I was giving a talk about my photography project to a bunch of people who's names and features I can't remember. When I woke, I typed up what I could remember.
I know I'm not the first nor will I be the last to photograph people at work, but my reasons are unique to me. I do it because I have no real idea how I got here. I don't know how I ended up doing the stuff I've done in my life. I've got a hunch I'm not the only person that feels that way.
I'd like to think I live a good life. My needs are met, I am the master of my own time, I eat well, I go on lots of adventures, I love my work. The thing is, I know a lot of people who don't feel that way. I know because I have worked with hundreds of them in banks, broadcast, publishing, travel, media, education, digital and lots more. People that are certainly not masters of their own time or destiny, living with fear about their futures, guilt because they don't spend time with their family's and lots of unmet needs way beyond money.
I've spent years trying to help some of these people, and to some extent it has worked. But something slowly dawned on me over the past 24 months. This is a major problem that requires more than band aids. Before I can help fix the things I've seen, I need to gain much more insight into what's going on, and find out the back story to peoples working lives.
Beyond work is at the very early stages. Right now it's a set of lovely photographs of people at work raising more questions than answers. But my plan is to photograph and interview a lot of people and over time find answers to some of those questions. Questions like, what should our children be doing with their time, what support should we give teenagers in finding their passions, how could education, politics and business be redesigned and what does a person need to live a good life that means money isn't such a big deal.
This project is called Beyond Work because it's about lives and about humanising the future of work for more than the lucky few. I've always felt that changing the way people live was a big project. I've also felt like its one of the most worthwhile things I could do. It feels like a project I may not live to see the benefits of. But that's fine, as long as there are real benefits and not just a massive collection of photographs to look at. It would also be great to answer some of my questions about how I've ended up here, but, like all good mysteries, once you know the answers things get a little less exciting.