Taking The Road Less Trodden

You know me. I can’t get out of my skin.😉 I’ve been busy lately, of course, doing stories for National Geographic Junior, being an official photographer of a few festivals, and it’s clear that I’m not really slowing down. Let’s face it, how much more could I slow down anyway? To someone with a regular job or a lot of freelance work it may seem like I don’t work much. Well, yes and no. A lot is happening off the field. Mostly racking my brain to figure out the future and make sense of the past. And there’s a lot of work that comes with it. There’s more than meets the eye. And on top of it all, are you sure I can’t get out my skin? How do you know I won’t really do something that you thought I would never do? Like quit photography?😀

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Don’t worry, I won’t. But the question is whether I’ll hold on to that everlasting dream of working globally, on a big scale. See, seven Slovenia Press Photo awards gave me as much acknowledgment than they gave me sense of reality. I’ve proven that I can make an award-winning story out of every opportunity that I get. I was invited to Istanbul to the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in 2010 and I produced a story there that won Slovenia Press Photo in 2011. I was given the opportunity to work in the Venetian lagoon last year and the story won in Nature category of the Slovenia Press Photo this year. To just name a couple of them. So yes, I have it, but it’s not enough. I always thought I have reserves that I haven’t used yet. I thought that was the reason things didn’t quite pick up. So years ago I decided to go all out. Now I’ve done all I could and realized that my view of this world is way too romantic. I didn’t stand a chance from the start. I didn’t have rich parents that would pay for my extensive story production in exotic remote corners of the world. My climb was my own. And I could’ve done it. Of course I could. Anyone working as hard and constantly improving, questioning his work and building upon it, building a web of connections and doors to walk through (fair and square! – no dumping!), widening the array of his abilities in photography, would probably have made it by now regardless of any social situation. But we keep forgetting this is photojournalism in an economically failing little country that nobody gives a shit about. (How Slovenians do business – or better yet: corruption – you can read in any of my previous posts).

sum-002Besides, you don’t get anywhere on your own. Everything starts with people deeply involved in the business being interested in your work. And if you fail at that (it’s easy, just don’t work abroad), you’re dead in the water. But don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been a strong supporter of domestic work, believing that you don’t have to go abroad to find good stories. And it’s true. You don’t. But then again you probably won’t succeed in publishing it, nobody would pay for you to produce the story, and the fee for publishing would probably cover some 40% of the expenses. I was lucky to find a magazine that pays quite well, but unfortunately the expenses are going up, too. So the difference is getting smaller. Obviously I didn’t consider all this when I was 14 and starting out as a photographer, also because in the nineties this country was just starting on its abundant path of nepotism, corruption and all the other ways they found to increase unemployment (that includes joining the EU and failing to adapt). Any way I look at it, I’m like the orchestra playing on the Titanic.

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However, there’s a silver lining to the dark clouds above the ruins of my life. (wow, that was poetic – and pathetic!) I may not have (my own) money or any other means to travel and do something for my soul, to pursue my goal further, or even to relax somewhere on a beach enjoying the smells and sounds and tastes and feelings of summer like I did so many years ago. But I can and must do something much better.😀 We don’t need reality to be where we want to be. Our own worlds can be richer in every aspect of experience. We can bring back people, old friends, the good old times, sweethearts and enemies. If you consider all that and if you can create a world for yourself that is far better than what you get in reality, then you have the means to travel to a place where others can only dream about.

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This is where I was going to explain a very important aspect of what I’m about to do, but I changed my mind. As I have realized all the denial and full life devotion to work won’t pay off I remembered I have tools to create those payoffs. For the first time in my life (amazing, right?) I will stop. Stop pushing myself forward, stop overwhelming my life with work in every way possible, stop occupying my thoughts, stop being blind for myself. I still think I’m not important and I will never adopt even a tiny bit of selfishness, which is why I decided to do this megaproject only after I figured out how I can dedicate it to others.

It’s time. For the truth. For the whole story. For the things that were pushed aside or hidden away. It’s time to see the big picture. I feel I have to do this. I owe it. And I hope the world would play along at least in this endeavor. It’ll be a major tribute not only to people, places and events, but also to imagination, photography, writing etc. It’ll question our notion of reality and fiction, and story telling. It’ll question our entire lives, what we believe is true and what is a lie, what really happened and what was withheld from us. I’ll address some very important issues as well, and since my perception, as anyone’s, is limited, I can’t do it by myself. In the next months I will contact the important players of this project individually. Don’t be surprised if you’re one of them. Everything is a statement now. Even if you decide not to play along – that one is even stronger and it still fits. But it doesn’t mean you won’t be part of the project.😉 It just means the final statement will be different. And the interpretations left to me. I will accept no objections later.😉🙂

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However, the project will remain a secret for now. Especially during its second part. Not even the people involved will know all the details. Just what it’s all about and that alone is quite a lot. Only all of them together will eventually constitute a concise entity, the entire story. I will not talk about the project, so don’t bother asking me. In fact, don’t. At all. The reason is simple: I don’t want to be influenced in any way. Or deterred which might happen in the first part of the project that will involve important issues. It’s going to be quite a rollercoaster ride, but let me do it. Even if you see something is terribly wrong with me (if I switch from apple juice to orange juice for example😉🙂 ), don’t ask, don’t do anything, it has to happen. I never said it’d be easy.

There will be changes. My photography continues as before finally enriched with my portfolio website: www.lukadakskobler.com

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But since I’ve realized all that it takes (and that I don’t have), I guess my goals will change a bit. I don’t think anyone will notice. It’ll still be business as usual, but there will be a process running in the background. It’ll be slow and long, and even if it never pays off in reality, it’ll pay off immeasurably as I will be working on it. If you’re reading carefully, you’ll notice that I’m talking about something being wrong with me and big rewards at the same time. A paradox, I know. Well, not exactly but the whole thing is too complex to explain. Just trust me.🙂

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