Well here we are on Tuesday morning after a beautiful Easter Holiday. The sun is shining, the skies are blue, Pulp is blaring out in the studio and I am about to have my morning coffee. Life it would seem is really really good. But there are always thoughts creeping into my mind, feelings that things are not quite right and I could be doing more. Not for me but for those less fortunate than myself and my family. Some years ago our family experienced a traumatic time when I was nearly lost to them through a car accident. It was a time of hardship, frustration and recovery. A very slow recovery. During this time there was alot of soul searching and reflection. People came into my life who I didn’t know and were a part of our families recovery over many years and then they simply went away again. Forgotten, part of something I do not want to remember. But now I feel compelled to remember and honour them. At this time my wife, Narell and I made a decision to look for a new kind of life, a new meaning, something where we could give back. You see I had been spared and although I am not a religious man there was some larger power at work here. For all the doctors and paramedics said that I shouldn’t have survived. This then was ‘The Change Up’. So we did it, we moved away from our life to a new one filled with community and caring. We became Foster Carers.
I have become increasingly aware of this undercurrent of society that exists but is never mentioned, never talked about and is generally ignored by the media. In our day to day lives as photographers we are consumed with ‘Self’ and I am part of this too. It is hard not to be when you are self employed and trying to pay your mortgage, feed and cloth your children and send them to a school which will give them a good start in life. So yes, I sell myself and what talent I have is how we live or don’t live. Somewhere along the line though things changed for me. For the better. My wife is the most selfless person I know and something always tugs in me that she can do it without reward or praise, it is a divine quality, one I wished that I possessed.
Over the Easter Weekend a little child arrived in our life and house that made me think more then ever about what I am doing. I felt sad, angry and helpless. Probably all for myself. I just had to wonder how a modern society full of amazing technology, incredible minds and the power to do almost anything had not taken care of this child. I cannot go into specifics about it unfortunately but I stopped and thought long and hard. How had this happened ? And I cried alot, I had almost lost faith in humanity.
Then I saw Narell in action, she made phonecalls, talked for hours to people to clear the path and be an advocate for this child, to give them some hope, some chance in a society that seems to have forgotten about basic needs and wants. A champion has emerged from the shadows.
These children don’t need Ipads, Iphones, TV or anything else like that. They need a safe home where they can exist and just be a ‘Child’ without violence or trauma befitting them. Food that arrives on the table every night, someone to read them a story and give them a cuddle when they fall down. The simplest of things are what are required here.
My influences in photography have been many over the years, mostly photojournalists like Don McCullin, Tim Page, Larry Burrows, Robert Capa and Gary Winnogrand. Now though, I find my work is being more and more influenced by the work that my wife and I are doing away from photography, it is to seek out those honest heartfelt moments, the real stories, the real meaning behind why people are together. You see everyone has a special story.
And so, although I do not possess Narell’s selfless approach to the world, I cannot, I have discovered that my quality lies in my work which provides the safe house, food and needs of all that live under this roof. This is now what drives me forward to share with my wonderful clients and friends, my photography has thankfully evolved to something new, something I can be proud of. Something that actually matters and goes beyond ‘The Image’.