Saturday, 24 October 2009

Photos Say It All

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If you ask me what Coventry offers to tourists, I would say that the photos in this post say pretty much about it, which is regrettably not much.

R0017998 (Medium)I walked a a bit along the canal to Brimingham.  Oh, if you don't know, all geese in the UK are property of the Queen.

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I wandered around trying to find something interesting to photo in the city centre without success.  Coventry takes the three steeples for its landmark buildings.  Out of boredom, I made them four.

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I'm sorry to say so but this is pretty much about Coventry.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Two Questions in Kenilworth

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Kenilworth is a beautiful little town.  There are two things famous about it as I'm aware, namely, the Kenilworth castle and the Kenilworth Road.

I'm yet to visit the castle.  BUT the Kenilworth Road is where I have travelled along for a number of time.  The first question is why the Kenilworth Road is so long and straight.

R0018162 (Medium)^The Kenithworth Road

The first possible answer springing to mind is that it is Roman.  If that's your answer, obviously you're not thinking at all.

R0010563 (Medium)^An old stone wall in Kenilworth

The answer is related to the car making history of Coventry.   The Kenilworth Road was actually built by the car makers, then basing their HQ in Coventry, for test driving.  The answer is so obvious!

 R0018081 (Medium)^A meadow which is no lack of in Kenilworth

The second question is, why people clean up the roads in the densely vegetated Kenilworth covered in fallen leaves.

If you're living in the UK, you'd know the answer.

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BY USING AN OVERSIZED LEAF BLOWER!  If you Brits have any clue as to why, please enlighten me cos to me they are wasting gas and time on a fruitless  endeavour.  They blow the leaves away and the wind blows them back.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Big Bubble Campus

R0018152 (Medium)^A fallen trunk by a pond in the Tocil Woods, Warwick Uni

Did logical reasoning play a part in building a university in a big bubble campus in the middle of nowhere?

Surely, one saving grace of such a campus is the spectacular natural beauty to be admired in any time.  The Tocil Woods in the midst of the Warwick campus is a case in point.  BUT students don't go to the university to admire the nature.  Well, at least this have never been a major part.

R0018092 (Medium)^Walking from one building to another miles apart around the campus is great if you don't have a timetable packed with lessons.  The time so spent multiplied by the days with classes throughout a year and we will be closer to the stupidity of the idea.

If you asked me, I would say going to the university is the one last step before being brought into the reality.  Students study in the university and interact with people, including the academic and working folks.  The working folks, people living in the reality!

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Now walking around such a big bubble campus some distance away from the city centre, I feel more romantic than pragmatic.  Students, leave the reality and come to this bubble and be romantic-minded.

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The city I come from, which is Hong Kong, does have similar bubble campuses.  BUT the packed city ensures that we have almost the same number of campuses in the middle of the city.  So the undergraduates can savour the reality enough to be prepared to walk into the cruel non-academia world.

Another point for a campus to be situated right in the city (that's why I think the Coventry Uni campus is actually better suited to its mission) is the working folks are more likely to interact with the undergraduates.
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Burst the bubbles! (BUT retain the woods there)

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Photographing Multiculturalism

R0018066 (Medium)^A future biological scientist as she introduced herself to me when I asked for her permission to photograph her.  I didn't seek her out but she was just sitting across the table and I was with my cameras.  She was photogenic and I didn't have a choice, did I?

The going-around asking people for photos goes on.  R0018065 (Medium)In reviewing the photos and from what I've learned during my stay here, I was struck by one thing interesting about the UK.

As compared to the US, UK isn't a really multicultural nation.  Far from it.  Out of the national population, there is around 95% white people.  BUT (this "but" is ubiquitous in conversations among the Brits)  I have the impression that the perennial talk of the nation is whether the minority would be a threat being so sponsored in welfare and competitive in employment.

Now if you are from another country and wish to be a British national, you'll have to meet a whole array of criteria.  Among them, the candidate has to pass a Britishness test.

R0017987 (Medium)^An Asian holding a senior position over his white subordinates

Basically, the test is about the multi-facets of things you've got to know about Britain, ranging from the birthday of the Queen and the conditions under which the customers are allowed to return a kettle!

I am not aware of any similar test in any other country on such a national scale for immigrants.  What has gone wrong about this country really?

What purpose does such a test serve?  I mean, people having passed the test and got the UK national status would probably live on their own way.  They will never integrate into a society and culture because of a test.

We are sane here, aren't we?  Does the fear of other nationals immigrating into the country have a bearing on this test coming into being?

 R0018021 (Medium)^Two youngsters I met in a park not attending school and wandering around with their friends.  I went up and asked if I could shot photos of them.

BUT (I'm quite adjusted to this now) I walked around the two universities around, the Coventry Uni and more famous Warwick Uni.  And I was somewhat inspired by what I saw.

I saw more Asians and Chinese students in the campuses than did the white ones.  It could be a wrong impression BUT I was like having heard more people speaking languages other than English in the campuses.

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Are more Asian and Chinese students doing better academically here and then getting better jobs?  The picture can be clearer if I keep digging in this subject.  Unfortunately, I have photos to take.  And the subject is to be left to sociologists and politicians.

As for me, the right way could be mixing cultural integration with economic success.  Money drives.  The Brits are not quite Americans.  The American way works though.

Gordon, think about that.

R0018023 (Medium)^For the last shot, I suggested them to pose.  This is what they came up with.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The Flying Company

R0018055 (Medium)What fun it is to wander around the street with a camera, bumping into people and asking for permission to shoot!  Here in Coventry, UK, I am working on a photographic project about people in the street.

I simply packed my cameras, two Ricoh GX200s, a CX1 to be exact plus converters and filters, and walked around town.  It is a shame to say so but Coventry is not really inspiring for its streetscape.  I worked around the boredom by asking people to be photographed.

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So here are some of my works.  I went into the boys near Coventry University and, with their permission, photographed them for the best of their skateboard stunts.

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I went into two young lovers and even got the chutzpah to do kisses for some photos.  The young lady was too shy to say yes.  The young lad, as you can imagine, was readily to accede to my shameless request.

What a shame, Nevin!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Commuters, Viewfinder

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I am doing some travelling on the train here in UK.  The GX200 with the viewfinder on has been wonderful here because unlike in Hong Kong, it seems to be a gadget unknown to many.  The way I shoot photos by looking head-down into the viewfinder has been a head-turner.

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So without any idea of what I was doing, I had succeeded in taking some close-up candid pictures of the commuters.  I hope that I can write again when I settled down from the travelling.

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^I have always liked the reading culture in the western countries.  Look, even the train driver read when there was still time before the departure. 

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Sunday, 18 October 2009

Time's Up

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Time's up. Take a break. Enjoy your Sunday!