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Matthew

Blue Monday: Little Boy Blue

Matthew has found his feet! He had a great time toddling about on the grass at RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday. He may not be able to go too far or too fast yet but once they’re up and going, there’s no stopping them. Good luck to his mum, Charlotte!

Comma

Silent Sunday

Industrial

Weekly Photo and Travel Theme Challenges: Strength and Endurance – Industry

My photomontage this week is in honour of Industry in the UK. It comprises images of steel cables from the 19th Century Llanymynech Lime Quarry, the upper structures of The Shard building in London and a bronze sculpture entitled Help by artist and poet David Payntor.

The UK was the pioneering nation in the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th Centuries. As technological advances spread across nations, the World was brought closer and standards of living started to rise for many. This was a period of history that sparked a new era of evolution for us. We are still evolving as a species and evolving the industries that support humanity and our economies.

The landscape of the UK is a monument to the progress of industry; the enduring structures built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the great shipyards of the 19th and 20th Centuries, abandoned quarries and mines, the old steel works of Sheffield, the many docks on the Thames in London. Our industrial history is built on the back of metals, minerals and manpower. Current and future industry is driven by the development of new technologies and the legacy of engineering genius.

For a strong and enduring economy, led by industry, the people of the UK have had to adapt and embrace change again and again. In 2013 the UK was the 4th largest exporter in the world. The financial services industry is particularly important and London is the world’s largest financial centre! The British Aerospace and Pharmaceutical Industries play an important role in our economy.The automotive industry is also a major employer and exporter. Our Construction Industry continues to grow, employing over two million people. The largest current project in the UK is Crossrail, it’s the biggest construction project in all of Europe! Due to open in 2018, it will be a new railway line running east to west through London and into the surrounding countryside with a branch to Heathrow Airport. The main feature of the project is construction of 42 km (26 mi) of new tunnels connecting stations in Central London. Isambard Brunel would be proud!

This is a gallery of the images used to create the montage in Photoshop:

Apples & Pear 1960's Window Display

Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

It’s been a tough decade for independent retailers in the UK! The recession hit small, local businesses in villages and towns hard, forcing many closures. Even now that we are coming out of the recession and economic growth (GDP) is rising ahead of many other countries, our high-streets are still littered with empty shops and office buildings.

With that in mind it is my absolute pleasure to share with you all a story of success from my own village, West Byfleet! Apples & Pears (formerly Heather Forster) has not only endured the recession but are celebrating 50 years of trading with a 1960’s Party this coming Saturday the 27th September. With fancy dress, a bring-and-buy charity sale, 60’s DJ set and the original owner Heather Forster in attendance, it will be a great way for the community to show their support, not only for this family run gift shop, but also for all our local independent shops!

Christine and John Morrison took over the shop 10 years ago, around the time that I moved into West Byfleet. They’ve kindly allowed me to photograph many items in the shop, mainly to create abstract images for this blog. Last year during my 365 photography challenge I often turned to their eclectic shop for daily inspiration! I do, of course, buy many gifts and cards from them too, and maybe the odd little treat for myself ;-)

They always have an interesting and well-crafted window display but I really have to congratulate them on their current 1960’s themed display that is a part of their celebrations! It’s so fascinating and fun that I decided to create some vintage-styled photos with my phone camera and the Google Photos editing app.

SONY DSC

Wordless Wednesday: Ball Dahlia

Soldier Of Fortune - detail

Blue Monday: Stained-Glass Sculpture

Another piece this week from the RHS Wisley Gardens sculpture trail, featuring works by members of The Surrey Sculpture Society. My photos today are all details from a steel and stained glass piece entitled Soldier Of Fortune by Joe Szabo. I really like the details in this piece and they way it worked with its’ surroundings! The earthy tones from the rusted mild-steel echoed the early autumnal tones in the woodland whilst the piece rose and branched at the top, with rich tones of blue in the glass matching the clear skies seen through the tree-tops. This “soldier” was most certainly fortunate to find itself in the peace of the Wild Woods :-)

Large White

Silent Sunday

DSC03456

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity – Compassion

The ability to imagine allows humans to put themselves in another persons’ shoes, to see the World from their perspective. It gives us the ability to empathise, to show compassion and understanding. One way in which people across the World often show that they are thinking of others, is by the lighting of a candle. A simple act, but then some of the greatest acts of kindness are usually the most simple! Celebrate your humanity by doing one kind and selfless act this weekend.

Let There Be Light

Wordless Wednesday: Let There Be Light

Flame Dahlia

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity – Imagination

Humanity is a very BIG word to describe through photography or any other means I think! In terms of relating to the human race and the quality of being human, I think that there is one defining aspect of humanity – our ability to imagine. Throughout the history of our race, imagination has driven our capacity to learn and evolve as no other species. Only a very few animals show signs of this ability and they are among the most intelligent species on Earth next to our own. Many of the greatest minds in history have linked imagination and creativity to humanity. Here a few of my favourite quotes:

I don’t think art is propaganda; it should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity instead of manipulating it.
Keith Haring

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
Albert Einstein

Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.
Ken Robinson

The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.
Aesop

Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice, and happiness, which are everything in this world.
Blaise Pascal

Man lives by imagination.
Havelock Ellis

I imagine, therefore I belong and am free.
Lawrence Durrell

Below is a slideshow showing the basic steps I used to create an imaginative flower study. I like to learn through experimentation. The dahlia I had photographed made me think of a glowing ball of flames. I used Lightroom, Photoshop and my imagination to bring my interpretation to life.

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