryside walk in the buckets left by every cattle grid and close fence. I was only eight, I knew vaguely of what was going on but the true horror was not known until I was much older. My strongest memory is of driving in the car playing in the back with my sister and noticing an old country track to a farm a heap of objects with smoke rising. It was only enough to trigger some curiosity but Mum’s strangled cries of, “Don’t look!” was enough to instil a sense of fear of what the objects were. “Why? Why what is it?” A typical child, I turned around wondering what it was but we were out of sight with Mum’s voice of “Girls don’t look, please don’t look,” echoing in my ears. Whilst some memories fade, this was one that will be in my mind forever.

I only need to ask my parents about that time and I see a white sheet of horror pass across their faces. My family lived through that horrific time but it is they who remember it and I can see how it’s haunted them.

Posted in 20 Personal identities and multiculturalism, Coursework

Project – Personal Identities and Multiculturalism

I am not going to talk about racism here because I feel nervous even writing the word ‘black person’ is that politically correct still? As far as I am concerned everyone is a possible friend until they show otherwise. But the course said to keep writing in the learning log to improve the essay for Assignment Four so I will share my own experience on racism.

When we lived in Scotland I was a child therefore, my memories are of the stunning landscape, the places to build shelters, having picnics by the otter pool and chatting amicably to everyone. Yet as I grew up I learnt about the racism between the Scottish and the English. An older boy at school asked my little sister who was seven, “Are you English?” When she said yes he punched her. In the stomach. That was when I realised the Scottish bore a grudge and hated the English. Luckily we didn’t meet such people. Though when I was twenty I saw a tablecloth for sale mocking the English and in another shop another mocking book about the English. I felt frustrated about this, why blame us for something that our generation didn’t even do. I don’t look at Germans and think of the evil of the war. No, because they didn’t do that. Their forebearers did One of my best friends is German. I have another wonderful friend, an honorary Auntie in America. She loves visiting places and sometimes the war of USA and England comes up but we only look at it from a historical point of view because we both know it wasn’t either of us. It was our forebearers.

Indeed I was so annoyed in the bookshop when no-one was looking and whenever I saw that book hating the English I turned the book around to face the wall. After that, I felt very slightly uncomfortable in Scotland with our clear English accents ringing out in the Scottish town. The worst moment was going for lunch in a very Scottish pub and being stared at intently. On one occasion I  feigned a Scottish accent to eradicate the discomfort. This soon passed though as I realised the majority bore no such judgement and I could go back to loving my time in Scotland with the so many wonderful friends and neighbours I’d made there.

We lived in a small Scottish town at one point (which was where Amber was punched) Our house overlooked the loch where I once saw an otter. When I visited our neighbours almost every day we would arrive beaming faces. At Leah’s we would listen to her wonderful stories of the countryside, admire her embroidery and her huge thimble collection. Then we’d play across the road on Helen’s piano, sit chatting with a cup of tea and biscuits. My point is there were a mix of people in that village, some were racist but the kind people who have such a special place in my heart outnumbered them if not by number then by their friendship, kindness and love.

Going back to the views of ethnic minorities in the countryside, though racism seems prevalent, I wonder if it really is just a small minority that is racist and the rest garnered by events of the news and I can’t remember the word, but when one member of the crowd (or on Facebook) writes an angry statement and everyone is fuelled by the same anger or hatred).

Racism is quite simply put, ridiculous and childish and those who participate in it are still like children fighting in the playground who need to grow up. The world would be much happier if they did that.