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Christmas

(Featured image: A blizzard over NYC, 2016.)

I wrote a post the other day about my issues with Christmas. Basically my parents gave me magical Christmases and without them I’m finding it hard to see the season as the “most wonderful time of the year.” It’s just Monday to me. It was a bit of a depressing post as you can imagine. I kind of wrote myself into a corner and didn’t know how to come back and end on a happy note. But it certainly got me thinking about Christmas and I think I’ve figured it out.

What I want for Christmas is time to scan old family photographs. That’s it. I just want to sit down and scan. I’ve got a lot to get through and 2018 is my year of decluttering. What better way to start? I know binning family photos may seem odd but the Minimalists have taught me “Our memories are within us, not within our things”. I’ll have all the photos with me every day on my phone which is more than I can say for now. Most of all I’ll have time to actually catch up with the ones I love(d). I miss my parents a hell of a lot. This way I get to spend some lost time with them.

I hope you all have a nice Christmas. Remember that it’s whatever you damn well want it to be. Just be excellent to one and other. If you need some mental health tips there’s a great post on the blog We All Mad Here about dealing with Christmas.

Being in nature instead of being in fear.

I recently rewatched this incredible video on swimming naked in the lakes of Wales. This is an amazing video for many reasons. The cinematography is fantastic. The story is really interesting. Everyone involved has done a great job. But most of all the idea of not only swimming in nature, cos like what else is there with you (fish, monsters, fish monsters, monster fish, captain birdseyes rotting corpse) but doing it naked too. Trout todger is a serious condition that affects many men.

I imagine you get in and its cold. Colder than the pool I’m used to. It forces you to work up a sweat to stay warm. It forces you to get the job done and then after relax a bit in the calm surroundings. It forces you to toughen up. There’s a part of me that likes that idea. Oh I know it sounds banana pants crazy town. You’re plum naked swimming in an ice cold lake. But take that in for a moment. You’re plum naked and you’re swimming in a lake in the middle of Wales with an incredible view. How many others can say they do that? You’re doing that. Take it in. It’s just you vs what you can’t do.

What else can you do? If you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything. A phrase I grew up hearing a lot as a kid, because I watched Back to the Future time after time. A phrase I never really really took to heart. I got it, sure, but did I ever really do it? Well this level of underachieving isn’t going to achieve itself now is it?

I doubt, seriously doubt I’ll be doing this any time soon. I’m 40 next year and as I get older I do think about the things I’m not doing a lot more because I’ll be 80 one day and what will I have done? I’ve met some amazing 80 year olds who have told me some amazing stories. I’d like to be 80 and have done things other than wait outside John Lewis for the iPhone X. My parents both climbed Snowdon before they were 30. I “climbed” Moel Famu recently, which is where the photos accompanying this article came from. I loved it. It was refreshing to go somewhere that wasn’t actively being Instagrammed. The highlights of our Iceland trip were those moments. My wife and I having an adventure that was incredibly anxiety driven but had moments where I felt like I could wrestle the arms of a gundark.

So in summary. I think there’s a part of me that would love to have the mental strength of this women to not only swim in a lake in Wales, which would be scary enough, but also to do it naked. How many things are you comfortable doing naked? I doubt that list has swim in cold lakes in Wales while YouTubers get b-roll footage. Massive respect to her.

The River of Light

It’s great to see Liverpool do big fireworks displays on Bonfire Night again. Sure we’ve had stunning ones for cruise ship visits but I think it’s been a while since there was a bonfire night one.

I’m usually commissioned to photograph these events so it was nice to have the night off and enjoy it as a human. Of course I took a camera just in case.

It was a stunning display. My wife and I really enjoyed it. We loved that it was a big display in New Brighton so we could easily walk down the prom, watch the display, get food and then wander home. Great stuff. We didn’t see any of the bigger display by the Liverpool waterfront but that was fine. It’s nice to have a night off in your home town.

So despite being off duty I took a camera but felt like I failed to get my normal firework photos. Sure I could have taken a big setup but I wanted to relax. That meant my human side enjoyed the night. My photographer side was annoyed for taking a day off. Stupid brain.

Great display. Great use of New Brighton. Now if we could just get a good old fashioned bonfire on the beach that’d be ace.

Photography as exposure therapy

Last week I was stressing out over some portraits. I kept telling myself I can’t do this. Over and over. I simply can’t do this. I should have bought a drone instead of my Leica and stuck to buildings. Buildings can’t hurt me, outside of falling on me or me falling off. I did what I often do and stress about cameras. I need a new one. The ones I have are rubbish. Stupid things like that. I guess it’s my octopus brain lashing out at things trying to latch onto fears. ¯_(?) Read More

Mornings

I occasionally worry that I should live in the big city. That I should be close to daily life there to better document it. It’s harder to make good photos in the “suburbs” where it’s quieter. That said it’s sometimes more important to try. I guess modern day fear of missing out makes me think I should be living in a big city. Plus, living on the other side of a river means you always have a bus to catch to get home. There’s no nice long walk from the cinema or restaurant. It’s broken up by an anxious bus trip home filled with noisy humans. Read More