Before you start reading this please be aware that its all over the shop. I started writing early in the morning whilst I procrastinating. I have since returned and finished it at an ungodly hour of the night and it has turned into a stream of consciousness.
There’s a to do list sat on the desk right now with a list of stuff that I’ve been avoiding for too long.
FINISH YOUR FUCKIN TAX RETURN/RING ACCOUNTANT
Finalise recent shoot edits
Organise the attic ✓
Find Christmas decorations ✓
Sort Olin’s room Stuff ✓
Clean up cat sick ✓
How do you guys stay focused and remain on track/reach your goals? Do you even set goals?
I’ve never really been one for making lists. At least not in physical form anyhow. Everything I plan on doing is held in my head. Always. Writing things down is a new venture, to the point where I have to include making a physical list to the one in my head… It feels kinda pointless most of the time.
Though with that being said, I spend way too much time in my own head, often seeking out less taxing options and concentrating more on the bigger picture. Often to the point where potential options fall on their arse and I exhale with bewilderment… Cue the “the fuck are you sighing about? Am I boring you?!” comments from those around me. It’s nothing personal, just a bad habit I guess. I need to focus on my social awareness.
Anyway, thats a story for another time. Despite needing to be more socially aware I need to really work on my self motivation. Today especially.
Since a young age I’ve been stubborn and refused to march to the beat of anybody else’s drum. I’m cooperative when needed, though secretly, I’m thinking that my way is better and I’m sacrificing things in order to be polite. It has it’s merits, though much like anything, it has its flaws. Because I end up in situations like this… With a list of things to do sat by the way side with a more appealing endeavour seducing my short attention span.
Just give me a few more minutes and I’ll get cracking.
The past week and a bit has seen me deep in my own head. I’ve been fairly quiet and almost antisocial at times. 2019 will see my business turning three years old. Now if all the business fuckery I’ve indulged in turns true, this should be the year where I start to see significant changes and growth. With the fact that Olin is on his way I feel like I’m up against it in order to be ready to provide… Yes I know I’m forever harping on about this… But it’s the thing that takes up most of the space in my head.
Photography wise, I feel like I am one hundred percent committed to what I want to be producing. The images I’m showing under my portfolio section of this site are those that I’m most proud of. I’ve stripped all the fluff and “expected” stuff, now all that remains is what I love and want to be known for. There’s still a niggle of doubt in the back of my mind accusing me of being stupid and thinking too highly of myself. But that is being quashed with the mantra “put out what you want back”. That’s so important now. So important!
It’s six weeks to the day where I took my place at The Dare Photo Experience. My attitude towards work has been turned upside down and given a bloody good shake since. The only way I can describe it is akin to those you see on documentaries who have attended ayahuasca retreats. I feel as if I’ve been on some wild trip and experienced “ego death”. It’s refreshing. I feel grounded and humbled. For too long I lived in my own bubble that could have morphed into something ugly. Becoming defensive and damning, as much as it pains me to admit that. It’s easy to become a prick when you work for yourself. Spending most of your waking hours alone, constantly questioning how to be better and battling your own cynicism. Then before you know it, you’ve started talking differently and presenting yourself as your brand as opposed to yourself. It’s weird (not to mention extremely vain), though to be fair, your experience may differ.
The aim of the game is happiness.
That may sound really contrived or even cliche, but it’s true. It’s never simple, if it was, we’d have nothing to worry about. The little wins feel much better knowing that you’ve had to work a little bit harder to achieve them. Working harder for me consists of staying focused and not defaulting to “thats shit” or “fuck that” when faced with a challenge. Challenges are what make us unique, as we all have our own ways of tackling them. The peaks and troughs are what create happiness. At least in my case anyhow. I love knowing that when I make my way out of a trough, theres gonna be a big old dopamine hit waiting the other side for me. That feeling of satisfaction when you’ve done something you’re stoked on, bliss! Though often short lived ha!
On the subject of happiness, I’m trying to incorporate a lot more of my own experiences of happiness into my recent work. I have a certain feeling that I get when I think back to being younger, around fifteen, sixteen-ish. Particularly the summer when I first got together with my wife. I was part of a circle of friends who have since all grown apart. We’d spend our days bombing hills, drinking in parks and blowing stuff up in the woods. The music was excellent back then. Incubus’ “Morning View” was a constant and Jack Johnson had just released his latest album “In Between Dreams”. Jeff Buckley’s album “Grace” was always played in the evenings as the sun went down. From there we would pass round cheap bottles of red wine that made us feel fancy. If we were lucky enough to be near the sea towards the Gower, all the better.
Running the risk of sounding corny here, it feels as if the past ten or so years have been spent trying to reconnect with who I was back then.
The death of my father called for me to grow up real quick. Ditch education and start getting money in my pocket. Look after my mother & sister. Be a man. Try to follow in my fathers footsteps.
By no means am I bitter about this. It was one of the best learning curves I’ve ever had. I just wish I could have learned through talking to him as opposed to remembering him. Abi & I often wonder what it would be like if he were still around. I miss him everyday. Though now it’s a little easier. Especially when I think of what he’d say knowing me as the man I am now. Most likely he’d call me a “fuckin yuppy” and tell me to wash my car. It’s easy to play the “what if?” game isn’t it. However, I believe we all follow loosely put together paths through life.
In turn “what if” becomes “Oh well”.
We can obsess over the past or just keep what we like. The future is too far away to warrant fretting over. All we have is now.
Finally, I feel I’ve let go of the weight I’d carry surrounding my fathers death and the life choices that followed. Hating my reality, I turned to various ways of getting as fucked up as possible. Becoming accustomed to the numbness, I’d lost all ability to feel anything. To connect with those around me. To commit to one given thing or person. Forever on the hunt for something that would excite me and create a sense of achievement. Searching for a feeling of belonging.
I still struggle with future prospects. I find when I try to plan, my efforts fall short as something will inevitably scupper my best efforts. I’ve grown to accept thats just life. It’s a funny old thing this “life” stuff. Our existence is essentially the by product of a huge fuck off explosion. Despite that, we’re all pretty guilty of over complicating it sometimes, meddling with the delicate ebb & flow. \
For me, life is now about ensuring I remain grounded and humble. My go to place in the future is a house at the foot of a mountain surrounded by trees. The drive is a mile long and I get to drive my Volvo down it every evening after spending the day with my wife and kid(s). It’s easy to grow frustrated that this isn’t my reality yet. But who am I to complain?! I have a wonderful life. A wonderful human I get to call my wife. A small human growing inside of her. Two cats and a roof over our heads. I’m so grateful for all of this. It’s this that matters. Not the house with the Volvo outside.
If I can travel a path where our lives will be enriched and my wife and child will be happy beyond their wildest imagination, I will sure as shit travel it, come what may. They are the most important factor in this journey. I owe it to them to free myself of worries and guilt in order to make our lives fuller. To be the best husband and father I can be.
So from here, I am picking up where I left off at seventeen.
Following the things that fill me with happiness. Nostalgic music, road trips and time spent by the sea.
I did this with my oldest friend Dexter a few weekends ago. Two thirty year old men living like teenagers again. Hugging the coastline, we traveled to the Gower for a mooch about in the rain, fuelled by McDonalds coffee and mince pies. Yes it could be seen as incredibly immature but it felt real good to feel care free again.
I can’t wait to share these types of days with Abi & Olin. Listening to the powerful booms of sea meeting rock. Feeling the warmth of a fire as we stare at the stars. Legging it to the car when the heavens open in the morning. It’s important to me that my son grows up knowing that the simple things in life will often bring him the most joy. That days spent exploring will shape who he is in later life. That what he does in life travels full circle.
Who knows, he may grow up thinking his father is an absolute waste of space who has lost touch with reality… Should that be the case, I hope there will be some of my stubbornness within him that can’t deny the fact I was a pretty fun Dad despite never really amounting to anything.
Anyway, thats the future. All we have is now. That’s all that matters.
Below are some of my favourite images to date. There’s something about them that feels quite childish. I wanna keep riding that feeling. There’s also a lot of portraits chucked in for good measure. I feel I’m outgrowing the 35mm focal length. A lot of these are shot with my 85mm. Oh and both lenses are stinking from rain, mist or salt water. Wiping them felt wrong.