When people would ask me what I did for a living, I'd sometimes hesitate in answering. You see, I had an issue with being known as a photographer or even being referred to as an artist. And it was more than just the connotations and expectations people had of those titles.
It runs deeper than that...
Let me take you back in time to a decade long since passed. It was the 1980s. It was the decade John Lennon was assassinated, the movie E.T. was released, Michael Jackson performed Thriller, a massive famine breaks out in Ethiopia, the wreck of the Titanic is found, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl occurs and the Berlin Wall finally falls in Germany.
But I didn't care. Not in the least.
Or more likely I was unaware of those events which did not seem to directly influence my life as a carefree child. The world in which I lived out my young childhood was small, yet big. Life was simple and it was good. It was a world made up of adventure, imagination and innocence. In my world I was invincible and everyone I knew was safe. Nothing could go wrong.
And then it did.
The decade came to an end.
Time moved on and decade after decade passed by. I grew older and the people around me grew older. And then they started dying. They became no more than a memory. And now, even in this moment as I write, I'm taken back to last week when I sat in the front pew listening to an account of my grandmother's life read out at her funeral. It was 5 months since her daughter's passing and 5 and half years since her husband's passing. These were people I knew personally. These were people that were close to me. And then they were gone.
Why do I tell you all this? Well, maybe in the hope that it puts things into perspective. You can take this as my attempt at getting to the essence of what really matters. You see, what really matters to me is not spending my life taking pretty pictures. Nor is it in running a successful business, making money or even becoming well-known.
And here's where we get back to the heart of the issue and the dilemma I face. The industry in which I'd found myself was one notoriously built upon the superficial and the artificial. We had somehow lost our way in there, so much so that we'd forgotten there was a real story behind the facade. We'd forgotten that there was indeed space for real creative expression. I know that the time I have in this life is valuable. Far too valuable to be spent on the meaningless and the artificial. I've learnt that the real thing, in all it's glory, in all it's nakedness, is far better. It is that which resonates deeply within us and has the power to change us.
And it is for this reason I am forever searching for truth.
That is why I do what I do.