Recently, there has been a fair amount of press coverage on older people and a wide range of issues involving ageing is a popular topic in the media.
Eddie Brocklesby is one of the older people who have been busy with all kind of media requests. Having said this I never think of Eddie as old. She is too energetic of a person, has too busy of a lifestyle and is too fit to fit the stereoptype of old people many of us hold. Of course that is exactly the reason why she has been in the Guardian, Coven Magazine, on the BBC, and the list goes on.
Often, the focus is on her impressive sports achievements after she started exercising when already being in her 50s. Impressive her achievements are indeed: Last year she became the oldest UK woman to finish an ironman (Lanzarote) and she finished 5th in her age group at the Triathlon World Championships in London to name just a couple.
However, having known her for a few years she has changed my perspective on ageing in more than the physical fitness aspects.
She has shown me that one can pursue one’s dreams no matter what age and one can still have a very varied, interesting and socially active life! With a positive and can do attitude many things are possible at any time in life. Check out her charity Silverfit, for instance, through which she is giving back to society by working very hard to set up events for over 50s and raising awareness for the importance of an active lifestyle.
Having said the above, though, physical fitness & health are no doubt pre-requisites to achieve all this. So, I better keep up my cycling through London’s busy streets and eating my five a day… 🙂
Since being shown at the “Arab Women Filmmakers” Film Festival in London last year Annemarie Jacir’s latest film “When I saw you”, a story about a Palestinian boy in 1967 Jordan, has gone from strength to strength. It has not only been shown in cinemas around the world but has also won several awards including Winner of Best Asian Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, and best Arab Film in Abu Dhabi. Last but not least it was Palestine’s 2013 foreign language Oscar Entry.
When speaking with Annemarie at Southbank Centre in London she told me how she had always loved to write but how studying at Columbia University in NYC opened up directing to her, which now is her main passion. Directing the film “Salt of this Sea” and its release in 2008 made her the first Palestinian women to direct a feature film. While she won various awards for this film as well she suspects that it also might have caused her being denied entry into her homeland Palestine subsequently. She now lives in Jordan from where she can see Palestine and its borders across the valley – constantly reminding her of the injustice she and many other Palestinians face. This experience inspired her newest film “When I saw you”, which reflects Annemarie’s hopeful and still positive attitude that one day the Palestinian question will be resolved no matter how unlikely that might seem right now.
For the latest updates on the film and showings check out its FB page.
… are usually reserved for a bit of a lie in and a slow and long breakfast unless I decide to flee the big city for a day and go for a walk in the countryside. After what is most of the time a six-day week I relish having this free and quiet time. So, when I had to go out early on a Sunday morning to capture some images of Streatham High Road without its heavy traffic a couple of weeks ago I wasn’t exactly excited. Trotting down to what is supposed to be the longest High Road in the UK, still being half asleep, I was somewhere between trying to be positive and acknowledge that it was quite a beautiful autumn morning and being a bit grumpy.
What a surprise though when I saw what looked like a very old car going by…and then a second one and a third. After a few more of these, which I now know are actually (pre 1905 manufacture) veteran cars, I realised that this must be the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Suddenly, my mood changed and I was actually quite happy that I had crawled out of bed earlier than usual – what better Sunday than this to have had to go down to the High Road to take pictures. There were some truly wonderful cars with lovely drivers and passengers bracing the cold with a smile and a wave to the spectators.
What a pleasant little surprise getting up early on a Sunday morning can bring! 🙂
When re-reading some of my blog posts I wrote when working on a project about the primary school in a rural village a few days ago it struck me how compelling they were. It surprised me because I don’t think of myself as a particularly good writer. I wondered what made them as compelling as they are? The answer I believe is simple- they spoke from my heart and are absolutely authentic.
While reading the posts made me realize again how fortunate I was to get that particular commission it also made me question what I have (or have not) been doing recently. Admittedly, the start into 2013 didn’t go exactly as planned. The going has been much tougher than expected in various ways, and it has slowed me down significantly.
However, I was reminded of what is so important to me. Living with passion, making a difference, and experiencing life in all it has to offer.
To do just that is neither easy nor comes natural to me. However, leaving corporate life and living a freelance life instead has given me the space to experience life differently, to make more room to reflect, to get insights to myself and to grow. It has given me the opportunity to do the things I am passionate about, to try to make a tiny bit of difference in this world. Sure, it has been at times an excruciatingly slow process but I believe I am moving into the right direction.
At times I have been debilitated with anxiety, at others with doubt and at yet others with being clueless about how to continue.
Beginning to accept that that is ok and that we are here to experience the whole spectrum of emotions and not only a few has made a big difference. Sure, the joy and success is fun, and the anxiety and doubts less so. To accept and allow all emotions requires courage. Courage because it is so utterly uncomfortable to feel uncertainty, fear, and pain. The funny thing is, however, that once we accept the existence of exactly these feelings it becomes so much easier to live with them. They lose their grip and their negative impact. It is a slow process but there is a trust in me that over time things will turn out fine. I need to be patient.
If only I let go of my expectations of how life is supposed to be, and how I am supposed to feel life will take its way. Sometimes it will be fun and sometimes less so. However, the joy and happy moments will grow the more I let go, and I believe that bit by bit I will find a way to live with authenticity, passion, and purpose.
A foolish believe? A romantic one? Or a realistic one? If any of these?
This week I received the sad news that Siegfried Adams who was part of my “For our children” project last year passed away at the end of July.
I was incredibly lucky that I was able to interview him for my project last year for he was still very fit mentally and had a vast knowledge of the village and life there over the last decades. He was wonderful to talk to – very honest and straightforward with the odd humorous comment and smile. When he saw my first (short cut) version of my multimedia piece at the celebrations in the village in June 2012, which is only 20 minutes long, he commented that so much information was missing! There was indeed and I promised him to make a full version very soon. A year later this is still not done and I regret that he will never get to see it. However, it also reminds me to return to the project no matter what and to make of it what it deserves to be – a complete version with all the amazing material I collected. One more regret I have? To not have taken even more time to talk to Mr. Adams than I already did for there is so much more I could have learnt and so much more I could have recorded & preserved.
Last week I photographed various events of the Islington Exhibits for Rowan Arts; ranging from private views to guided walks. While event photography is probably not the most creative kind of photography I love its potential of meeting interesting and wonderful people. Last week I did exactly that; I met a lot of great people and had quite some fun running from one event to another.
One of the wonderful people I met lat week is Caroline Kate Coleman whose paintings were part of a group exhibition at Cubitt Gallery. She is 92 years old, has a wonderful smile and, as she told me with a wink, “has never been kissed” .
If you find yourself in the Westend over the weekend despite the sunny weather forecast don’t miss the excellent “Whole in the wall” exhibition at Ayyam Gallery. It was listed as one of the top things to do on the weekend by Business Week, and it shows some of Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar’s work .
Khaled chipped at the security wall between Israel and the West Bank to collect 53 kilos of rubble in order to build a tall wall for display in the gallery. Especially the hole in the wall which is in the shape of Palestine has been a popular feature of the exhibition. In addition, the artist created various other objects with the rubble he collected, which are based on sporting paraphernalia and which are on display in the exhibition. A series of video works completes the artist’s reflection on the issue of the wall separating his homeland from Israel.
If you like to learn more about the social aspect of this conflict and how it affects people in their daily life through some sensitive and intelligent art work make sure to visit Ayyam Gallery before August 3rd.
Ayyam Gallery, 143 New Bond Street, London W1S 2TP
London’s premier live Jazz venue Hideaway is located in Streatham of all places. It opened its doors in 2009 and doesn’t only show some of the very best Jazz, Swing and Soul & Blues performers but was also the Parliamentary Jazz Award Winner “UK’s best venue 2011”.
I have been a committed Streathamite since I moved here more than six years ago, and hence it was a wonderful surprise when I was asked whether I would like to become Hideaway’s photographer a couple of weeks ago! So, now you will find me hanging out at this lovely venue on most weekends capturing the action while listening to great music. Not a bad job at all.;-)
The fabulous Wayne Hernandez made the start last Friday, and it was a fantastic night. The audience had a great time and was dancing all over the place when the second set started. Some pics of the musicians are below…and one of these evenings make your way to London’s South West for an excellent night out too – it is worth it!