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Available Light


Writing a book about photography is probably among the silliest things you can do. There is a basic conflict in the notion of writing about photography isn’t there? Nevertheless people do it - write books about photography I mean; But perhaps I should tell you that I haven’t really written a book about photography, I have written a travel book from a photographers perspective.


I thought that I knew some things about photography before I left home, but I was to find that the knowledge I had was more hindrance than help and had to admit, that really, I knew nothing. This was humbling, but it was also the beginning of a process of discovery in which my expectations as a photographer and as a traveller were constantly challenged, reassessed and revised.


Travelling and photography are pursuits of the curious, both are driven by a desire to observe. They complement and sometimes conflict with one another and a clearer understanding of one can give a clearer understanding of the other. I didn't know that when I set out, and I thought that I might travel for six months or so - perhaps longer if I liked travelling. I did not return for seven years.


This book is the story of my journey. I experienced moments that were terrifying and sublime, hilarious and tragic. I was twice threatened with firearms and twice arrested; I was abandoned in a blizzard on the Tibetan Plateau in the middle of the night miles from shelter and without adequate clothing; I trekked in the jungles of Borneo and the mountains of the great Himalaya; I encountered deserts both spiritual and physical, saw things so beautiful that they moved me to tears and received kindness so absolute that I can never repay it. I knew both joy and despair; sorrow and euphoria. I ate kangaroo pie, I discovered the exact monetary value of my eyebrows and I fell in love. Twice.


Home turned out not to be where I had left it, and it has taken me a long time to write this story down, but here it is at last. Available Light is being published by Matador Books and will be released on 1st July 2012.











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