All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

Behind the Lens #6: Light (Abstract)

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This week’s theme ‘Behind the Lens’ is a combination of photography and memory. Each day a random image will be plucked from my archive and – regardless of how good it is – showcased on the blog along with the story behind the image. Today, an abstract; Light [4].

Light [4] (Port Fairy, February 2006) © Addy

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong.
No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first,
and is waiting for it.”
~ Terry Pratchett ~

It should come as no surprise that after arriving in Australia I found myself succumbing to the occasional bout of homesickness. Being thousands of miles from my home, my family and the culture I grew up in was a lot more difficult than I’d imagined. At times I would lose myself in Scottish music; allowing the haunting melodies of fiddle and bodhrán to soothe my aching soul. On other occasions I would transport myself to my homeland though the literature of MacKay Brown, Gray, Stevenson or Burns. Occasionally neither of these strategies would work, so I would head to my home from home, the wee town of Port Fairy on the south-western coast of Victoria.

From the moment I first visited this town in November 2004 it felt like home. The proximity of the ocean reminded me of Inverness, the air recalled Portree, the calming nature transporting my soul to the distant West Coast villages I’d fallen in love with during my backpacking years. Over a number of visits I began to be known around the town; in the hotel I always stayed at I was the writer-photographer working on an urban fantasy novel, in the pub I was the whisky (with no ‘e’) drinker, in the milk bar I was the apple and blackcurrant juice drinker and to everyone else, I was just another citysider who had succumbed to the beauty of their town.

In February 2006 I was in a dark place. Months of depression and stress had taken their toll and the discovery of the affair my girlfriend had been lying about for three years hadn’t helped. I was lost, alone, confused, teetering toward suicide and desperate for home. For five days I retreated to this magical town. One day spent cycling around the local area, another spent staring out to the ocean, across them all throwing myself into the healing power of literature. As I cycled and stared, as I read and pondered, I would take photographs in an effort to pull myself from the abyss. To lift my spirits so I could once again soar toward happiness.

One night, following a nasty panic attack, I took my camera onto the darkened streets and took a series of abstract photographs focussing on light. Perhaps my intention was to distract myself from my thoughts, perhaps it was to focus on something I needed to guide me from the darkness, either way, for a moment it worked.

Of the six photographs that comprise this series, this is my favourite, perfectly capturing the delicate balance of my soul at the time; the light bleeding into the dark, the confusing, interconnected maze of light battling for prominence mirrored the battle my soul fought between life and death.


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