Beneath the comfy blanket of open-mindedness

Scene from 'La mala educacion'

Scene from the movie 'La mala educacion' by Pedro Almodóvar

Apart from the news of endless riots in Africa and/or Asia, another topic caught my attention during this week. It was the controversial incident of a gay couple thrown out of a pub in Soho for displaying their affection in public.

I first saw the news in the Guardian , but I was intrigued by the comments of several followers of the BBC programme World Have Your Say on Facebook.

I won’t pick any names or concrete examples, as anyone interested can read them by him/herself, but many of them were against homosexuality or at least against public displays of affection when it comes to love between two persons of the same sex.

Of course, the opinions are very different as they come from people all over the world with different mentalities, cultures and education, but it was strange to find so many comments blaming the two guys who were asked to leave John Snow because they were being “obscene”.

I don’t know what they were really doing and how intimate they were, but as far as I know Soho is far from being a conservative , immaculate place in London. And to kick someone out from a pub because they are gay — well, that’s really racist and discriminative, isn’t it?

So this brings me to what I really want to emphasize, the fact that so many ‘westerns’ pose in the perfect, sincere image of open-minded people that understand the concept of politically-correctness and overcome any barriers of race, religion or sexuality. Which is not entirely true as a gram of racial segregation lays in many of them under that fluffy, elegant blanket of ‘anti-discrimination’ attitude.

I’m sure there are people who really feel that way without any absconded thought, but the rest just likes to pretend that they are better when it’s not really the case.

I am sure there is research on people’s real feelings towards racism – with everything that this involves – but I wonder what the results would be of an anonymous survey on at least 3,000 people coming from ‘civilised countries’ on a similar topic, including matters of homosexuality, immigration, interracial marriages etc.

Unfortunately I don’t think we really want to know the truth, cause it’s much more comfortable to point finger in public and then spit from behind.

I’d rather debate on topics such as ‘priests sexually abusing children/boys.’ That is what it should really bother us and make us nausea rather than two men/women kissing eachother in a pub in a city which is famous for extravaganza and libertine.


Semi-retired teacher captures village life in HDR photography

Simon Bull, 58, switched from teaching to high dynamic range photography, in order to capture the daily life in Hathersage for future generations.

Mr. Bull admits he has always been interested in photography, but only after finishing the 31 years of full teaching in Derbyshire Primary Schools, did he have time to focus on his hobby.

Mr. Simon Bull at the Christmas Market in Buxton

Mr. Simon Bull at the Christmas Market in Buxton

He chose HDR photography, a technique made with computer graphics, which produces an almost alive texture to the photos. In the last five years, Simon became known as the photographer of the village.

“People tend to ignore me in a positive way if I have my camera in my hand, so the resulting images are far more natural and informal, which people like.

“I’ve always thought about my images of local events being used at a future date as they do portray some aspects of village life and characters as seen in about 2005-2010,” he added.

Kenya’s unique experience

Not only local organisations have been interested in his style of photography, but he was also invited by a Fair Trade company to a trip to Kenya to capture “the processes of the wood carvers, the basket weavers and the metalworkers”.

Mr. Bull described this opportunity as “a very unique experience” as he saw all the places that tourists wouldn’t get to see, even though he was protected by police all the time.

Mr. Bull usually exhibits his photos at the end of the Hathersage Gala Week in July. But this year, he was also present at Christmas markets in Buxton, where he sold over £600 of images and agreed on two commissions – one wedding and work for a hotel website.

About a year ago, he produced images for the Hathersage Business Centre to help the sale of the business units in the centre. But HDR photography remains a hobby for him as he doesn’t rely on the income from it.

‘Great aptitude for photography’

Although he does not consider himself an artist, Simon Bull’s images have appeared in a variety of photographic journals. His work was recently published in an issue of the ‘Digital Photographer’ magazine. Mr. Bull is also a member of the project Living Art.

Simon Homfray, from Living Art, said: “I got to know Simon a little over the last few years and can vouch for him as a person of great aptitude for photography. He is a kind, warm and friendly person.”


Steam_and_Smoke_Dragon by Simon Bull

Always looking for interesting textures, Mr. Bull likes to take photos that “can make you feel the steam of trains, the light of the church, the snow or the people.”

Although his portfolio contains pictures from all around the world, he would not travel “for the sake of capturing particularly places.”

He believes “there are still plenty of images to be had locally as each day brings different light, different weather conditions or different events.”

Any of these images are available for sale – email giving details of the particular image or images you require. See pricing here.

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