Sometimes I write. Sometimes I make photographs and music. Creativity is strange and evasive. It’s easily confounded by personal demons and self-sabotage. Grasping it, even for a moment, is challenging.
So much of our online interaction is based on some degree of self marketing, and I really struggle talking about myself. When I do, I often find the systems of categorisation used to define people very limiting. I can easily maintain a list of my most common dabblings, and I have done so below, but I cultivate a wide range of interests, including but not limited to: boardgames, pen and paper role playing games, ancient history, philosophy and philosophy of mind, astronomy, technology, futurism, sociology, politics…and on and on…
I’m an introspective person, but not always quiet. I favour genuine people and few friends. I enjoy open spaces and suffer crowds and cities grimly. There are times when I’d be happy to live on a secluded hill with my family, and other times when I’m inspired to use a camera in crowded concrete jungles.
I wrote a poem about colours and daydreams when I was little. A kindly old teacher read it later that term, and I was chosen as one of only a few dozen children from the school to be part of what they called a Writing Camp. I felt very special.
A local poet, Rory Harris, was there and tutored us in writing and poetry. I even had one of my poems published ! At the time, I wanted to become a writer. My family told me I was good at it and, since I was so terrible at mathematicss, I grew up thinking that it was the only thing I could do.
I enjoy writing short stories with a twist. Anything in the spec-fic area is of great interest, but a good story in any genre is just a good story ! All the better if I’ve written it myself, which I really need to do more of…
Some influential books and people: The Magician by CS Lewis, Borderlands (twisted short stories), Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Romantic English poetry (specifically William Blake), Gary Gygax of D&D fame, Michael Moorcock and his visions of multiversal Law and Chaos.
I used to fear learning about photography. I was afraid that I wouldn’t understand it, and it would be yet another technically minded pursuit that I’d have to relegate to the ‘interested, but unable to comprehend’ bin. That all changed when my brother and his family visited for Christmas 2012.
On Christmas afternoon, he handed me his Canon EOS camera to look at. I turned it over carefully and inspected the body and the lens. It all seemed a mystery to me at the time, but it also sparked several thoughts: what was I scared of? Why couldn’t I learn something about photography? Why should I limit myself?
And so, I watched a bunch of videos online, read books and websites, browsed forums, and just kept on thinking about the technical aspects of photography: ISO, exposure, shutter speed, and so on. Most important of all, I practiced. I picked up my newly acquired camera whenever I had time and went out walking. I tried different modes, thought about settings, tried some night photography, and adjusted my thinking and my eyes.
One has to be comfortable making mistakes in order to learn. One has to be open to the idea that a fantastic photo opportunity might be missed due to human error, and it’s just not worth dwelling on a lost moment. Making mistakes provides me with the opportunity to analyse where I go wrong. I’m always learning. Every photo is a lesson.
On Making Music
I’ve been dabbling in music composition since 1998. At that time, I became interested in the burgeoning world of software based noise makers and sequencing. Since I’d been interested in electronic music for so many years, it seemed a good way to further enjoy music.
When I have time, I like to record sounds with my field recorder and mangle them. I really enjoy the timeless nature of some ambient music and strive for the same sense of mind expanding space in my own music.
Some favourite artists: Jarre, Vangelis, 808 State, LFO, The Orb, Orbital, Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Art of Noise, Steve Roach, bvdub, Celer.
Here are some tracks I made between 1998 and 2014:
This, I have only just started. Abstract acrylic painting I enjoy most, but I am truly a beginner. I posted about my first completed canvas here.