For me photography has become a way of attempting to make sense of the very strange world that I see around me. I don’t ever expect to achieve that understanding, but the fact that I am trying comforts me.
My first response to this quote is that it may only apply to reportage and documentary photographers as they venture out to tell the story of the oppressed or places and people we cant access and bring back the images that explain, document and explore what we at home cannot see. They are the truth seekers, which itself is a loaded statement as we know. But in truth I feel Subotzky’s quote applies to all image makers. There is a definite driving force that you cannot ignore when you are taking photos. One is caught up in the need to record and express and that the act of doing so in some way helps you to make sense of the world.
During a dinner party a while back my friends who work in accounts and I.T were trying to get their heads round the drive force behind artists. I was discussing the usual frustrations of being freelance and the unpredictable nature of work and income. I’ve had this struggle my entire career and although I am to a degree used to it, it is still very difficult to deal with. Never knowing when a job is coming in and the perpetual frustration of cash flow, budgeting and spending ability. The relationship between work and income for my two friends is so drastically different to mine. The mind-set they embody and have built up over a twenty-year career leaves them very much entrenched in a particular way of seeing how ones lives ones life and their spending power. They not only earn a very impressive amount of money but are paid regularly and their work provides so may other financial benefits that any freelance artists can only dream of.
My friends suggested that other employment would be wiser and more stable. Of course telling an artist or creative person that they must ignore such endeavours and urges and replace that with a regular job that may sustain existence but not fulfil the soul and calling is never going to go down well. Its not that I have not supplemented my income through other means in the past and to a degree I still do. But I’m reminded of a quote by Mark Twain.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
I look back on all the incredible places my work has taken me, the amazing people I’ve met and photographed and the memorable experiences my photography has allowed me to be part of. It’s truly wonderful and to be allowed the privilege and responsibility to record such life changing memorable celebrations feeds the soul in such a rewarding way. To be paid to represent the world through your eyes and express such encounters as you desire with your own unique talent is simply amazing. So for sure my I.T. and accountant buddies earn a lot more than me and enjoy stability and all manner of financial benefits. But there is so much more to life than that and if you have a voice or a desire to express and represent the world that cannot be held down and suppressed. I'm doing my best Mr Mark Twain to explore, dream and discover! There are times when I’m stuck for days in front of a computer frustrated with the nightmare of software issues and so forth. But thankfully there are plenty of moments when I’m asked to record and be witness to some wonderful event that provides so much excitement and creative joy that I’m in the zone and doing what I feel I’m meant to be doing.
On this occasion I was asked to be present at the Ralph Lauren Christmas shopping evening. There were carol singers, a Christmas wreath making demo, a big cuddly festive bear and more mulled wine that a Bavarian Christmas market mulled wine tasting party on Christmas Eve. Ralph Lauren certainly know how to create a cosy festive shopping environment and the Bond St. flag ship store is so absolutely stunning and sumptuous it’s a total pleasure to wander though and absorb the beauty, luxury and splendour of it all.
So for sure this was an evening where I am reminded how blessed and fortunate I am to be doing something I love and recording such a lovely occasion. Mark Twain would be proud that I’ve sailed away and am experiencing life, as I should. And naturally that does not only apply to my work life, I am absolutely trying to live a fulfilling life in all areas. Carpe Diem as I’m sure Mark Twain tweets daily.