‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’
― nelson mandela
This is my response to this week’s WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.
As ‘constant readers’ may know, I try to respond to this challenge most weeks, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, inspiration and consequent success (or not).
I’d like to be a pro-photographer. My biggest challenge? My best shots come from the heart, from my emotion, my passion, my anger, my love, oh dear HID, how would I fare in a studio (we shall see, maybe).
Anyway, back to the task in hand.
The image above is a composite. Obviously. I made it using my iPad and the Adobe Photoshop Mix app. It’s not great, I’m not proud of it technically, I rushed it, it’s now late and I’m tired. But I’d like to make my point so I will continue.
The two photos are separated by a few weeks in time in terms of execution. In terms of publication less than 24 hours separates them.
The first, in chronological terms, was actually shot on 26 September, 2015. I took a walk in the woods in Tervuren, near Brussels, I had a lot on my mind. Made a decision, whether it was a little or large decision is (now) of no consequence. Things changed. Life changes. And will continue to change. This image, of three geese (I think, I am no bird expert), was first published here on the evening of Friday, 20 November 2015 in response to last weeks’ challenge which was entitled ‘trio’. When I awoke on the morning of Saturday, 21 November the world had not only gone through the transition from night to day, from one day to the next, it appeared to have spun upside down and inside out. The Brussels Lockdown had commenced.
Transitions can be very difficult. They can be well orchestrated, they can be planned with care, or they can rip apart the fabric of our lives in an instant.
Paris. London. Madrid. New York.
And many more. Every nation, every race, every creed. All have suffered brutalising change. No one has been spared.
What matters now is how WE manage the next transition.
Do we hit back, bomb and blast and scream and shout. Do we ‘change’ the life of others with righteous vengeance? Are our bombs that rain down from the sky, the silent instant deaths that we deal by drone, are they any harder to bear, to rationalise? Who is right? We teach our children to turn the other cheek, to avoid fights and disputes in the school yard. Then, we have to explain why those sleek and shiny, sexy, steel tubes send sudden death to families far away.
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 destination it appears to be someone else’s business. Frustration is rife.
Today, schools and museums and other public places were closed.
The gallery below shows images I captured this morning, as I made my way to my workplace. I think they need little explanation?
Closed (so is the ATM and the supermarket)
(Still) out of service
This evening, the Prime Minister announced that what has has become known as the ‘Brussels Lockdown’ will continue, maybe even until Wednesday.
This evening, I walked from Brussel Centraal station to my home in Molenbeek via the Grand Place. There were more journalists and soldiers than ordinary people, whether locals or visitors. Fact. As you can see from these that images I captured during that cold and frustrating walk.
Scribbles become typed…
Steppin’ out – hurrah!
Where is everyone?
Making the news (again…)
The twitterverse has been divided and complex, there are some who tweet defiantly that local people are carrying on their lives as usual and suggest that the media are exaggerating.
On Sunday, the twitterverse responded to requests made by the Federal Police, keen to stop rumours spreading or to make sure their operations were not compromised, by tweeting assorted kitty photos as reported by the BBC here.
Well, I have no idea who is exaggerating or indeed understating, all I can tell you is that the Metro has been closed for three days, schools are closed, troops line the streets, the people are most definitely not in the centre of the city, the buses do not run on time, if at all, and it took me three times as long to get to work as usual this morning.
This morning, I gave an interview to John Hockenberry on ‘The Takeaway’ show on WNYC in the USA, I tried to explain what I see, I tried to be balanced and to explain that people, the people of Brussels are not afraid.
What I can’t see is why a city at the heart of Europe, the host of the NATO headquarters has felt it appropriate to respond in this way.
You can listen to that interview by clicking here.
Paris, as far as I can see, where the recent atrocities actually took place has not clamped down on its population in the way we have seen in Brussels.
So far, as I write four people have been charged. One man remains at large. A capital city locked down.
My question is whether this is a proportionate response to a genuine threat of serious and present danger of a terror strike or an over reaction that in effect, without any bloodshed, has give the terrorists what they want?
Should any country have to shut down its vital Metro system for five days and close schools across the capital? Really?
People I have met, here in Molenbeek and further afield are not scared, they are frustrated.
All this for one remaining fugitive?
In my view this is not sustainable and someone, somewhere, should be asked some very searching questions.
My original image was shot with my Nikon D700 with Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 lens set at 16mm, ISO 3600, 1/125s and f/4. The image was a ‘throw away’ from a set of images I captured for a previous post (the) walking (with the) dead
My intention was to focus on the stone table and funerary urn at the back of the shot. The images below show how I progressed from the original untidy image to the image that I wanted.
Of course, had I attached my 70-200mm zoom in the first place then I might have captured the same thing in camera.
But it’s the taking part that counts, right?
original untouched in lightroom cc library
lightroom cc lens correction adjustments with some cropping
‘A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being