Thursday 27 November 2014

World Press Photo Exhibition 2014

In case you missed this year's World Press Photo Exhibition - which came to a close yesterday evening - I thought it might be apt to outline some of the highlights from the 2014 contest, having checked it out on my latest London jaunt. Housed on the main floor of Southbank Centre (a personal fave), the renowned event's 57th installment presented the most remarkable press images from the past 12 months. As per every year, a jury of reputed figures within the photojournalism realm sought out the photos that showcased a particularly outstanding amalgam of aesthetics and journalism.

As this year's jury chair Gary Knight underlined in his intro to the display, handpicking the annual photo crop is a pretty contentious endeavour; opinions on what constitutes a winning image are diverse to say the least. Above all in the field of press photography, the value of an image is not just determined by its surface beauty, but its portrayal of the story and its narrative per se. Therein lay the key concern of the judges: striking the balance between a "well-photographed" image and the means of depicting the issue at hand. The events captured, too, found themselves in a debatable hierarchy of importance, adding further complication to the selection process. 

Despite not knowing what didn't made the cut, I can most definitely vouch for the rich line-up that did. The (totally free) exhibition encompassed a whole wealth of worldwide issues in striking, highly affecting ways. Plucked from a submission selection of nearly 99,000 shots (I don't envy the jury), the winners were categorised under: Contemporary Issues, Observed Portraits, Daily Life, Sports, General News, Spot News, Nature, and Staged Portraits - all making for a collection replete with variety and giving rise to some serious reflection.  

From stark, hard-hitting portrayals of global disasters - both natural and manmade - to candid portraits of domestic violence, to vignettes of the relationships between Egyptian bodybuilders and their mothers, as well as stunning insight into the lives of bonobos in Kokolopori, 2014's World Press display was outstanding to say the least. If there was ever an expo to epitomise the age-old "picture is worth a thousand words" phrase, this was it. To a T. 

Check out the winners here.

Friday 21 November 2014

It's a colourful life

Now we're into the second half of November, I don't think I'm being overzealous when I say that the festive season is well and truly upon us. After all, the home of the red cups has had their - arguably premature - Christmas playlist on repeat (on repeat, on repeat, etc.) for a solid number of weeks. This in mind, I felt it more than justified - right?! - to invest in a few seasonal style staples to see me through the chilly months ahead.

It was only when I got my miniature haul home that I realised my present penchant for muted tones has got a bit out of hand. On a practical level though, a - perhaps drab, perhaps minimalist - neutral wardrobe acts as a neat blank canvas on which to embellish more exciting personal touches, from a flamboyant flower, to a statement necklace, to a bold lip (as pictured). After all, they say that "women who wear black lead colourful lives" (or so I shall convince myself); that little adage will do just fine.

// Jumpers: H&M | Oversized Scarf: H&M | Collared Shirt: American Apparel | Necklace: Tatty Devine | Lipstick: Rival de Loop Berlin #58 | Earrings: Primark // 

Tuesday 18 November 2014

This week I'm lovin'

Lucuma // lu-koo-mah

One of my wild habits of late is to pop into the local health food store and get a lil experimental in my ingredient choices (just to keep it lively). This week's choosing was a bright orange packet - tricky to miss - containing a certain power powder by the name of lucuma. Sourced from Peru, this little wonder ingredient has been termed the "Gold of the Incas", thanks to its notable nutrient density and caramel-like flavour. Turns out it's quite versatile, too - so far I've been adding it into smoothies, natural yoghurt and raw baking recipes. 

I went for Naturya's variety (who stock a sweet selection of superfood stuffs), but no doubt there are other quality lucuma lovin' labels! 

Sunday 9 November 2014


Happy reunification, liebe Deutschland! 

Photos: Papa (Denzil McNeelance) for The Times, Berlin, 9/11/89.

Saturday 8 November 2014

Global EyeEm Adventure

Last weekend saw the online and offline worlds come together under the most utopian of circumstances, in the shape of the Global EyeEm Adventure. Indeed, on November 1st, the mobile photo app - which I’m sure you’ll recall me bigging up a bunch of times before - challenged their burgeoning band of followers to capture the most photogenic spots across the globe, meet-up style. Having been a keen advocate of EyeEm's vision since hitting upon the startup in Berlin this year, it was with open arms that I accepted their kind request to host the London leg of the worldwide event. 

Photography lovin' folk were beckoned to connect out of life 2.0 and meet a likeminded line-up of lovely people in our respective cities, from Tel Aviv, to New York, to Kuala Lumpur. Together, these relaxed independent affairs amounted to an impressive large-scale effort, with designated EyeEm albums offering an insight into the event's international engagement.  

For the London edition, I decided - after quite the deliberation -  upon the city's multifaceted East End. An obvious choice, ya might surmise, but there is so much more to the Shoreditch area than the hipster stereotype it's become synonymous with. As we determined during the course of my lil route (which lasted about 2.5 hours), the E1 ends are an absolute melting pot of characters, cultures and curiosities. And, within a somewhat limited timescale, I felt it an ideal patch to shoot a decent dose of diverse images; there's a pretty high concentration of marvels in a not-too-vast space. 

After convening outside the overground station, I gave my camera-bearing crew a petite briefing, and armed them with stickers to spread some EyeEm love on our travels. The group was made up of totally distinct characters, from all walks of life, bridged through a mutual appreciation of photography and a fancy to capture some of London's most photogenic facets. This diversity also lent a freshness to the end results, with identical scenarios captured in totally idiosyncratic styles. Throughout the afternoon, we grew to be an endearing unconventional family, content and creatively elevated in each other's company. See: the virtual and the real ain't so antithetical after all.  

*See also: 1 // 2 // 3*

Sunday 2 November 2014

On Fridays, we wear hats

Boring as I might appear, there aren’t many occasions where I’m willing to revise my (arguably predictable) look; all the more so when it comes to my flowery head region. Saying that, when this Friday’s #HATSONLY event hopped onto my radar, an exception was of course gonna be made - especially considering some of my favourite, stylistically sound gents were the honourable hosts. Housed in Dalston’s Pelicans and Parrots - part gem for vintage wares, part underground rum bar - the latest ‘House Partea’ from long-time creative inspirations Nigel Ruwende, La Touche and their band of equally adept bros was the ultimate proof that “cool” (interpret as you wish) and pretentious needn’t be synonymous - nuh uh, not one bit. What I’ve always rated about these first-rate fellas is their unflappable, passionate work ethic and creative, fashion-oriented souls - fused with an impeccable affability that ya don’t just find on the fly. Friday’s knees-up was a total testament to their well earned admiration, with a bursting-at-the-seams guest list made up of some of the sweetest, most stylish characters you could muster.

The music provided by House of Alt was spot on (a tuneaftertuneaftertuneaftertune affair), the rum bar rustled up first-rate beverages (the white rum and coconut water concoction - damn), the company was faultless. And the hats! The hats. Unsurprisingly, the headwear was more than marvellous, with each guest tweaking the “no hats no entry” dress code to their own fashion flavour, some even sporting Halloween-style witchy numbers (’twas the season, after all). My initial hat-induced quandary was swiftly solved by a simple, wide-rimmed black headpiece from - whisper it - H&M, customised with my signature rose. While certainly not the most practical get-up in a hot, heaving basement, it nicely accommodated my oversized noggin and enabled me to retain the flower; tick tick. 

Refreshingly, the venue’s distinct lighting absence prevented shooting the night’s activities on my trusty DSLR, as I’m so disposed to doing. Lack of blogpost visuals aside, this - surprisingly, in my case - welcome lil move proved pretty blissful. Because, while photos sure are a neat means of capturing special moments and fashioning a memorable optical narrative of them, sometimes you’ve gotta embrace the blackout and just live it, in all its realness. Even if you are a self-confessed photo nerd like me. Yep, there’s a time and a place for everything, and in the ‘House Partea' context, amid all the elevating energy, it was next-level nice to totally switch off and get the most out of what was a truly exceptional eve. 
Hats off.

Since you’ve scrolled this far, why not check out some of the guys’ praiseworthy pursuits?
* bedroom photos courtesy of siblet, thanks darl.