My greatest achievement as a photographer is to meet people I wouldn’t ordinarily have met and to be in situations that, without photography, would have been unlikely.
I’ve sipped gin with the Queen while gazing out across the Indian Ocean and quaffed champagne with a Maharaja on his palace lawn. I’ve eaten delicacies I’ve never heard of on a billionaire’s private jet, stayed for a week at a hotel with over 1000 dwarfs and hiked naked up a mountain in America. I’ve witnessed incredible acts of humanity and the aftermath of indefensible human acts, all as a consequence of being a photographer. The highs are high, the lows are low. When the balance is right, it’s a fine way to live.
During the quiet times, the hardest thing to do, as a photographer, is to keep swinging your legs out of bed, to leave loved ones behind, to spend money and time you might not have, for no obvious reward. I’ve been swinging my legs out of bed for over 20 years and I hope, at least 20 more. I know how difficult it can be and what you have to do. That’s why I like the concept of Capture Happiness. It’s a phrase you can carry in your head when looking for pictures. A focus for the lens, motivation for the mind and a reason to get up and go out.
In a selfie-obsessed world, photography is increasingly being used to show off, a ‘look at me’ society has developed. Let us use our cameras for what I believe is its higher strength, to turn it away from us and say to people, ‘look at this.’ Let us communicate with others not isolate ourselves. The world needs an antidote to the incessant stream news stories picturing division, conflict and despair. The world needs more pictures and stories of happiness.