I haven’t posted anything for ages. Which is normal here on the blog, but not generally the case on Instagram, which is a platform I find very conducive to post regularly on.
I haven’t had much to say lately. I’ve been trying to read / listen more than talk about stuff. There are a lot of interesting things to learn. I’ve acquired a lot of books in the 3.5 months I’ve been back—both of the photo and standard variety—and I’ve been making my way through them. There are webinars with photo greats (am now officially an Ed Kashi fan. His webinars are crazy insightful. One day I will find it in me to drop the man an email). There are documentaries on YouTube, and trying to parse news / journals as usual for work.
And there have been all of you: all the one-to-one conversations about vital, life giving things, that have kept my cup full in otherwise silence.
But also, I haven’t been posting—anywhere—because I haven’t been shooting.
In almost 4 months in Singapore, I’ve barely made any frames. The reasons are many: I don’t shoot much here anyway, because I don’t get out a lot. I’ve been unwell on a rotating roster, so I’ve been more tired than normal. With Covid-19 encouraging staying home, I don’t get out at all—quarantine sits easier with me then most people, being of the hermetic persuasion. State sanctioned staying in? Your girl here’s a model citizen on that front.
Then at the end of June, after a lot of naps, I randomly woke up thinking “I’m ready to make pictures now.” And brought a camera out with me.
And man, it’s been so long, I’d almost forgotten how good it feels to have a camera in my hand.
In healing, we are counselled to respect our body’s responses to environment and stimuli, to listen to what it says about how we are.
If my visceral reactions are any indication, my mind and body are all about making pictures.
Because suddenly my joints don’t hurt and hands stop trembling and I’ve got energy and I’m even—this is the real kicker—up for talking to random people. As many random people as want to talk to me (this must be what it’s like to be an extrovert?). Suddenly I feel alive. Capable. Up for anything. Open to the world again.
It’s always been like this, from the moment I picked up a camera a bit over ten years ago. I find the act of making pictures immensely therapeutic and over the long term, fulfilling. I never figured I’d be a professional photographer, and I was absolutely fine with that. I shoot for the love of it, and have freelanced enough to know that I don’t need to work in photography to find meaning in it. So occasionally, when I stop to consider that for all intents and purposes, I am actually a professional photographer in the only capacity I’d choose to be one, I get spun-out-idiot like.
I still don’t really know all the reasons photography does this to me. I bought myself a digital point and shoot with one of my first paychecks, figuring it was something to try. And something about it just hooked me. Tech aside—because along with the camera came Photoshop and wasn’t that a revelation!—I think it was the discovery that my world looked like this. And along with that, also indelible evidence of my existence as a living, breathing, thinking entity, who saw things in a particular way.
In my very first photographs, I realised that how I saw the world wasn’t wrong. I mean, it was odd, for sure, because I’m odd. But it wasn’t wrong/invalid, despite everything I’d been led to believe up till that point. I think over time, photography has become my constant act of rebellion. It’s the thing that affirms my right to be in this world. Picking up a camera and making pictures is enacting a f**k you buddy to anything/-one that insists otherwise. In Every. Single. Frame. Talk about empowering.
Photography has allowed me to revel in being alive in a way nothing else has, because along with it has come constant opportunities to reconsider my world. Things do that, when you look at them closely enough, often enough.
It’s true, people. Photography is magic.
Now having said all that, let me get off my arse and go do more of it…
* * *
All photos in this post were taken from a bus.