BLOG TAKEOVER: 2017 Photographer Daniel Fox

Hola chicos! The Collective Here, with another *BLOG TAKEOVER* - this time we're chatting with Daniel Fox, The Collective's Photographer in Residence. He's just back from a killer trip in Juneau, Alaska and openly shareS his ethos, passions, desires and more with us. Read on to learn more about Daniel and why he's involved with The Collective Europe. 

 

I am an artist and a catalyst. I believe the mission of an artist is to present, through his creative work, a perspective that is different from the popular trends. I am passionate about the dynamics of life, the process of growth and the journey to enlightenment. There is something so amazingly beautiful and powerful when you witness someone coming out from a struggling experience, seeing in their eyes and soul the growth and transformation. Just like a butterfly - a crawling caterpillar that goes inward, away from the world, its entire body melting, from which emerges a new being, radiating with colors and flying. What better imagery to the human journey can you get?

 
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ABOUT THE FUTURE?

The future is not global and techno base. Rather it is local and intimate, returning to the essence of what it means to be human. We have for a long time, limited the scope of what connects us. We used to go to gatherings and conferences that only focused on a single commonality. Events like The Collective focus more on a dynamic commonality, a desire to engage not only through work but also through the human experience. That experience is not virtual, but visceral, away from what is build with the sole purpose of simulating. The goal in life shouldn’t be about making life easier, but about making us better - and that cannot be simulated. That is why I choose to come to The Collective.


ABOUT THE COLLECTIVE?

Events like The Collective give me a sense of purpose. My goal is to inspire people to embrace what it is to be human, to find comfort in the process of growth, to find beauty and value on this journey we call Life. I do that by using nature as a mentor, a mindset and a framework for personal transformation. As a solo wilderness explorer and an artist, wilderness is my studio. It is where I go to create. It is where I seek the solitude that allows me to connect to something that is bigger than me. My stories and art are my way to connect with my community, my peers, and the public; to give back and to inspire. My work means nothing until it is shared.

Both community and competition are instinctively within us. But it is all about balance. We are nothing without the community but also, we need competition to give ourselves an incentive to push the envelope, to get outside of our comfort zone, to create the un-created. Everything in life is about finding balance: the ying and the yang; the light and the darkness, one exist in reciprocity to the other, one complements and brings value to the other. Community and competition are simply two sides of the same coin. 

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

There are a few people who inspire me. To start, David Attenborough for his love of nature. Back in 2010, I had the immense privilege of lunching with Sir David Attenborough. Despite his fame and resume, Attenborough exemplified humility. Over his very long career with BBC, he has traveled to the remotest places on earth, covering almost every inch of the planet. Still to this day, in his late 80’s, Sir David still works on projects he fills passionate about. He lives in a simple house outside London and walks where he wants to go, or takes the cab when raining. He doesn’t have a chauffeur. He doesn’t have a team of managers and publicists around him, handling his life and filtering the public. If you write a hand written letter, he will hand write you back guaranteed. Despite being pressured by the conservation movement, Attenborough has always been clear on where he stands. It was not his job to publicize his opinion, his job was to report and present to the public the natural world. His professionalism and ethic are remarkable. His integrity and humility are commendable. 

Another person who inspires me is Jiro Ono for his sense of purity. In a small corner of a subway station in Tokyo, one will find the best sushi restaurant in the world. This humbling and subtle man has dedicated his life to seeking the essence of sushi. Despite being internationally apprised and the focus of the acclaimed documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Ono, now 91, still takes the subway to work every morning and oversees nearly every facet of his restaurant—from planning the seating arrangements to the menu. “You must dedicate your life to mastering a skill. This is the key to success.” It is one of things I have always loved about the old Japanese culture - whether being calligraphy, tea, flower arrangements or sushi - the ability to simplify to the essence and reveal the purity of the moment, of the object, of life.

Finally, Steve Jobs inspires me for his bold and powerful vision. From the moment he saw his first computer, Jobs understood what the future could be. For a long time, his vision was limited by the available technology. But once it finally caught up, Jobs reinvented our relationship with computers, music and the telephone. His obsession for simplicity created a unique esthetic and combined with his understanding of how we interact with the things around us, he reshaped the world. At Pixar, he applied the same values and unveiled to the world the essence of storytelling, producing masterpieces.

Do you have any photography advices?

Delete Delete Delete! Our obsession for individuality and personal uniqueness has somehow created this endless quest of finding meaning and identity through the things we possess - what we own defines who we are. In principle, that statement is true, but when it is lived within a culture of consumerism, it quickly turns into a environment where one only exist by what she/he owns. Today, many are frozen by the fear of missing out (F.O.M.O.), hoarding friends, photos, clothes, anything they can put their hands on, anxiously watching their status (or identity) go up and down with the number of “Likes” they get. 

Deleting photos is a truly empowering exercise. It forces you to choose what you like and what you don’t like. By deleting you create value. You choose quality over quantity. The interesting thing is that when you start de-cluttering your photo library, the process slowly ripples into other areas of your life and you find yourself getting rid of the junk that permeates in so many places. 

Delete Delete Delete is a mantra to re-take ownership of our identity. Instead of letting our possessions dictate our lives, instead of being passive and slave to consumerism, we switch our stand and become active participants. We control the story and honor the things and people that we choose to surround ourselves with. 

Anique Coffee