Shot on assignment with fellow creatives. (Hamza Khan co-founder of Splash Effects)

Shot on assignment with fellow creatives. (Hamza Khan co-founder of Splash Effects)

#truth I'm back to three cups of coffee a day & all I want to do is create stuff! To be honest, it didn't quite start off like this during my rebirth as an artist.

After I left my traditional career path for the one less traveled; I took my camera along for the journey one last time in hopes that I could rekindle my passion for the arts. After 10 plus years of photography being my side hustle I was struggling to find a deeper meaning in why I was striving to be a photographer. I knew I was going to start a new chapter in my life but questioned if art was something worth personally continuing when all I wanted to do was find a stronger long term focus. 

In my beginning stages as a photographer I've always enjoyed covering different subject matter as it allowed me to learn more about the craft. It was also the different opportunities I was given to shoot that encouraged me to have a positive outlook on life. Fact of the matter is that if it wasn't for photography I may have never fallen into my role of community organizing, allowing me to first document and then support the building of creative environments for young people. 

The difficulty was that as I became more and more preoccupied with my role as a civic leader, my photography work have to take a back burner. It naturally became less important when given opportunities to assist with the growth of a community. Eventually I no longer had the time to focus on creative shoots in Toronto & even the independent travel photography work while on the road would have to sit in my archives for a year or two before I was able to release any of it.

With the lack of committed time, I also started to feel that deep down inside the photography work I was doing wasn't speaking to me anymore. Something was missing from the way I was shooting that started to make it more of a robotic process than an art form. I would look at the shots I had take after an international trip and would struggle to find true purpose in why It was important to capture these images.  

Like the cave I was crawling into, my travel work started to move solely into lone landscapes; and while it spoke to so many people that have enjoy my work as photographer, I could not find the answers I was looking for to find stronger meaning in what I was shooting. 

Four months ago, in Montreal I gave it one last shot to figure it out. I started to look at the great bodies of work I had created from my travels around the world, to documenting some of the growth of the hip hop and cultural movements as a student. I knew all of these images were works that I had created, but what exactly was I trying to create and why did it matter so much? 

Today we live in a world that has been conditioned, overwhelmingly, to visualize.  Photography is a tool that has become more accessible for everyone to start taking pictures, yet not many of us may not be able to answer "what does it mean to take a picture?". In this image driven way of life, every second is a moment we feel pressured to capture; as if the moment un-captured is something that will be forgotten forever.  

In one way the democratization of photography is something I applaud. The accessibility has allowed for the untold stories to now be in the forefront of our world news. What I fell in love with was this reclamation of the art form. Historically used & commissioned only by the most elite, it was now a tool for the masses to empower and inspire the world through images. Today we are all story tellers, but of what nature?

The digitalization of the camera and our world has made it more affordable for anyone to shoot and share. The affordability in digitalization however would mean that the art of film photography would start to become a niche, warranted only for the camera purists or new age hipsters. This was a double edge sword, the possible forging of a new age camera elite & the disconnect to an important part of art history. Regardless the evolution of photography has attracted us all at some point. 

I became attached to photography as an art form because it allowed me to reclaim the art and change the lens to focus on what was not rightfully being shared with the world. I always took pride in being able to be a professional photographer to support other people who were passionate about something they were involved in and in some way, capturing their picture was a chance to share with the world my passion.

It was here that I started to realize what was missing from my work.

To be continued next week in: The Rebirth of an Artist - Part 3   

"Hard Knock Awakenings" was created as a form of reflective based storytelling, dedicated to realizations of purpose, struggle & passion in paths of life we have taken. 
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