For The Love of it

I developed a really lovely friendship with another mature age student when I started Uni. Nathan was so excited by beginning such an expansive journey. Encountering new ideas, challenging his thoughts and developing his own take on those ideas turned him on. We shared so much about our lives, what drew us to study, and what was fostering the most exuberance so far in our classes.

When I turned up to the final exam that semester, Nathan wasn’t present. It was only afterwards that I found out from a mutual Tutor whom we both really connected with that Nathan had passed away the night before. I had seen him two days ago and we had pictured hanging out and celebrating after that exam.

The reason I share this is because I have often thought of Nathan in my studies. When I am feeling overwhelmed I often remember Nathans enthusiasm and appetite for learning and his thankfulness for being able to study. Considering this is my last semester, I wanted to choose subjects that I would passionately engage with so I could end my Bachelor of Arts knowing that I maintained my creative focus and gave everything I could to it. This is why I chose Writers in Action.

I knew from photographing a previous block subject how connective, intimate and inspiring it was for the students to engage with a number of themes, lectures and events delivered by enthusiastic folks directly involved with the subject matter over an intense couple of days. I also know that Nathan, eyes sparkling, would have been smiling from ear to ear over the whole weekend, and I wish he could have been there.

As I had chosen Photojournalism as my Minor I like to practice it as much as possible. Photographing the Bendigo Writers Festival also complimented my playful side; dressing up like Jimmy Olson complete with press tag and pork-pie hat gave me an unofficial licence to interact with people in all sorts of scenarios.

Photojournalism to me is primarily a human experience, one that requires love and sensitivity. I had to sacrifice myself to the moment; to the words and thoughts in many of those sessions, so that my imagination might dovetail (as Robert Dessaix put it) with another human beings. I also had to allow my finger, my eye and my heart to remain vigilant and come together in unison with the sensitive shutter so that I could give life to memory, so that I could transport those saturated moments in some way.

Looking over those photographs I can critique them with my Neo cortex, but I prefer my Limbic brain to soak them up and be moved again and again by what is most important to me. I love the human condition, I love the ability of an image to bridge time and I love that the act of writing can allow the individual to take the matter of the life they witness, abstract it, and in doing so raise the vibration of human understanding with their creation.

Dear Nath,
I see you brother, I hope that I have done you justice in keeping that desire, that love of thinking, and of giving a real shit about life and the people in it alive! I believe you would have been transported by such subject matter. In fact, I have an image of you riding atop a white elephant, writing down all the experiences you travel through and reading it to the elephant. In a very distant future your elephant comes to rest, as most stories must. I see everything slow down. That beautiful beast bends its knees and scatters dust as it settles on its haunches. The dust, before descending back to earth, mimicking your motion from the elephants back, first imprints itself on time, sending out psychic suggestions of other possibilities for life. Tenderly, you approach the elephants head, kissing it, taking in its epic tears, all reflecting the last of the light in its world. You hold its immensity in your arms as the light fades. A peace descends and the elephant, with a sigh of relief and gentle effort reveals a gift to the world. Like an accordion unfolding, an immense volume of pages, a body of work, appears in place of its ribs. These are all a person needs to travel on. A thoughtful meander, a life well lived, a good story.

Reading stories and imagining myself in different worlds helps me to make meaning as I can only imagine it does for others.

Please take this brother.
It’s the only way I know how to offer you something.

Yours in story,

Shane Carey.

To partake in Shane Carey’s Photography visit his emerging website at