Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more, day by day, You tell me of the future that you planned: Only remember me; you understand. It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a while and afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave a vestige of the thoughts that once I had, better by far you should forget and smile than that you should remember and be sad. A poem by Christina Rosetti.
My brother Steven was everything that a much younger brother could ever have hoped for. Now as an adult I am overwhelmed by the many memories he left behind.
How does one describe a quiet unassumming person. Kind and almost childlike at times – even when he was a husband and father. There was always something about Steven that was so peacefully uncomplicated.
The most painful part during these past few weeks that he has been fighting for Life has been the fact that because of regulations with regard to travelling and Covid I could not make the journey to stand by his side. At this point in time it is important for me to be able to make the journey back home to give the support I know my family needs. It is a bitter reality to absorb and contemplation slowly builds into angry frustration that will not leave during silent thoughts that rush in day or night.
He leaves behind his wife of many years who gave him unfailing support. A son and daughter and precious grandchildren…a sister and myself.
Rest in Peace Steven…you will always be a part of my life and fondest memories
This is XXXX from XXXX and ‘we have been trying to contact you as your internet is slow or about to be shut off ‘ or ‘we notice that you have a virus on your computer and we want to help you fix it’ and even better ‘your identity has been stolen and a law enforcement agency wants to talk to you’ and the ultimate: ‘there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest’ ….. and you must dial 1 to be connected to a scammer.
A good friend of mine recently responded by dialling 1 and spoke directly to the scammer. He was good and convinced my friend to hand over his credit card details, fortunately, no money was stolen as he realised what was going on and cancelled the card. I have sometimes played along when a person was calling (if I have nothing better to do and want some amusement) and kept them talking for as long as possible. Others are not so fortunate.
The level of sophistication has reached new heights.
The viruses of today comes in many forms, some are germs, some are computer programs and some walk on two legs.
The problem is that scammers do not always phone or e-mail and it is getting more difficult to identify them. There is the corporate scammer that relies on their sheer size and market dominance to steal your hard-earned dollar, the government department that either puts up so many barriers or firewalls and steals your time by delays and repeat requests. The automatic annual fee increase (without added benefits) is the lowest-of-low scams. Monthly or annual fees to rent software (not allowing you to buy the software outright) leads to little or no improvements in the software program while allowing for cost increases and extra revenue.
Is advertising a form of Scamming? Does the expensive car get you to your destination differently to one less expensive? Looking at the adverts from the leading mobile phone companies, do you seriously believe that your mobile phone can capture professional quality images, especially when the lens and sensor wells are much smaller than that on a professional camera and the image is compressed into a jpg file, throwing away valuable colour information and then only viewed on the phone screen?
I will let you decide.
Lockout, lockdown, sanitiser, face masks, isolation – the new everyday language which is going to last for a few months to come – “ad infinitum”.
Different countries have implemented different strategies to combat the Coronavirus, now called COVID-19. COVID-19 sounds far more formal and official. The impact cannot be contended.
We are very fortunate that we live on an island – albeit a very large one – and we have been in isolation since late March and we were told to stay at home and we shut our state and national borders. We listened!
Cinemas were shut, dining not allowed, churches were closed, no unnecessary shopping (except for the large hardware chain stores), flying was out, no weddings, no parties, no school… no nothing.
However, despite our fastidious action we forgot to isolate a few hundred tourists returning home from a cruise of a lifetime. But not to worry. This “minor oversight” only led to nearly a third of the reported deaths on our idyllic island. A further quarter of the deaths occurred in nursing homes.
My work stopped. The only phone calls were to cancel photoshoots.
It is interesting to note how each state Premier tried to outdo the other with controlled and verbally guarded speeches, plans, advice, restrictions and top of the list, cash handouts (a glimmer of hope on an otherwise darkening horizon). It was not always clear how risk management was undertaken to make informed decisions, but we had faith… we are Australian, and we stand together.
It seemed to work. Seemed?! of course it did. There were less infections, fewer deaths, and the new infections daily count slowed down. The humane stories that emerged tugged at the heart strings – all unique, all heart rendering, all beautiful.
Just when we are on top of the infections, some chose to ignore the call to refrain from public demonstrations and by so doing to maintain a healthy distance from others. All caution thrown to the wind.
Is this because of complacency that leads to personal recklessness? Is it the strong desire to defy authority and to present to the world their cause and cohesive viewpoint?
What makes people do this when so much is still at risk.
We are so close in the victory concerning this pandemic which no one could possibly have imagined with the festive entry of 2020 into our reality. But it arrived and we faced the virulent virus with stalwart strategies.
One cannot sit back and enjoy victory. Victory is never enjoyed on the Battlefield of Life, or science, or politics or personal relationships. Victory is maintained with courage and endurance and care. The relaxation of restrictions is not the Golden Ticket to careless freedom.
We should not underestimate this virus or what it can do. To date there has been almost 7 million recorded cases globally, of which nearly 2 million are in the Unites States and more than 400,000 deaths globally of which 109,746 deaths are in the US alone. To foolishly allow complacency to set in would somehow negate these untimely deaths.
I personally salute all those courageous people who tirelessly worked to keep us all safe and secure. These are the unsung heroes of COVID-19. We don’t know their names nor are we familiar with their faces, but their sacrifice and dedication can never be measured.
My partner and I will watch specifically chosen TV programmes. For her the program content must be riviting and thought provoking otherwise she tends to go ‘walkabout’ if her attention and imagination is not immediately captured. She loves any documentary featuring history, great findings and although she will never admit to it – outer space. She still quietly believes in the reality of extra terrestials and because she is South African she upholds the claims of Elizabeth Klarer who left the her part of the world in Natal to travel with Akon to ‘see’ the other worlds. Because I love her dedicated naive passion I will indulge her.
I don’t know…. but what I do know is that I have yet to meet someone who has such a love for the night sky, the different shades of darkness and validity of love language. Of the latter I knew nothing until I reconnected with her after an almost 30 year silence. But this in iteself in a long and beautiful story of faith hope and deja vu.
When watching TV I have the habit of fast fowarding through the adverts. It’s probably, no, definitely irritating and after a few months of silent endurance on her part we got into a discussion….a discussion with a fellow traveller is always rewarding if not intellectually invigorating. It occured to me that my aversion to adverts runs deeper than just visual intolerance. Its about deceptions. Its about promises that are nonchalantly made and never kept. It’s about the impossible visuals that render the ordinary man less than himself. HG Wells is reputed to have quoted that Advertising is legalised lying. The more I consider this statement the more I am inclined to agree.
I, like many of my generation, am fortunate in that I experienced so many changes through the decades. Most especially access to the Internet and the power of the media and of course that singularly brilliant acquisition we all have – the mobile phone. What is happening in the world is at our fingertips. We just have to move them to type the right enquiry on that great search engine ‘Google’.
This week has seen many ‘newsworthy events’ but for me no more so than the acquittal of Cardinal George Pell. As a photo journalist I am accutely aware of not only pictorial depictions but also literary reporting. It would be foolish to argue the point that there are some so called ‘giants’ in the world of broadcasting who are clearly biased. I read with avid interest every point of view to a newsworthy or even controversial event. I look for literary perfection just as I do for fautless imagery. There is not much to find and because I am of a mature age I tend to make comparisons and find nothing redeeming in how events and products are presented today in the media. Of course I acknowledge the old adage that ‘ comparison are odious’. This is debatable. Comparisons encourages the value of benchmarks in professions that inform the world. When it comes to investigative journalism perhaps present day ‘ aspirants’ to the hall of fame should consider the life and work of Elizabeth Cochran – a leader in her field and a game changer.
Perhaps those who share my point of view about media deception would like to briefly visit the following and after reading some of it (because reading all of it would just be too tedious is it that trasnparent) may conclude that the world has already seen the best of the best.
That we are experiencing challenging times and intense realities cannot be doubted. The Covid-19 virus is global and touches the lives of humankind no matter where we find ourselves.
The interview below, with the Catholic Leader, are the logistics and the practicalities and my take on this pandemic.
But…….how will it affect our faith and inner spiritual life?
In my capacity as a photographer I get to speak to many people from all walks of life and because I have a great love for Catholicsm, I find myself and my camera covering some very solemn and moving services. From baptisms to ordinations. The order of service is always something very moving.
Now, with the Corona virus in the forefront of our lives, I listen to opinions and concerns, prophets and biblical analysts. It is said that the mystic Nostradamus – who lived in the 16th century – predicted this virus. Baba Vanga, the Bulgarian clairvoiyant who rose to prominence prior to her death in 1996 by predicting what would happen to the world during the early years of the 21st century is reputed to have foretold the Covid-19 pandemic. These somewhat speculatory claims based on ‘ evidence’ sends one in diverse directions to try and acertain a semblance of order and truth.
TRUTH can only be found in what we believe in. The Creator we believe in is all powerful and loving. Our concepts about Him are different but the fundamental Truth is that one believes in something. And it seems right that at this time we seek His intervention and protection – for only He can heal and restore Life as we know it. By the same token we also have to do our bit – which might be challenging or a simple ‘giving over of the self’
It takes something like a Covid-19 virus to bring us back to our faith. To stop and reconsider many things.
When I am dead, my dearest
BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.
FInally – to borrow the words of Abraham Lincoln
“In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now realize that you will ever feel better.
“And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say, and you need only to believe it to feel better at once.’
Autumn is approaching and with it the isolation period required to try and control the virus. As a parent and grandfather I pray that the Creator be merciful to all.
It is only when one is older, much older and one can indulge in significant memories that enhanced the experience called Life that one fully appreciates the uniqueness of each person’s story. Before I embark on this sharing of my experiences and life and before I make any comments it seems fitting that I should hasten to express the following.
This blog is not an advice column, or a critique on any photographic or art work. It is not heavily opinionated but rather a documented impression of how light and colour, sound and life, sacred and profane places and spaces have touched me as a man.
I have always been passionate about photography. The fascination was born when I used to play with my father’s old Brownie camera. The feel of this magical box that could capture images in my hands was something I went back to time and time again until one momentous day when I was 15 years old my father bought me a 35mm single lens reflex camera. What joy! I was old enough at last to ‘shoot’ images as I wished. My journey, like so many others before me, had begun.
For the next two years I photographed every school event that I could. I bought an enlarger and processed my negatives in a makeshift darkroom. Seeing the images appear on the paper in the developer tray was one of the watershed moments for me and in retrospect served to prepare and enhance my skills as an aspirant photographer. Everyone in the Arts I believe has a moment when one is encouraged by not only ones parents but by a ‘mentor’. This was so for me. Upon completion of school I joined a camera club and this was where I met a man who influenced my formative years in the profession. John Marsh was a journalist and photographer for the local newspaper. He had previously worked for a Fleet Street Newspaper. He knew everything!! He encouraged me to contribute photographs to the paper but more than that – he taught me many things. How to read light and estimate distance and how to ‘see’. He encouraged me to read all I could find about photography. One does not forget such individuals who possess a unique generosity of spirit.
What a joyous moment when I upgraded to an Olympus OM1 camera with a 50mm lens and now the need to expand my lens collection became of paramount importance. While other young men were pursuing cars and bikes the pinnacle of my desire at that time was the acquisition of a 200mm telephoto and (my favourite) a 135mm lens.
In 1976 a catalytic event happened and one which I still have very fond memories of. One never forgets the ‘firsts’ in ones life. The first time you receive your paycheque, the first initiated kiss with a girl, the first car you can call your own. The first overseas trip. The first time really fall in love, the first time you fall out of love, your firstborn, your first divorce….one never forgets the firsts. I never forgot the sense of achievement and pride I felt at winning that first award.