1. Neighbour

Saturday, October 30th & Saturday, November 6th, 2021

Last week – October 30th – my wife and I took our three boys to the Dino Kingdom at Thoresby Hall. Nearing our destination, my eye was drawn to a vast flooded field where trees, bushes and stumps protruded from the waters surface. It was quite disturbing to observe, as all previous roadside vistas had nothing of this sort of narrative nor devastation on show. It was striking.

A week later, – 6th November – I have been mulling over this impacting scene. A dead cert reason for its origin has been addressed, at length, in the pomp and circumstance of the COP26 in Glasgow, during this past week. But, in my own contemplation, a Bible story came to memory that challenged me more than the degree of hypocritical airings adorning the COP26 lecterns. In it, it spoke of the same issues debated in Glasgow, those of help and need; ignorance and unconditional care and attention yet with greater authenticity. The story’s subject, who delivered the necessary help, came from the most unlikely of sources yet recognised that state and wealth; position and title; vocation and political affiliation didn’t matter and shouldn’t in order to address the simplest of humane actions. Jesus the storyteller, invited listeners to understand that our neighbours should be loved, valued and cared for just as much as we do ourselves. That exploring what ‘a neighbour’ means to you exposes us all to the sorts of treatment and love that we all are deserving and in need of.

So, who is your neighbour? Define our neighbours?

Thinking about my photograph – that begins a new chapter in my image making – and the experience I had taking and exploring it, it dawned on me that our neighbours aren’t just found in the human relationships we have. Our ‘neighbour’ is also found in the neglected relationship we have with the Earth. The ancient law of God commands us to, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ and live. Eternally. Those five words are soaked in connection and a harmony we have with one another and the Earth and my drive is to interrogate these relationships with my photography. Do we define the Earth as a neighbour? If we read the Good Samaritan and took a role as one of the three passersby, which one would we honestly be? Could that change our role in how we treat our planetary neighbour, if we decided we were one of the first two to witness the Samaritan, bruised, battered and dying? How many of us can actually say we are being a Good Samaritan to the Earth?

Is the Earth YOUR neighbour? Yes, it is. A resounding, heartfelt yet heartbroken and embarrassing YES.

Love it and live.

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