everyone has a story

What’s your story?

Everyone loves a great story and funny enough everyone has a story!

So here’s my question: If I tell you mine, will you tell me yours?

Well I do believe in transparency and I guess I should go first.  About three years ago I went through a personal trial in my life which almost destroyed me.  The experience devastated my inner being but also traumatized my soul.  With my peace box shattered I began to spiral into the abyss of darkness. From the depths of depression, hopelessness and anger I became a nomad in the desert of despair paralyzed by own emotional pain and suffering.

The nature of my own tribulation will be kept for another blog post, but escaping the jaws of life proved to be a futile endeavour.  The compass of my happiness was pointing in the wrong direction, attracted to a magnet of fear and rage.  My bearings were constantly being recalibrated to an unknown co-ordinate system and hence there were no roots to anchor into the stability of solid ground.



playing with the kids in Ninh Binh


A bottomless pit is where free-fall occurs and any attempt to escape it resulted in resentment and being overtaken, perhaps dominated by a negative experience.  In my case surrendering to the free-fall allowed me to accept that I was in free-fall and a magical thing happened.  I could free fall without a parachute making friends and embracing the experience of being broken open, allowing it to take over and letting the evolution of the universe to happen.  In other words going through a phoenix process was surfing with the underwater currents of despair to take me to the place where life would begin again. To the place where the journey brings you to live the adventures of life. I realized that life was worth living and beautiful. Like a caterpillar which cocoons into a beautiful butterfly, I had to choose to see the beauty of what the world has to offer. I chose to Live Life!


Duane in Vietnam

doing what I do best – telling the story with my gear


One step at a time or like the caterpillar, one leg at a time I pushed through the cocoon of compassionate living to realize that I have more to give and offer in this world. I can start to flutter my colourful wings with optimism, breath and gratitude.

Cameras have become a passion of mine and I study the technical aspects of them in great detail to produce a great story.  However my real interest is in the person and their story.  I just use cameras and videos as a vehicle to hearing other people’s stories.

The words “Live Life” is a daily slogan for me which is practiced everyday as a ritual for achieving the impossible. In other words, I view things in the realm that everything is possible.



The Message in The Bottle

Another question that people usually ask me is how do I get to do what I do?  I’m not quite sure how to answer this but I believe they’re are asking me how do the opportunities to create stories come into my path.

I wish I had a magical formula that I could lay out or to say that I am a brilliant visionary and I could show you how the cookie crumbles but I only have one suggestion to offer.  The funny thing is that what I will share is not even an original idea but one that I continue to observe and learn from.

The suggestion is that I have the power to choose my attitude in every given instance which allows me to Live Life as my soul calls for.  I am a firm believer that the calling that the soul issues (in other words the inner voice) is directing me to my dreams and goals.  Whether I listen to it and then act upon it depends on my attitude.


Here I am in Xiamen, China embarking on a story which was delayed by two days and shot with one hour of sunlight to spare. It didn’t go very well but it taught me some valuable lessons















What is attitude?  Gees I wish I could be the guru on that one but let’s say it’s the peace that transforms all understanding.  In other words, for myself a positive attitude usually coincides with a peace inside the soul.  I think it’s fair to say that we all know when we are at peace or for the very least we know the other extreme; when we are not at peace.

There have been many projects which have not gone well after weeks of planning.  There are some projects that I have not been paid for and there are some projects that collapse at the very end.  But during it all I am learning to embrace and respect the flow of the universe and turn the negatives into positives.  Well what good does that do you may ask?  Well I think the currency of life is growth and we only grow when we receive the “message in a bottle”.  The hidden message that’s floating or buried somewhere deep inside.  When the soul is ready it will reveal the message and guide us to that bottle.  The difficult part is that it may take time and a willingness to embrace the negatives, otherwise we can’t get to the bottle.  Then we can’t get the message to grow.


Some places even getting water is not the easiest. Keep the attitude positive

















In short, how do I respond to every situation when it’s not going my way is my definition of attitude.  This is what I am mastering since I know I’m not quite there yet.  Let’s put it this way: “I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be”

Keep dreaming big!

blog- elephant

Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Dreams

Many people ask me what I do for a living and I always respond that I am a dream-maker.  In short, I love to dream about my dreams. I love to dream the impossible dream which is usually a thought that comes to my mind that seems impossible or at least far-fetched to happen in this lifetime.

For example I never thought that I would be attracted to story-telling and compelled to produce portraits and documentaries. I never thought that I would visit foreign countries and become fascinated with people, cultures and their way of life.

I think of dreams as that positive feeling which inspires the inner soul to move onward to something new.  For me it is a calling of the soul to move onward to the next big thing.  My soul conspires with the universe to make dreams come through which motivates me to receive the message and become uncomfortable to achieve success. It usually takes a bit (just a small bit) of G.U.T.S (get uncomfortable to succeed).


One of my dream projects was to travel to an unknown place to capture a great story

One of my dream projects was to travel to an unknown place to capture a great story. Here we are in Thailand shooting a story on Black Ivory Coffee Company


Sending an email, contacting a person, making an enquiry are some examples of guts which is usually taking a small step forward in the direction of that goal or dream.  I heard a saying once that said, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream.”  This means every small step is a part of that success and your overall success is the summation of all those individual steps.

So when you get inspired by a though or an idea, perhaps you may want to answer the call. It is most likely the universe returning the call from your inner soul.

Many people are also going to steal that dream by saying you can’t do it. Or even your negative ego will tell you that it cost too much money, or it’s not the right time. Well when would be the right time? I’m not saying act irresponsibly.  It is important to plan, budget and make proper choices, but remember there will never be a perfect time.

Life throws many things at you. Everyday brings new difficulties but each difficulty brings new opportunities. That’s just another law of the universe.

When life tries to kick you in the butt, just make sure that it kicks your forward!

Onward and live life.