The Story Behind: “We Have Arrived In The Future”
veebruar 10, 2020
Photography isn’t meant to be easy but it shouldn’t feel forced either: it has to feel right. Like with anything in life, it should be done for the love of it, not for any other reasons like money or fame.
While I have made a couple of photo series in the past, none of them were thought out or had any concept behind them – the images just had a consistent style to them.
This is the story of “We Have Arrived In The Future”, what led up to it and the meaning behind it. It is the biggest project I have done to date.
Like the title of this post, it might be a bit of a long read but I hope it’s enjoyable and that everybody will have at least something to take away from this story.
ARRIVAL THROUGH TIME
Everything had gone from zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye. I was struggling to adapt to my new and fast-paced lifestyle.
In the beginning of 2018 I started daily posting on Instagram. At the time I also had a part-time job and I was doing a bit of freelance work on the side. After a hundred days I was burned out and had to stop. Although I had created more work than in the previous 6 years combined, and my improvement was staggering, I wasn’t happy. I felt that my images were just aesthetically pleasing and nothing more. They lacked depth.
Based on the work I had created over that period of time, I was offered to go work as a full-time magazine and press photographer for a local media outlet. I was so excited. I felt like all of my hard work had just paid off, I had finally made it. I was now a professional.
What followed was probably the best summer of my life, but that was short-lived. The work itself was quite fast paced and I continued working as a freelancer on the side. Soon that led to the biggest client jobs I had ever gotten. While it was all great practice, it was a big mistake. I had taken on an overwhelming amount of work.
Even though I felt like I had everything I could have ever wanted, I was miserable. I was thoughtlessly saying yes to every single opportunity thinking that I would miss out on something if I didn’t. I wanted everything fast but at the same time I wasn’t willing to put in the required amount of work to make it happen.
I had stumbled into the world of professional photography by accident and I wasn’t quite ready for it. Everything had gone from zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye and I was struggling to adapt to my new and fast-paced lifestyle.
Even though I felt like I had everything I could have ever wanted, I was miserable.
BETWEEN OLD AND NEW
My life was in chaos and I had completely lost track of who I was or why I started in the first place. Admittedly, I was more focused on making money than anything else.
It got to the point where nothing brought me joy anymore. My body started shutting down from the immense amount of pressure I placed myself under. I had a high fever for months without any other symptoms – most likely from the stress. I don’t know how I kept going.
I struggled in seeing a future for myself in the field. My life was in chaos and I had completely lost track of who I was or why I started in the first place. Admittedly, I was more focused on making money than anything else. Photography wasn’t fun or exciting for me anymore. It was just a burden.
I hadn’t shot a single personal project since I stopped posting on Instagram. I was too wrapped up in work and I no longer wanted to pick up my camera in my spare time. It felt repulsive. I even considered quitting photography.
I was lost. I didn’t know what to do anymore. I knew that I had to change something in my life but I didn’t know what.
As my passion for photography was wavering, and I was in a dire need of a vacation, I decided to go see a life-long friend who I had never actually met. The person who got me into photography in the first place: somebody who I had met as a kid through playing online games and who later became one of my closest friends.
Before I knew it, I was on a plane flying to Bosnia. What followed was the adventure of a life-time. It felt like something straight out of “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty”, one of my favorite movies. Soon enough I wound up in Bosnia again, for the second time in a year.
During that trip I rediscovered my love for conceptual photography. I was deeply passionate about it back in 2015 but for some reason I began to stray away from it as time went on and I started to focus more on shooting portraits.
What followed was the adventure of a life-time. It felt like something straight out of “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty”. During that trip I rediscovered my love for conceptual photography.
I was in such a hurry to get somewhere with my life, I don’t know even where.
I realized that I had been working in the wrong field and decided to hand in my resignation. I didn’t really have a plan for the future at the time, I just felt the need for creative freedom.
I started listening to myself more and at one point came to the conclusion that one of the reasons for my unhappiness was most likely the fact that I was constantly looking for things I didn’t have instead of appreciating what I did have. I was in such a hurry to get somewhere with my life, I don’t even know where.
I had forgotten my own motto, which had been plastered on my Instagram page for all those years: “It’s all about the process”. I was more focused on the destination. Although, to be fair, I wasn’t focused on anything. I was all over the place, trying to do everything at the same time and all the while using thinking and planning as a form of procrastination.
It was time to get out of the rut I had worked myself into. Since I had just done a complete one-eighty with my career, I needed to create a new portfolio. I decided to not worry about earning a living for some time and instead I focused on creating new personal work – doing something I was passionate about for a change.
After taking some time off I was starting to slowly regain my balance. I began to appreciate the present instead of living in, and for, the future. I found myself pondering on my past and soon recognized that I was in a spot where I had dreamt of being when I started out.
I was no longer a broke high school student and I felt much wiser. In a way the previous years had felt like time travel: like they were just setting the stage for that very moment. This is where the concept of “We Have Arrived In The Future” was born.
It was time to get out of the rut I had worked myself into.
The series showcases the process of unlocking one’s true potential through a dark and mysterious futuristic sci-fi setting.
- The first image is about falling into the unknown. While it might not seem threatening at first, there’s something lurking in the shadows. Just as I ventured into the unfamiliar world of professional photography but instead of bliss, I found something else.
- The second image is about the struggle of trying to find oneself. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish. I almost lost myself completely in the process of searching for my inner voice.
- The third and final image is about being set free from all boundaries. While it might be the end of this series, it’s just the beginning of a new journey on the road to realizing one’s true potential.
After coming up with the concept I set a deadline and spent the next couple of months making it into reality. The project started off quite slow and small but kept growing. Towards the end I was working nearly twelve hours a day on it, every day.
I got so lost in the process that days and weeks passed by in a blur. It felt as if I was in another dimension while working on it: nothing else mattered. Even though at times it was very f*cking frustrating, I loved every second of it. It felt so freeing being able to just let my creativity fly after all this time. It was therapeutic.
It started off as just a cool project with a “deep” metaphorical meaning behind it but by the end I had learned and progressed so much, both as a photographer and as a person, that I felt like it had truly set me free and put me on a path to realizing myself as an artist.