Transitions

Amidst the frenzied streets of central London I have sought out the calm to piece together my thoughts on where life has taken me this past month. More and more I have found myself asking the question, where do I want to see myself in five years? Ten years? Too often I have found myself looking for answers to how I should live my life now, by imagining the far future where a multitude of uncertainties lie. 

Why do we gravitate towards looking for clarity in the now, by attempting to construct what our futures hold? While I do believe there is some good in having a general sense of where it is we would like to see ourselves in the future, planning it out in a highly detailed fashion is hardly beneficial. It's difficult to predict what tomorrow might hold, therefor, I gather it's almost near impossible to see how we will be living our lives in five years time. 

With all this focus on the future, and aiming for what we want our lives to look like years down the road, it detracts from the nowness. We forget to live in the present because we are so focused on tomorrow. I believe we should aim to spend more time asking "what is it I want to do right now?" Because what we do in the present will determine how the future moulds itself. 

I have spent a great deal of time the last few months going back and forth between where to continue my journey after this school year comes to an end. I spent a great deal of time putting a lot of emphasis on my decision and how it would effect the way in which my life would play out five, ten years from now. That in itself was cause for a great deal of stress, indecisiveness, and general procrastination. 

When it came down to brass tacks I have realized and accepted this beloved city is far too expensive to inhabit at this current point in my life. This reality has not been an easy one to accept, hence the two month fight to find a way to avoid it. Beyond that however, I have discerned that what I truly want to do right now can't be found in a classroom. I have constantly gone against the grain when it comes to pursuing my passions. Never one for the traditional route and always a fan of blazing my own trail, I have settled on moving back to another city I hold dear, Kansas City, to focus on growing my blog, sharing my love for health and overall well-being with others, and gaining experience in design and craftsmanship any way I can. 

I do not want to be one to say no to any opportunity that comes knocking, I never know where it might lead me. The biggest transition I am working on right now is to grow and develop my blog. I am in the process of a "reboot," a "redesign" if you will. I have been working day and night to hone what it is I want to bring to my readers in the future, what I want this little slice of the world wide web to bring to the table. This includes a fresh new name, and a specific focus on the character of the blog. I am finding my niche, and it might seem easy but it is far more difficult, and more tedious than one might be led to believe. I want to work on developing my voice and perspective so I, in turn, can share it with you. 

As I sit here in my kitchen finishing this post, I can't help but glance out the window every time a train rushes by. It reminds me that opportunities come sparingly and when they do they very rarely wait for us to jump on. We must commit to what we want, what we aspire towards, otherwise we inevitably end up stuck in the doors or missing the train entirely. 

Polaroid by Anna Skahill

Tom Saater

In my inaugural feature post I am so thrilled to introduce you all to Tom Saater. Tom is a Nigerian Photojournalist that Romy and I had the pleasure of meeting and working with last week, having found himself visiting London after being invited to give a presentation of his work at Oxford University. 

Meet Tom 

With documentary skills that capture the moment and continue to tell a story long after the film has been developed and printed, Tom's photography work is phenomenal. Putting a focus on his home country of Nigeria, he aims to paint a portrait of the life in his home, both the struggles and the joys, by bringing a highlight to social and cultural issues of the region, such as climate change and political events, providing viewers with not only beautiful urban portraits but powerful messages to conduct awareness. 

Tom Saater for the Telegraph London

Tom Saater

Tom was raised by his Grandmother and after passing away, and with no other family to turn to, was homeless for seven years during his childhood and young adult life. It was here where he discovered his love for capturing the intriguing and fast-paced world around him. Fascinated by the the goings-on of the city and beyond, especially when he would browse through photos in magazines at nearby local shops, it was here where he began asking people, tourists, to borrow their cameras so he might be able to capture images of his own. Some would post the photos back to him, from there people started connecting him with photography groups in the city and he began gathering feedback from people who were interested and inspired by his photos. 

Tom Saater

In 2008 Tom received his big break by receiving his first professional camera from an American friend, Erik Lutgert, whom he met in Abuja and then later became acquainted with a man from San Francisco who introduced him to TimeOut Magazine, a magazine that provides city guides to locations across the globe. TimeOut was just gearing up to launch a publication featuring Nigeria and Tom was encouraged to get in touch with them. 

"I remember thinking, I didn't have the experience, but I had the courage to send a letter to the editor asking them to have a look at some of my work." 

Tom Saater for the Telegraph London 

When they did get back to Tom, they loved his work and asked him to send more photos of the city, and the magazine eventually published his works, later hiring him to work as a freelance photographer to travel across Nigeria taking photographs.

The following year, after working for TimeOut, people began to hear more and more about Tom and his work, and he began shooting commissioned work for clients. 

"I always know what I want to go shoot-most times my camera is always with me. It’s usually spontaneous when I shoot—I get drawn in, connected, to certain things I pass by."

Tom Saater for the Telegraph London

Tom is currently working on a personal project depicting scenes he wished he had had growing up, "the project is about my life, growing up very lonely, having a lonely life. Not being part of family. I’m trying to create this moment that I always wished I was a part of. I didn’t have friends or family to spend time with. So this project is trying to create those things."

We went on to discuss how his work, and his current project, allow him to meet people and friends that he did not have growing up. "What I do today is giving me the opportunity to have those things. It gets really emotional for me sometimes, I experience a lot of rejection, when I’m shooting this project—when I approach people they might say no which is a form of rejection. When people give me access to photograph them, we often become friends. I want to [depict] the project in a way people can see, where the photos speak for themselves." 

Tom Saater

The last bit we touched on was how he continually finds inspiration in the environments and people around him. "There’s so much power in the photograph, in the image. I was inspired by other images to tell other stories around me, because I was inspired by the things I saw around me. These [in return] inspired other people and they [would write] to me, telling me how they were inspired by my photographs. I realized I don’t have to be super rich to make an impact. Everything that I shoot, that I am commissioned to shoot, I am passionate about."

Tom reminds me that we needn't look very far in front of ourselves to find something that inspires us, whether it be inanimate objects, the vibrancy of cities, or the complexities of people. 

 

 

Be sure to check more of Tom's work out via his Instagram and his website! All photographs are the creative property of Tom Saater.