much to accomplish. When I was young I used to think working for yourself would be the best thing in the world. Wake up when you want, work when you want, and nobody could tell you what to do. I learned long ago nothing could be further from the truth. In the past when I went to work, I started at 8AM and finished at 5PM. Once the clock hit 5PM, my time was my time and work became the furthest thing from my mind.
Last night I watched the documentary War Photographer. I have watched this movie at least five times but every so often I get the urge to watch it again. Two things strikes me about James Nachtwey; his absolute single-mindedness towards getting the shot and his consummate professionalism. For the past few weeks I have been thinking about where and what to photograph next. When I consider places to go, I often find the word but coming into play far too often. But I don't have enough money, but I don't know if I can make any money from that project, but I don't know if I'm good enough. But...but...but...
When I first started this site and making YouTube videos, I thought it would be easy. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. Like my mother always said, "No one ever promised life would be easy." It could be a lot worse, that's for sure. Questions normally have answers that can be found with a little searching. My own question as a photographer has been, "What now?" I could go back to Myanmar, I could photograph the Thai protests, and I could go to Africa. James Nachtwey came to photograph Thailand and promptly got shot in the leg. Did he say to his editor, "I don't know what to do, I got shot in the leg?" No, he bandaged his leg and continued shooting. This is the fifth or sixth time he's been wounded. Yet, it hasn't stopped him.
What's my point? Whining and over thinking doesn't get you anywhere.
I have always been someone who put my mind to doing something and did it. Deciding is half the battle, at least with me. For the past few weeks I've been thinking of going to the Central African Republic, going from Capetown to Casablanca, and also about taking part in a documentary on the decline of the number of elephants, rhinos, and lions. Instead of being a head case and constantly trying to figure out how I can do these things, I just need to commit. Once a person commits, the battle plan changes from thinking what to do towards how to accomplish the mission.
This is the life of An American in Bangkok...long periods of contemplation followed later by periods of action. Choke dee lae jer gan mai...
People think Thailand is heaven on earth and the most perfect place ever, yet many fail to realize how hard it is to move and stay in a foreign country. Anyone can move to a foreign country. Living, truly living in a country other than your own means it becomes home. When a place becomes home, life can get monotonous. Life can get stressful. You are no longer on vacation and reality sets in. There is no Utopia, there is no paradise on earth. Not even in Thailand.
Perhaps my ranting and raving about men using the little head instead of the big one is paying off. Or perhaps men who might send in questions about Thai women see I'm uploading videos about Burma and don't feel the need to bother. In any case, I am getting fewer letters from guys asking idiotic questions. I would like to think my videos are facilitating a change for the better but...who knows? Maybe it's just the slow season with the protests.
In this Letter to Thailand, Johnny writes in and asks what's up with his Facebook girl. At this point, he's never met her, yet they're both claiming to be in an exclusive relationship with one another. Just one problem; she's the flirty type who likes sending emoticons to strangers. Should he be concerned? Well, if he had all his faculties about him, no. He's planning on visiting her in Thailand for a month in the near future though, so instead of playing boyfriend and promising to stay with her for the duration of his stay, he needs to man up and start taking control. Listen to what I have to say in the video below.
BTW - as you can see below, I have begun selling my photos from my recent trip to Myanmar. All prints are extremely high quality, and if you would like a signed print, this is possible as well. Just let me know!
much different than what can be gathered from reading. I knew it would difficult to trust people on the ground, but I trusted absolutely no one. Then when it came time to meet with those who I thought I might be able to trust enough to get me into a camp, it turned out they were powerless. I was more naive than I thought and this, coupled with expecting to simply meet up with a few of my connections and then get into a camp, left me frustrated. By the time I left the village near the first camp I visited, I knew a two-week trip would be nowhere near long enough to figure out exactly what was going on. Add to this that I am as white as snow and stand out like a sore thumb and it's no wonder why foreigner journalists and photographers have great difficulties.
In my eyes, and in the eyes of any editor I would have been working for, I failed. I didn't get into a camp. That was my mission. I am not beating my self up about it but I would have preferred to accomplish what I set out to do. On a positive note, I learned a great deal and got some pretty good photos. For now, this is acceptable, but I want to achieve my goal the next go round.
Speaking of the next go round, I am considering several places, some dangerous, some not. I could always go to Tibet, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mozambique or even Hong Kong and come away with memorable photographs. But...I would really like to go somewhere that will seriously challenge me and yet I can be fairly certain to walk away with a story that is extremely memorable. On the dangerous places list: Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Chad, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Dangerous places = greater expense, both financially and emotionally.
I am giving myself three weeks to make a decision. In the next few days I will narrow the list down and start looking into projects. Then I'll put up a poll on this site and make a short video. Once I do this, I will speak with my film making buddy and see what he thinks and finalize . With any luck I'll get him on board and we'll put together something epic.