Over the years in my life as a photographer, I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors in all kinds of weather, waiting for the perfect shot. Before Instagram was even a thing, I’d often find myself alone somewhere for hours, waiting for the perfect sunset for a photo that might end up in a book or magazine, while others were off having dinner. Sometimes I was aware of my vulnerability in those situations, sitting alone in a remote spot, but mostly what I felt was honoured. Honoured to be experiencing such a special moment in nature, or in a place, that no one else seemed to even notice. It felt like I was in on the biggest secret of life. Now I am rarely alone when I’m out taking photographs, these days everyone is a photographer and even remote places can be filled with tourists. But yet I often still feel alone, because I know no one is experiencing the moment the same way as me. That’s a given anyway, as we all have our own unique subjective experiences of everything in life. But what I mean is that people rarely listen.
A place is not just about the beautiful scenery, it’s also about the sounds, the smells, the energy, and just being there in the moment. I can spend an hour blissfully sitting in the quiet stillness somewhere, with just the birds and trees and suddenly humans will come blaring into a place and change the atmosphere abruptly. Yet they miss the magical birdsong that was happening, they might take some photos and rush off without really experiencing any of it.
My partner John is often with me these days on my photo adventures, but we automatically go into a respectful hush when we enter nature, it feels sacred, like being in church or something. Somewhere along the line I started recording sounds, because I have become even more appreciative of sound as a powerful portal to presence. I also have the means to do so as a recording artist. So I decided to launch a podcast to share those sounds. Without the distraction of images, it’s such a beautiful way to enter a moment – to be here now. And the more we become aware of the sounds around us – whatever they are, wherever we are – the easier we will find it to be present.