Brockwell Park Fireworks 2014, London

Brockwell Park Fireworks, London

Brockwell Park Fireworks, London

Fireworks are exploding into the dark evening skies all over London and Britain this week around the annual traditional Bonfire or Guy Fawkes night as it is referred to here in England. I was out with my camera to capture the action and most importantly make portraits of some of the people enjoying this festive week. Brockwell Park near Brixton, Herne Hill and Tulse Hill was full of wonderful folk and fun was had by all. Here’s a selection for all to enjoy, whether you’re in South London or Slovakia!

If you want to catch some more of the action then have a look at the Time Out London guide to London Firework displays.

Conrad & River Sharp enjoying a sparkler

Conrad & River Sharp enjoying a sparkler

Brockwell Park Bonfire

Brockwell Park Bonfire

James & Bex from Crystal Palace

James & Bex from Crystal Palace

Caribbean Food Stall with Curry Goat...Yum!

Caribbean Food Stall with Curry Goat…Yum!

Mehki, Nadine & Mylah Nicole from Stockwell

Mehki, Nadine & Mylah Nicole from Stockwell Waiting for the Fireworks

The Excited Crowd at Brockwell Park Fireworks

The Excited Crowd at Brockwell Park Fireworks

Waiting Wide-Eyed

Waiting Wide-Eyed

Brockwell Park Fireworks

Brockwell Park Fireworks

Emma, Roanne, Emma & Stephanie Enjoy the Festivities

Emma, Roanne, Emma & Stephanie Enjoy the Festivities

Brockwell Park Fireworks

Brockwell Park Fireworks

Christina & Alisha in Fur & Wellie Boots

Christina & Alisha in Fur & Wellie Boots

Prince Regent Pub Buzzing...with Local Fresh Jerk Stalls Nearby

Prince Regent Pub Buzzing & Local Fresh Jerk Stalls Nearby

Kerry & Nick Share a traditional Sticky Toffee Apple outside Effra Social Club

Kerry & Nick Share a traditional Sticky Toffee Apple outside Effra Social Club

Lambeth Council Encourage All to Have a Safe Journey Home

Lambeth Council Encourage All to Have a Safe Journey Home

 

 

 

Mekong Mechanic

©gavinfreeborn

One of my favourite and most memorable moments from my fortunate adventures around the world so far. A simple exchange took place with this mechanic, as I wandered through the vibrant and colourful local market, in the city of Ben Tre, on the Mekong Delta.

Skipping from one shaded part of the market to the next and I passed by him, smiling and saying hello in Vietnamese… “Chào” (pronounced “jow”). He enjoyed hearing it in my amusing Irish accent. I asked if he was happy for me to make his portrait and this is the result.

Of course I was sure to give thanks in Vietnamese… “Cảm ơn” (pronounced “gam uhhn”). It’s wonderful to think what you can fit into less time than it takes to smoke a cigarette…a human connection that’s imprinted on your mind forever! An openness of spirit and the effort to learn a few words and phrases of a new language can go a long way. One day I hope to see Vietnam again. Who knows maybe we’ll cross paths again one day!

22.2 Christchurch a year on

Good day, good morn or good night to you, depending on which timezone you are in the world! I’m fortunate to have people in every continent following my project :o)

I haven’t blogged in quite a while. It’s been quite hectic in Sydney, Melbourne and Christchurch these past weeks but don’t worry I have lots of images to post, portraits of wonderful people I’ve met along the way, each with their own individual life story and a fair few posts from SE Asia that I will add in retrospect also. Today was another day full of wonder on my journey however, I vowed that I wouldn’t sleep until I had downloaded, selected, edited and blogged my documentary of 22.2 through my eyes and those of the people I met today in Christchurch.

I had originally intended to spend around four nights with my older brother Al and his wife Shelly on the dairy farm he manages and lives on out in the Canterbury Plains just north of Christchurch. Afterwards my intention was to travel north slowly with the destination of Auckland on the 1st of March when I fly back to Sydney to document the Mardi Gras..which I am told is one of the biggest parties in the whole world..and I do like to party!

Two things changed that plan. No.1 I decided to prioritise spending time with my brother and his wife and you will get to see the photo documentary I have made of their lives and the beautiful world they live. No.2 I became fascinated by the story of Christchurch…a city ripped apart by three major earthquakes in the last 18 months. I wanted to explore this city and the people within it’s boundaries to see how they have been affected and how they are coping with nature’s great force tearing their city and their communities apart.

I learned a lot in the two weeks I have been here, staying in the Canterbury Plains, the Banks Peninsula and Cashmere Hills. I will be posting more about the people I stayed but for now I’m going to concentrate on today’s events and the people I met. I wasn’t sure whether or not to go to the Christchurch Earthquake Civic Memorial service in Hagley Park today. I wanted to pay my respects, document it and share it with those around the world reading my blog. And yet, I was apprehensive.

My day started outside Coffee Worx in Northlands Shopping Centre where I was taking advantage of the free wi fi and happened to sit beside the two gentlemen in the portrait above. Lindsay and Clayton had been working since 6.30am cleaning windows in the shopping centre for Window Cleaning Services Christchurch Ltd. I was intrigued to chat to them about the economy here and how things are so much brighter financially in Australia. High living costs and low salaries have become a theme in a lot of conversations I’ve had in NZ. That said, they went about their daily work with a grace and fervent nature that has to be admired. Lindsay and Clayton, if you read this..it was great to meet you and share perspectives on life, the universe and everything. It’s hard working folk like yourselves that keep an economy going…respect!

The following is a collection of images from my day in Christchurch a year on from 22.2.  I decided to go to the memorial service and I was deeply moved and got to meet some of the inspirational people who are re-building this city step by step. Tens of thousands attended to mark the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake which struck Christchurch at 12.51pm on 22 February, 2011.

185 people lost their lives.

For more comprehensive information see file.stuff.co.nz/stuff/12-51/

Catherine the Great!

Catherine Beehag…where do I start?! My first ever Couchsurfing Host, Science & Communications Manager at Sydney Australian Museum, outdoor sports enthusiast, budding Ukelele player and all round multi-tasking extraordinaire!

She invited me for a coffee at lunchtime through Couchsurfing, where i’d read her profile and thought her an interesting lass, and then ended up roping me into an impromptu three day internship at the museum, co-writing the kids pull out section of their members magazine. It was great fun, considering my background in marketing and communications, plus I got to meet lots of awesome people in her team like Brent, who I flew my first ever kite with and Geoff, who has the best collection of fake Ray Bans I’ve ever seen. I got to work with the magazine’s Editor Brendan whose roots are Irish and I had the educational and cultural pleasure of taking in the wonderful BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Aboriginal Canning Stock Route exhibitions. Go and see them if you’re in the area!

Thank you for giving me the best first Couchsurfing experience I could have asked for Catherine :o) The following posts document a few of the many highlights whilst being hosted by you, Catherine the Great!

Neighbours talking over the garden fence

Growing up in a house in the middle of a field on a farm in Ireland I remember seeing neighbours talk over the garden fence on American TV shows…Darryl and his neighbour Phil reminded me of an American sitcom. Suburban life looks pretty good in Rozelle, especially on Springside Street! This was one of the last views I had before leaving Darryl and his family to start my first official Couchsurfing experience in Paddington.

Thank you to Darryl, Caroline, Melissa and Piper for showing me unending warmth and understanding, especially as I fell sick or “crook” as they say in Oz, when I was there. On the second day of my week long visit in early January, I’d taken Darryl out on his first Sydney Bay 7K run (even though he’s lived beside if for years) and that afternoon I got hit pretty bad with a mixture of Bali Belly and cold virus…so I was more than glad to be in the comfort of a family home rather than stuck in a hostel in Kings Cross of the like! I’m sure I registered somewhere on Caroline’s multi-levelled scale of “annoying” ;o) but all the same, being a midwife and nurse she couldn’t help but care for me…thanks for all that Olive Leaf extract which helped to get me back on my feet http://www.olea.com.au/benefits

I will be visiting my brother Alasdair and his wife Shelly in New Zealand soon and have more family to drop in on whilst over on the land of the long white cloud so watch this space for more kiwi action!