By John Lechner
Chase your dreams...
When we made the decision that John Lechner Fine Art Prints was going to be a thing was back in August 2013. In fact, at that time the decision was simply that I was going to do more to pursue my photography. I was going to travel more with photography being the goal of my travel.
I turned 40 in 2014 and having lost both my parents at a relatively early time, dad was 54 and mum a few days short of 64, I know that life can be fragile and you need to live. I also did some training last year that was a little profound for me and one of my biggest takeaways from the training was about dreams.
"Dream it, plan it, make it happen"
So here I am on day three of making my dream a reality with this new venture.
Travel is planned and some already undertaken. The first seed was that I wanted to go to Iceland, for my 40th, why not? So that trip is locked in and in May a week after my birthday I leave for Iceland via Amsterdam.
Why Iceland? Iceland is a photographers wet dream, think I am exaggerating? Go to google, search Iceland and click on images instead of web. The colours and variety of landscapes is just jaw dropping. I'm not worried about whether I will get great images but whether the 10 days I have booked is enough. I am going to hire a camper van and travel around shooting before sunrise until after sunset.
Following that trip I am off to France in August for three weeks but we will get back to that another time.
But just a few weeks ago I headed off to Cambodia. Again people have asked me why Cambodia? Well it was simple I wanted my first photography only trip to be a mixture. I wanted the beauty of, in Cambodia's case the temples, but to also mix in some stories of the people. Cambodia is a harrowing place. I knew it would be confronting when I headed there, to be honest I was shocked.
My shock was not at the abject poverty, the poverty is stark and in your face if you even veer slightly off the well beaten tourist path surrounding the temples. But the poverty isn't what got to me it was the hopelessness. The Cambodian people have been through so much in the last 50 years at the hands of foreigners. The US carpet bombed and mined the whole Country during the Vietnam war, the Vietnamese invaded. And their own, the bloody terror of the Khmer Rouge is still fresh in the minds of many Cambodians.
It was the lack of hope that really blew me away. I have recently read Victor Frankl's - Man's search for meaning. Frankl was a survivor of the Nazi death camps of WWII. There are two pieces in his book that really touched me;
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”
Many of the Cambodians I met have lost their 'why'. Life is purely about existence for many, dreams and hopes of a brighter future are gone. This was tough to experience.
I will come back to the Cambodia trip later in more detail, but my goals for this 2 week trip was two fold. One to get some beautiful pics, hopefully some that would make it to the point they were for sale here as Limited Edition Prints, the best of the best. But also to help tell the story of the Cambodian people. When I left for the trip I was thinking that by helping tell their stories we may be able to help them materially, maybe raise some money. But now after being there, I believe we can help in a small way spiritually to renew hope. Cambodians need a hand up not a hand out.
One thousand years ago Cambodia was a powerhouse of South East Asia, it was wealthy, culturally rich and highly civilised. Today, Cambodia is but a shadow of its former self.
So thats where John Lechner Fine Art Prints began, the journey to this point has been fun, challenging and worth every second, but this is only the beginning. Travelling is not about the destination but the journey, I am addicted to travel, I have wanderlust.
The picture used in this post is one of my many from my first Angkor Wat Sunrise. This is my favourite.
As a traveller and photographic artist I make my living by selling art prints of my photography from my travels within Australia and around the world like Siem Reap. If you enjoyed this blog then I would love you to check out my photographic art from the trip.
Our art prints start at just AU$49.50 including shipping within Australia or $59.50 worldwide to your door. Check them out here.
PS Check out my other blogs from Cambodia