about amok

It’s the little things that can change your whole life. Throwaway moments become the fulcrum you lever your whole life around.

I was asked on an awkward first date many years ago what I’d do if I didn’t have to do anything. I don’t remember who asked me the question, but I know I’ll always remember my answer.

“Take pictures. Travel the world and take pictures!” I cheerfully replied off the cuff.

“So you like taking pictures then, fancy yourself a photographer?” she inquired.

Sheepishly I admitted “Actually, err, no. I don’t even own a camera…” This wasn’t entirely true. My cellphone had a fuzzy nightmare on it & I had an ancient point & shoot at home. Nothing to really learn with or cut my teeth on, nothing to suit the purpose I intended.

“You should probably get on that then,” she suggested.

“Yeah, I really should.” So I did. Normally, this would have fallen by the wayside like any other of the “oughtas” that pop up in daily life but this stuck inside my head, sprouted and took root. I spent a hundred hours researching makes and models of cameras, petrified I’d make the wrong choice. I retaught myself lost optics lessons from Physics class and immersed myself in the theory, the science of it all. I saved up a little of my own money, but when my employer gave me a bonus I knew where it was going.

I purchased my first DSLR & lens and began wandering the streets of Edmonton practicing my technique and honing my compositions. A friend asked if I would be his secondary camera for a couple club nights, which turned into all the club nights, which turned into great commercial opportunities which turned into massive online and print exposure. All the while, practicing, honing, learning, watching, and sharing. Turning the science into art.

But still no travel, no seeing the world. Edmonton. Edmonton. Sometimes Vancouver. Rarely Calgary. Life pushed plans aside like a child pushes grain aside as he runs through a field. Even my photography sits dusty on the shelf, no impetus or passion to drive it. And then the unmovable opportunity, and the death of excuses arrives. Africa with my father. A two week trip to the Eastern Cape. Lions! Zebras! Elephants!

A renewed sense of purpose. A return to an old partner, the feel of the camera & the constant mental viewfinder scratched into my retinas. Out with the old, in with the truth. See the world, see what’s out there and real. Cut off a sliver and take it home to show everyone else. See home like nobody else and revel in the uniqueness which is the singular human viewpoint.

So here we are.

My name is Dion. I take pictures. I would like to take your pictures. I would be honoured if you took some of my pictures as your own. Let me show you how I see it.

July 2011