shadow

nigeriastreets

I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow
― Sylvia Plath

shadows_20170210

Earlier this week, my newest (and dearest) photographic friend (my Fujifilm X100T) and I were separated, irrevocably. Whether due to my being careless, and leaving it somewhere between the security check at reception and the hotel bar (unlikely), or being careless and not noticing somebody ease the weight I was carrying by lifting my little black bundle of joy from my shoulder (probably), I will never know. The hotel security team and bar staff left no stone unturned but my most faithful companion of these last three months was gone. The staff here, recognising my grief, welcome me each time I return to enquire about my loss.

But, there are worse things (far far worse), and this week people that I have come to know well, and call friends, have suffered a far greater loss.

A…

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wuse market

For some time, I have not been writing with any kind of regularity on my eponymous personal blog. That, in part, has been because I was preparing for a big adventure which is now underway.

I will be spending quite a lot of time in Nigeria over the next few months.

Welcome then to nigeriastreets! My aim, as before, is to photograph and write about daily life in Nigeria and tell my own story as I explore and make new friends.

I hope you come and take a look at what I have written and photographed so far, you will be very welcome!

nigeriastreets

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.
― Confucius

Was Confucius right?

I don’t know, but I do know people need to eat, to drink, to live. And to do that they have to trade. And to do that they need to know what sells, and for what price.

Welcome to Wuse market, in the centre of Abuja.

Dust, heat, cars, people. All combine in a heady mix of trade.

Everyone comes here, young and old, rich and poor. The car park reveals the demographics. Expensive SUVs with darkened windows and rows of battered green public taxis. Side by side.

Everything is on sale here. And I mean everything. And you can forget that ‘I’m only browsing’ line. The minute you enter the market you are propositioned, cajoled. And seduced.

This is no department store, but there are clearly defined areas for those…

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on the third day

My latest post on belgianstreets, covering the so called ‘Brussels Lockdown”, which describes my experiences of the third day of this seemingly unprecedented situation here in Brussels.

belgianstreets

Enough is enough?

On 7 July 2005, London was brought to its collective knees by a series of bomb blasts that cost several people their lives and injured scores of others.

The very next day, despite the horror, the carnage, the public transport system was up and running again. I know. I was there, and I rode the tube on 8 July like many other Londoners, whether residents, visitors or tourists. We got back to our daily lives with a collective sense of defiance to those who wanted to terrorise us. We got on with it.

Here in Brussels, the streets, at least in the centre of the city, have been silenced. The underground Metro system closed, the buses and trams, that are supposed to be running relatively normally, are (at least in my experience) as rare as hen’s teeth. And taxis, where are they? They don’t stop, whatever their…

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the next day

My latest portfolio of shots from the streets of Brussel. Disappointed that the lock down continues. It really is up to each one of us how we stand up to the terrorists.

belgianstreets

‘The rain that fell on the city runs down the dark gutters and empties into the sea without even soaking the ground’
― Haruki Murakami, Underground

Day two of the lockdown in Brussel.

Security ever present although more subdued than yesterday.

But most people stayed at home.

Who knows what tomorrow holds.

It’s up to us, not the Government, not the Police, not the Military. It’s up to each one of us. In our own, however little, way to say no to terror, no to the terrorists.

Don’t look the other way.

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(crime) scene

‘How do you defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorised.’
― Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line

atownend_2015_05_17_7356-Edit-Edit

 

The door opens, slowly, rattling up.

Inside, there is security, double locked doors, video cameras, a keen eyed concierge, neighbours who know everyone. And yet know no-one. Not really. Who knows. I don’t. Do you?

Inside, they are like me, maybe I can trust them, maybe not, but I know them, and they know me. I think.

The door rumbles up and over. Electrical humming. Cables taught.

Like my nerves, drawn tight.

It’s all over the news.

They. They might be out there, beyond the door, the double locks, the security. They might be there. And, they might get in.

Blue lights flash. Sirens fill the night with something less than seasonal sensation. Doors are broken down. They are there, and they, the others, the ones with the blue lights, they know it.

And, between them and me, the door. It rolls back down.

Closed.

Safe again, or not?

At home, in a place that you might just have seen on the news.


This post was written in response to the prompt for Day 10 of the WordPress Writing 101 Course in which were invited to ‘quietly observe the world around us and write about what we see.’ Sadly, where I live it has been far from quiet, albeit reasonably far away from the events that resulted in the disquiet here, although some say vice versa. Needless to say, this post is in part fiction, and (mostly) a reflection on recent events.


WordPress Writing 101 (November 2015): Day 10

(cheating) shadow play

“There is strong shadow where there is much light”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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after
atownend_2015_04_16_6091
before

This post is a piece of *failed* homework.

The intention, to recreate the brilliance of this week’s Imagecraft Bootcamp – Shadow Recovery hosted by Mitch and Lucille.

My first challenge was to find a photo worth recovering – then I found this one, a memorable sunset over the rooftops of Amsterdam, taken on a very happy Photo 101 “meeting” earlier this year.  There was alcohol involved hence the very poor quality of the original shot.

The second challenge was to edit the original shot in Lightroom CC following Mitch’s detailed instructions.

Of course, I am hopeless at following instructions, and, in common with many men, rarely ask for directions.

So, I gave up, and cheated by pushing the darkened image through HDR Efex Pro 2.

Not happy with the result particularly but at least my effort is better than the old *the dog ate my homework*.

Will try harder next time.

I promise.

(shot with nikon d700 and nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens at ISO200, 1/250s at f/8.0, edited in Lightroom CC and HDR Efex Pro 2)