Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts’

Into unchartered territory

November 8, 2010


I’ve well and truly settled back into the “other” world in which I sometimes live. That is the world of editing and post processing images, staring at the computer for over 10 hours a day and generally not getting out much, except to walk my dog, to whom I’m thankful for giving me a reason to do at least that much. 

Thankfully I will be hitting the road in a couple of weeks. A few twists and turns have led me to decide to travel to the Philippines. If all goes right, I’m supposed to do a seminar (or a few of them) on travel photography at one or maybe even a few photo clubs there. Originally I planned for this trip to last a couple of weeks en-route to India, but as I’m not easily satisfied with a short amount of time at a destination and love to “dig” deeper, as much below the surface as I can, I’ll most likely end up spending about four months exploring the country on a motorcycle (again if everything goes right).

My recent trip to Vanuatu reminded me of just how exhilarating it is to explore “unchartered” territory. I hope the Philippines will provide more of this exhilaration. There’s also a part of me which wants a new challenge, which wants to grow and to evolve  as a photographer and though India certainly isn’t short of opportunities for growth in that sense, I feel that over the years it’s become too much of a comfort zone, it’s time to see what else is out there, at least for now.

So, anyone in the Philippines who reads this blog, feel free to contact me here or via the email (on the website) and perhaps we can meet up, hang out and pick each other’s brains.

Into the Light: Amateur Photographer Magazine

September 17, 2009


This month there is a 6 page feature on my work in the “Amateur Photographer” – possibly the longest running photographic publication in the world. The article is called “Into the light” (as you can see above), fitting, considering the recent release of my eBook.


I’m excited about this one. The interviewer was great and really tried to get to the essence of what I do from a practical perspective. As a result the feature is a “to-the-point” look at my photography and at how I shoot. I hope they send me a copy, it’s still kinda exciting to see my work in print. The magazine (weekly publication) is available in the UK and Australia, and perhaps in other  English speaking countries.

My website was finally included and there’s even a very quick plug for my eBooks. If you’re a reader of my blog you’ll know that I’ve had a few frustrating experiences with people forgetting to include my website into the magazines, so I’m real glad about everything working out just as I had hoped.

Speaking of the eBooks, I want to thank everyone who bought them over the past couple of weeks and a special thanks to everyone who spread the word about them. The response was even better than the first time. The income will give me the freedom to move around and shoot the subjects that interest me, and that’s all a photographer can ask for.

Right now my wife and I are at her sister’s apartment in Northern Belarus. We’ve stopped here on the way to Braslav – an area which is supposed to have some fascinating traditional (relatively) villages. I’m really glad to get away from Minsk! It takes only a couple of weeks of being in the city to remember why it felt depressing, even when I was a 10-year-old. The overwhelming, oppressing communist architecture and city planning might be fascinating over a short visit, but not if you have to live amongst all that crap. It feels like everything was planned to make the individual feel insignificant. You walk for hundreds of meters from one shop to the next, the streets are wide enough to fit a football field, but at the same time, the apartments in which people live are tiny and stacked on top of each other over 9 stories and more. In short I have no love for Minsk.

On the way to Novopolotsk (where Tanya’s sister lives) I saw the romantic, beautiful side of Belarus – green meadows, stacks of hay, forests and villages. This is what I came here for and this is what I finally have a chance to shoot.

Well, that’s all for now. Tomorrow I’m off to Braslav, I pray to the “photography Gods” to give me what I seek.

Looking ahead.

June 27, 2009


I turned 28 the other day. For me every birthday since my 21st has brought mixed feelings. I rarely celebrate ‘getting older’ these days. It’s exciting to become an ‘adult’, but once you are one, well, the excitement pretty quickly wears off. Every birthday becomes a reminder that the clock is ticking, time isn’t standing still and your days on earth are limited. As if I wasn’t conscious of it all already, the death of that rather famous pop-icon was yet another reminder that we are all indeed mortal.

That sure is a morbid way of looking at things, especially for a young person, many of you will think. Hey, just stating a simple fact that no one can escape. I figure that since I realize this, I can at least try to make the most of what time I do have.

The life I’m currently living is the life I chose after finishing university. It’s the life I wanted. A 9-5 job just never appealed to me. I have done it (though not for long) hated it; and what’s the point of doing something we hate most of our lives?

I am very curious and I always feel the urge to express myself creatively, so, to put it simply, I chose to travel around the world, explore it, experience its different cultures and people and photograph some of what I see along the way.

It’s not a life for everyone and it’s not even entirely perfect for me, there’s the constant financial uncertainty that’s attached to this lifestyle and as I work on it, I have to compensate for months of fun with months of pretty full-on work in front of the computer, sorting out through images, emailing publications and agencies (something I don’t like so much) all that in hopes of getting rid of the financial uncertainty completely, some time in the not too distant future.

But the life I have is great, no complaints for most part :). There’s nothing better than the feeling of being alive, of being so present in the moment that you don’t need to reflect on the past or the future, just see/feel what’s in front and around you right now. That’s how it is most of the time, while I’m on the road. What’s even better is the fact that I share all my experiences with the one person that really matters – my wife Tanya.

What’s the point of all this? Why am I posting these thoughts on the blog? Well, I simply want to share a bit of my philosophy, it’s relevant to any people not doing what they want with their lives and it seems like there are a lot of you out there. We often say to ourselves – “Tomorrow”, but one day tomorrow becomes yesterday and you missed your chance.

Whether it’s a dream photography project you’ve been putting off for years or whatever else, the window of opportunity eventually closes. We have to seize the chance or regret things for eternity.

I’m going to seize my own chance, a chance to see some of my family members on the other side of the world this August. I haven’t seen my grandparents for far too long and they won’t be around forever, one grandfather has already gone and neither me nor my father had a chance to say good-bye . I wouldn’t really be going to Eastern Europe at this stage of my life and my career, if it wasn’t for my desire to spend time with them, but I will make the most of this time photographically. Hopefully I can scrape enough cash for a used car (reason I’m not getting a 5D MKII yet) and explore Belarus, Ukraine and perhaps Poland and Moldova, and of course photograph a few things along the way.

Though my mind wants to go to Africa, South America, some place new or at least back to the warmth and familiarity of Asia, my heart is telling me to go see my family and to take Tanya to see her family (they live in the same country). I guess sometimes, and this will sound very cheesy, you gotta follow your heart. I feel like spewing after using such clichéd phrases, but that’s the truth and there isn’t any better or simpler way of saying it.

Above is an image of a mother and daughter from the Palesie region of Belarus. The the mother was 93, the daughter 73 at the time the photo was taken. The region is quite famous for ‘producing’ people who live long and productive lives. Both, the daughter and the mother were still working in the garden, planting things and doing house chores. Palesie is one region which I want to revisit and explore in depth during this trip.