I guess that I need to start somewhere. The question is really, where's a good place to start. I'm pretty sure no one is interested in my life story, so there goes fifty years of possibilities. This is a photography website, so maybe I should begin with my introduction to photography... "I was about twelve years old when my father gave me my first camera..." nah! Boring! This blog business isn't as easy as I thought it was going to be. I mean, why do people write blogs? More to the point, as I'm not a pathological narcissist, what makes me think that other people will want to wade through blog after blog of badly written English to explore the brain farts of a mediocre and relatively unknown photographer living in South East Asia? Beats me.
This, of course, is part of the reality of being a photographer in the social media age. It's no longer enough to be good at your craft and work hard. Now you need to have something called a 'social media presence'. (I'd like to meet the clown who came up with that idea in a dark alley, on a dark night and with a baseball bat in my hands.) Social Media! For me it started with facebook. Start a page, post your pictures, follow other photographers, litter the internet with positive comments, collect a sea of loyal followers and soon the whole world will be knocking at your door, I was told.
Did that. Sort of. No one knocked. Not once. My mistake, it seems. Well meaning friends explained that facebook wasn't for professionals... I needed LinkedIn. No problem. I eagerly signed up and padded my profile, blackmailed friends into becoming contacts and waited for the flood. I even moved my bed next to the front door in case I missed that first knock. I didn't miss it. It never came. Turns out it was my own fault. I wasn't on Instagram. A few clicks on the keyboard and then this problem was also solved... until I learn't about twitter. I guess that by now you can see where I'm going with all of this.
The reality is that I've been sucked down into the basement level of Dante's social media hell. I spend my days and nights feeding this hydra pathetic scraps of my professional life, praying that they will be enough to placate it's infinite appetite. All the time hoping that day by day and hour by hour I'm pushing back that terrifying moment when I will have nothing left to offer, and it will turn on me and devour me whole. Having survived wars, floods and a whole host of angry African wildlife, I can see my epitaph: "Here lies Ian Morton. 1963 - 2019. Taken from us by his keyboard." What a way to go.
So, in case you were wondering, although there's no reason why you should be, that's the reason I'm starting this blog. You see, it's a new beginning for me... or rather a return to my roots. I've spent the last twenty years photographing Vietnam for other people. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. The clients I've worked for have given me the opportunity to do what I love; to travel and take photographs. I've had a great time and made a good living. The problem has been the photographs. Trying to convince frozen Europeans to visit sunny Vietnam for their winter holidays my clients have always required a particular kind of photograph. Clear blue skies, pristine white beaches edged with the stereotypical coconut trees and a uniform variety of luxury five-star resorts. This isn't the Vietnam I know and love.
My passion is for the original Vietnam, dare I say the 'unspoiled' Vietnam? Those secluded coves, rugged mountain peaks, remote jungle villages and unvisited ancient pagodas that have not yet been assaulted by hoards of the professionally unwashed clutching their copies of lonely planet. I want to photograph Vietnam as it has always been, a sublimely beautiful place abounding in its own unique history and culture. It's still here, almost everywhere hidden in plain sight, if you know where to look. This is what I want to explore and document, before it too is washed away by the rising tide of bland globalization. Fortunately for me, I now find myself at a place where a can do just this. To revisit all the amazing places I've discovered over the last twenty years, and to photograph them the way I want to.
I'm turning my back on all the things I've been told that I should do to succeed as a photographer. I'm no longer going to worry about how many 'likes' I have on facebook or Instagram. I'm just going to travel and take the photographs that I want to take. With this bimonthly rambling of poorly chosen adjectives and mixed metaphor's I'll share with anyone who might be interested where I am and what I'm doing. This little blog is it. My sole contribution to satisfying the infinite greed of the www vampire that lives beyond my keyboard. Ahh! The feeling of freedom just writing that gives me. It's almost as if the adventure has begun before I take a step out of the door. Maybe I chose the wrong title for this first blog. Possibly it should have been "Here goes Ian Morton 2019 - ?" Kugara zvakanaka!