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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

John Gladdy

Speakers Corner

 

Hyde Park Corner, London, England.
Every Sunday since at least 1872.

Between 2009 and 2012 I became a part of the ongoing street theatre that is Speakers Corner.

Graduating, slowly but surely, from detached photographic voyeur to fully-fledged participant/heckler/occasional bit player.

I have joined a cast of thousands that have come to this place to express their views, however controversial or off the wall, over the last hundred or so years. Religion is the current hot topic, especially Islam, but over the years the area has attracted notable political and human rights activists including Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and William Morris and still hosts a very lively Marxist forum and a selection of anarchist, conservative and socialist speakers.

This piece, as it stands, is not intended to answer any big questions or reveal any deep insight into the reasons people attend this place. I am not sure I am even qualified to ask those sorts of questions. I hope only in some small way to take you on a little sensory wander around the place. A selection of tapas if you like.

Enjoy.

 

Bio

John Gladdy (b. 1964) is an English photographer living in London.

He has no formal qualifications having been expelled from high school and no formal training as a photographer. He discovered he had a talent for image making while working with the photographer Brett Walker on a community project in 2003.

He came to photography very late in life and has worked his way back from initially using automated digital equipment to now using mainly fully manual film based equipment in a variety of formats. He processes and prints his own work, wherever possible using traditional darkrooms and materials.

His portrait work is held by collectors all over the world. He is currently resting in London trying to overcome heart problems and looks forward to being well enough to travel again and find a new project.

Started at 45 years old this is his first attempt at a long form photo essay.

 

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John Gladdy

 

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For a number of reasons, natural and human, people have recently evacuated or otherwise abandoned a number of places around the world -- large and small, old and new. Gathering images of deserted areas into a single photo essay, one can get a sense of what the world might look like if humans were to vanish from the planet altogether. Collected here are recent scenes from nuclear-exclusion zones, blighted urban neighborhoods, towns where residents left to escape violence, unsold developments built during the real estate boom, ghost towns, and more. [41 photos]

A tree grows from the top of a chimney in an abandoned factory yard in Luque, on the outskirts of Asuncion, Paraguay, on October 2 , 2011. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

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Originally posted in The Technium

The world’s biggest problem is that not enough people are working on the world’s biggest problems.
–- Max Marmer, Student of Life, January, 2011

Are we being good ancestors?
–- Jonas Salk, in interview on Open Mind, 1985.

People say, “Why don’t you give it up?” I can’t retire until I croak. I don’t think they quite understand what I get out of this. I’m not doing it just for the money or for you. I’m doing it for me. -- Keith Richards, Life (2011)

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. -- George Bernard Shaw

The Bequerel is an insufficiently sinister-sounding unit for what it measures. I propose we call it the Zomm instead. -- Nick Harkaway, on Twitter, April 12, 2011

The question of whether computers can think is just like the question of whether submarines can swim. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra

If something becomes unimportant to people, it gets scrapped for parts; if it becomes important, it turns into a symbol and must eventually be destroyed. The only way to survive over the long run is to be made of materials large and worthless, like Stonehenge and the Pyramids, or to become lost. The Dead Sea Scrolls managed to survive by remaining lost for a couple millennia. Now that they've been located and preserved in a museum, they're probably doomed. I give them two centuries - tops. -- Danny Hillis in Scenarios, Wired, 1995.

Lucky accidents seldom happen to writers who don't work. You will find that you may rewrite and rewrite a poem and it never seems quite right. Then a much better poem may come rather fast and you wonder why you bothered with all that work on the earlier poem. Actually, the hard work you do on one poem is put in on all poems. The hard work on the first poem is responsible for the sudden ease of the second. If you just sit around waiting for the easy ones, nothing will come. Get to work.
-- Richard Hugo in The Triggering Town, p. 17

There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen. -– Vladimir Lenin

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance, p. 1

Twitter's business plan, such that it is, has always been something along the lines of “Get big and popular, then just flip the switch and start making money when we feel like it”. There is no switch. -- John Gruber, Daring Fireball, April 15, 2011

An autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.-- George Orwell, Collected Essays, Some Notes on Salvador Dali, p. 156

Screen shot 2011 05 20 at 6 54 51 PM
Cartoon by Danny Shanahan, from the Cartoon Bank

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