Documenting the lives of the unknown
I’m very lucky. I get to meet so many incredible people from all over the world and document what they naturally do, where they feel comfortable doing it. Telling the stories of people who we often know little about is a real privilege that I never take for granted: Hard working Tuvan people from Siberia living in yurts, amazing Syrian refugees getting their lives back together in refugee camps, Baaka people living in the forests of the Congo, etc. Of course, not every individual within all of this diversity is perfect. However, if you concentrate on those who are kind, or even the kind of people with the attributes that would define them to be grumps, I always think that there’s a wealth of nice people and good company anywhere across the globe.
Being able to get along with people from different cultures, backgrounds, belief systems, and attitudes different from my own is essential in my line of work. You have to leave your own prejudices and judgments at the door and if you think you don’t have them, you are probably wrong. We all prejudice to a certain degree as it’s a very human thing to do. So being aware of how these work on your psyche rather than denying their existence is probably the best way to go.
“The kit we take to areas we know nothing about has to be fit for any terrain and circumstance.”
How to find your own unknown adventures
When writing about these experiences, I’m aware that it can sound a little like everything I do is amazing or perfect. The reality is that it’s not. The large proportions of these shoots can be stressful and hard, and they require a labour of love. It takes a lot of effort to get to these places with the necessary kit and make everything all work under a huge amount of pressure. In China, I had two cameras go down and I was barely able to make the rest of my kit continue to work. For me, that’s part of the challenge, and the bigger the challenge is, the greater the sense of achievement I would feel once it’s completed.
Adventure and discovery of the unknown, I think, has a place in everyone’s heart. So why not start small and see if the ember turns into a flame? One of the best adventures I ever had was taking our kids up the hill one morning so they could light a fire for sausages and watch the sunrise; one of the most magical mornings of my life.
"Not an ideal place for thousands of pounds worth of expensive filming equipment to be charging, but sometimes there is no other way.”