AUTHOR: Thibaut Goarant, originally published on Public Lens
Vital, essential, necessary, brain food, soul feeder, I have no words to explain how photography is important to me. I started to shoot two years ago, just a little after my best friend died, suddenly. I am not sure there is a direct link; I think it just came like this, with no specific reason, like you start something new by accident. I used to have one of those random cheap digital cameras, but one day it failed; I had to replace it by another. One of my friends had a reflex camera and I liked the quality of the photography (it was due to the depth of field actually). I decided to buy a camera, not necessarily a reflex, but something a little expensive compared to my previous one. I finally ended buying a hybrid camera as it sounded practical, and also because it was mentioned this was made for street photography – which meaning I had no clue at that time. I was somehow hypnotized by those words and then I decided to look for what was street photography. This changed my life. I don’t how to describe it; it was like venom in my blood that started to go through all my body, but moreover my soul, and heart. That was my first step of dependency.
The second one was to found what I call my photo buddy. It was through a social network where people can organize events in which you can join if you like the idea. Let’s call her Maria; Maria has a strong personality; I would say active, dominative, in the right sense, while I am more passive. I believe that this is how it works between us. We spent now, I think, hundreds of hours together shooting the streets. Something flies away, something else comes instead; my friend past, a new friend came; music (I used to be a music junkie) stopped, and photography arrived.
It’s hard to me how to explain why it is so important in my life. I just know that when I go shooting, I forget everything else. It is my stress relief, my soul feeder. I suffer also from depression but not when I photograph with my buddy; we shoot, we discuss photography, life, whatever. I am just addicted to it now, that’s for me the best anti-depressor of all, the best cure I could ever find. It is an addiction but I don’t feel it negatively; I embrace it instead like a priest embracing his god and his faith in him, like any addicted to his drug, his precious, his life.
I have been asked by Maria to write for her blog about the reasons I shoot; this is a real challenge for me as I don’t talk much, don’t ever write, but this time I was asked 3,000 characters, 3,000, come on! It is just so hard but at the same time very exciting and challenging. I can be selfish and just talk about me, my issues and my addiction to photography.
Closed, fat, passive as I said, depressed about all and everything despite having a wonderful wife and kid. That’s me. But photography goes beyond all of these, beyond my surroundings and me. With photography I can finally found peace. Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of soul. On the other hand, if some day, some time, I shoot and I don’t have a good shot, or what I consider good, I feel even more depressed. Photography is relieving but can be painful also. That’s a great lesson of life, I think.
I don’t know how long it will last, I hope for the moment for the rest of my miserable life. That ‘s also how I see my photography: dark, dirty, simple, but full of details at the same time. I shoot with a Ricoh GR with the high contrast black and white preset, that fits perfectly my state of mind which I can translate into an image, cure myself from the everyday pain by shooting one moment that I freeze into a piece of me. My peace.