In the stressful and emotionally draining phase before handing in the portfolio for my application, I received one of the most beautiful comments ever.
“You need to speak about your photos’ meanings in a social context? The pictures in this post have loads of meaning. They speak about the awe and beauty of nature, combined with the beauty of the models in nature. At a time when humanity is more emotionally disconnected from the earth than ever before, what else could be more meaningful?
Even more significant is the fact that although your models are in the midst of a winter wonderland, they are paying zero attention to it. This fits perfectly with humanity’s current situation: we are undeniably embedded in the natural world; and yet we pay it no heed.
Your models’ ages add even more meaning to these photos. They appear to be in their 20s, and that age group may be more disconnected from nature than any other. But our generation is largely responsible for deciding what sort of future humanity will have. So for me these pictures are full of social meaning.” – written by the kindhearted Josh.
See, I was doubting myself and my chances to get accepted; beating myself up over and over again. All I could think about was my application, and I was often close to abandon hope. And then there is this beautiful stranger who has just stumbled upon my blog – and he takes his precious time to write me something so touching.
Being an emotional person in a raw state, I cried.
It’s a very weird and intense feeling when a stranger points out one of the biggest issue in your life and you weren’t even really aware that it has been something bothering you all along. And it’s amazing when said stranger reaches this conclusion by looking at some simple photos you took (it’s not a surprise he studied psychology :D).
I strongly believe that we’re part of nature and have no right for our selfish and destructive behavior, subduing nature the way we’ve been doing it for decades. I feel like a part of my environment, just like the animals and plants around us. But during the last couple of years, I’ve become a stay-at-home who often doesn’t feel like going out – and this has led to a feeling of extreme disconnection.
It has only changed when I started taking portraits last autumn. Not having a photo studio forces me to go out, wade a river, stride through stubborn shrubbery, step on stones and stumps, lie on dirt roads, get scratched legs, torn tights and sneaky ticks – and most of all, feel alive.
For me, this is a crucial part of photography. A part of the why. Besides to the interpersonal connection I seek, I want to create in order to get in touch with nature again – because there, I feel whole and healed.
So essentially, I love photography passionately for two reasons: First, it’s a means to connect with all kinds of different people; and secondly, it gives me a reason to go out and connect with my environment. Human connection and nature – what else do we need?
My mission is to let people be vulnerable in front of my camera. I want them to be themselves, without the masks we often use in society. And at the same time, being outside is something ‘spiritual’ for me. I want my shoots to be a time-out from society for my ‘model’ and me, a time-out in nature, where we can let go and be vulnerable.
Thank you, Josh, for making me realise what it’s all about.