I am a thoughtful, person centred, empathic man and in all I do I really only have one motivation, to explore the inner landscape of the self, with particular emphasis on my self. I am, then, first and foremost, an explorer. It is a difficult and challenging task because much of the complexity of the self is hidden in plain sight, in that my experience of my self is my normality and it is therefore impossible to gain a perspective other than through observation and experience of the world around me. Observation is tricky, however, because how I interpret what I observe is naturally biased by me, the observer. My relationship with the world around me is crucial to the relationship I have with myself and, indeed, it was that relationship with the world which gave rise to me becoming an explorer of my self. The whole process of inner discovery is made more difficult because of the cultural and moral overlay that is part of the dialogue with my self, in particular in relation to those parts of my self that I least like, which I consider least admirable, giving rise to shame and which, therefore, I have a tendency to hide from and have difficulty admitting to even when I do manage to see them.
There are a finite range of feelings and emotions that are common to us all and if I were to say I am not a jealous man I would be practising a subtle deception in that the capacity for jealousy is in me and always will be. It is a natural part of my emotional landscape, whether I like it or not.
There are two difficulties, in particular, that are worth mentioning in exploring the self, the first is to acknowledge that the language of the self, via psychology, is still very new and despite our evident sophisticated technological achievements we are in general naive about the self. There is still so much to explore and pushing the boundaries of any exploratory work is difficult and partial that only future explorers can, and hopefully will, build on. The second difficulty is that of self honesty, to examine my self without judgement, or at least suspended judgement. We all have an inner voice and inner critic, and in learning about my self, that voice has to be muted or managed in a way that gives me access to, as it were, the raw data, the real deal. It is all too easy to think that what we believe is real when much of what we believe is, like opinion, unsubstantiated and partial. Looking behind my internal belief structure is about suspended belief and suspended disbelief, in order to see something close to the truth of my self.
Everything I do is motivated by the drive to explore and to push the limits of my self and whilst I do call myself a photographer and an artist, it would be a mistake to see them as particularly defining in any way because they are always exploratory and not for their own sake. Exploring the boundaries or photography and art is exploring my personal boundaries and that is what gets me fired up and my creative juices flowing.
Last but not least, this process of exploration requires a light touch, it is, I have discovered, hampered if I take myself too seriously, so to the best of my ability I explore light heartedly and playfully, even whilst I am very serious about it. Recent studies are showing just how crucial play is to our development and is something that we should assiduously nurture throughout our lives.