What better way to begin the Year of the Rat than with abundance – a brunch table that fulfilled all the cravings of sweet, salty, sour and spicy, followed by an indulgent afternoon at a photography exhibition.
The principal reason for me to make a yearly visit to the Willy-Brandt-Haus is the Sony World Photography Awards, but this year the additional bonus to the visit were two other exhibitions by photographers who left a deep impression in my memory: the Turkish photojournalist Ara Güler and portraitist Nadav Kander. Quite frankly, their work was far more mind-blowing than the winners of the Sony Photography Awards.
Sometimes I wonder what is the purpose of investing so much time and effort in photography. I am never going to make a living from it, fame and fortune are out of the question, so what is the whole point? The answer came to me via the most peculiar manner in the evening, namely the 2014 French science fiction movie Lucy. The character played by Morgan Freeman, Prof. Samuel Norman summed it up perfectly when asked what to do with all the newly acquired knowledge:
The sole purpose of life has been to pass on what was learned. There is no higher purpose – Prof. Norman (Lucy, 2014)
Pass on what was learned… that is the purpose of parenting, teaching, writing, loving, and photography. In answer my own question in a quest for purpose and meaning in photography: to immortalise the moment and place myself in the position to share it with the rest of the world. It is not about attaining fame or fortune, but documenting and passing on to future generations knowledge about the world we live in and insights into the life we lead. Photography therefore serves as a reminder that we are placed on this earth to live and share, not to grab and hide. Again, Prof. Norman steps up to the podium to drop another golden nugget:
Humans are concerned more with having than being. – Prof. Norman (Lucy, 2014)