Updated: Jan 29, 2020
Dave here Mogwais,
The idea for this blog came to me on the drive home from Aberystwyth this weekend, whilst listening to Alan Watts (who is a total philosophic guru - you should give him a listen) so, heres your warning, theres amateur philosophy in this Mogwai blog… its going to get deep…
It has become a regular joke within our small team of photographer friends that Sam and I are forever “chasing the sun”
This has become our modus operandi when we go out in the evenings to take sunset shots or in the morning to grab the perfect sunrise.
It’s not that we aren't organised when we go on our photography shoots…we are, we can be all set up in minutes and have taken some perfectly fine shots… but we don't like to stop there, because, we know that if we push that little bit harder, climb a little bit higher up the mountain or just drive around the next corner then the view could be even more spectacular than standing where we are… it’s a whole, but maybe the grass really is a little bit greener on the other side of the (Elan) valley.
Photography is an endless journey of discovery, its a journey that I feel I am lucky to have found and be a part of.
Its largely been about expression and experimentation for me, learning new skills, putting them into practise, sometimes adapting my technique to continue using them and sometimes determining that these techniques aren't “my style” and reverting to my earlier approaches. This is a lesson that I am becoming well versed in with my work as a photographer, in my personal life and with Mogwai Media as a whole…
As you may have realised the Mogwai website has had a facelift and has come back as a bright, colourful, unicorn featuring website that is informative and customer centred but also (and perhaps most importantly) … fun!
It's taken us a while to get to the stage where we are truly happy with our website and feel that it reflects who we are, what we do, and what we want to achieve.
We had a “crisis of confidence” just over two years ago, when we were starting out with our design company… we were designing beautiful sites for people and we were proud of our work and were getting more and more offers, jobs and contracts in,
We got busy … and we bricked it
We thought “perhaps we should brand Mogwai media to be more corporate” we lost the sparkle" on our website (but luckily retained it in all our design work and in person) we tried to fit in, whilst telling all of our clients to “stand out…”
We've been coming back from that ever since, it wasn't us … we aren't a corporate company, we don't wear suits to work … we rock up to our yellow walled office, arrange our patchwork meeting stools, swivel around on our giant computer chairs, turn some creative music on and make the magic happen. We love the interactions that we have allowed ourselves to have with any size business, the one-to-one conversations when you get to know someones hopes, dreams and desires over a cup or ten of coffee, and not just what they want their website to look like … it might not be a business plan for making millions, but we know this approach lets us be happy in our work and helps us make a difference to each of our clients (our new friends)
So, back to the photography …( this is all linked, you'll see…)
Cut back to Aberystwyth beach on Sunday afternoon, tripod all set up low to the ground with a ND Filter on my lens, trying desperately to capture the blur motion of the waves crashing in on to the pebble beach.
You see these stunning images on Instagram with the waves in motion, they get hundreds, no, thousands of likes and I thought to myself, “that looks awesome, I’m going to give it a go” … well, after a lot of messing around, moving the tripod, trying to clean the lenses from the spray of the waves, readjusting the focus and swearing about my now slightly damp feet from not moving away from the oncoming waves quickly enough … I gave up, not happy with my results, resigned to trying again another day when I’ve got more time and its not so cold (Aber in January on the sea front… yeah, not the warmest time to be standing there trying to take long exposure photos)
I packed the tripod away and carried on up the beach (maybe muttering and sulking slightly after failing at capturing the photo I had wanted to replicate). A little while later, at the deserted rock pools, I found a lovely spot where some water droplets were hanging from the sea weed, I took a close up photo and was pretty happy with the results...happyish, *shrugs...
I took a couple more photographs as the sun was trying to part through the clouds, but had pretty much written the day off for getting any really amazing shots ... I’m not destined to be Instagram famous today, I mean, I failed at my wave in motion so it was all going to be downhill from then on out ….
To cheer myself up, I took myself for a coffee on the pier (and a cheeky play on the 2p machine in the arcades … which lasted slightly longer than I anticipated and probably cost me a small fortune) 200, 2ps later we left the arcade and began walking back to the car, then I looked up …
The sky was just turning red, the starlings were dancing, the angel on the top of the war memorial at the castle hill was silhouetted beautifully against the ombre skies …lads, its a picture perfect moment and I still have my camera around my neck.
One hour later and i would struggle to think of a sunset that I have captured better…
So, whats the moral to the story … is it all about dumb luck? no, not really its about being in the moment, appreciating where you are and remembering your roots, being happy with who you are, who you really are! At the end of the day that's what matters and that’s how you’re going to get to where you want to be…I wound myself up, annoyed at not being able to capture the perfect instagram shot of waves …for who? for what? … why?
I am at my happiest when I have got the camera in my hand and not on a tripod, when I have free-rein, when I experiment, when I play, when I get to fulfil my passions and not “#DoItForTheGram.” I realised I had repeated the same mistakes as long before and had fallen into the rabbit warren pattern of taking photos in a style that was more …well, it wasn't me,
Basically, I was doing it for the likes and not because I liked it.
Alan Watts (my man I had playing in the car earlier,- the philosopher dude ) has this to say “there is a danger in thinking life is a journey; some sort of a pilgrimage with a purpose at the end. Life is to be lived along the way, in the same way that music is to be enjoyed. If music were only about endings, composers would only write finales!”
Life, work, hobbies …it’s all a learning curve, and you need to be in the moment at each stage, "okay" with where you are, with who you are and who you are becoming, because, that is the now, and that’s the reality of the moment.
Embrace your uniqueness, that’s the part that makes you special. You don't know what’s around the corner, and you are welcome to go and look… but, sometimes, just sometimes, you need to stop chasing the sunrises and just look up at the stars.