I've been thinking a lot about fear; how it can be paralyzing and restrictive, but also life-saving in certain circumstances. From an evolutionary standpoint I enjoy contemplating the massive impact that fear has had on our ability to survive as a species. Without fear causing us to flee dangerous situations, or to be especially alert when we hear a strange noise behind us, we as individuals would have undoubtedly died way more often, possibly to the point of extinction. It could be a bear, or simply a pinecone falling. The fear response happens either way. The tricky part is that, in these modern times, where imminent death has lessened significantly, fear can hold us back. Our ancient brains have a hard time discerning life-threatening danger from social, financial and career type risks. The feeling of fear is the same, even if the risk is less. As I'm considering life, and what my future might look like, this subtle fear keeps arising within me and I haven't quite put my finger on what exactly is triggering it. Either way, I'm trying to learn from it as much as possible, and while I appreciate its protective role, I sense that it will remain with me until I simply jump.
"Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them."
-Brendan Francis Behan
In the spirit of absolute transparency, I'm not 100% sure that I took this photo. You're probably confused, so let me clarify: you may recall that my drone malfunctioned in Indonesia and ended up in the ocean, never to be seen again. A very sad day. But there was still another couple days of the photography workshop left, so when the group visited the seaweed farms, which was a great opportunity to get some aerial shots, the group leader, Jord Hammond, graciously let me borrow his drone so I could participate in the fun. The thing is, we both used the same memory card, and because so many of the photos each of us took ended up so similar (because we were both shooting in the same area, with the same workers, the same boats, etc.), it was difficult to discern which photo was taken by which person. But I loved the photo so much that I decided not to stress about it and got to work editing it. I hope you like it either way.
"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."
As a finance nerd, while traveling abroad I often think about money and the ways in which different cultures handle it. I'm generalizing obviously, but in the west, we have grown into a very individualistic society in which it's basically every man, women or household for themselves. And because there is not a lot of teamwork, even amongst family, it has forced the need for everyone to amass as much wealth as possible to pay for their needs whenever they retire. Now, I am far from a cultural expert, and would love for someone with more knowledge to weigh-in, but I sense this western approach to money far less in other societies. I imagine there is still a desire to amass wealth, as wealth creates options and freedom in any culture, but the entire format seems different. I'm not sure if this applies to all socioeconomic levels, but it seems that instead of every person or household having to amass as much money as possible to retire on, instead they share the financial burden generationally. Meaning, the parents work for as long as they can, raise their children who eventually enter the workforce - increasing the family income. Then, when the parents eventually retire, their children (now adults) continue to work and (here's the biggest difference), continue to provide for their parents. Meanwhile, the grandparents would look after their grandchildren, who eventually enter the workforce themselves and provide for the family. So on and so forth. And it seems to me that this is how humans survived our entire existence; family and teamwork. As I said, I would love for someone with more knowledge or experience to weigh-in, or correct me if I'm off on anything.
"In Mediterranean and Latin cultures [...] it's commonplace for multiple generations to live under one roof, sharing a home and all the duties that come with maintaining one. In the contemporary iteration of this living arrangement, the oldest generation often is relied on to assist with caring for the youngest, while the breadwinners labor outside the home. As such, the aged remain thoroughly integrated well into their last days."
I recently heard a stranger say to their friend something along the lines of "we love the ocean because that was our home for millions of years." Now, I am clearly in no position to confirm or deny the science behind that statement, but the sentiment and image it instilled in my mind was profound. I'm fairly certain that all of us have stood on the edge of the water and felt the enormous energy and power and healing that the ocean effortlessly forces upon us. It's addicting, in a way. Many can't live without it. And I can't help but wonder if small parts of our DNA do actually remember that it was once our home and miss, crave and need it from time to time. As if our biology can't help but be drawn to this powerful place that we used to call home.
"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came…"
-John F. Kennedy
While taking portraits of locals in Indonesia, I noticed the same response from multiple different people. After asking permission to take their photo in Indonesian, I would raise my camera to start photographing them. At which point most people would give a big smile, or toss up a peace sign, or take a drag from their cigarette. All of which was fun, but not the raw, natural shot I wanted. It was the shy ones, the people that were most uncomfortable around a camera, that would give me the shot I was looking for. Because after briefly attempting to pose for the camera, they were so shy that they would immediately just go back to their work, gaining comfort and protection from their job. It's hard to put into words, but each time I saw this happen, I got butterflies in my chest. It almost felt like a quick blast of human connection; like they finally let me into their world for a tiny moment. They were able to find their comfort in an uncomfortable moment, and I was lucky enough to witness it; a small glimpse of their humanness. And that's one thing that makes photography so amazing; the camera can create connection where without it there might not be one.
"The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation."