… From a dusty old hotel room in Southern Pakistan, I would just like to say many, many thanks to those of you who have been sending me incredibly kind messages since BBC News ran an audio slide show of some of my photographs from Human Planet a couple of days ago. I really appreciate all your comments… they really do make it all worth while, so thank you for taking the time to spread the love.
Amongst all the emails there have also been a few recurring questions, so I’ve summarised my answers here for future reference.
1. Is there a book of these images?
Yes.. Amazon appear to be selling it at the best price… Click HERE
2. Do you sell prints?
3. I want to quit my job and do what you do, any words of advice?
Speaking from experience… Do it!
I quit my job at a British Newspaper a few years ago and bought a one way ticket to Delhi. Just me, a Canon 5D, a few prime lenses and a huge smile. My biggest concern at the time was my mortgage. So, I sold my apartment and cut my overheads down to the bearest minimum. A year and a half later I returned home with some great pictures and a revitalised passion for both life and my photography. Meanwhile, whilst researching story ideas for the series, a fledging Human Planet team stumbled across my images from NE India on the web and the rest is history.
There are two important points to acknowledge here. Firstly, trying to predict the future is futile. However, as human beings we are all blessed with an inbuilt mechanism that tells us when we are moving in the right direction in life. It’s called enthusiasm, and in my opinion it forms the necessary essence of any fulfilling, creative lifestyle… in whatever line of work that might be. Enthusiasm is the gift that allows us to live in the moment without worrying about what lies ahead, so if you’ve got that niggling feeling in the pit of your stomach and you’re looking for a change in life then why not trust the feeling and let something that really enthuses you guide you in a new direction?
Second point… Whilst I was in India having the time of my life, I was spending a fraction of the money that I would have been parting with had I have remained in my well paid job back home. Relatively speaking, I was far better off. More importantly, I had the luxury of time again… something that gave my passion the space to naturally unfold once more. The space that I literally couldn’t afford back home.
If you are lucky enough to be reading this on your own personal computer then I am guessing that you also have access to sufficient funds to make the kind of trip I am talking about. You don’t need a state of the art camera. If you shop around a bit, a second hand mark 1 Canon 5D will set you back as little as 400 quid these days, and you can get hold of a used 50mm f1.8 for about 50 quid. Both these pieces of kit were my work horses on that trip along with the great value for money Canon 85mm f1.8.
The moral of this story… Without sounding too corny… follow your heart. And for those of you that think that a statement like that is too wishy-washy, then I’ll rephrase it to… persue the vocation in life that you feel most enthusiastic about. You know?… the one that you’d do regardless of how much it pays you. In my experience, if you live this way then no matter what transpires, you will be walking in the right direction in life.
The likelihood is that nothing will turn out the way you expect, so I would recommend not bothering with any expectations of the future. Just concern yourself with enjoying what you are doing in the moment. That’s the place where all the magic happens.
… and if you have discovered that photography is your passion then think yourself very lucky. Many people go through life never knowing such a feeling. Don’t waste it.
I have written a little more on the subject of becoming a photographer in my FAQs HERE
You can watch the audio slideshow HERE
Still reading? Join in the discussion on my Facebook page.