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…

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Celebrating Thirteen Years in Australia

Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of the worst decision I ever made in my life; emigrating to Australia. If I could have my time again I would never (in a million years) have come to this godforsaken, sociopathic country as it has done nothing but destroy my soul and leave me a hollow, empty, disenfranchised shell. But, alas, I cannot. So I can only try to focus on the good that my adopted ‘home’ has given me.

As such, in celebration of this auspicious day, I have decided to share thirteen of my favourite photos that were taken on Australian soil.

Hopefully you will enjoy gazing upon them.

~ Click each image to enlarge ~


Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is:

Eerie; a photo doesn’t have to be blatantly macabre to be eerie. But it can have a mysterious, otherworldly vibe — the viewer wonders what lurks in the shadows. Something eerie has a story to tell — one you aren’t quite sure you want to know.

Griffiths Island at Dusk

Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie
Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie
Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie
Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie
Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie
Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie
Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie


But who can remember pain, once it’s over?

East Beach, Port Fairy

East Beach, Port Fairy © Addy

“But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see.”
  ~ Margaret Atwood ~

Seven years ago today I went to Port Fairy to end my life.
Weeks of planning culminated with me sitting on the East Beach with a knife,
my pain having grown too severe for me to deal with.

To this day I can remember with intimate clarity how much I wanted to die,
how much I craved for my insignificant ‘life’ to be over.

Alas, it wasn’t to be.

As I stared out over the Southern Ocean I was reminded of all I would miss,
of the passions that burned in my soul and the desires I’d yet to achieve.

A part of me has always regretted choosing life on that lonely night,
but hidden beneath this regret is pride; of my strength, of my belief,
of my stubborn determination to not let life beat me.

Perhaps one day it will,
but not today.

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Behind the Lens #6: Light (Abstract)

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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Behind the Lens #2: Hope

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, the image called hope that marked the end of my photography hobby.

Hope (Port Fairy, November 2005) © Addy

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

Alfred Tennyson

This photograph was once described by my girlfriend as boring, uninspiring, monotonous, lacking in any aesthetic value, a complete waste of time and one of the many reasons she believed I should waste no more time on my photography hobby.

She may have been right. There are no curvaceous women, no point of reference, a somewhat obscure composition and little to hold people’s interest other than the seemingly endless sky as it plunges into the ocean below.

But when I look upon this image I see other things.

I see myself sitting on a beach in pitch darkness, a knife held to my wrist, as I contemplated slitting my wrists before wandering into the very section of ocean depicted here.

I see myself picking a stick from a crudely made fire and placing the flames against my skin in a vain attempt to feel something following a breakdown.

I see myself screaming into the night as I realized my life was over. That nothing would ever be the same again, no matter how hard I fought.

Photography is more than capturing a moment in time, space or place. It is a recording of emotion; of memory, dreams and life. When I took this photograph in late 2005 I was beautiful. I had a wonderful girlfriend, the beginnings of a social network, a job I was proud of and a whole life stretched out before me. Had I known what nightmares this beach would hold I doubt I would ever have taken the photograph, for no matter how many times I gaze upon it those hells have eclipsed the original emotion I was trying to record,

The emotion of hope; for my life, my mind and most importantly, for my soul.

A hope that was stolen by the winds of time and a few ill-timed words when I was most vulnerable.