‘Resurgam’

Anthropology, Environmental

 

 

_MG_6157

A set of turbines in Whitelee belonging to the the largest onshore wind farm in the United Kingdom.

In 1847, Charlotte Bronté published the first edition of her novel, ‘Jane Eyre’. It addresses the struggles that the transition of growth and progression can have on an individual. Throughout the chapters we read of Jane’s experiences and emotions under different circumstances and how her close friend Helen leads her into trusting in the faith of Christianity. The book is built on the foundations of morality and I feel its underlying message stands to represent our development as humanity on earth. The book’s protagonist is caught in a battle between her moral duty and earthly satisfaction. For many, caring for the planet and caring ourselves causes an intense equilibrium that the planet is currently losing. Jane loses her friend Helen to Consumption, otherwise known as Tuberculosis. Her honest life is cut short and prevents her from flourishing into the caring and compassionate figure she aspired to be. Her grave is inscribed with her name and the word, ‘Resurgam’ , meaning “I shall rise again” in Latin. To me, I see this as quote to represent earth’s recovery and how mankind can rise to tackle its perplexed morality in its attitude towards harvesting resources and living on its land. My title acknowledges the problems currently existing in the world, mainly due to climate change, but also provides a sense of hope and ambition for recovery.

_MG_6603

Compacted plastics are assembled into cubes and stacked in preparation for recycling.

 

‘La Linea Scura’

Anthropology

_MG_7711

In the spirit of ‘Dying Matters’ week, I feel compelled to open up about my experience in the Cardiology Ward of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

_MG_6678

In open heart surgery, the child is administered a general anaesthesia by specialists to guarantee that they are asleep and will not experience pain. During the surgical phase, an incision is made through the sternum/breastbone which is held open with clamps.

_MG_6792

As specialists attempt to repair the heart, tubes are temporarily inserted in various locations in the cardiac region, to divert and circulate the blood through the body whilst also maintaining it at body temperature – essentially this acts as a temporary heart.

 

_MG_6815.jpg

The mechanism allows for the heart to stop beating for the duration of the surgery.  This gives the heart the opportunity to regenerate and repair cardiac muscle, the valves and the surrounding blood vessels.

Once surgery is complete, the machine is removed and the heart is started again. The concept of the operation itself suspends an individual neither in a state of living or deceased, but in a condition of intermediacy.

_MG_7586

At the turn of this year I became involved with a family who were coming to terms with the reality of their youngest son, Tommy Simpson, being diagnosed with a heart disease. Each year, 1 in 145 children are born with this condition with some developing it at a later stage in childhood.

 

_MG_7610

The disease often leads to further impairments, Tommy needs to be attached to oxygen tanks to assist his breathing as the disease effects his respiratory system. He also struggles to hear and seeks stimulation and communication through visual aids.

 

_MG_7578

An iPad keeps Tommy entertained while he spends long hours in the hospital awaiting treatment.

           Tommy had been on the waiting list for a heart transplant for a while but during one of my visits to the ward, I was informed that he had been rejected from receiving the transplant. This meant that the next stage of transition would be palliative care. I spent time with his parents alone as they expressed their exhaustion from having to travel between hospitals from their home while raising their older son, who they had not informed of the news yet.

_MG_8459

I spent time with Jake, Tommy’s older brother in the hospital’s ’12 zone’ fun area. He maintains an admirably positive vibe while being aware of the critical nature of his younger brother’s condition.

Tommy is currently moving between Robin House Hospice and a hospital closer to home as the family progresses into the next phase of their journey. The family and nurses at the hospital exclaimed that people assume cardiac problems and hospice life is generally for the older generation with young bodies perceivably immune to conditions such as Tommy’s. My intention is to break these assumptions, showing the fragility of childhood and how a terminal illness can be lived out in relative harmony with the patient’s family and hospital care. 

Update – 10/6/17

Tommy has sadly passed away peacefully at Robin House Hospice. Rest in Peace to a special young man who in the short time I spent with taught me how to embrace and value the simpler things in life that myself and many take for granted.

‘Ingongyama’

Advertising, Environmental

          A key underlying principle to my photo-story relates to the donation of bicycles to countries in Africa. It is defined in the title of my project ‘Ingonyama’, relating to the Lion King’s iconic soundtrack the ‘Circle of life’.

Ingonyama

An old bike lies abandoned in a communal garage.

The initial charity I wanted to explore, Killie Can Cycle, donate bikes to Moldova and Africa where they are used as methods of transport to collect water and doing school runs. The Bike Station in Edinburgh also donate bikes do a varsity of countries in Africa which end up being used extensively in a variety of useful ways. The bicycles improve all aspects of life including health, education, economy and communities and generally enhance the lifestyle of any owner.

Ingonyama

Wheel rims hang from a strip on the ceiling waiting to be paired with a repaired bike.

‘The Bike Station’ is the longest running and most successful bike recycling charities in all of Scotland. The charity operates under three main principles:

To encourage and promote good mental and physical health through encouraging people to cycle”

‘To help people learn to ride their bicycles safely and to be able to repair them themselves”

“To help the environment by recycling and by promoting cycling as a means of transport”

Ingonyama

A mass of donated bikes are crammed into a temporary workspace after a fire tore through the main workshop.

There are three different stations located around Scotland, in Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow.  Each of the 3 branches main service is to refurbish and restore donated bicycles to then be sold at an affordable price, a three month warranty included in each sale.   As well as up-cycled bikes, both new and second hand parts and accessories are also sold.    

Ingonyama

Volunteers help load bikes into the van for a shift in location.

‘The bike station’ franchise also provide various other services, such as ‘fix your own bike’ workshops.  Through this service, people can hire a workspace and tools for the reasonable hourly rate of £4.00.   Experienced mechanics are available to offer the service users advice and alternatively to do the repair for people for a fee.  This service also expands to the mobile mechanic “Dr Bike” service which can be hired for corporate or community events.  Although repairing and selling bikes may seem like the main theme of the charity, the group take great principle in emphasising cycling proficiency and safety and are keen to help individuals cycle safely and implement this through their services.   

Ingonyama

Bikes are loaded into the back of the van to be shifted to another warehouse in Perth to create more room in the temporary workshop.

The fire

The Bike Station based recently experienced a devastating fire at their premises in Newington. In early September 2016, the fire damaged the shop, workshops and office space.  The structural damage caused unveiled asbestos, creating complications for assessing damage and beginning the refurbishment process and insurance claims. 

Ingonyama

Scotch pies stay warm by the gas fire, the cost of running the heater all day puts strain on the Station’s fragile budget.

Admirably, the staff and volunteers who have invested such considerable time (15 years) and energy into establishing and maintaining the business have temporarily relocated to another warehouse space, so that they continue to supply the city with affordable refurbished bikes. They acknowledge that the event has had adverse impact of various aspects of their beloved business, and are currently in the process of determining a more permanent location.  All services have continued without interruption with the exception of the Fix your own bike service, due to the dramatic loss of space. 

Ingonyama

Two volunteers discuss the rearrangements of bikes between warehouses.