So, i've decided to put myself and my images out there into the world. This is quite a big deal for me.
For me, travel and photography had always gone hand in hand. I love exploring a new city or walking through a stunning wilderness, camera in hand. It is an excuse to explore deeper, it stops me from seeing a place from the surface and allows me to truly connect with a destination.
I had fallen in love with travelling in my mid 20's and haven’t looked back since, I work in the travel industry and it has become my life. Imagery goes hand-in-hand with travel i think, you read review websites, check instagram for inspo, read Lonely Plant/Conde Nast etc before deciding on a place to visit. Travel is a very inspirational and aspirational thing. We see images of a place we may never have heard of before and they make us want to visit. So for me the two are inseparable.
I think it was December 2016, after i had returned from a trip to Oman with work that i decided i wanted to take things with my photography to the next level. I had been in Oman on a holiday/work trip taking photos for use in presentations, brochures and online, and i felt that what i had produced was really quite good. I remember thinking how it would be my dream to travel and take pictures and receive more than just a few likes on instagram for my effort.
Then, only a few weeks later, in early 2017 i developed a rare, though not dangerous, neurological disease. This threw a spanner in the works. I was reduced to living between my bed and the office (when i could make it in!). Photography had completely disappeared from my life, as had travel. It was a really low period in my life. I couldn't do any of the things i associated with who i was, and who i was going to be. I started to suffer with (what had been long dormant) anxiety and depression. I had slipped into a hole.
That summer my partner and i went on a relaxing 2 week holiday down to Cornwall in south western England (a very beautiful region, everyone should visit!). I needed to be pushed to 'get out of my comfort zone' of just sitting at home all the time. I was so glad i did. I realised that i could do surprisingly more than i thought i could do (before feeling unwell and being bed-bound). This started a journey of rebuilding myself physically and mentally up to a level of activity that i would be comfortable with. This meant going on increasingly more 'difficult' trips over the coming months and years until i reached what my limit would inevitably be.
That autumn i travelled up to the Loch Lomond National Park in Scotland on a lone trip to start work on this. Although it isn’t a huge achievement for somebody with even a slight bit of fitness, i managed to hike non-stop for 4 days and climb a 1000m mountain, all the while coming back with a few good shots.
Since then i have been to Greece twice and explored multiple islands, visited Spain at least 5 times (also going on a solo train journey all the way from southern Spain back home to London). I did a really successful solo photography tour of Tuscany and The Dolomites in October last year which really got me excited for photography and travel again. We had a trip to Thailand lined up for November of last year which was going to be a big test of my body's ability to push further into harsher environments and into more chaotic cities.... and this brings us onto 2020...
In January last year i decided i was going to leave my highly stressed (although great) job at a large adventure travel and expedition company to go and work for a small start up travel firm, working fewer hours and with less of a commute. With a view to lowering overall stress but also to gain some spare time to work towards maybe earning money as a photographer. So i did just that, i left my job and started at the small company in February... then Covid-19 hit.
The travel industry has been destroyed by this virus, some may say that it needed a restart... i tend to agree but 10's of thousands of jobs just here in the UK were essentially lost overnight (not to mention the countless people that rely on travel overseas). The small startup went under almost straight away, leaving me jobless during a pandemic.
This is where i find myself still, a year on in 2021. The economic situation here in the UK isn’t great at the moment with almost every market being incredibly cautious so finding a job is very hard, especially with me being somewhat (although not totally) limited as to what i can do. In the past year i have had some success with a few commercial shoots, and I also did a limited run of prints that actually sold... which was great!
The plan is still the same, but i need to ride out this pandemic first!
I am enjoying writing blog posts and showcasing some images, so check back here for more honest updates, photo gear reviews etc and maybe some more personal posts regarding mental health and photography.
Ta for reading!