IstantLondon : Hope for Humanity

Edith Cavell Memorial, St Martin’s Place, WC2
“Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness for anyone.”

Edith Cavell was a courageous British nurse that was executed by the Nazis in Brussels for aiding the the escape of Allied soldiers in WW2.

Featured Portrait : Dr.Kamila Kamaruddin

 

Shepherd Tavern London 15.06.17

I had the pleasure of photographing Kamila, for a forthcoming transgender magazine feature, at Shepherd Market in Mayfair the other day. Kamila as a doctor, plays an important and positive role within the transgender community and continue to help dismiss stereotyping and transphobia attitudes in the society.

At the feet of Saints

A fleeting trip to Dublin straight after returning from Malaysia, to visit an elderly and very sick friend from the religious community.  In my life, I have confronted death in close family only 4 times and on each occasion, notwithstanding a profound sorrow, which is to be expected, new revelations are also experienced.

Death, is often unspoken nor discussed within my family, as I can imagine, in most families. Yet, it is as common as births and marriages, both joyous occasions to be cherished. In Catholicism, it is a notion that all suffering is part of a greater plan, an acceptance is a virtue. But as humans we succumb to the frailty of disease, age and doubt, all of which are inevitable, and suffering is part of a journey of acceptance and discovery. We see loved ones wither away, when their minds were still able but their bodies weren’t.

Our journeys have just begin.

 

 

Disquietude

Christians around the world are currently observing the period of Lent, which will close this weekend with the Holiest events on the church’s calendar, the Easter Triduum. Whether one strictly follows the Lenten abstinence or not, whether one is pious or not, I feel that there is a great need for self-reflection and prayer at this time of great uncertainties facing many societies in many aspects – economic, environmental, security, political, so the list goes on.

Living in Europe today, there is trepidation and a certain fear. It’s not one thing but I guess, it is a build up of events over the last few years. Yes, it is the random terror attacks and here in London, there have been attacks since the early 70s and 80s with indiscriminate large scale bombings, so it’s not entirely that. It is also the uncertainty of Brexit and all the growing issues that comes with it. It is also about people’s tolerance with politicians and each other. Trust, respect and truth. Virtues that have so little meaning today in a world with so much spin, sometimes it is not possible to see beyond the sound bytes. Perhaps, every generation has to face these events.

There is every possibility that my generation will see another world conflict. Never in post war history has North Korea, Russia and the United States been so filled with conflict rhetoric than now. The situation in the Middle East doesn’t seem to subside with every week that passes. In fact, Syria is getting decimated by it’s own people and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Sometimes I feel that we are in a world that seems to be heading into self-destruction.  I guess everything is relative, and whether one senses these ‘events’ or attempt to block them out, depends on how secure our imaginary protective bubble shields us. Everyone has different opinions and degrees of comfort ‘thresholds’ to exist.

I guess ultimately, that is what living and existing means. We bang on with our own individual life duties and chores. Perhaps blinkered, perhaps not, riding the wave.

London mourns

France24 broadcast journalist reporting live from the Candlelight Vigil at Trafalgar Square for the victims of the terrorist attack at Westminster on 22 March, 2017.  The last vigil I attended here at the same London landmark was on the occasion of the Paris attacks of November 2015.

This evening’s vigil was attended by thousands of local residents and visitors who filled the square, surrounded with armoured police vehicles, road closures and many armed officers.

Greyhounds on beach

It has been a while since I shot a keeper image. I took a series of beach images a month ago on the Isle of Wight and the files are still on the memory card. There are these decaying groynes on the beach in Shanklin, which extend out to sea for about 100 metres.

During low tide the exposed rotting timber covered by seaweed poke out like broken fingers through the silky sand lapped by the ebb and flow of the tide. In this shot it happened that a pair of greyhounds lingered about the timber-ends for a few seconds, sniffing, as dogs do, before running off to their master’s call.

I just love the muted tones of the morning sky, and how it merges and blends in with the darker foreground of the beach. The near silhouette dogs add points of interest to the timber structures, which makes the eyes wander and explore the detail.

 

 

What is your pick?

The 2017 World Press Photo of The Year has just been announced. Again, just only 24 hours of it’s publicity, much has been written on social media and the press whether the An Assassination In Turkey image by Burhan Ozbilici was appropriate or not.

Putting it into perspective a little – personally, I have the telly on most of the time, in the background, and it’s invariably tuned onto a news channel like Sky News, BBC, or Al Jazeera.  Living in the UK, it seems that almost daily, there is a Breaking News item being live reported or televised. The rolling 24 hour news that we live by is addictive and at best numbing – especially when there is a terrorist attack happening within 100 miles of where you live. It could well be 10 miles away or even right in Piccadilly Circus.

On 7 July 2005 suicide bombers attacked 3 transport locations in London simultaneously killing 52 people. Since then, there have been several deadly attacks in the City and as we all know recently in France, Belgium, Germany amongst other places. These attacks are close and becoming closer. In addition, there are victims who suffer permanent disabilities, least death. Then there are the daily reports of civilian deaths in bombings, migrant boats capsizing, refugee exodus.

Being informed about the news is once thing, but what can we do about the situation?

Nothing.

Year in, year out, we will continue to see murders and killings amongst man, and there will be photographs from these incidents that make the cut. That is the nature of Man and this is disheartening.

Now, if you did not see the breaking news of this assassination, or read the reports in the papers the next day, or did not even know about it, what will be your reaction? Is it iconic?

In the WPPOFTY, glorifying a cold blooded murder can be seen to be acknowledging the bravery of the photographer – as one of the judges put in – “to reward the photographer, not the crime”. I suggest the photographer be given a bravery medal. I respect the jury panel decision although that would not have been my choice. I think, as consumers of the news and observers of images, we, the masses can have a say about what we think.

If you were one of the jury, which image would you have picked for the WPPOTY?

My pick would be Brent Stirton’s Dead Rhino image. I cannot bear looking at it, and that is powerful. At least, I hope that Man can do something to stop these poachers.

[Featured Image ©Brent Stirton, courtesy Getty Images for National Geographic Magazine]