It is against my better nature to turned down a sad story, and oh boy have I heard some troubling stories in the past few years; marital affairs, back stabbing best friends, money issues, homelessness, mental health problems, drug problem, self esteem, terminal illness, death and suicide just to name the past 12 month alone. Everyone of these stories I have given my time and skill as a photographer to them, as a gift, as a way to heal their broken souls.
Now, every individual, family and couple have thanked me and most of the time it is left at that. But because I'm a true believer of "With great power comes great responsibility" I always try to go the extra mile to make sure their photos are extra special. Often this is the form of a framed photo and my own expense. I once went to great lengths to create a signing board, framed family shot and
organised a celebration gathering for one individual because this person was in terrible shape often coming round my house in tears, or phoning me often at inconvenient times.
I'd do that all again.
But here's where the curse kicks in; without fail I'm no longer associated or friends with any of those I have reached out to. The relationships are so intense, so intimate that I believe that is the catalyst for the friendship breakdown. Photographing the troubled souls is not something I chase, or willingly pursue... they just fall on my doorstep! Sometimes I cannot sleep at night wondering where I went wrong? Perhaps it is human nature to abandon whomever has helped them? Perhaps that time contains painful memories and they no longer want to be reminded of pain. Perhaps I am just a tool who should be taken advantage of so they get good photography, never mind me the photographer?
But... I'd still go through it all again.
The Gift Of Photography isn't about me, it has always about the family, the couple, the wounded, the girl. The Gift Of Photography should never be about the photographer, in fact the photographer is just a tool to get the job done; his feelings and emotional state should never battle the nature of the gift.
However, it is a curse, because so long as I'm able to hold up a camera, I will always provide the Gift Of Photography. I'll have to deal with the consequences of my self worth another way. Curses are hard to shift.. I wonder if I can get a cream for removing curses...?
Final note, the photos I have chosen for this blog post were originally rejected by me, but I like the stories that they don't tell as much as the stories photos CAN tell.