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Lessen the Dream with Ed Thomas.

Lessen the Dream with Ed Thomas.

Cefn Bryn , Ed Thomas, 2016

Cefn Bryn, Ed Thomas, 2016

Lessen the Dream.
by Ed Thomas

There’s something about memories inside photography. There’s something about time, and holding on to what’s real. There’s a philosophy inside a camera.
The best memories are of home - Wales. This is where I first explored the world before moving to London and Tokyo as an adult. In cities I was surrounded by people, rushing. But home is much quieter, more wild.

Cwm Donkin , Ed Thomas, 2016

Cwm Donkin, Ed Thomas, 2016

Living in Japan I discovered cameras. I’d always taken snaps on phones for easy upload to social media, to keep in touch with family and friends. The internet binge of information has made a digital world crammed full of imagery. But while social media are supposed to bring people together, and travel abroad widens experience, I was switching off and disconnecting. I was conscious of a growing separation from the world around me - it was dream. The stream of faces - time itself - was rushing by, untouched by me. I had nothing to hold onto. I discovered cameras.

I found them in cheap, junky used stores: my Ricoh Shotmaster, my Canon Autoboy, my Canon ML, a Fujifilm X20. Each camera allowed me to hold on, just a little. Making an image lessened the dream. Making a record of what I’d seen deepened my memory, and memories are what make us real. This was the philosophy, coming to me frame by frame.

Tokyo Winter , Ed Thomas, 2016

Tokyo Winter, Ed Thomas, 2016

Passing strangers and street photography became my first focus. Rather than moving through crowds without connecting, I could record moments and relive time which was already gone. “I am here” I was yelling with every shot. In looking at other people, I wanted to be seen. In noticing the world, the world would notice me. It was a way to become real. It lessened the dream.
Later I developed portraiture and began bridging the space between photographer and subject, between “them” and “me”. The camera allowed me to have a dialogue, record a moment between two thinking beings. Thinking… “is it real?”
All the time I was away, memories of home were rushing to me: unrecorded photographs inside my head. Here I was walking through woods, hearing birds, catching sight of an animal, continuing down to a rocky cove, running with the wind by the waves… There’s a quote “Even in a crowd, you are alone inside your own head.” This feeling of being amongst people and being apart was growing and growing. Life was increasingly busy, the industry in which I worked held less and less appeal. I had cameras. I wanted to come home. I wanted to lessen the dream.
This Spring I returned to Wales after 4 years in Japan and 5 in London, working in journalism and academia. Colleagues had felt proud, I had felt lost. I just explored nature again.

I returned to the places in my memory. I went back in time, with a camera in my hands. My hoard had expanded - now there were full-frame DSLRs and medium-format film bodies, 35mm rangefinders, digital point-and-shoots, a Polaroid 636. Japan was full of discarded junk, and I had loved it all.
I’d never photographed my homeland. I’d never celebrated its beauty. I could only glimpse it in memory, drifting through a city’s busy streets far far away. Now for hours I look at the play of the light through leaves, the movement of clouds. I roam with animals, sit under trees. I breathe and it’s real. I take pictures and I feel. Connecting with the elements lessens the dream. I’m no longer falling through a stream but I can hold on.
I am home and I am real.

Ed Thomas has had photographic work published in Vogue and the Carmarthen Journal. He is currently based in South Wales.

More work can be seen at teahousephotography.com
Follow @eddietea

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