the way we look on it

Images Jon West & Words Melanie Kettner-

Life challenges us all from time to time, some of us have to overcome harder defiances than others. In the end, changing perspective becomes the most important tool we can use to adjust to life changes, that we can not avoid. Jon’s breathtaking earth images are the perfect symbol for this attitude we can adopt. As I psychological coach I often changed the seat with my client, sometimes literally. It all depends on how we look on occurrences. We let them do us harm, because we loose control over our own habitual thinking. The seize of an incident is defined not by itself, but by the way we look on it and the way we reflect on it.

Our thinking mostly follows automatic patterns, it’s not easy to learn to make them conscious and to stay aware of these self-acting responses. Interestingly human beings all have the same thinking patterns often dictated by fear and insecurity. To control them gives us a device to value an event more objectively and to detect the real dimension of it.

From Jon Kabat Zinn I learned meditating. He often gives the advice to imagine ourselves sitting beneath a waterfall with its random noise. The “noise” modern society forces on us is difficult to bear at times. We often don’t notice it anymore. It’s the speed of our day, of the news  flashing by and the social media that overstrain us unnoticed. When we pause for a moment and step aside, we can sit in the nearness of the waterfall, but not right in the middle of it anymore. The noise will become more at distance and weaker.

“We all tend to fill up our days with things that just have to be done and then run around desperately trying to do them all, while in the process not really enjoying much of the doing because we are too pressed for time, too rushed, too busy, too anxious? We can feel overwhelmed by our schedules, our responsibilities, and our roles at times, even when everything we are doing is important, even when we have chosen to do them all. We live immersed in a world of constant doing. Rarely are we in touch with who is doing the doing.”

― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living

Changing perspective moves problems away from us we cannot deal with at the moment. It enables us to approach the issue from a calm, peaceful state of mind, that will ensure that our decisions will be wise and our soul will not be tormented senselessly. Basically, mindful meditation means a state of being, rather than a state of doing.

© all images Jon West

Essay of our NL1 magazine!

moments that capture you

Words & Images Josh Kempinaire-

I’ve always been attracted by the North. I can’t really explain why, but I know that I like the cold, the snow, the soft light. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to got to Africa or South America, of course I do. But if you ask me to choose one destination for the rest of my life, I would on the spot say Norway, Iceland, Alaska or Greenland. That sounds weird for some people, but if you have ever experienced the peace you find up in the North, you definitely understand my point. Nature there never stops amazing me. From a small tree in a forest to a majestic rock in Norway, it always makes me realize how beautiful our planet is. We are maybe not living in the coolest world ever in terms of politics but that’s not the subject here. Nature is beautiful, nature nearly seems to be unreal and nature is what I’m living for.

I would not consider myself as a professional photographer, more as an adventurer. I don’t travel to take pictures, I take pictures because I’m traveling. I want to explore the world. While writing this I realize that it’s really hard to express how I feel about that, because I can actually not spend a long time without shooting. So, is it the feeling of having a camera in my hand that I miss? Or just the feeling of being in the mountains? I would say I need the mountains, but honestly I don’t know. I graduated from high school three years ago and I immediately had a yearning for traveling. So, I bought a van, actually an old delivery car that I turned into a van, and drove all the way from Switzerland to the North Cape in Norway. I’ve never felt so free since then. That’s why I’m now thinking about living for my two passions: Adventure and Photography, nothing more. I’m not interested in living a “normal life” that our society suggests us to live. I don’t want to make crazy money or to drive a fancy car. I don’t need it. And even if my future is still quite uncertain, I know what I want to do: I like challenges and I think I’m ready for this one.

Exploring is not only about going to crazy remote and unknown places, it’s about going to places that you personally don’t know. I never mind if somebody tells me that a place is “too famous” or “so touristic”. If I guess it’s beautiful and I’ve never been there, I go. I would say that exploring is about leaving your comfort zone. Actually, I was afraid of being alone in a dark forest, when I first planned my tour in Norway, it was more than a exploration tour for me. I think people are just stuck in a vision that link the word “exploring” to “fame” and that’s why many people are not doing it. They just think that they are not good enough to climb the Everest, but they are probably brave enough to spend their first night under the stars in a dark, unfriendly forest next to their house. I’m passionate about mountains and my heart belongs to the ocean, so I had to leave.

The mountains are majestic, we owe them respect, they go through all kind of weather and millions years after, they are still there. You can’t conquer a mountain; maybe it allows you to climb it. When I’m hiking to the top, I realize that I’m only a small human being that is irrelevant in this nature. I’ve still never climbed a high peak until only a few months ago, I was really afraid of the height. I started to climb with friends to get rid of this fear and I have a new challenge now, I would like to do some alpinism in a near future. Then I will really be able to tell how I feel about mountains.

I can easily compare the ocean to the mountains: peaceful and powerful at the same time. They control everything, they are everywhere around us. But there is something more that I can’t really explain. I feel just so good when I swim inside salty water. And more than that, it’s the texture of the water that I like more than anything else. Every wave is unique, like every moment in life. They all looks the same but if you watch closely, they are all different, the power is different, the colours are different, the shades are different. Regarding life, every minute is different. Even if you think you are in a routine, there are still moments that will pop out of your life and these are the ones you have to enjoy.

© all pictures Josh Kempinaire

More of this essay in our NL1 magazine.

the power of a wave

Words & Images Matthew Leonard-

Growing up in a city in England I visioned the sea in a different way to which I do now. Back then I saw it as a non-inviting, closed-up and dark place. It was somewhere I’d rarely venture into, either out of fear of the depths, currents or the cold. My connection with the sea back then was at a distance. It was something I loved to visit and photograph, but rarely enter. Working in London I never got to see the sun set by the sea, or hang out on the beach with friends. Everything was urban, yet I was desperate to be in the country where I loved to take photos the most.

After moving to Australia, the sea opened up to me. It’s colours, warmth and wildlife draw you in. The surf culture here encourages people to respect the ocean but to enjoy it also. It teaches you the power, danger and fun of the waves. Before surfing I was unaware of the power of the sea. From the shore, it would appear you just fall into the wave and emerge straight out the other side as easily as you entered it. But in reality, your body is tossed around like rag doll. Arms and legs flung uncontrollably. I’ve had my heel bend back and hit my head just from the power of the white water. With all this in mind you’re constantly aware of potential rocks and sandbanks you might crash into. You try to protect your head with your hands, if the wave lets you. Time slows whilst you’re under the water and a sense of loneliness hits you as you get swallowed up. To me, the power of a wave is one of the reasons I surf. Feeling the power of a wave push you through the air whilst your board glides and carves its way through the water is a sensation known only by those who surf. It’s the sensation that keeps all surfers coming back to the waves.

After I began surfing it was only a matter of time before I began photographing it. I have always been obsessed with surf and underwater photography. The only consistent thing with the sea is that it is forever changing, and therefore no picture is ever the same. Combining this with the artistic flare of a surfer is what draws me in. As a photographer I am not after the perfect surf technique, or a manoeuvre that would score a 10/10 on a judging panel. I’m after a picture that captures emotion, energy, patterns and colour.

© all pictures Matthew Leonard

For me, living by the sea is a way of stepping away from the daily routines myself and so many other people are used to. It was about escaping the big city and the 9 to 5 and changing it for a life that has more freedom. I wanted a life that focused less on how much time you spend in the office and more on the time you spend outdoors with your friends. Back in London, I had to dedicate one weekend to seeing my mates and the next for escaping and spending time in the country. Where as here, I can do both nearly every day of the week.

More of this essay in our NL1 magazine!

time is a weird thing-

Words & Images: Caleb Gaskins-

I’ve realized that some of life’s sweetest and truest gifts are found in the routines and normalities of the day. It is in the sitting down (whether I want to or not) and getting to work that I find inspiration does come. It is noticing that my morning cup of coffee taste better when I read a book. It’s getting excited for some leftovers as long as I can put a little Sriracha on it. It’s those familiar laughs and voices that are part of my daily mix, but it is also realizing that every time I don’t get what I want I am pulled back from my habitual need to be self-centered. It is doubt coupled with envy that I am not yet who I want to be but also knowing I never will be. And it is in the complexities of love that I realize how well I have disguised my ego.

I’ve recognized that photographs help me slow down, think, and challenge the very way I interact with the world. At the same time, they allow me to capture honest moments that are in and of themselves raw, pure, and at times, reveal a deeper truth about what it means to be human. Even with all the creating and sharing and pursuing of my craft, at the end of the day I want to look back and see how I loved others because honestly, that’s all that matters. There’s a Richard Rohr quote I often share with people and it says, that our style of relating to others is the final truth that we take with us to the grave.” We can get so caught up in the day to day tasks, the trials of life, politics, petty or necessary arguments, that we forget to see people as people and embrace the moment for what it is. My hope, is that at the end of my life I can look back and know I did my best in creating an environment where people felt safe and welcomed to be who they are without fear of rejection but embraced with love and acceptance.

Some of these may seem like really shitty things to confront, and honestly they are – who wants to admit their shortcomings, their mistakes, who wants to remember a painful past, their flaws and failures? I’m a slow learner – I always have been. But thats probably the reason why I have come to know more of myself in the routines of life however beautiful and ugly it may be. Over time I can spot the patterns in my reactions to different situations, idiosyncrasies, and people. How true it is that no one can heal from anything if we do not acknowledge what is there to begin with and how hard it is to see when our eyes have not adapted well enough to see what has always been revealed in the light, or for that matter, the dark. We must discover and learn to accept who we are and continue to pursue a love of self and a love of others from an honest place that grows ever deeper into the mystery of itself. No doubt the truth about ourselves will set us free, but not before it makes us miserable. Our pain can either make us a very bitter people or quite the opposite – a people of compassion and wisdom – maybe because the heart becomes tender or because it makes us feel like we have nothing else left to lose. We have to learn how to transform our pain and our fear or we will only pass it on to those around us and to those we love most.

Essay of our NL1 magazine!