Taking a chance and stepping outside one’s known comfort zone is never easy. Whether it’s a physical challenge, a mental or social one – it requires a modicum of confidence to take the leap.
Throughout my life I’ve done it several times – always with the goal of expanding my horizons and pursuing new adventures.
Back in 2013 I headed, alone, to Brazil to join a group of photographers from around the world touring a number of haras (ranches), under the tutelage of Italy’s Paula da Silva,. Our goal was to photograph the national breeds of Brazil – the Mangalarga Marchador and the Campolina.
First I had to navigate the actual travel to São Paulo. It was a long trip from the Maritimes, through Toronto and then the long, overnight flight to Brazil. The airport at the end was large, crowded, and populated with adolescent-looking males in uniforms and armed with automatic weapons. After collecting my luggage, I stood in front of a raised booth occupied by an imposing immigration official and hoped that my butchered Portuguese wouldn’t land me in jail.
Once I passed that hurdle, I surrendered my fate to the taxi driver that was standing in the terminal with my name on a sign. Let the adventures begin.
The scenery was amazing and the horses we photographed were magnificent. This young colt fell in love with our model, Julia. In fact, so much so that, when I asked Julia to walk, hand in hand with our other model, Diego, the colt did his best to push in between the two, shove Diego out of the way, and protect ‘his’ lady. It was hilarious to watch!
The challenge for me was meeting all of the other photographers, being able to only speak a few key phrases in Portuguese, and being in a totally unfamiliar environment. It was worth it, though – to grow both as a person and as a photographer. I came home with over 5000 images and I felt like I’d conquered my fear of the unknown. My son was always adventurous, exploring the world often alone and frequently in dangerous places. For a long time I didn’t understand that obsession of his – until I took this trip. I get it now!
Life is short – enjoy the adventure!