Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Sometimes I can't make up my mind whether I prefer being outdoors taking landscape photography, in all kinds of weather, or being in a studio taking portraits of really good subjects. On this occasion, the decision was easy. These are just two examples of the impish fun which shone from my little guests. More can be seen on my Gallery at www.picasaweb.google.co.uk/picsmphoto
I believe I am spoiled in that I have been allowed to practice many times on my own family. First my daughters when they were young(er!) and then on to my four terrific grandchildren, who all humoured me over the years to the point where I feel at ease in the company of much younger ages! Perhaps that says a lot about my own mental age :-).
Breaking down barriers is the first step with younger children, and although Mum is always on hand to make sure behaviour is at its best, she seldom has to step in to take over. One of the secrets, if not the biggest secret, in taking portraits of children is having a bit of light fun. This makes everyone feel at ease, including the photographer, and especially the all important subjects. In this case, as you can see from the images, we had a very relaxed and easy session. To think that you actually get to do a job you enjoy as much, and in such good company, is very rewarding!
Names of subjects are not important in this case, but what is important, to me, is the willingness of parents to trust their most treasured possessions into the care of an almost unknown photographer, in the hope that he will do justice to their children, and show them at their best. In this case, this was not difficult. My thanks go to the parents who care enough to want a good, and permanent photographic record of their children for the future. It feels good to be a part of that memory making effort. Of course, as I said earlier, none of this would have been possible without the support and willingness of my own family down through the years, as they humoured their Dad, and eventually, Granda.
I am available for family photography in my local area, and you can get in touch with me through my email address, email@example.com and I will get back to you as soon as my schedule permits.
As my own wee 'flower' would have said to me (as she said to many others), 'you don't know how fortunate you are'! Oh yes, my pet, I think I do.....
Thursday, 12 November 2009
It is a short distance between the natural innocence of a flower, to the unnatural misuse of a drug. This is the way of the poppy and heroin, and there is also a relatively short distance between talking about legalising this offending drug, and it actually happening! This is the way of most lawmaking. It is a crude but effective process. The 'learned professors' make studies and proclamations for their own benefit in the hope they will become well known, and as they do, they sow the seeds of the future. For us! It is we, or our children, who will reap the whirlwind of the thoughts which have been sown. In this case, the sheer suggestion that hard drugs should be legalised, where society can control the use and habits of the user!
In another,earlier time, Scotland would have been above this kind of suggestion, but not now. Why? Because we have a serious drug problem, but instead of taking the tough option of ridding our streets of this drug by the already available lawful means, we propose to add more to our streets, but by legalising its use. There is something basically wrong, and even offensive about this suggestion. You don't have to be too clever to realise the flaw in the argument. Making something legal, doesn't make it right! Or to put it another way, two wrongs don't make a right!!
Scotland's morality (am I allowed to say that? Some would say morality should not come into this, or anything... but that's for another time) and legal system was above reproach, and the envy of a watching world. Not now. We have become the laughing stock of emerging nations, who seem better placed to recognise bad law (and bad morals) when they see them.
Will legalisation reduce drug use? No, because we will be the ones, lovingly providing the service. Will legalisation eliminate the drug black market? No, because there will always be those who do not wish to be part of any 'drug program' and who still think they can control their drug use. This in turn will feed into the lawless behaviour of the illicit drug user.
Who would benefit from hard drug legalisation? Only the drug users, and they will be ever grateful for their free supply of their drug of choice. Heroin, cocaine, ecstacy, marijuana, why not let the users choose for themselves, and then we can pretend we are helping them to 'get clean' as we continue to feed their habit. It's not rocket science, and in the meantime the authors of the original studies are rich and beyond reach of the legal system they have helped to create. Of course our country will never be the same again anyway!
Do you remember the children's story of the 'Emperor's New Clothes'? Sound familiar? And we have the nerve and temerity to laugh at the simplicity of the fable. Who is laughing now?
Monday, 9 November 2009
What a revelation! Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, can't spell, or at least made some mistakes in a hand written letter to the grieving family of a fallen soldier. It seems we like to kick a man when he is down. Like joining in to add a punch when the person is already reeling from everything else going on in his life. Don't get me wrong, I am no great supporter of the PM's policies, but this tells me a couple of things. Firstly, our PM took time to write by hand. Not a safe, impersonal, spell checked computer letter run off when it is needed to sign. No, a hand written letter, mistakes and all, to each and every family of one of our servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of their duty. Had computer generated, 'word perfect' letter been used in this circumstance, we would complain, and in my mind, rightly so!
This also tells me the mindset we have fallen into. Not that the family do not deserve a letter from the PM, and even spelled correctly, but that we overlook the heart, and go for the jugular! I wonder what the fallen soldier would have thought? For my part, I would rather have a Prime Minister with a heart and a desire to do the right thing, than one who is cold, calculating, and got all his spelling right in a piece of computer output, checked for his convenience by spelling software.
Like all other like minded people in our country, I deplore war, and the need to wage warfare. It is a wart on our civilisation that men and women still die in conflicts around the world, but let's try to separate in our minds when a well intentioned action, from the heart, is really an insult, whatever the spelling! Gordon Brown, like us, will not ultimately be judged on his spelling!
Friday, 6 November 2009
A calm and serene scene of yachts in a summer sunset on the River Clyde. Another gentle reminder of a lovely person, who added so much, to so many lives she touched over a span of 57 years until 2007. This very special lady was loved by all who knew her, helping many people along the way, and none more so than her husband and family of two daughters and four grandchildren. She was a stalwart of her local church, a member and helper of toddler, nursery and school committees, associated with the WRVS, a tireless and ardent fundraiser for Cancer Charities and her local hospital Oncology Unit, where you will find this framed print hanging in the reception area in her honour, but never did I hear her utter the words, "I'm worth it"! How I have come to loathe the TV advertisement which has taken this slogan as its own. What kind of arrogance says that "I am worth it"? Our worth is not something to confer on ourselves, but something to be given as an unrequested honour from others who see fit to bestow it! It is in their eyes only, not ours. May we be preserved from being so proud of ourselves and our abilities, that we do not see the worth of our neighbour's life. I believe the more worth we give to others, the more will be returned to us, and without asking for it! Then, and only then, it really is deserved!
Thursday, 5 November 2009
You will want to have a high resolution copy of this photograph, and it can be yours in a 10" x 8" size for a mere £25 including post and packaging within the UK. Many families will have spent a happy summer holiday on these sands, and this will evoke many happy memories to a lot of people, old and young. Why not order a copy, get a nice frame of your choice, and hang it in your lounge for all to see. It will also give you the chance to talk about your holiday memories! Other sizes can be ordered by arrangement.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
I heard it again today on the news. Another sad loss of dedicated military lives on the battlefield of Afghanistan. It is reported by the media, and politicians as 'in theatre' and our troops are using 'intelligent weapons'. Is it just me, or are we trying too hard to sanitise war, and what it is? Our troops sign up for lots of reasons, but the one common factor is bravery when they are assigned to be deployed to a war zone. Not a theatre. They use their own skill, and weapons of war, not intelligent weapons.
I am not anti war. I believe there is a time when we must defend ourselves from various threats, and if not on our own soil, then on foreign soil. This has always been the case, but let us see it for what it is. It is not sanitised, or clean. It is war. Loss of life. Severe injury. Loss of limbs. Loss of sanity. We, or at least our government, send our troops into situations around the world where they may come up against others who will fight to keep their own idea of what is worth fighting for. They fight with a completely different set of rules from our 'civilised' society. They may not have any rules to speak of at all. I don't think they see themselves deluded into thinking they are in a 'theatre' or using 'intelligent weapons'. No, I think they have a better idea of what war means, and they are very realistic about loss of life and limb.
What makes the difference? Perhaps one of the reasons is that we are fighting for a principal, or to protect a way of life. They, on the other hand fight for their belief in their 'God' who will reward them in the life to come by their martyrdom. How can a war like that be won, except that the true God is triumphant? What kind of God would you rather have, and believe in, a God of war and martyrdom, or a God of Love and Justice? There are some battles here which may be won and lost, but I have no doubt whose 'God' will ultimately win the war!
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
It's getting to that time of year again for deep sunsets and the occasional vibrant rainbow. Anyone who has read any of my blog or followed my thinking will know that this time of year is special. Rainbows show a promise, and sunsets show the day is ended, or almost ended. The sunset is our warning of the end of the daylight.
Sometimes I wonder what we are doing as a society with the days we have at our disposal. Do we use them wisely? Unlike the animal kingdom, we are blessed with the ability to make choices which rise above our basic instincts. We can choose to let things happen around us. Things which make a difference to the lifestyle we have come to know and respect, and which may even alter things in a way that would be detrimental. In other words, we choose to do nothing.
We live in a multicultural and diverse society, and that can be a very good thing. However, has it ever struck you that the very vocal minority air their views without fear, and with the express wish to change things in their favour, when the silent majority is just that. Silent. We choose silence, rather than defend our moral traditions. We are encouraged by law and modern morality to show compassion, tolerance and to compromise for the common good of all. These foundations are deep in the British and Scottish mindset, and put there for the most part by sound religious history and teaching. In our effort to compromise, we must be sure we don't throw the baby (very apt at Christmastime) out with the bathwater!
Politicians are agreed that we face 'tough choices' ahead because of the credit crunch, and I would equally suggest that we also face tough choices if we are to maintain, or even keep some of our mainstream traditions. It is said often that religion has caused many wars and divisions. The truth is that religion (or more correctly, faith) has united more than it has ever divided!