I had a super vivid dream just before waking

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.

Beyond Work

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.

Do Lectures Thoughts #20 - "Do your stuff, be at peace with it"

Thanks to Rosa Park from Cereal Magazine for this gem of a quote.

I think just before this she said, "Never apologise, never explain". Having been involved in various creative pursuits over my life, for me there has always been an urge to have to explain. It's hard now when I'm talking about my new photography projects. It was even harder when someone asked me to explain why I made this when I was 19. And when it's hard to explain, for me, it almost certainly leads to an apology, either in words or in tone.

I have no apologies for the recent work I've been doing as These Atoms with Emily. We've done what we both consider to be some good work with excitement and curiosity and taken the upmost of care. But, right now, it's hard to be at peace with it. That will change, it has to. I decided when stopping People Who Do, that I would only do work that ticks more boxes than money. It means it's pretty easy to work out when to walk away from something. It doesn't make it easy to walk away though. But when care, excitement and curiosity meet a brick wall, sometimes the only option is to turn around and head back home.

Read the rest of the series here.

Do Lectures Thoughts #19 - Be your best self

A few people have mentioned the version of my self portrayed on Instagram recently. It seems to paint a of picture of me always on holiday or doing exciting things. I've been jokingly replying with an idea inspired by something Justin said in his Do Lecture talk, suggesting I set up an everyday Instagram account. What would feature in these photographs?

My view right now is, me laying in bed, my iPad on my chest, washing drying and a hint of the outside world in a crack of the curtains.

I think this highlights the fact that we have at least 3 selfs now. The first is the one only we know, the internal voice, ideas that never get shared, fears and emotions. Self two is the one people get to see, and I know it's far to simplistic to suggest this is always the same for every situation or person. My girlfriend sees a slightly different self two to you (you might deem this a good thing). Self three is the feature film version, the highly edited best bits shared with the world on screens.

When I think about being my best self, it's not the exciting Instagram version I want to shine through. It's as much of self one I have the courage to share that I want people to see. I witnessed someone having the courage to do this yesterday. It was a painful moment, but it was also a positive moment. Openness often helps remove complexity. Most issues can be brought right back to some very simple emotions such as fear, envy, jealousy, desire.

I wonder how much of self one I can share today?

If you want to watch someone doing this, I highly recommend Lydia Winters Do Lecture, "How to use fear to propel you forward".

Read the rest of the series here.