Dear friends, loyal followers and fellow photography nuts… I have some news I wanted to share!
I don’t know about you, but life in lockdown has surprisingly opened a few new doors (though admittedly not with such gusto as it has closed many others).
Like bajillions of people the world over, I haven’t been able to travel. The knock-on-effect of this, for me, has been significant and, in some ways, made my role as “travel blogger/evangelist” somewhat redundant.
But the pandemic has struck my ego hardest (well, perhaps not as hard as my bank balance, but that’s another story), stripping me of my identity and purpose in life.
I haven’t been able to write about travel, and I haven’t really been able to explore far off lands with my camera. But, and it’s a big but, I have still been able to write, and I still have been able to photograph my surroundings.
And that’s where I have found solace. I may not be able to function as a travel blogger right now, but I can still live on as a writer and photographer, and that’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do.
This has led me to writing about photography itself, to philosophising about the art form I am so passionate about.
A few months back, having been resuscitated by this revelation, I pitched a few ideas to the editors at Fuji X Passion Magazine – a virtual magazine dedicated the joy of Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras – and ended up contributing a story about my personal journey with photography (and love for the camera brand that some have described as a “poor man’s Leica”.
In the story, I wrote about my obsession with the ancient SLR camera I discovered buried in the depths of my father’s wardrobe as a child, with its cracked-leather case that “opened with a loud ‘pop’ and was lined with a soft scarlet fabric that had absorbed the aromas of a thousand foreign lands.”
I wrote about how I ended up becoming a full-time travel writer/blogger and photographer, publishing my work in books and magazines like National Geographic Traveller and Singapore Airlines’ inflight publication. And on this blog of course!
But most importantly, I wrote about how I returned home to Wales “with the ability to see beauty and creative opportunities in the everyday, and marvel at the mundane,” and how important this has been for me during these difficult times.
My aversion to brevity meant I ended up writing far too much for the story to be featured on their website or in their monthly magazine. And in my indecision, I also sent far too many photos for them to choose from…
Luckily for me, however, rather than telling me to bugger off and focus on my editing skills, Maurício and Hugo suggested they create a dedicated ebook for the story and collection of photographs, which they would offer as bonus material alongside the next edition of their magazine.
Anyhow, to make a long story short, this month’s edition of Fuji X Passion magazine is now available to buy and download…
… and I’m very happy to report that so is my ebook, where I wax lyrical about my love for photography and Fujifilm cameras, and why now, even in our lockdown lives, we should still be taking photos.
Oh, and it also features around 100 or so of my best/favourite photos from my various jaunts around the globe, as well as more recent work that I’ve shot during the pandemic in Wales.
Here’s what editors Maurício and Hugo had to say about it:
A Call to Adventure… in Your Own Backyard
Ben Holbrook is a talented writer, photographer and filmmaker based in South Wales. Looking at the work of his heroes, like Steve McCurry and David Alan Harvey, Ben aspired to live a life of travel and adventure just like them. And that’s exactly what he did for many years, working as a travel journalist and blogger, travelling around the world. After a decade living abroad and writing about his adventures, Ben returned home to Wales, with the ability to see beauty and creative opportunities in the everyday, and marvel at the mundane.
Nowadays, finding inspiration around home makes more sense than ever. This story will surely inspire you, and you can read it in this ebook, an integral part of this month’s magazine.
Buy the Fuji X Passion Magazine #53 and download this ebook for free.
Thanks for reading. I hope you too are managing to open a few new doors during this godforsaken period of time.
Yours most truly,