Whenever you have doubt what true love can do, take a look at Fuji by Chris Steele-Perkins.
A conflict photographer for a big part of his professional life, Steele-Perkins had worked in some of the toughest environment and yet he writes in the introduction of his book:
“Those same ideas and yearnings are still there, but now experience and doubt obscure my view and reduce my will to participate much further in the journey through this harsh landscape. The hold remains strong but I have witnessed too much suffering and remain impotent to resolve it. Now I doubt my ability to make a real difference to what I witness with my work.”
Coming from a celebrated war photographer of his stature, his words should not be viewed as discouragement to those who still want to make the world a better place through photography.
I think it merely means that he has found another way to make people appreciate what they have.
In photographing destructions and the atrocities of wars, photographers like Steele-Perkins are also reminding us how the world can be much more beautiful place if we embrace differences, such as the cultural differences he has/had with Miyako, his Japanese wife.
Indeed, it was Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, a book she gifted him, that piqued his obsession with the tallest peak in Japan.
He says, “I was bound to explore the land that had made this luminous lady possible.”
That lady, of course, is Miyako. But it can also be interpreted as Japan itself.
In his vision quest, the principal question he had hope to answer was seemingly ‘straightforward’ — “Why and how can a mountain mean so much to a nation?”
In answering them, he might have found an extra way or two into her heart.