Deceptions

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.  

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Rhona is a moonwatcher: she will often call me to look up and then say: Alan what do you think is on the otherside?

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.

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/about/backstory/news-coverage/2020-04-11/why-the-abc-reporting-of-the-pell-case-was-not-a-witch-hunt/12137620.

Dire Straits.

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.

https://catholicleader.com.au/news/former-crisis-manager-who-led-team-through-sars-says-world-should-shut-down-for-two-weeks. 

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’

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It takes something like a Covid-19 virus to bring us back to our faith. To stop and reconsider many things.

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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
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. 

The Beginning

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.

The award winning photograph. 1978
In 1976 – the award winning photograph – the South African Sports photo of the year.
(c) photo by Alan Edgecomb
I spent many happy hours travelling to sporting events. I became
well known and privy to many major events through my link with the local paper.
(c) photo by Alan Edgecomb

The experience and expertiese I gained in taking these kinds of
photos proved to be rewarding and invaluable.
(c) photo by Alan Edgecomb
(c) photo by Alan Edgecomb