Steel Giants

Happy new year.

Not sure about you, for me, 2015 was awesome for many reasons, photography being one, but blogging, not as much. Have you noticed that writing takes up so much time? And working takes up so much of that time. Luckily I did some freelance photography and actually got paid for my work in that regard!

As for 2016, I will be writing more regularly – so many ideas, I love that introspective space, but for blogging I’ll be going for short, sharp and punchy, a selected photo and a poem of some description. Maybe a few reviews, maybe some other things. I just want to see how it flows.

The paid photography work I did last year centred around architecture, office interiors and the latest AV technology. All things I’m interested in! I absolutely love Canary Wharf because from an architectural point of view, it’s like another world.

The photo below is a crop of One Canada Square in Canary Wharf.

 

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This was taken April 2015, the day was beautiful and the sky had never been so blue.

The biggest challenge is taking straight shots from the ground with a standard lens. This was tricky and required only minor manipulation to get it exactly straight, but the original on Flickr allows you to zoom right in and peer into each window. I’m guessing that the people are sitting behind the blinds because the sun was so direct and penetrating, but the result is a building that appears to be completely without a living soul in sight… though it would have been poetic if someone had been peering pensively out, somewhere three quarters up.

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I love this shot.

As my daughter flipped through the photos of this day, she observed that some of them made her feel so incredibly small. It is akin to walking among giants.

Steel Giants

Occupied Towering
Bastions of Wealth
Fortress’s Fortunes
Peers across Thames

© Copyright Nicki Ki
All Rights Reserved

Sometimes all it takes is a bit of perspective

A Day in Diepsloot by Nicki Ki
A Day in Diepsloot, a photo by Nicki Ki on Flickr.

Step out of the comfort of your paradigm and see what happens when you try something new, or see something from a completely different point of view.

Perspective Emerges

Diepsloot is home to an estimated 150,000 people, most of whom live in 3mx2m shacks made out of metal, wood, plastic and cardboard, lacking access to the basic services that we probably all take for granted. Running water, sewage containment and refuse removal would be welcomed in this place that started out as a transit camp of people waiting for land to become available and has become a permanent settlement, a town springing up from the makeshift cabins.

Most Diepslootians use paraffin stoves and coal for cooking, and candles for light. Some shacks have electricity and use a prepaid meter, but this is expensive, and so used sparingly. Also with the load balancing (to compensate for the lack of foresight to prepare the electricity grid for wide scale town expansion) this is probably the best way to limit the power consumed in this high density area. City officials estimate that about half the population in the settlement is unemployed.

There are so many settlements like Diepsloot out there and there are horror stories that occur that you would not believe. But amidst the poverty, violence and chaos that arises out of an extreme lack of anything, fuelled by unattainable aspiration continually pumped out by the media wagon, exists a home that is loved by its inhabitants who have collected together as a community against the onslaught of the world at large.

These are the people who have very little more than a makeshift roof over their heads, family, friends, and often too little food to go around… and from these meagre foundations these Diepslootians still manage to live long, and love.

These are the people who the broken promises affected the most adversely, and this is also part of what makes Diepsloot so inspiring. The seeds of a brighter future are already here — once people figure out how to bring it all together they can only grow from strength to strength.

In our day-to-day, we spend way too much time complaining about trivialities and forget that our comfort and luxuries are not a birth right, but a privilege – an accident or a karmic predestiny even, of location and luck.

What happens if it turns out that karma is true, what then? What are we going to do to ensure that the world you’re born into isn’t a lot more like this one, and a lot less like the one we’re desperately holding onto?

The more poverty grows across the globe, the more likely it is that a future incarnation of you could end up in a transit camp that becomes your home, while waiting for the promised land. I often find myself wondering why those with all the resources don’t invest in creating the promised land to which we’ve collectively aspired on an archetypal level?

Truth is none of us are here forever, not everyone is going to heaven or hell, some will continue with their own beliefs and quanta makes it all possible. Is anyone actually prepared to face the future they’re in all likelihood coming back to fix?

Often we complain when we feel that we have too little, or when something isn’t fair, or when we have to push a little harder to get what we really want out of life. Yes, I’m sad that tax credit cuts are going to affect a lot of people, but at the same time where is the entrepreneurial spirit of people to rise up and take back their own personal power that they relinquished when they fell into the arms of the state?

Nothing is stopping anyone really, it’s just not easy and that’s a given. It’s just that people have relied on the help of the state without pushing for fairer wages and now that it’s not going to be as easily accessible, baby bird needs to leave the nest, and seek their fame and fortune in the big wide Britain.

This doesn’t let the state off the hook however. There are iniquities that should not exist and it is good there’s a democratic process in place for people to heave-ho and push back on. But seriously, people need to pull up their socks and apply their wonderful British education that is a thousand times better than anything on offer anywhere in the world, and certainly not in Diepsloot. Be thankful for your schooling, don’t take it for granted. Apply it as best you can.

Is a job in an office with air-conditioning really more secure than a business run out of a tin shack, sprawling out onto a dusty front yard? The rent is higher and if you’re not generating profit, you’re a business cost (aka the first out the door when the client can’t pay). If you are generating profit, you have to do it continually, it can never end or you’re out the door. Whatever line of work you do in fact, if you aren’t passionate about it, it’ll make you unpleasantly stressed.

Cycling is a global thing isn’t it?

Cycling is the one mode of transport that just never gets old. It’s the most genius of all the inventions ever invented. Why doesn’t everyone have a bike? The thing about Diepsloot is, when you see someone riding a fancy, shiny bike, there’s always a possibility that they didn’t buy it, you want to be charitable and sometimes these things get donated… but for a kid in Diepsloot, a bike is something they really need and unless they get given one, they might never learn to ride – it’s true freedom. Maybe we could help heal the world by teaching everyone how to manufacture their own bikes by the millions. Make billions of shared standard bikes available like in Amsterdam, so that it’s just not worth anyone’s while to steal them.

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Running a business doesn’t have to be complicated, or expensive in terms of marketing. Especially when you’re situated on the main drag through a blooming town. What you learn, can never be taken from you and even if you don’t have a formal education with a piece of paper qualifying you for a long term desk job, it doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed – it just means you’re not going to pass a corporate screening test any time soon.

So, what is the definition of success? I’d argue that in many ways, the gents in the picture above are freer than most. They tinker with cars, hang out in the shade and share their varied and sometimes profound philosophies of life. The guy lives in the back and literally only has to roll out of bed to get to work, where everyone comes to him.

Isn’t that most people’s idea of a dream job? 🙂

Sitting at a desk, typing, taking calls all day and getting stressed out by the way your manager eyeballed you in the corridor last week is hardly hard work. If you don’t have to have a serious bath at the end of your day, or buff some thick callouses, it’s really just cushy busy time. In the paradigm of reality creating work for people to do pushing papers around to count everything that happens, this can be stressful. But try explaining that paradigm to the guy who in his paradigm is assigned the practical job of laying poop-pipes to keep it all flowing.

Try to stress less about it.

We talk about first world problems as a joke – a bitter truth – and sure they’re equally valid for the stage of civil progression and worth talking about so that we can all learn more about what we’re all about… And sure there are things that happen that wind us up, increase anxiety and stress levels… But really, when we take a look at the reality of what’s happening elsewhere, maybe remembering that it’s just a paradigm and you can change it, things aren’t as bad as they could be and this is a viable comfort, and there’s absolutely nothing on Earth stopping you from doing anything.

Except you.

Start at figuring out what it is you want to do, and work out from there.

Nicki Ki ©
All Rights Reserved

The Quintessential Nature of Questions

True Artist  © Nicki Ki, All Rights Reserved

Look at this handsome guy playing to anyone on this bridge over the River Thames. I love buskers, I admire their bravery. This muso was a little harder to tip from where I was below, but as we waved to one another, one human connected with another for a moment, captured in RAW … so, if you see him on this suspension bridge in London, please stop by to listen and drop him a couple of quid. Tell him I sent you.

Having taken a much needed hiatus from all my social networking endeavours to pursue real world matters and separate the money from my art, I feel a little better. I’ve learned a lot about mail-flaps too – but that’s another post for a different day.

So on my journeyings from when I last blogged, I’ve rested the savage beasties from the past, focused in on not only living in the moment, but also from the heart, and discovering that all the while my previous experiences forged the means of self-discovery, the vehicle with which I torment myself is still me!

What!?

Right.

When things start going well, it’s as if my fear of success wrestles everything to the ground.

Why?

For example, I’ll have a great day – most people would deem to be successful, awesome and something to write home about… instead of just allowing myself the feeling of just feeling relaxed, positive, centred and good – have a glass of Rioja, put my feet up… I’ll spend most of afterward fixating on the minutiae of my own humanity, destroying every remnant of goodwill I could be feeling toward myself.

Social anxiety is like a pyromaniacal scorpion!

The thing is, now I know I’m doing it, and I can stop it when I’m aware, awareness doesn’t automatically equate to permanent resolution, I’ve really got work hard to negotiate my intimidating, roaring, wildly bellowing, shadow opponent down from that mind-tree.

!?

Clarity is here
Joined by stark obviousness
I am now, now what?

The way forward
Through another tunnel
The way in
the way out

Mercurial haste
Lays temperate waste

I want to break free
I don’t want to fly

Why?

Hemmed into a corner with few cords binding
Last bonds impermanent
Still holding fast

Once unencumbered
Bonds transmutation to wings
Quintessential questions

What now?

© Nicki Kirk
All Rights Reserved.

Four seasons of yellow

Yellow subjects mellow yellow

No time to dilly dally, going to finish the shopping today, and I’m only just sort of in the mood having spent three days in bed, first tending to, and then sick with my little one… winter bugs!

I’m looking forward to just getting out into the fresh air.

If you were wondering, my collages are made from photos I’ve taken. No monkey is going to use my camera for selfies!

Yellow daisies on a summer’s day reflect warm rays from Sun’s fingers. Occasionally dust in twilight skies give yellow overtones, brightening up the evening’s ambience. Dandelions twirling in little fingers, plucked before transforming to a wishing flower. Sunlight casts shadows on cream fabric, deepening yellow tones, boosting warmth. If there’s anything more yellow than a sunflower, it’s daisies, or daisy centres especially at Spring. Yellowed toadstools share the autumn floor with golden leaves. Christmas lit yellow incandescent light contrasts with bright coloured baubles to elucidate the greyest day’s darkness.

Seasonal Yellow

Earth Air Fluid Heat
Yellow smiles, reflects sunlight,
Emboldens cowards

© Nicki Ki
All Rights Reserved

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/yellow/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge

converge

The calm is here and in the midst of the peaceful tranquility of acceptance and forgiveness, focus is on the fun of the festive season. Peaks and troughs, and slogs and bogs, dogged this year, but along life’s journey, like a large complicated topiary, strength was grown and shaped.

The theme this week is converge, and the selections above reflect several different aspects of this.

The moon in the lamp before the lamp is lit converges our night time’s shared, waxing and waning reflected light source, with our contrivances to illuminate our pathways useful when the early darkness draws in plunging us all deeper into the skeletal stillness of winter.

Fuchsia flowers dangle within a metal spiral, Mother Nature converges with a human manufactured symbol representing the true spirit of her eternal flow.

In winter we look back on summer, warm colours converge in vibrant greens and blues, reflected in the shiny eyes of a magnificent Dragon Fly stopping for a moment upon a grape leaf to bask in the Sun’s generous rays.

Ivy stems converge into heart-shaped leaves along strong vines that even when cut back continue to grow with tenacious persistence – ever hopeful.

Spiders work tirelessly to create dinner traps for their insect feast, leaving beauty as rain droplets converge at intersections of their webby remnants, and end by spinning themselves into warm corners for their winter hibernation.

Heart shaped Brie cheese, candle light, and wine converge at Festive times to create delicious treats to share.

At Christmas, many of us in the world converge with our families, food and soft twinkling lights reflected off tinsel, glass and metallic balls, to remember the day Jesus Christ was born. There are other festivities that converge with this time of year too, Pagan souls celebrate mid-winter, coaxing the return of spring by decorating trees with fruit. The festival of Hanukkah and the daily incremental lighting of the Menorah is a holy and special time for Jewish people globally – it represents the Maccabean struggle for freedom to practice their religion, when Antiochus of the Seleucid Empire tried to forbid it. And Atheists, well there’s the pretty lights, the time off work, the sales, and the march to a clean slate the New Year invariably promises.

Whatever you celebrate, however you feel at this time of year, may the global consciousness feel the love, peace, optimism and goodwill converge in all our hearts and heads.

To carry us out of the theme of convergence, following is another poem from my Open Heart Poetry collection, it’s a Senryu (similar to Haiku) where natural elements, converge with human expression…

Stormy Expressions

Stormy winds arose
Lashing rains exposed the ground

Now, the calm is here

© Nicki Ki
All Rights Reserved