Back To The Orient

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20 Years After Leaving Asia For London, I’ve Decided To Return East

I spent the best part of a decade travelling Asia, photographing what I saw and engaging with the people there. However, the travelling life was rough on me. Unlike many of my colleagues here at the newspaper, I gained my photography experience travelling the world – sleeping rough and running from dark room to dark room.

To find and capture life in it’s natural state. That has, and always will, be my goal in life. This can’t be done in the way traditional camera men work.

Usually there’s a certain element of planning that goes into a shoot – even when the subject is of the natural world. There’s light to consider, as well as positioning and the use of lenses. If the subject is an animate object, will it be happy to stay in one position for an extended period of time?


These questions, as well as many others, started to sit at the forefront of my mind as I worked as a photographer in England. The situational skills, that I developed during my travels, began to slowly dissipate and my pictures grew more and more conventional. Until one day, whilst picking out my photos from the negative room; I had to strain to find my photographs from my peers’.

This moment was the catalyst that drove me out of London and onto a plane back to Asia.

I could no longer sit in the fashionable cafes and studios that defined my profession, here in England. I needed to be back amongst the unpredictable tumult of the Orient – at risk, yet always just a few coincidences away from an unexpected reward.


I’d saved up enough cash to  last my three lifetimes, across the world where one of our British Pounds can buy a night’s stay, a full day of meals and a round of beers for an entire bar. So there was no need to delay the inevitable – 20 years after leaving the travelling life, I was returning back to a decidedly alternative way of life.

Of course, I hadn’t stopped travelling the world, when I’d returned. In the interim I’d travelled the length of Africa and the breadth of Europe, on similar missions for photography perfection. But this time was different. On every other excursion, I’d always felt like I was leaving on a brief sojourn (even if I was out of the the country for months at a time) – this time, it felt permanent.

When I was off by my colleagues, friends and family – it felt less like ‘See You Later’ and more like ‘Goodbye’.

wlaking-awayI wonder if I’ll ever go back.