MOZAMBIQUE 2017 // TRAVEL


In July, I spent close to a month helping a non-profit research organisation collect data on the endangered megafauna off the coast of Tofo, Mozambique:


MOZAMBIQUE // COASTAL // PASTEL

These are some of the shots I took using my DSLR of the coastline out to sea around the headland between Tofo and Tofinho beach. We’d be up here most evenings humpback whale watching, recording their behaviour and position on a time-sheet. Because the Sun sets behind, the beaches and clouds are cast in a pastel spectrum in the twilight hours, accompanied by a slate-coloured sea.


MOZAMBIQUE // TRAVEL // MISC

The 3 day journey to Mozambique began at Heathrow, with my flight heading out to Maputo (the Mozambican capital) via Addis Ababa. Once in Maputo, I had to pit-stop for a night there before waiting for my internal flight up the country to Inhambane, the nearest airport to Tofo. The beaches and mangroves swamps along the coast made some spectacular organic shapes. Eventually I arrived at Tofo, and began my research volunteering, mostly deep diving, collecting data on the megafauna.


MOZAMBIQUE // NATURE // BLUES

On the way back from one of our research dives, we came across an idling humpback whale. Immediately our skipper kills the engines and we glide closer. As the humpback wasn’t too bothered with our presence, we made the call to take a dip and get a better view. We were around 8-10m away. Such stoic animals – a highlight of the trip!

Another gob-smackingly majestic creature we’d bump into were the whale-sharks, named such after the way they feed and their size. The ones we encounter are generally juvenile males, usually 10m in length, who have made their way to Tofo to take advantage of the plankton blooms that exist thanks to nutrient up-welling in the area. They feed around 7 hours a day, consuming around 21kg of plankton! Being so calm (braindead) and docile, we can afford to get quite close to them, around 3m, which sort of explains the goofy mugshots I managed to take!

On top of whale-sharks and humpbacks, we saw dolphins, turtles, manta rays and huge sting rays -I’ll aim to get those images up soon.


MOZAMBIQUE // CLOUDS // VIVID

Further shots of the coastline, focusing on the dramatic cloud formations that loomed over. The first image, has the unintentional form a mushroom cloud, as if a nuclear bomb was being tested off the shore. The symmetry as well, also reminds me of a stereotypical Rorschach ink-blot test. I’m pretty sure they’re just clouds though.


I thoroughly enjoyed Mozambique, and I think it’s had such a positive impact on me. I made some great friends, and we all intend to hop back over to Tofo next year. I can’t stress enough how important the work is that is done out there protecting the reefs and these animals. All of these ecosystems are on the brink of disappearing into nothing within the next few decades. Another reason to go back and help out.


 

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HIGHLANDS 2017 // NATURE


After the onslaught of exams had ended, a bunch of us headed up to the Scottish Highlands, specifically the Cairngorms. We stayed in a lodge in a close to Aviemore, which was our base-of-operations, so to speak. From here we went off to do rock-climbing, gorge-scrambling, and some hill walking:


HIGHLANDS // NATURE // DESAT

 

We used up our Sunday to climb a huge hill-range near to us. The cloud layer was low and dense that day, so the last 100m up to the summit had us completely submerged in fog, which was super atmospheric. 30km later, we arrived back at the base with sore feet, but pleased with the walk we’d just finished.

Over the next few days we took it easier and headed through one of the valley forests to go for a swim in a nearby loch. I and two other brave/stupid boys, went for a dip. The other three, being concerned for our safety, ran off with our clothes! After we’d negotiated them back, a brutal pine-cone war commenced: we still hadn’t forgiven them. Once wounds had been dressed by the medics in our group, we set off home.


 

BERLIN 2015 // TRAVEL


This was my first time visiting Berlin, and because of my company I was mainly restricted to playing the tourist. These shots were taken on the move with an iPhone and Canon Powershot, so understandably casual. My 2017 collections are much more photographically minded! Written retrospectively:


BERLIN 2015 // SCOUT // B&W

Black and white shots from around Central Berlin. One afternoon included a walk over to the Bauhaus Museum, the Gemäldegalerie, Bauhaus museum and the Holocaust Memorial. We then continued around the go-to sights of Potsdamer Platz, Brandenburger Tor and the Reichstag. Staying rubber banded to the Spree we strolled around the Tiergarten to the northwestern corner.

The 1957 Interbau, was an architecture collaboration project located in the Hansaviertel, an area sandwiched between the heart of the Tiergarten and the river Spree. The first image in the collection is of one of the tower blocks constructed in the Hansaviertel, but apparently was not an original building to the Interbau. The area originally was intended to show off the prosperity of the west during Berlin’s occupation, but hasn’t been maintained well since it’s conception. Signs of revitalisation are now seeping in.


BERLIN 2015 // SCOUT // DE-SAT

Some de-saturated shots taken on the aforementioned routes. The first two images are from the Holocaust Memorial -you may recognise the blocks if you’ve been there yourself. Last two are skylights from the Gemäldegalerie.

ATHENS 2014 // TRAVEL


We visited Athens in August for a week over my birthday. We stayed in an apartment outside, but each day we tripped in. Athens was a bit of a culture shock to me. The first European city I’ve ever visited that could have looked like it was the capital of a middle eastern country. The white flat-blocks fill the valley floor of the hill ranges like a sea of concrete. Written retrospectively:


ATHENS // TRAVEL // STREET

This is a collection of individual photos that each have some interesting aspect to them, but aren’t particularly cohesive, other than the fact they each capture a little bit of the street-scene of Athens.


ATHENS // TRAVEL // LANDSCAPES

Some wider scale shots of the valleys and ranges of East-Attica, the region Athens sits in. The arid landscape lets the dusty buildings seemlessly integrate into the hills.


ATHENS // TRAVEL // ROOFSCAPES

Roofscape shots of Athens taken at sunset, from the Acropolis plateau. It’s best to observe the photos as a textural mosaic, rather than individually.

Post-processing is inspired by the work of French artist Philip Cognée, who paints in a similar fashion to the blotchy white forms that buildings take, and the bleeding blacks of the shadows. I felt it best reflected the intense blurring heat of the city, and the déjà vu-inducing repetition of the almost derelict white tenements.

The spread of these concrete tenements and their condition is an interesting one. The legislation in the city meant that for most families or businesses, it was cheaper/profitable to sell their low-level property to a building company, who would build a flat-block on the lot, and then offer a flat to the family for free as part of the deal. This was very enticing to a lot of residents, evident by the images above. But it meant that many buildings considered part of the heritage of the city were raised, and the new character became these soulless, white towers.

On a taxation front, if a flat-block hadn’t finished being constructed, then the building was exempt from certain forms of tax. This was originally because it is very common in Greece for all generations of a family to live together, and so it made sense to leave a roof ready to build another floor as to fit the upcoming family members in. Unsurprisingly, everybody left their rebars sticking out of their roofs, simply because they’d pay less tax. The overall result is that in many places in Athens and the rest of Greece, everywhere looks to be in disrepair, derelict.