In search of stillness, in search of light. In search of meaning. More and more, I ask myself: Why did I take this fucking picture? 

Really, a chair in a downtown macdonalds, a glint of light on heated-up stone squares on a train platform, with gravel glistening like frost in the afternoon light. A flower pot in the hotel corridor, sunlight streaking across the sky-blue wall. 

I looked really stupid taking that picture, by the way. Not enough room in the tight hotel corridor, so I leaned into the wall close to the elevators and pulled back, turning my double chin into a triplet of piggies. An eye-level photo would skew the perspective, so I slid down to a position best described as crab legs. Next to me, the elevator door opened, and a man walked out. He looked at me, then at the flower pot, and back to me.

My life has a long tradition of such moments.

“I’m taking a photo,” I said.

“Of what?” he asked.

I showed him on the camera screen.

“Wow. It’s beautiful. How do you even see a thing like that?”

“You pay attention to the light. Every day, every hour, it’s different. Unique.”

We met a few more times in the elevator and chatted about photography. I pretended to know what I was talking about. It’s what you do. The man can go back home with a story of meeting a real photographer. Wouldn’t be the same if I told him the truth. Not a day passes without me asking myself, what am I shooting? Why am I shooting it? Why is this person, this light, this place more interesting than everything else out there? Why not shoot more portraits? Or landscape? Or whatever’s left of wildlife these days. Or maybe devote myself to some socially-involved project, exploring the discrimination of authentic Turkish sauce-less kebab in a society more accepting of the Europeanised durum wrap dripping with garlic.

Why do I shoot the things I shoot?

If you’re hoping for a profound answer by the end of this post, let me disappoint you now rather than later because I’ve already read it to the end, and there’s no clear answer. 

Some people say we are drawn to the same thing all our lives. Different versions of it. That’s why we fall in love with our fathers, marry our mothers, and surround ourselves with the familiar. People, scenes, moments. All of them resonating at a deeper level, offering a connection to a place of kept promises, all the what-ifs and might-have-beens, dreams untouched by reality.

Familiarity, hope, wholesome naivety. Nostalgia for how things have been before everything turned out differently than expected. Before you had to cope with the consequences of your choices, accept both failure and success, and regret or forgive whatever happened in your relationships. Without meaning to, many of us lead a life that twists our mind, little by little, into a pretzel too tight to unpretzel on our own.

When I think about my photography, this is where it comes from. It’s a mindful meditation, a reflection of the internal and subjective through the means of the external and objective. It helps me look. But for what? I can’t say for sure. Trying to understand it drives me forward as much as not understanding it drives me insane.

I only hope that it does for others a fraction of what it does for me.

There are two more albums on the website.

The Likeness of Lisbon

May Mischiefs

I don’t promote my work online. Social media take away more than they offer. If you enjoyed the read, share it with someone you know.

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Stories and photography for chronic overthinkers.

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