When you first meet someone, there’s no knowing where that brief encounter will take you. Currently, we are spinning on a giant rock that’s size is completely insignificant when compared to the void it is suspended in. As humans, we are such tiny specks. Though our impact whilst on this tiny blue dot is nothing short of magnificent. Remember that.
I write this from a place of gratitude and love.
This is a time for unfiltered honesty. No more “business tone of voice”, no more “I’ll make a point but politely”, just straight up balls to the wall honesty.
A few months ago friends and I received news that our buddy Matt had passed away while away travelling in Cambodia. Matt was a kind soul with a heart of gold. We shared a mutual love of Creedence Clear Water Revival and making inappropriate jokes at the worst of times. Those who’s life he entered can’t help but feel the empty space he has left. Be it the jibes over WhatsApp, incredible music recommendations or Alan Partridge quotes bellowed from the top of his voice.
We miss him.
Cliches aside, we all talk of the moments where we feel him around us. Be it the strange noises in the house or “that feeling” when playing his favourite music. I’m sure wherever he resides now, he’ll be kicking back in front of a huge stack of amps, with a fag hanging off his lip, teaching the late greats how songs should really be written.
I write this as his passing has hit me like a fucking freight train. I’ve never been one to grieve in past events. Though this has definitely slowed my pace.
Call whoever this makes you think of!
Life is far too short to become complacent.
So what does this have to do with photography?
It’s more of how I feel in this current time.
In a few months I will be a father. I will be holding a tiny life in my arms and wondering how the fuck I’m going to do my best to ensure he is capable of having any life he can dream of. I’m hell bent ironing out any kinks in my personality in order to set good examples in the way he should live his life. I want to be the man he looks up to. Much like I looked up to the absolute mountain of a man I called my father. Should my life be cut short for whatever reason, I wanna know that I have left him and Abi in the best position to do whatever they want in life.
I want him to know what hard work is. Always be kind. Have good manners and always look out for those around him. I want him to be the man I fear I’m incapable of being. I want him to be successful beyond his wildest imagination. I want him to know he is the best person he can be at any given situation and that nothing will ever change that.
Again what does this have to do with photography?!
I feel like my work has suffered some what in the past months due to a negative weight hanging from me. I’m sure I’m overthinking it, but in hindsight, it feels like I’ve fluffed a few opportunities by not truly grabbing them by the balls and going to town on them. I spend far too much time in my own head and rarely give my self time to let go and breathe for a few hours. I’m constantly trying to put in place ways not to fuck things up. Always trying to avoid the worst case scenario.
In doing so I can completely lose sight of what I set out to achieve.
The list of what I believe to be my flaws is endless. One of them being that I feel I’m not as honest as I could be with you guys about my insecurities.
The age we live in seems to be about completely denying the fact that life isn’t always rock n roll, wild parties and epic adventures. This constant bombardment has seemingly made our perception of achievable happiness completely impossible. Yes I’m talking about social media.
Social media from a business point of view can often be crippling, well for me any way. Always watching how those around you are smashing through their targets and goals. Seemingly unscathed and headstrong. Where the fuck are their “shit, I need to be better” moments?! I dread to think how it affects those who don’t use the “I only use social media for work” excuse. Maybe it’s a case of personality? Maybe they are strong enough to attack everything they set out to do and not worry about X, Y and Z. I’m not judging them by any means. I’m just a completely different person.
There is no shame in showing people that you are human.
That’s where this becomes about photography.
Photography has been the only job I’ve ever had that has consumed me 100%. It brings such extreme highs and with it extreme lows. The constant peaks and troughs have taught me so much about who I am as a person and where my short fallings have been in the past. Not forgetting where I can do better in the future.
The constant need to be on my toes and watch what I am doing has been misconstrued as a lack of confidence. Though now I believe it’s a necessary evil in order to remain humble and show everything about myself in my journey. I never wanna be responsible for making those along for the ride feel as if they don’t know who I really am. Especially when it comes to the business side of things. I want those I work with to know that what I say is sincere.
Hence the need to constantly pour my heart out into this blog.
With the news of Matt’s passing and Olins imminent arrival I feel like life has thrown me through a loop. It’s made me seriously question what the fuck I have done for the past thirty years and where the fuck I’m going to be in the next twenty or so. All I know is that I plan to be as against the grain as possible. I want to be daring and sometimes frustrating to those watching. I want to make all the mistakes I never wish my son to make in order to teach him from an experienced stand point.
There is no excuse for me to be half hearted any more. My wife and son are depending on me more than ever!
Some would say I’m having a mid life crisis and should just buy a convertible. I say bollocks to that.
I’m sure Matt would say “just fuckin get on with it innit”
And he’d be right to say so. It’s time to just get on with it and remember why I started this in the first place.
All bullshit aside. There is more to life than worrying about how to pay the bills and whether or not you are liked. I for one forget this on a regular basis. Life for me is about finding a connection with those around you. Putting pen to metaphorical paper and writing your story for future generations to read. I don’t want to be just another photographer. I want to be the person who inspires people. Who lends a helping hand in times of need. To be the one person people know they can count on. I want my photographs to be a product of deeper connections and life changing travels.
More so than ever, I’m aware of my own mortality. Life is blasting by and I fear if I don’t concentrate on these things, all I’ll leave behind is a mediocre story and thousands of wasted hours spent staring at a screen.
I started this journey to leave “regular” life behind. To seek happiness and feed my curiosity. I feel I am at a turning point, really narrowing down who I am and how to present myself to the world. So far I have learned I am socially awkward, a nervous wreck at the best of times and the one guy you can count on to put his foot in his mouth.
This is who I am.
I may come across like an antisocial shitbag at times, but really all I’m doing is taking the time to read the situation and figure out what I’m bringing to the table. I don’t ever wanna feel like I’m wasting anybodies time!
My work is helping me discover this. I know I’ve not shown you all my best yet. I’ve been too intimidated to really challenge what’s considered the norm. Constantly sleep walking through scenario to scenario. Worrying about what people think I should be doing as opposed to doing what I should be doing. Following my heart.
With the harsh reality of losing loved ones now screaming in my face, life seems so incredibly short.
It’s not to be taken for granted.
It’s time to fuck fear in the face and fully embrace what I believe to be right, not only for my business, but for my family and those I connect with along the way.
It’s only now that life seems to be truly beginning.
I owe it to those on the roof, to show that I have truly lived and have tackled all the uncomfortable moments head on. To do them proud. Knowing that when I join them, they’ll say;
”Fair play son, you did good! Now whack ya feet up and take a load off”
How does this make you feel? Can you relate in anyway? I’d love to hear what you think!
Below are the only photos I ever took of Matt. I am so grateful to have met him and even more so to have photographed him. I will always treasure these images.
Should you ever need to talk, please know that I will always be an open ear, drop me a line whenever you need to