Spain, for me one of the most fascinating and alive countries in the world a microcosm of global cognitive dissonance. The primeval instincts buried and suppressed within all of us along with an openness and expressiveness many of us are not capable of.
For most of us the reality of many of the world’s issues don’t exist, knowledge and denial. Heaven forbid that this is a discussion on bullfighting it’s not or fox hunting or Kangaroo shooting. We are destroying the planet while looking the other way. Not a form of justification however 80% of the films we watch are just as violent as bullfighting the only deviation is the perception no one is really getting hurt a safe way to pander to the primeval. The care directed at the noble Andalucian horse.
The very real connection to music of the Golden Gypsy, el gitano de oro. Then there is the security safety of religion being part of the community participation in making things right an important part of keeping the balance and forgiving the misdemeanours. The exciting expressiveness of escape from worldly issues through Fiesta, Romeria or Feria. The faces of the woman and little girl in the carriage, happy to be participating, the pride of the gypsy boy participating on the horse. The everydayness of the bandsman playing with his mobile. Hope these images add a meaning to my statements. Look closely at the detachment of the spectators at the corrida. Are the spectators and matadors really connecting with the drama or just playing lip service to a traditional peer group concept that embodies toò much reality to really connect with or is there some form of emotional primeval stimulus, note the child. For the matadors detachment a defence mechanism, possibly? looking but not seeing certainly for many of the spectators. We live by denial a protection against the enormity of change and our individual inability to effect change.
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.