There is a sort of innate beauty in reflection. The mind can be a rather chaotic place, and reflection is a curious calming influence.
Quite some time ago I came to the conclusion that there is no God. I came to the conclusion that there is no after life. I came to the conclusion that this life, is what is important. It means, as difficult as it may be, living in the moment is the only important part of life. As i’ve discovered, living for the future is extremely destructive. One has to be impulsive, and take a chance. This is how memories are made. It doesn’t mean I have to make a great impact on the World, or that I need to somebody important; it simply means that understanding the absurdity of trying to find order or meaning or purpose in a chaotic, indifferent universe, is the route of all worry, and the route of all fear, and once you come to terms with your life as being a part of that absurdity, it is truly enlightening. You realise that this life, is decidedly important. I am the product of 250,000 years of human evolution. I am the product of fourteen billion years of universe expansion. I am, quite literally, the product of star dust. It is simply awe inspiring to know that the material that makes up my left arm, could have come from a distant star explosion, and a completely different part of the universe, to the material that makes up my right arm. We are made from the same ‘stuff’ that makes everything.
We are the stars. Everything is connected. We all come from the same pin point. A split second before the big bang, from something that makes a single grain of sand look like the Empire State Building. We are the Universe trying to understand itself. This, is beautiful.
When I notice someone or something that I consider to be beautiful; I get a sort of rush of adrenaline. We are all the same. Beauty is innate. I want to understand what it is that makes that person, or that thing, who or what they are. I want to know their favourite colour. Or what they dream at night. To know that everything is so tightly connected, is to open the doors to curiosity. It simply makes you want to learn about everything and everyone, because by doing so, it enriches yourself. I want to tell them that I am over awed by the fact that nature has, in all its infinite possibilities, of everything it could have produced, of the millions of possibilities offered by DNA, achieved as close to perfection as is possible. Words are my way of articulating to someone that I am taken in by their beauty. Photography is my way of capturing what I consider to be beauty and sharing it. By photographing something, I am saying to people “this is what I love”.
Reflection on all you see, and all you know, and the nostalgia that it naturally produces, is a product of the mind. The mind is a product of everything that came before me. Reflection has therefore, an in-built beauty. I thought I would share a few photos, that I have taken on my travels, to attempt to highlight the experiences that I feel have moulded me into the person I am. They aren’t supposed to be the most artistic photos. Simply photos that I felt a great need to capture, and that almost always figure, somehow, into my reflective periods. These are the constants. The concepts that anchor me to a certain path.
This is Rome. The Esquiline hill. The Maecenas gardens once rose beautifully on this hill. It is sort of overwhelming, to understand the spectacular history of an infamous culture, and to stand in its centre. Millions and millions of people will never get that opportunity. I did. That amazes me.
My first real taste of how vastly human understanding of the World is different, depending on what part of the Earth you stand on. Istanbul taught me that no one is truly individual. We all succumb to abstractions. Istanbul’s larger than life abstraction, is Islam.
The Blue Mosque made me realise just what humanity can produce, if it tries. What an incredible building. To think that we have minds, that if cultivated properly, can produce buildings like the Blue Mosque and its incredible prayer area and dome, or produce scientists like Newton. Or writers like Hemmingway. To know, we all have minds made from the same substance, has to be the most inspiring incentive known to man.
Spring is my favourite season. Bradgate park is a place I have been going to since I was a baby. I remember being in the car, and driving down the road toward the entrance, knowing the brightly decorated little ice cream shop was only over the next hill. My curiosity at the fact that deers ACTUALLY exist and are not just a product of Disney. I learned to love the smell of freshly cut grass, at Bradgate. I’d toddle over to feed the ducks. They’d eat it. I’d laugh. This picture to me, epitomises spring and Bradgate. As a kid, I loved it. And this guy, as an old man, is drawn to playing, like a child again.
There is nothing more in life, that makes you feel as if you’re in a romantic French film, than sitting on an underground Metro to Montmartre, and having a French violinist play right next to you. You intertwine the sound of the violin, with the sound of the train, and the scene changes and suddenly you’re walking through the Parisian streets with the stars, like tiny holes poked in a black canvas flickering subtly above. This is what Paris does to you.
This is the south coast of Devon, on a Spring morning. I try to do this at least once a year. My grandparents spent much of their 60 years together, on the south coast of Devon. There is something surreal, in sitting on your own, in the morning, overlooking a calm day, where the sea seems to blend into the sky, and the tiny ripples emphasise the calmness, knowing your grandparents did the same thing 50 years before. I feel connected to this place. I struggle to convey to people why it holds such importance to me.
And this is my serene place. Also on the south coast of Devon. It is the most tranquil spot on Earth for me. I sit on the cliff that goes out to see, preferably at sun rise, as one or two people walk their dogs on the beach, and all you hear is the sound of the waves. It is the place where all my thinking gets done. It is the only place, where I can quite easily forget about everything. This is where I look out, and feel blessed to have ever had the chance to be born, knowing that the gift of life, is so improbable, and exists in such a fleeting moment in time, less than a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of the universe; this is the magic of existence. One does not need a God, to feel a sense of objective beauty. One needs simply to be.