The Lasting Impact of Photographs

June 8, 2012 Leave a comment
 
 

This image was taken in Sudan during the 1993 famine.  That’s a little girl, crawling slowly and painfully across the ground toward a food distribution center, while a vulture watches her and follows, waiting for her to die so it can eat her.

The photographer, Kevin Carter, chased the bird away and then sat sobbing uncontrollably after taking the photo.  In April of 1994, Carter was informed he’d be winning the Pulitzer Prize for the photo, and he was presented with the prize on May 23rd of that year. Two months later, he killed himself out of grief and desperation over all of the things he’d seen and his depression at the things humanity does to one another.

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Avengers vs Lazhar (movie review)

May 11, 2012 Leave a comment
Seen two movies this week. One a multi-million dollar blockbuster, the other a sub-titled French Canadian “art-house” offering. Here they are, with links.

Avengers Assemble (2012): http://www.imdb.com/title/

and

Monsieur Lazhar (2011): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2011971/

I can find no fault with Avengers Assemble. It was technically excellent. The casting, the performances, the plot (even) were all good as they should be. Except, it just didn’t work. Well for me anyway. They’re comic book characters, FFS. They never translated from their natural environment (genre) of the comic book to the screen. Other efforts have been more successful; Superman, Batman, Spiderman et al, but surely it was the “humanising” of these characters that made the stories work. Well, it was for me. Even “Iron Man” worked for me with an excellent portrayal by Downey Jnr. Unfortunately that is not repeated in this production. I was bored almost all the way through. I couldn’t really explain why until I saw Monsieur Lazhar and prepped this blog.
Monsieur Lazhar was real, maybe too real. It’s set in a primary school (full of extremely talented and natural child actors) with a vulnerable “damaged” adult hero with whom we’re encouraged to champion. Tragic events tie them together. What’s not to like? Too easy, I hear you say. OK, that’s true, but when you add a lightness of touch from everyone concerned on both sides of the camera you get a gem of a movie whose impact is magnified simply because it doesn’t sink to over sentimentality. It is one of my movies of the year and I’m still thinking about it, whereas Avengers leaves me going “meh”.

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Cars and Towns

May 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Traffic in towns and cities is complicated. It is made even more difficult because of the countless variations that can arise. It is where EVERY element of society interacts; the young, the frail and the slow (not in the physical sense). Humans interact with fast, slow, large and small machines. Machines that kill. Only in this environment can 5 year olds be regularly within a foot or two of fast moving juggernauts. Most metropolis have sophisticated traffic management systems to try to manage this conundrum; and, in the main, do so successfully. It seems to me that almost every element of this mix does accept the limitations imposed. Juggernauts just cannot do 50 mph; buses (and their drivers) are programmed to fit with the prevailing conditions and pedestrians, generally, are alert to the hazards. The one glaring exception, in my opinion, is the car driver. He (or she) doesn’t seem to accept that they are in an urban situation where the pedestrian should be the controlling benchmark. Would they drive the way they do through a school playground? No I don’t think so. That’s the way they should be thinking, in my opinion. I’d argue further that if they were in that more controlled mind set we would not have this stupid and dangerous us and them scenario between car drivers and cyclists. Consider this scenario: a pedestrian at a controlled crossing sees the road clear and crosses against the “red man” without pressing the button. Does the car driver get angry and try and run down the pedestrian? What’s the difference when a cyclist does something similar? Car drivers should just accept that they are not, and never should be, the kingpins in the the urban traffic hierarchy.

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Newcastle Glimpses

March 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Wanted a quick video with scenes of Newcastle and area to keep as a reminder

Newcastle_Glimpses.mov Watch on Posterous

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Falcons v Sale

March 30, 2012 Leave a comment

P208

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March 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Making the lad smile (via PS)

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Jesmond Dene

March 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Jesmond Dene

Recent photo walk through the newly refurbished Jesmond Dene in Newcastle. There is still some work in progress, but it is a real gem that I keep reminding myself not to take for granted.

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