Way back in 2001, I visited New Zealand. I didn't get much of a chance at the time to explore the country, but what I did find, was rather beautiful. My brother now lives there - in Christchurch. I'm hoping to go and visit him some day, and this morning I found myself browsing through the collection of books I bought whilst there. I seem to have a habit of buying as many photography books as I can from local photographers on my travels.
One particular copy that I liked very much, and looking at today for the first time in years - is Scott Freeman's book. I think it's interesting for me to go back and view this book, because I am seeing his images as a very different photographer from the one I was eleven years ago. I know I've progressed, learned a lot, and am always learning. So I think it's always an interesting thing to go back and view the work of others when you're at a different stage in your own creative development.
And what a revelation it is for me to enjoy Scott's book, almost like I'm seeing his images for the first time. There are compositions in it that I maybe found hard to understand back in 2001, but now feel a connection with. He has an eye for symmetry in his work, and his understanding of light and contrast is very good too.
He makes me want to return to photograph little barrier island, and Tongariro National Park. I also would love to return to Abel Tasman National Park too. And of course, Milford Sound.
I also feel he's given me a chance to go back and reconsider how I approached shooting the Moueraki boulders on the east coast. Certainly, I feel these days that what seemed like a place that held potential for maybe a few hours, could be a complete study of its own over a few days.
That is perhaps how much more considered I have become in my attitude to locations over the years.
So, I guess I'm building up a bit of a 'bond' right now with New Zealand. I feel I need a change, to go somewhere different, do something new. I never really 'got' New Zealand first time round, but I think that's because I wasn't ready. Some places, I feel, have a certain character, and require a certain ability, to be photographed well. They also need to be discovered at the right time in your development as a photographer.
So maybe I'll return to New Zealand sooner than I'd imagined. Maybe it will help spur me on to think more about those trips to Australia and Tasmania that I've long considered. Time will tell, and I think what Scott Freeman's book has allowed me to do - is to start the dreaming process of falling in love with a place.
It is this 'falling in love', that I often need to guide my attention and inspiration. If we dream it, think about it - we invite it into our hearts and minds, and it soon becomes part of our lives.
That's certainly how I get my inspiration and focus or 'drive' for moving forward in my own work.