As and Australian I first came to London some 36 years ago. In that time the changes have been considerable. The city has grown from its post war image and what was perceived to be the conservative english with an upper class plumb accent or the Australian image of what we affectionately and sometimes not so affectionately called pom to one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. The city has gone through the 60s revolution of the Carnaby street, Chelsea Austin Powers eras to the multi cultural vibrant metropolis of today with its world-class financial centre of the City of London, Mayfair and the South West playground of the super rich to the exciting multi racial areas of East and North East London. As a photographer I would like to tell the story of this great city set in the current day demonstrating how successful in business and setting up new lifestyles many of the immigrant communities have been and the changes taking place in the regions of the city set where the city has it roots the East End and North East End areas that once where deprived slums and now have become home for people from most parts of the globe mixed with some of the biggest business development in Europe.. Over the next few weeks I intend to publish images of London showing the diversity Multi racial nature of this great metropolis.
Photography is about telling the story sometimes in colour sometimes in the drama of black and white, what is the story behind an image in whatever medium works for that image subject. It can be your story not necessarily mine. The vast majority of people look at an image and see only a nice photo few look beyond seeking purpose. Knowledge that it is a nice looking snap of a family member does not have any ties to understanding, it is akin to amorality. The mass availability of phone cameras and general compacts has taken the general perception of photography into the world of the myopic monochrome and away from artistic achievement. Professional photographers now find it hard to achieve true value for their hard worked images, for in order to generate a truly creative image it still takes hard work and a creative mind. Photography of the highest quality still has its high place in the world of creative media. Like the master artists who use the right equipment in order to achieve their chosen objective the best photographers select the best tools for their creative path . The camera is only the brush. Pointing a phone and clicking and accidentally achieving a good snap is not a creative path, it is usually a good family or travel record. At my recent exhibition in London the curator Ruta Sasnauskaite cleverly devised a competition whereby people had to find certain information buried within the images. The winner was the one with the closest answers to the ones held by the curator. Everyone took part; the answers where not the issue what it did was to make the audience look into the photograph and not at it. Involvement with an image can give the same level of intellectual enjoyment that a fine piece of music does moving the viewer from knowledge to understanding.
Images by: Shane Aurousseau – Shane A
Exhibition of work by: Shane Aurousseau – Shane A Leyas 20 Camden High Street London NW1 0JH
Some time ago I wrote a blog on the issues of bad water management in Australia. A country that many believe is one of the driest in the world. In fact Australia has one of the largest catchments on the globe of fresh water in the Great Artesian Basin covering a third of the country.
The Artesian Basin can be mapped from the top north through Queensland into New South Wales and the Northern Territory. Yet water from the Darling, Murray river system one of the greatest river basins in the world is being plundered. This water system covers 3,375 Kilometers (2,097 miles) in length. The Darling, Murray basin spreads out over 1,061,469 sq Km (409,835 sq ml). Water is being pumped out of this great river system at an alarming rate an example is Cubbie station Queensland the largest irrigation property in the southern hemisphere damming off from the Darling river system more water than is in Sydney harbour. This water theft continues along the entire system into South Australia with large properties pumping these great rivers dry in many cases to irrigate crops that are not natural to the country, cotton being one such crop. This mismanagement is placing pressure on the natural environment and indigenous commodities. In the 1800s and early 1900s this great river system was alive with water traffic, steamers carried passengers, wool and grain .
Today especially the Darling river it is lucky if a rubber bath duck could navigate the system. Management of the Artisian basin would not only take pressure off the great systems of the Darling and Murray it would also open the potential of the great Australian inland. The plundering of the two great rivers of Australia in currently a major issue of anger towards the federal and state governments especially from the smaller property stations that need fresh water irrigation along the system. There is also anger from the aboriginal community who own many of the river bank rights in Australia. There is a great feeling in the Aboriginal community that the natural environment is being plundered by an uncaring ethnic European government thus widening the gap between these two indigenous groups.
The issue of Water management in Australia is not dissimilar to the problems faced by communities along the Colorado River in the United States.
The Colorado River starts in Rocky Mountain National Park along the jagged edge of the Continental Divide at over 12,000 feet of elevation. The river cascades, flows, tumbles, and rumbles through 1,450 miles of mountains, canyons, high plains, and low deserts on its journey to the Sea of Cortez
in Mexico. The entire Southwest United States completely depends on the Colorado River and its tributaries – the states of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, and California use the river’s water for farming, drinking, growing lawns, and generating hydroelectric power.
Thirty million people in the Southwest use the Colorado River’s water for their material sustenance; millions more use the river itself for recreation and spiritual enjoyment. The river quenches our thirst, feeds our souls, enlivens our senses. And we are not the only inhabitants using this river – its waters, canyons, and habitats provide a vibrant but deeply threatened ecosystem for untold numbers of plant and animal species. All of these competing demands make the Colorado River one of the most contested and controlled rivers on Earth. Over the last decade, humans have drained all of the river’s water – all 5 trillion gallons – before it reaches the Sea of Cortez. The Colorado River is in very bad shape and deeply threatened.
To serve the needs of human populations, for the last decade the Colorado River has been completely drained dry by the time it reaches the Sea of Cortez. While the destruction of the river is a clear and obvious consequence of our actions, additional threats to the Colorado River – from its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park, all the way to its dry destiny near the Sea of Cortez – are increasing with each tick of the clock.
Climate change is looming, population growth is escalating, more dams and diversions are planned, species are on the brink of extinction, oil/gas/mineral exploration near the river is increasing, and invasive species are continuing their march up and down the river and its tributaries.
The Save the Colorado campaign won’t be able to address all of these threats, but it’s important to tell the whole story and begin the critical work of restoration. http://savethecolorado.org/
As a species we are extremely bad at managing our natural resources.
This may seem like a strange blog for an Australian Photographer, however in my checkered career I did a stint in the financial world in the City of London, including running hedge funds and as business development director for the European side of a New Zealand investment bank.
I learnt one thing during my association with the City there is little interest in clients the main myopic focus is on Fees and bonuses. This is why so many scandals are coming into the public domain; it’s all about making money in the short term then getting out. The LIBOR and Forex fixing by the banks using young traders, Nick Leeson (and his famous lucky Chinese 88888 account). This is not to mention some of the big US frauds, Madoff and Petters both multi-Billion Dollar frauds. The list of investors and feeder funds into Madoff is enormous including some of the biggest names in the banking and investment world with massive due diligence departments – just shows how greed can overrule Logic and management focus.
Scandals/ frauds are certainly coming thick and fast. There has been foreign exchange, precious metals, at least two rigging scandals about Libor(previously mentioned) and now an investigation into whether the banks rigged the liquidity auctions back at the heart of the financial crisis itself.
The Serious Fraud Office is investigating the Bank of England’s crisis-era liquidity auctions believed to relate to a £180bn funding scheme that was ended by the BoE in 2010.
On 24 September 2011, Oswald Grübel, the CEO of UBS, resigned “to assume responsibility for the recent unauthorized trading incident”, according to a memo to UBS staff. On 5 October Francois Gouws and Yassine Bouhara, the co-heads of Global Equities at UBS, also resigned. It later emerged that UBS had failed to act on a warning issued by its computer system about Adoboli’s trading.
As I mentioned they are coming thick and fast. All this naughtiness brings me to a culture that exists in many of the major financial centres, London, New York and others. The culture that exists in the great financial centres of the world is one of of hiring young people from major universities and elsewhere and allowing these youngsters to trade unsupervised in many cases billions of dollars. Youth will gamble so youth is hired and allowed to gamble the bank’s or fund’s assets. In reality these funds are not the bank’s or fund managers funds but the investors and until recently the account holders. This culture is one where the senior management know exactly what is happening and the bet is taken on youth. It the gamble goes wrong then youth is disowned in favor of management survival. If the the Kobe earthquake had not happened Nick Leeson may have been a hero – The bank knew exactly what was going on- ‘youth gambles’ and wise men(if all goes to plan) pick-up the profits.
Remember the arrogance of the ‘Flaming Ferraris’ five young City slickers, the son of Lord Archer among them, striding from a stretch limousine to whoop it up at their exclusive Christmas bash. These were the so-called ‘Flaming Ferraris’, the world’s most successful share traders – named after their favorite rum-and-Grand Marnier cocktail. The five would, it was said, bet up to £3 billion a time on a deal, and then expected to share a £5 million bonus. Like many of these young trader’s with little real life experience and the arrogance of youth it ended in tears.
Neil Behrmann’s Trader Jack addresses the City financial youth culture in a great yarn told with a considerable amount of accuracy. It really is a good read and is based on a very real and dangerous City culture.