The Photograph Arrives….
When I first heard the Journey of a Photograph concept I was keen to take part. As a travel and humanitarian photographer I wanted to take the photograph with me on a trip overseas and capture images of people’s reactions to the project. The photograph should be with me in Ethiopia right now. I am not there though and nor is the photograph. Instead we are both sat on my bed in the seaside town of Southend-on-Sea in Essex (UK).
Three short weeks ago I found out that a niggling back pain is in reality a growth in my pancreas. Since that discovery all immediate travel plans have been shelved and I am becoming a familiar face at the hospital. A week ago I received an email from Richard, who guest blogged the last section of the photograph’s journey, informing me that it was my turn to take part.
At first I felt like passing on the opportunity as my plan for my section of the project was impossible to complete. I then took time to reflect on the image and the meaning of a journey and felt that perhaps I could use this as a chance to reflect on what it means to be a traveller grounded. I am a collector of stories; I delight in sitting down with strangers and hearing their voice, their hopes, their history and their dreams. Now my own story is brought sharply into focus and instead I am looking at my own tale and praying this is not a final chapter as I am not yet ready to end the journey. I am used to using images to express myself but decided to take a hesitant step into the world of writing to respond to Emily’s photograph:
Dreams That Soar…
I wanted to end this post positively. I found the photograph arriving with me at a very poignant juncture in my own journey. When we are children we all travel in our play and in our dreams. I may be confined and restricted at the moment physically, but any journey that moves us deeply is about far more than the physical. I have added an image to the envelope that acts as the vessel for this project. I took the photo in Nepal last year, it shows a little boy playing with a simple paper aeroplane outside his mountain top school. His poverty, his geography and his age do not stop him being able to soar above his circumstances with his imagination. My tumour grounds me physically but also gives me cause to offer up thanks for my life and the dreams I have already had the chance to live out. Like the small boy in Nepal I am also able to look out at the world and dream of where I will travel next.
The Journey Goes On…
The Journey of the Photograph has only just begun. If you would like to participate in the project take a look here. If you want to know more about how the project started visit Emily’s blog. To visit my own blog take a look here.
Reblogged this on THE THING WITH FEATHERS and commented:
Followers will notice I have not been posting as often as usual, this guest blog post for ‘Journey of a Photograph’ explains why.
This will be a time God has allowed for reflection and to show you when the next part of your journey with God will be when you have rested .He has lots more for you to do on your journeys and many people He wants you to share with .God bless you lots Laura xxxxxxxmargaret
Thanks for your words Margaret. As I said, I think this is a pause rather than a full-stop for me. Sometimes we need to slow down to appreciate the journey.
art and adaptability – if you haven’t watched Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech, I am thankful that you did just as he recommends – in any circumstance…”make good art.” Thank you.
(Gaiman speech: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/neil-gaiman-at-the-university-of-the-arts-commencement-2012)
I have seen this speech before (just the once) and have just watched it again. Thanks for reminding me of its existence. Excellent words. Thanks also for your comment, I am glad I still took on the challenge.
I have been following the journey of the photograph and am particularly taken by your response. Two years ago I was diagnosed with cancer which stops everything in its tracks. What to do. Each day I balanced an uncomfortable thing with a good thing. During 80 days of radiation I made a drawing each day. My art was a big part of my unplanned journey. Now, two years later I am cancer free, traveling again and ready to tell my story. Some of that story is on my blog. Keep taking photographs, writing and dreaming, Laura because that is who you are.
Thank you for taking the time to write in response Carla, I have already started looking at your 80 days of art but as it is 23.28 in the uk and I have an endoscopy tomorrow morning I am going to have to sleep now and come back. Your words ‘Every day I balanced an uncomfortable thing with a good thing’ have gone into my journal and are a source of encouragement. We can find blessings in the strangest of situations. I am glad you are now cancer free and hope that continues and look forward o exploring your blog more tomorrow.
Dear Laura – I was deeply touched by your words, your beautiful poem and image; your story. I hope you found some strength in sharing. I’m sure it was very tempting to pass – I’m sure I would have done. This project found you at a crossroads, and I feel like the photograph almost became a metaphor for you. Thank you for deciding to participate under such difficult circumstances, and please continue to share and create: rather than a pause, a diversion, perhaps? Strength and love to you, from me – Emilyx
Thank you so much for letting me take part in the project. I think the photo reached me at the right time and tomorrow it begins a journey to its new home. I had some good news from the hospital yesterday as well telling me my tumour is benign so whilst I am likely to still need an operation the prognosis is now a much better one. Love and light to you and I look forward to watching the photo journey around the world.
I’m so glad to hear it is benign. Wishing you a speedy recovery from your op. xx
Laura, this is an incredibly touching entry. What a difficult part of a journey you are on. The photograph on your belly is very moving, as are your words.
The best of wishes to you, and what an inspiration you are!
Many good thoughts sent your way.
Thanks Karen, it has been a hard week but with a happier end as the hospital now believe my tumour is benign. This is not the end to my interlude in life but now one with far less worry attached. Thanks for your lovely words.
Glad to hear the tumour is benign. This is a really powerful and touching entry. Your words are beautiful. All the best for your interlude.
What a beautiful post and contribution. Severe illness, or even the threat of it, both shakes and grounds us in ways that no other experience can. Huge respect to you for continuing with the project and finding new ways to work with it. I hope your time after this is full of health and all the travels you wish for.
Reblogged this on searchingtosee and commented:
Follow the journey of this little photograph, and read Laura’s beautifully touching entry to the blog.
Reading all these comments.. happy to see the word benign. And to feel your strength as you faced the unknown. Thanks for this!
What a touching post and courageous choice. I wish you well as you pause … and then freely wander on 🙂
Thank you 🙂
This is a wonderfully appropriate response to an odd intersection of moments – one telling you to stop everything, the other (the photo) telling you to think of endless possibilities.