Sunday, 23 December 2012

2012.51

Ah Christmas. That time of year when you're either jumping for joy, or jumping off a bridge. 


MERRY CHRISTMAS/HAPPY HANUKKAH/SOLSTICE/DECEMBER/ETC



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Source Alt, Ctr, Del.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

2012.50


Apologies for missing Ffoto of the week last week, so I'm hoping this is enough to cover week 49/50.
This image was taken during the Sandy hurricane. I remember seeing them for the first time, and they made an impact at the first glance, but now seem to have a whole new meaning to me.

I'm sure we've all heard the devastation that occurred on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. I don't usually post such political views, even though I'm sure my words mean nothing to most - But it's my blog, and I'll cry if I want to... 


This series by Jacrot made such an impact visually, as what we normally associate NYC as the strongest city in the world, but hit hard by Sandy, it was left defenceless and weak. Something unnerving to most people. It's like seeing your lifelong Hero being knocked out by your childhood enemy. (Although I was hugely annoyed that the media put all the emphasis on NY, when actually so many other parts of America, and especially Cuba that were hugely effected. But who cares about little ol' Cuba ey? Bloody media). The bright lights of America, faded...


The recent news of the Sandy Hook School in Connecticut today made me cry. My Twitter, Facebook and even real life people have been constantly filling my timelines and ears about the devastation, and today seeing the sweet little faces of the children who had their lives taken away in a split second, broke my heart. 

This story has rilled up one of the age old questions of gun laws in America. And so it should. I can't help but see the correlation between gun crime in schools, and America. Actually, gun crime in general, and America. You only have to look at statistics to realise how backwards their system is. Last year handguns killed 8 in Britain, 52 in Canada and 10,728 in America. Doesn't take a genius, does it?

It seems to be clear that there is a desperate need to change these laws. I'm sorry but bollocks to your "constitutional right", what about the right for children to have the entitlement to their education without fear or worry about being gunned down at any given moment. When I was in school the biggest thing I had to worry about was my nasty French teacher if I hadn't done my homework, not being massacred.  

I'm doubtful that anything positive will come from this horrible disaster. Any change would be revolutionary to America, and of course, difficult. Especially with all those right-winged gun lovers, but most sensible people know change is the right thing. But whether or not America is sensible, and brave enough for change, is another question. Maybe one day mental health care will become freely available in America, and guns, less available, rather than the other way around. Sigh.

Jacrot captured NYC in darkness. But for now, I see the whole of America as living in the dark, and until gun laws are changed there, I can't see the light at the end of the American tunnel anymore.

My thoughts are with all those effected. 

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Sunday, 2 December 2012

2012.48

I have a double whammy for you this week. I couldn't just pick one of Lissy Elle's images to show you (bit of confusion over her name - lots of people spelling it Lissie!). They seem so much more powerful together, so why deprive you of that. Her body of work is really quite lovely, her website and blog are something I could look through for hours. So this is just a very small insight into her work. If you like what you see, and have some time, I would seriously recommend looking through some of her other work. 

At the moment workload is becoming quite full on for me, and I'm generally feeling quite stressed. Yes, students do work hard, sometime. These images with their gorgeous pastel colours, simplistic content and gentle figures have this feeling of relaxation, letting your body take control; do what it wants. I can almost imaging what it feels to break these laws of physics, and just let my body float in mid air. The stress feels like it's melting away as I look at them. Bliss. 

A beautiful representation of the female body in a weightless and seemingly effortless letting go of control. 




I'm off to practice my floating techniques. I will break you, gravity.

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Friday, 30 November 2012

Look out for Bold

This past week has been an absolute menace! My timetable for my third year in uni is a stretch, as anyone who has gone through it might have experienced. But this week seems to be the one where everything is happening. Tuesday after my dissertation tutorial I helped out a friend Alison who is currently doing a project raising awareness of FGM* (Female Genital Mutilation for anyone who didn't know). I was really glad to be asked to take part as I think it's a real taboo subject, and something that people are either completely unaware of, or just don't want to hear about. Well, Alison isn't taking any notice of that and is making a really interesting project based around it. (Don't worry. I didn't get my kit off!) But this subject is really important, and like I always say, the more people who know, the more people can voice their opinion, the more people will hear, and maybe even listen! POWER TO THE PEOPLE. Yeah. So don't shy away. Vagina.

In other un-newsly news, projects! Wednesday, Thursday and today I've been busy shooting, and tomorrow, Sunday and Tuesday and are full of shoots too. Phew. Some for uni, some a little more secret, but it's rare that I get to be out shooting this often in such a short space of time! It's been great. Most of the time has been focused on a group project with uni called Inspiring Sports Foundation, working with Disability Sport Wales to create a campaign to try and encourage children to get involved with different local sports. So have been visiting all sorts of different clubs and groups and it's been great to get to know the people and get involved with such great children and volunteers. 


Somehow throughout all this I also need to keep up with my social life. Sigh. On Wednesday evening I was invited to a "Dolls Night" in Kurt Geiger where there was free champaign, 25% off, and a few treats you could get your hands on too. As well as having my make up done, I had my portrait drawn by the amazing Adele Page, which I am so happy with. I love her style of drawing and as I'm not a fan of having my picture taken, to have an artistic representation of myself is quite frankly, awesome



This does mean that I have been neglecting my own personal work, and my dissertation. Slightly. I should probably be doing that right now really, oh dear... But it feels good to be out doing what you love, even if it's ruddy freezing!

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*Website for info/help about FGM http://www.forwarduk.org.uk/key-issues/fgm
Inspring Sports Foundation Facebook http://www.facebook.com/InspiringSportsFoundation 
Adele Page Illustrator http://www.adelepage.com/blog/

Sunday, 25 November 2012

2012.47

Nearly running out of the week to have time to do this. My feet hurt from dancing. (This is a good thing). And I have completely neglected my work. (Not so good). So to brighten up this Sunday evening, here's something a little different... A brilliant illustration by the very talented Zoë Austin which has been seen on Fashion156.com "We Love" list, so it must be good. 


And well, you know what, I love it too!





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Source: http://archive.fashion156.com/previous-blog/
Zoe's blog: http://zoeaustin.blogspot.co.uk/

Thursday, 15 November 2012

2012.46

So, this week I was a little jealous of my friends down in Australia. They get so much of the good stuff, don't they (excluding Spiders, they can have the spiders). But what they did get this week was a gorgeous total solar eclipse that occurred on November 14th. 

I remember my first experience of a solar eclipse, I was at Centre Parks, eating a lolly wearing those super uncool 90s safety glasses. Looking back it was a great place to witness it. I was quite young at the time, so it was completely new and fascinating to me. I remember wanting to understand what was going on, it felt really special. Now, it's a reminder to me of how vast our solar system is, that the moon can magically make the sun vanish just by its positioning. A fantastic show of natural phenomena that we on Earth, as spectators have a front row seat for.

Here is an image from the recent eclipse in Queensland, Australia by Phil Hart, which captures the moment brilliantly, with that spillage of light from the Sun creating a mystical halo around the Moon. Both perfectly synchronised. Breathtaking. 

Just you wait Brits, we'll have the pleasure of a partial solar eclipse in 2015. Yay. 


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Image copyright Phil Hart 2012

Friday, 9 November 2012

2012.45

My first 'Ffoto Of the Week' is from a fantastic artist that I recently discovered, Claire Dorn. This French photographer has a lovely mix of traditional photographic elements riding alongside contemporary adjustments. This image from her "Colorfields" series struck me the most, which was hard with such a great portfolio. The contrast of smooth crashing waves lighting the scene against the harsh cold night gives a great dynamic to this image.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Remember, Remember..

Short and sweet for you folks today.

This is often my favourite time of year, other than the clocks going back, halloween and bonfire night are such fun occasions for me; an excuse to dress up without people thinking you're crazy, and to be a pyromaniac, without people thinking you're crazy. Woo!

Here's a little snippet from my firespotting last night.
Think I'll call it, Palmtree in the sky. Haha.



This is actually a part of an ongoing project that I'm doing at the moment. I can reveal more soon - so if you do like, keep your eyes pealed! 

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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Welcome - Ffoto Of the Week

Hello there.

How we all doing? Good? Good. 

I've had my blog up and running for 2 months now, blimey. Throughout this whole time, I keep finding amazing artwork, imagery, illustrations and all sorts of amazing visual stuff right at my fingertips (thanks to the crazy looney computer scientist guy for inventing the internet)! 

Some are relevant to my work or my projects and some aren't. So, as part of archiving this great work, and satisfying my need for wanting to share other peoples work - the art world really need to help out it's brothers and sisters, and little cousins - and to show you guys maybe something, or someone, you have never seen or heard before. 

You never know, you might discover something you love! 

Also, please feel free to send me links, or suggest some artists you think deserve a bit more love @ ffi.matthews@gmail.com and if they tickle my fancy they might just be my Ffoto of the Week!

Check out the first ever Ffoto of the week here '2012.45'

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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Three T's

Take Time to Think

A wise woman once said to me, thinking is important. 

Thinking. Hmm. Surely we think all the time, we think even if it's subconsciously, crazy. We set the alarm to wake us up another day; what to wear today, what will I have for lunch, are those new shoes really necessary? That's thinking, right? 

I'm one of those over thinkers. People are always telling me "You think too much!" or "You're over-thinking things" as if it's such a bad thing, but it's my way of analysing a situation or occurrence. This gives me a logistical or well thought out process of action from me, if needs be. Yes those shoes are definitely necessary.

But when was the last time we sat down and really thought. Not about todays work politics, or how many calories have been consumed. But taking the time to stop, hear what your mind has to say, and really listen. Sometime with such a busy lifestyle and schedule, something that I believe is so instinctive, the connection with our mind and thoughts has been lost, and we've given it the job of sifting through everyday shit that we "think" is important. We are too busy for ourselves most of the time, a luxury we are privileged enough to have, yet too often dismiss. 

Well, thinking is important. Go. Take a break. Listen to you what you have to say to yourself. Be armed with not your phone, or your workload, but your time. Go and be alone with your thoughts, whether it be in the bath, on a park bench, or in bed. You don't require any fancy gadgets, just yourself. 

Enjoy, be upset, get angry. But think. 


Today I took the time to think. 
Time thinking is not time wasted. 





















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Sunday, 21 October 2012

Swn Fest 2012

Had an amazing time running around filming/photographing the goings on of the City this weekend. All the video footage is for the We Are Cardiff Film, which you'll have to wait for, I'm afraid. Something quite different for me, not usually one to photograph bands, but it was great to see great live acts and have a good time while working too.

Anyway, here's a little sneak peak of the day...

Made In Roath







Kutosis @ Underton, Swn. 





Islet @ Chapter Arts, Swn.






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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Autumn beauty

A gorgeous Autumns day cannot be passed without making the most of the warm sunshine against your cold skin. Went for a walk around Cosmeston Park, enjoying the clean air and muddy paths through the woods. Here's a couple of images to get you in the Autumn-y mood! 















(Apologies for low res images, the photographer forgot her camera, it seemed. Doh.)

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Friday, 12 October 2012

Light - Short Film

video

Short film exploring the light and colours that fill your home that often goes unnoticed. Just a bit of fun.

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Thursday, 11 October 2012

Gelynis Farm

Discovering and exploring a little corner of Cardiff previously unknown, Gelynis Farm. In the heart of Radyr this little area of bliss lets you escape the bustle of the city and relax in its surroundings.













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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

We Are Cardiff - Best Blog

So, thursday the 20th of September was this years Wales Blog Awards evening. Set in the unsurprisingly gorgeous new Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

I work as a photographer on the blog We Are Cardiff. Along with some other very dedicated and special people, we work really hard on the blog, so it was great to be recognised and nominated in these awards. We were up for two. Best Community, and Best Multimedia. I, of course, arrived with bells on. Where's the wine?



The first award of the night had to be the one we were nominated for. Best Community blog. Unfortunately we didn't snap this one up, but a big congratulations to Cwmbran Life, a great all rounder for the community of Cwmbran.

The other award we were up for, best multimedia, was picked up by the amazing blog of Cardiff Before Cardiff (one of my personal favourites). This was a night of great blogs, and not all that I'd known of, so I have been introduced to some fab new blogs too. And a massive congratulations to everyone who won.

Although for We Are Cardiff, almost all hope was lost in winning an award. The only one left was people's choice award, which was a distant dream now. Three years of being nominated, and each time we left empty handed. Our hopes were low, our chance lost....

Or was it?


WE WON BEST BLOG AWARD 2012. 

I know, gracious, right? But we are so excited


Helia accepting the award


I think Helia put it really well in saying that getting any award is fantastic, but to know that the public had voted for us is even more rewarding and gives us the backing that we need to realise that our blog is being recognised and appreciated. It was a fantastic evening, and thank to everyone who was involved in it and to all the sponsors who help make it happen.

But here's to the biggest thank you ever to everyone who voted for We Are Cardiff, forever grateful and hope you continue to enjoy the blog!


Here's us enjoying the moment, thank you... 

Received champagne and flowers and everything


Smiles all round


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Please check out some of the links below from fellow bloggers, we love getting your stats, ya'know?

Link to the Wales Blog Award website with all of the winning blogs and synopsis - http://www.walesblogawards.co.uk/2012/09/wales-third-blog-awards-has-recognised-the-best-amateur-bloggers-in-wales/

Check out the "best blog" We Are Cardiff - http://wearecardiff.wordpress.com/

You can see some more of the photographs here on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/groups/1900385@N24/

Cardiff Before Cardiff - http://cardiffbeforecardiff.tumblr.com/

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Chariots of Gold


So the comedown of post Olympics and Paralympics begins. Like a bad hangover from Gin, we’re upset. And for good reason, this year London 2012 has really been electric. We have come a far way from the cynicism that a lot of people felt for London holding the games, but I think it is safe to assume that 99% of those people were smitten by the high spirits of the athletes and visitors and generally smothered by the happiness that it brought to the UK. This year has meant a lot for the Olympics, it’s the first time all the countries have included women in their teams. Difficult to think that this wasn’t the case before now, but I am proud that the UK, one of the most multicultural and accepting countries in the world, can put this down in women’s history. Also technology has developed so much that the equipment of the Paralympics are better than ever, even if it does stir up some controversy over the length of prosthetic limbs. It hasn’t been short of drama this summer!

The Paralympics was the star of the show though. It has been so inspiring and overwhelming. I must give Kudos to Channel 4 for their very powerful ad campaign for the Paralympics, “The Superhumans”. How fitting. And boy did they smack that superhuman power in your face. Great Britain saw 120 Medals. 34 Gold. Broken world records. The lot. Ellie Simmons being a British favourite (swimming), along with medal winners Will Bailey (table tennis), the emotional Matt Walker (Swimming - I think we all shed a tear with him), Hannah Cockroft (T34), and a our very own Cardiffian Tracy Hinton, who didn’t win a medal, but at 42 she’s still competing in the Blind Running, fantastic. These are just a few of the fantastic people that made the Paralympics what it was, they are all worthy of their superhuman title.

But today I want to talk about my own Superhuman.

Ron Davies is a long time family friend. I remember as a child getting excited knowing he was coming to visit, and waiting by the window for him to arrive. He intrigued me; he was impossibly old, looking from young naive eyes, and even something as simple as getting out of his car was something that astounded me.

Family photo with Ron (yes that's me giggling my ass off)


Ron is a photographer, and has been for almost quadruple me lifetime. He was an official photographer in WW2 and travelled all around the Far East for his work. When the war ended he carried on his photography work back in Wales riding around on his motorbike with his camera, enjoying talking about his work and teaching others about photography.

Unfortunately in winter 1950 he was injured in a road accident that resulted in him permanently using a wheelchair. But this did not stop or discourage him. Not only did he carry on with his photography work, but he was determined that being in a wheelchair was not going to restrain him. Ron was treated in Southport Hospital, where he met Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a Jewish Doctor who fled Nazi Germany before the Second World War and settled in Oxford as a spinal injury researcher. Before Guttmann, if someone was injured, paralysed or an amputee they were to rest, and not strain themselves by trying to move too much and were generally struck with incompetence from their injury by demand. But Guttmann encouraged these people, often soldiers injured from the war, or victims of accidents such as Ron, he supported them to become more active. This in turn would increase their confidence, help warn off depression and generally give them a better quality of life for the future. Guttmann organised the Stoke Mandeville Games for the disabled and encouraged his patients to take part, he called them Parallel games, which has now grown into the great Paralympics. He thought that it would give his patients a new perspective on their disability, and in turn change the publics’ perception after years of disabled people being wrapped in cotton wool.

Ron took part in the Stoke Mandeville International Games in 1952, the forerunner of the Paralympics and first-ever such event for disabled people, he competed in the Wheelchair Basketball team. For all his story telling, he kept this one quiet! There weren’t many countries, or people, involved so early on in the Games (see link below). But it was something that the contestants could enjoy, and in return give them happiness and confidence in knowing that their life is not restricted by their disability.

Parade in 1952. Ron is in the front left, representing GB.

You can view the footage by following this link - http://www.britishpathe.com/workspaces/gledor/Stoke-Mandeville


With time comes change, the footage from 1952 seems worlds apart from the spectacular scenes we witnessed from this years Paralympics. The equipment has changed, the technology progressed, the people have changed and the countries have multiplied. The spectators have changed, their attitudes have developed and spirits heightened. Time does good things.
Ron didn’t win any medals, but being in a wheelchair wasn’t a disability to him, it was an extension of him, and that is something I always admired about him. And it is something that is admirable of all the athletes, and not just in London 2012, but from across the world and all the Paralympics, and to each and every individual who challenge themselves.

And that deserves Gold.



(Not really uncle, Uncle) Ron Davies OBE is currently 90 going on 91 this December living in Aberaeron, and has recently confessed his hidden Paralympics history, which gave me the inspiration to write this piece. This is my homage to him for inspiring me my whole life and reminding me that there are no restrictions that I cannot overcome. He helped kindle my own love for photography from seeing his passion for photography so strong itself, and for never forgetting my birthday, and for all this I thank him. Diolch Ron.


Here are some of my favourite photographs by Ron...










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Related Links

Rons Gallery 

Tracy Hinton


Chanel 4 ad

Link to watch the Ad, go on, for old time’s sake. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKTamH__xuQ

Ron OBE