With the end of studying at university in sight, I’ve had some time to think about what it is I want to do with this new chapter in my life. I’ve known for a while that I want to put a larger focus on my photography (I studied architecture), but the shape and ethos of that focus has been unclear. Importantly, several recent influences have reminded me: everything I do has an impact. With that in mind, my goal for the next 6-12 months to have a positive impact (more on this below).
Firstly, however, some resources for thinking. I recently rewatched the fantastic documentary Jane (2017), which not only gave me a renewed sense of hope, but also reminded me of Jane Goodall’s sheer determination – something I think we will all need in the face of this pandemic. Secondly, several episodes from the Tim Ferris show, F-Stop Collaborate and Listen, and the Rich Roll podcast (in particular with Charles Eisenstein), along with Henry David Thoreau’s Walking essay have reminded me that I choose whether or not to live in balance with nature. This seems to be where I have found clarity in my thinking; we can’t just coexist with nature, we must live in a state of symbiosis. If anything, this pandemic is reinforcing that we are a part of nature, we don’t have dominion over it. The knowledge that you can choose what impact your actions have is empowering.
So (as I’ve said on this blog before) I want my photography to connect people back to nature. I’m now bringing together how I can do this more effectively and with an ethos that acts in balance with nature. Everything here is still going to be photography-based. The main decision is that I’m branching out my efforts into several different areas: I’ve started a few long-term projects which I will document as part of a Youtube channel to really connect with all aspects of the natural world; I’ll be starting workshops when lockdown restrictions allow, to get people out into nature and build a deeper relationship with wildlife through photography; I’ll be putting more time into writing, both here and for publications; I’ll be working to get prints into more galleries and people’s homes in hopes to inspire getting outdoors; and I’m redesigning/rebranding this website, in an effort to become more personable (Murray Livingston Photography coming soonish). The way I’ll run my Instagram page is also going to shift: I’m going to start sharing more colour and behind-the-scenes footage, as well as the occasional shot of me in the field (simply put, I’m going to be more well rounded and open to learning).
The business – I suppose you could call it that – side of things should be run in a similar ethos to the photography and way of life itself. It’s about connecting people with nature in such a way that is sustainable, even regenerative, for the planet. As a start, that means all prints and workshop sales will contribute to tree planting (I’m working on the scheme, but as a guideline 1 tree/print, 5 trees/workshop). I’ll also be looking into how to incorporate the actual tree planting into workshops, as I think this is a valuable experience for everyone. Hopefully I’ll be able to extend this to Youtube ad revenue, but that’s future thinking. So, no photographs for this post, just some good old fashioned thinking out loud. Hopefully anyone who reads this will have a look at some of the resources above – if you do I’d love to talk about it! Send a message on Instagram.