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Tag Archives: Victoria square

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022

A readymade garden in the middle of Birmingham really caught the imagination of the public.  PoliNations was not like any other garden and there was huge anticipation on what to expect. We were promised lots more activity during the B2022 Fesitval surrounding the Birmingham Commonwealth games. This display was stunning and also so different to what had gone before in the festival.  PoliNations is difficult to sum up in a few words.  I will try to describe the scene but I am aware that the gardens brought out many different experiences from those who went.

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Reflections in the Garden

To put it simply, Victoria square was transformed into a garden.  The paving stones, concrete, and other parts of the square were covered with grass and flowers. There were 5 manmade trees with large umbrella like canopies.  These trees were 40 ft high and towered above the landscape with the trunks covered with a colourful pattern.  At ground level, there were walkways through a garden of plants.  Access was by several entrances which lead to different zones.   Iconic plants such as apple, fern, roses and tulips were featured.  Other parts which were called Fringe, Sunny or Temperature zones had flowers to match the theme.  The map shown provides a key to the different areas.  The sensory garden had many different variety of flowers all based on those you would normally find in the City.  I visited twice once while it was raining and the second time when the sun shone. I enjoyed all the textures, interaction with people and the use of mirrors on the public seating.  

There was a full programme of events including music, dance and theatre which were held on either the large stage or the many smaller places through out the installation.  I was not able to attend these shows but my visits during the day gave me a flavour of the place. PoliNations was magical but quirky, natural but also unreal.  The diversity of the place was displayed in the range of flowers, the colours on offer and the people passing through. The place eventually caught up with you and made you sit down and take in the uniqueness of everything.  

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Taking Time Out

PoliNations was a photographers delight and there were many different views of the place with pictures taken with my camera.  There were many other stunning pictures taken using drones but I am a simple foot on the ground photographer and this is my interpretation of the place. A simple search on Instagram shows the variety of pictures that were taken. Please enjoy my pictures of my visit to PoliNations which serve as a memory of an extra-ordinary visit.

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Map of PoliNations

More pictures to view of PoliNations in the rain and the sun.

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Rain does not stop people from enjoying the gardens.
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Take it slow
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Relax
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Take it easy
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Have fun
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Great interactions either live or virtual
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
PolNations
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
The Floosie in the Jacuzzi and PoliNations

24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022

Taking part in the @24hoursproject did challenge me in my photography.  I learnt about it from a fellow photographer who also happened to be the UK ambassador for the project.  When Anu told me about the project then I just had to get involved.  After registering and donating to the designated charity, I got ready for the day.  The charity chosen by the 24 hour team was supporting the work of Yonton Te which means “heart of the tree”. The donations will go to a local community in Chapas Mexico and the website provides more information on this worthwhile cause.

24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 1 to 4

The theme of the 24 hours was to document the general human condition with emotions of love, humour, sadness, joy, fulfilment, pain, loneliness).  As you will see from my photographs, I strayed away from the brief.  This was not my intention but I was so focussed on getting a picture done once an hour that I forgot about the theme. Reviewing the photo feed of the project, many people went into their local cities, whilst I decided to base my 24 hours around my life at home.  You will see that my first 8 hours evolved around sleeping and my breakfast. Also there were not many people stirring in Knowle village early on a Saturday morning.

24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 5 to 8

At 10:00 am I went into Birmingham.  By chance, my train driver was Yo Naysan, a fellow photographer. As the train pulled in he stuck his head out of the driver’s window and said hello. On arriving into Birmingham, I met up with Anu and her partner Kate and wandered around the city.  I photographed the PoliNations display in Victoria Square, the Library of Birmingham, Gas Street Basin and the University of Birmingham, Exchange.  There were people queuing for the book of remembrance for the Queen.

24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 9 to 12
24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 13 to 16

Many of these are linked to tackling climate change and foolishly I did not take pictures of people. However in my outtakes I did and you will see many of these were fun pictures.  Driving back home I pondered my contribution to the 24 hour project and took several pictures in the village at night.  To recap, the main aim for this project was to experience 24 hours of pictures and see if I was able to complete the task. I succeeded in this task next year will be able to tackle the project in a different way as I know what to expect.

24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 17 to 20
24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 21 to 24

And just for fun here are my outtakes of the day.


Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row

By far the most popular venue for the #keyofthecitybrum was Birmingham’s newly built skyscraper, 103 Colmore row. On the 18th floor, there is a south facing viewing platform that provides amazing views of the City’s major buildings.  When the Key started, Instagram was inundated with pictures of the City of Birmingham from this platform.  Many of these pictures were excellent and circulated by the social media team at 103 Colmore Row.  I left my visit to the building till late July and wondered how I could do a different picture from the platform.

Arriving in the foyer of the building with Nicky Warwickshire, my photo companion for the day @nickywarwikshire, we were met by Touwa, one of the volunteers for the Key to the City Brum.  Touwa welcomed us to 103 Colmore Row, Birmingham, England. He explained that the newly built building was a 108-metre tall 26-storey commercial office skyscraper.  We were going to the 19th Floor and above this floor is the soon to be opened restaurant on the 24th floor. We were not going to the viewing platform but to a floor that provides a 360o view.  The floor was empty, and I was able to get pictures of buildings such as the BT tower and the Rotunda.  I even did a panorama to take in the skyscrapers.  It was also possible to capture views of the people visiting who were fascinated with the views.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Admiring the view
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Panorama of the City

My different picture?  I got down low and framed the top of the BT tower in the frame of the windows.  I was pleased as I had got a different view which still conveys the sense of height above the city.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
A different view of the BT Tower
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
My picture on BBC Midlands Today

Finally a few more pictures showing the colours of the City for the Commonwealth Games taken from the 19th floor of 103 Colmore Row.

Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Looking over the City and beyond. What can you see?
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
Colours on the pillars.
Key to the City Brum, Fierce Festival, 2022, 103 Colmore Row
The view with everyone’s favourite the BT Tower.

My Journey with the Key
If you wish to review my journey then I have published all my visits on my blog as follows.


This series of pictures features Birmingham centre just after the clocks have gone back. Why is this so important. Sunrise for the next couple of weeks is around 7 am and that is the time that I get into Birmingham. When I took these pictures, I did not have any theme attached to them as I just felt like I needed to stroll around the city and see what is happening.

A lone figure in Victoria Square

There is a fair amount of change happening around Birmingham. This includes the next phase of the Metro tram linking up between Grand Central and Broad Street. There are also many new buildings going up around Chamberlain Square. So many changes happening. I then moved onto Gas Street Basin and caught the light from the early morning sun.

The view to Centennial Square with a lone figure

It was only when I reviewed the pictures that I noticed a figure in each of the pictures. Maybe it is the same person that was following me around the city as I was taking photographs. Whoever he/she or they were, they do add a point of interest and a story to the pictures.

Looking towards the mailbox with a lone figure
Looking towards the sunrise

The Birmingham International Dance Festival comes to the City every two years. There is an extensive programme of dance related events.  It is the sixth festival but it was my first experience.  The meeting was organised by Igersbirmingham and when the announcement popped up on my Instagram account, I immediately signed up for it.  I was also unsure who would be there but the chatter on instagram told me that there would be a few seasoned photographers going to the event.  On a Saturday lunchtime in June, I met the other Instagrammers outside St Philip’s cathedral.  We got our wrist bands plus a voucher for a free coffee and cake and made our way to Victoria Square.  The stage was set outside the Council House and we stood around waiting for the first dance act.  After a few minutes, I became aware of four men in what I can only describe as balloon suits, starting to make their presence felt in the square.  They started pushing against people and then slowly they began to dance.  They were hilarious and with a mixture of humour and surreal movements began to do various routines.  Their body suits were filled with air and made them look ridiculous but this was part of the fun.  They interacted, danced and had fun.  They moved on to New street, bouncing and dancing with the shoppers.  I did not know whether to follow but looking at other photos from the event, I wish I did. The name of the dance troupe – Didier Théron

However, back at the stage there was another act starting about a boy and the moon.  The moon was on a trapeze circle and the boy was below.  The story told how he wished to get up to the moon and he also had a fight with a chimney sweep and a dragon!!!  Whatever the result it was a great spectacle and was very clever in its delivery.  The name of the this dance troupe – 2FacedDance

The next dance was by two women who were sat on their own bench.  They were Can Do Dance and it was a thoughtful and reflective piece of dancing that caught my imagination and I hope that I have caught the intense feelings and emotions that were shown by the dance moves.

It was not possible to stay around for the whole day and there were many more acts to follow.  I caught three of the acts and  I enjoyed the quality and standard on display. I will be on the front row when the festival comes around in two years time.

 

BIDF is produced by DanceXchange.