West of the Sun: Story Telling

Story tellers.

It would appear that the human race are nothing but story tellers.

That’s it.

That’s all there is that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

On every level we tell stories. Sub consciously and consciously, it is our need, desire and inbuilt ability to tell them, in our own unique way, that makes us all individual.

From the moment we are born our survival and sanity depends on learning to communicate. We learn about our surroundings, society, rights and wrongs, family and indeed humanity’s history, from our elders. And they teach us these things with stories. In ways we understand and in ways that develop, parallel to our ability to absorb, imagine and communicate.

We first hear about love, pain, laughter, joy, sadness, hurt and serenity (and how we should react to our first experiences of them) from stories.

Nothing more.

Whether they are stories from the mouths of friends and family, from books, films, television or indeed the theatre of real life, we watch, listen and learn.

And as we grow up, become adults, our success and happiness relies on how well we communicate – knowingly and unknowingly – to others and indeed, ourselves.

And that is the crux of the matter.

The stories we tell ourselves, the ways in which we communicate to ourselves, is the very foundation of our happiness. How well we know ourselves, what our dreams are, what we believe, what we want, how honest we are about these things, all play a crucial role in how well we tell our own story to the rest of the world.

Subconsciously, the way we walk, dress and look are all part of what we communicate, how we are seen and the story we tell.

The conversations we have, the subjects we study, the jobs we do and the careers we choose all make up our identity. An identity we subconsciously show to the world every single day.

And consciously?

Society is built around the various ways of communicating these stories, passions and beliefs. Not only with art, music, writing, poetry, film and television but also with mathematics, science, politics, money, food, journalism and medicine.

They are all ways in which we express ourselves, project our beliefs and very essence into the world around us.

The more we know ourselves, the more aware we are of what we want the world to know and the better we master the tools with which we communicate, the happier we will be.

And my story?

I’m calling it ‘West of the Sun’.

And my tools?

Photography – a camera, some film and the darkroom.

I am not starting with a blank canvass, paint and my imagination, but with a tool that uses science to function. A camera, capturing exactly what my eyes see, through a lens and onto some film.

With chemistry. Reality. Not magic.

And yet inexplicably, the resulting images hint at mythical, magical landscapes, shimmering just out of reach. Whether in a city centre park, metres from the roadside or miles from nowhere up a mountain, somehow the science and chemistry of photography has managed to include my mind’s eye in the final image.

And the more images I capture with my camera, the less I rely on it to discover these worlds – the more easily I tune into the song mother nature is singing to me. The story she is telling me.

We all need to escape from reality occasionally, using whatever methods we choose. We daydream, read, go to the cinema, play games, drink, take drugs or listen to music.

I also happen to look at the world I inhabit and see shapes, textures and geometry, shimmering within. Unimagined, real worlds – yet dusted with a coat of magic and a sprinkling of fairy dust.

Worlds that are found, forever out of reach, just over the horizon and West of the Sun.

And that is the story I wish to share with you, the gift I wish to give.

Some help to escape reality, to a world found somewhere, West of the Sun.

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