At the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve, as the calendar transitioned from 2012 to 2013, I found myself clambering out of a bog, clutching the soaking wet corpse of my DSLR camera. Me and some friends were staying at a campground on Koh Ta Kiev, a small undeveloped island off the coast of southern Cambodia. A few minutes before midnight, I had raced back to my tent to grab my camera to capture the beachside fireworks. To get there, I had to cross a narrow makeshift footbridge, hastily assembled to counter a boggy creek created by the rising tide. On my way back, I lost my balance half way across the bridge and fell into the water, camera and all.
It was certainly an inauspicious start to 2013, the chant of “10, 9, 8, 7…” in the distance ringing in my ears as I waded out of the murky waters. My camera, my most steadfast companion for the last few months, was dead, flooded with destructive salt water. I’m in Siem Reap now, home to the famous Angkor Wat and its sister temples and ruins, and to fill the void, I bought a Canon G12. It’s been challenging adjusting to it, to say the least.
Back at Koh Ta Kiev, a dreadlocked, shirtless guy wearing a seashell on a hemp string watched me stagger down the beach in shock, holding my dripping camera.
“Maybe it’s a sign!” He said earnestly.
A sign of what, I’m not sure, but I am going to use the opportunity to push myself creatively. I’ve become used to framing the world in a certain way, through one lens and one machine, and now I have to break out of that comfort zone and develop a new vision. I had never ruled out the fact my camera might be destroyed or stolen on this trip, but when it did happen I was surprised at just how devastated I felt. Photography has come to mean more to me than ever and losing my camera has made the last few days feel almost aimless.
I’m feeling better today, a great part in thanks to a very special pep talk from Anja, and I am looking forward to seeing the world in a different way with the G12. Thank you to everyone who has supported my penchant for shoving a camera in everyone’s face and for your kind words, praise and help since I’ve left on my trip. It means a lot to me and I promise to continue sharing in the future.
Here’s to 2013!
The photo is of Angkor Wat at sunrise… taken by my cellphone.