Tales of Twenty Twelve was a look at a few of the stories and images I lived and created in this past calendar year. Never normally count calendar years. Do not know why I do, count that is, this year, not intending to make a habit of it. Next New Years I shall be outside of time somewhere in the world. These are a few scattered thoughts just because, well there’s no reason really, just writing stuff in my Journal of Impossible Things.
Recently I had the pleasure of talking about my images, work, life and nomad existence for 3 hours in front of a crowd of 37 people. Nothing like hearing myself trying to babble on for that long and attempting to still make sense (relatively) to cause some reflection on nomad living. And how strange it was to describe nomadism, something so natural to me, so alien to most people. I count the take-off to Namibia in April 2009 as the time I entered the nomad mindset. A lot of time traveling since then, good and bad. If I won a billion bucks? Would not fundamentally change my life. Am living how I want to live doing what I want to do, for the first time in my life. That’s a rather huge and pleasant thought that struck me as I was preparing for the presentation. I may dislike myself often, may feel incredibly low and alone, but it’s a good thought to hold on to: would not change a thing, it’s the life I want, so much to see, the ups when they happen are so amazing. All of time and space at my door step and yes, admittedly rather obsessed by Doctor Who, it’s the one person with whom I identify completely, also he is the most briliant of time travelers!
What does photography mean ?
Having shot quite a few jobs at events, clubs, concerts and festivals this past year I am at times amazed at the amount of cameras and coverage of every single second that happens. Half the people will have cameras or camera phones snapping away. It is not necessarily a bad thing but it freezes me in my tracks, makes me wonder what is happening to photography. What value does it have? Why am I shooting at all? A lot of these images will go on social media and have a lifespan of maybe all of 5 minutes before they die of old age in a social media news stream. Try and tell myself I am doing something different. I aim to take one image of the whole event, one image that encapsulates the night, the person, the performance, the feeling, has long-lasting value. But really, what’s the value of photography when everyone is doing it, everything is being covered and shared instantly.
Is the art of photography drowning in a massive sea of mind numbing mediocrity? A world where content is taken for granted, is expected to be free?
Work. Make things
But then I think “Breathe. And just make pictures”. Make pictures, things, words, stuff. Do the stuff only I can. And stay off social media as much as possible as it makes me sad. The past year or so I have managed to try and torture myself slightly less about my work and actually do work and just make stuff. A lot of stuff. Document everything. Shoot exactly what I want, exactly how I want and work like no one is watching. Pour myself completely into my work, every soul fiber and feeling. Hence the black and white. My mind is a dark place often. It’s how I see the world often. What I want to express. Pour myself into it. Has made a tremendous difference in my work, in how I work and feel about my work. A good friend pushed me in this direction, gracias amigo. Best advice ever. I still wonder all the time what it all means but I will keep shooting, documenting, writing, publishing and do it completely in my own warped way. Am aware of the major influences presently in my work and hope to just keep shooting and find my way into more original work. Forever searching, digging, looking, working, obsessed.
Forever searching, working, and I am starting to have faith in the fact if I just keep working, keep striving to improve, keep meeting people, onwards and forwards, unexpected doors will open, opportunities will present themselves. Rarely does any opportunity come knocking on your door if one sits back and wait. Waiting is not my thing anyway, hate patience. Just make things, work work work, open the doors that appear.
If I start mentioning names, I will worry all night long I am forgetting half. So let me just express my deepest gratitude to everyone who enables my nomadic life and open their minds, hearts and homes to me. Never ceases to amaze me, always in deep gratitude. You make it possible for me to keep doing impossible things.
Onwards and Forwards
Nothing to do in this nomad life but keep working, traveling, experiencing, documenting, writing, wondering, learning, all without filters, hoping someday to make sense of it all and make a difference. Will be bumpy but it is supposed to be.
“Run, clever boy.”
Top image by Daniel Milnor. Motel image by Charlene Winfred. Gracias amigos!
Great post – thanks for sharing. Why does social media make you sad? I am interested, as I find it quite disturbing myself! Cheers, Liz
Thank you Liz. I think it often makes me sad in the way that being in a massive crowd of people can make me feel very sad and alone.
Just found your site, I like the content so far and the good photography. I feel the same way about social media too…kind of sad; I believe is because it’s kind of boring and predictable..I mean most of the time it’s about “me” “me” and “only me”; the way I see it facebook like apps, leave exposed the fact that in one way or the other we are all very much like each other, hence make you wonder “wow…I’m just another brick in the wall” …at least to me it looks that way.
By the way, keep the good photo/writing.
Hey Flembot..great post as usual!
The reality with the changing times is that there is not a lot anyone can do about the changes that happen in the world.
Pre GFC Austal was turning over $500,000,000…now struggling to stay alive!
Times have changed and they haven’t changed enough with the times.
Kodak is another example of not moving with the times as they simply got left behind.
I too am in 2 minds about Social media as well, but I also recognise that this steam train is on full throttle and nothing is going to stop it!
Thanks buddy. I don’t aim to stop the social media train, I shall just not board 🙂
re: the drowning of the art of photography – now theres a question for ya! its certainly more noisy than ever with its mostly nonstop online exposure in this day and age… and even just calling it mediocricy is almost being to kind, i feel;o) – but as you say all one can do is move on… however, to hope for ‘makin’ sense of it all’ an even makin’ a difference i think is rather irrelevant, really… just my two cents…. life is life is life;o)
best & a happy present
Hi, thanks for the comment. I agree, mediocrity is a kind way of describing 99% of pictures posted even from people thinking they are photographers. Not that I am any better, it is just that we should all wait to post to share until we have something worthy. Making a difference, I don’t know, it’s important for me. All the best.
Just stay true to your self, yes nomadic life has drawbacks but it also has opportunities that only come once, follow your dreams and keep writing and taking pics…as to social media, it wont go away and I know how you feel sometimes it makes you feel like your very small but exposed at the same time if you get what I mean. Good luck with 2013 I know you will have some amazing adventures and will show us what we are missing….
Thanks so much Peta 🙂 thanks for the support, look very much forward to catching up again.
Hi Flemming, good post mate. Strikes a note with me, have pulled the facebook account a few months ago, lost my mobile phone 4 years ago and in no rush to replace. Good to keep in touch with what is going on but just the important stuff as you say. Main thing is to keep on your own path.