What does it mean to survive, and what are we surviving from? With all people, in all different walks of life, we are survivors.
Some are survivors from wars past and present, others from devastation, hardships, miseries, and misfortune; either physical, emotional, or mental.
We all can identify with one of those words. We each have a story to share of how we’ve survived and made it out alive. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve already thought of various events in your life when you read the words above, and thankfully, you’re a survivor. You’ve found a way to keep going day by day.
While I was in Thessaloniki, Greece in November 2016 I was confronted with street animals at literally every corner I turned. I have never seen so many street cats and dogs in my life in one neighborhood. What started out as a fun and light hearted idea turned into something more meaningful for me as time went on. I started to look at these animals and reflect upon myself, as well as others, and started to ask, “Do I identify with these animals in one way or another? What about them speaks to me?”.
In these times we are confronted with so many horrific world events every month, and for some time it hasn’t stopped. The reality is as long as the world keeps turning these things will continue to happen. I think we all have been through this moment of standing at a cross road and thinking, “I can either ignore what’s happening in the world and carry on with my daily life, or continue to educate myself and allow these uncomfortable emotions to develop.” It’s really the idea of empathy vs comfort. Every human is able to experience each feeling, but at times we’re able to decide when, how, and for whom.
I hope with this concept you’re able to reflect and question upon many things. I hope every individual is able to openly interpret something within themselves, as well in this world, when flipping through the pages. Ultimately, let’s help our brothers and sisters, as well ourselves, when we have the opportunity to do so despite our circumstances.
About Taylor Pool
Taylor Pool (1989) was born in Oklahoma, USA and raised in many different cities throughout Oklahoma and Kansas, but calls Wichita, KS his home in the States. He currently resides in Nuremberg, Germany and has been living in Germany since Aug 2008. His grandpa gave him his first film camera, Canon T50, to him at a young age of 15, and that launched him into the passion and path of photography. Starting out with live concerts and portraits of friends, then turning into paid jobs, helped him realize that there’s something more to photography than the average portrait or paid gig. At 19 he left for Germany and has no plans at moving back to the States anytime soon. Traveling to over 25 countries since 2008, he’s seen a new kind of beauty and culture that has left him the desire to see and search for more. From the average person on the street, to an Ethiopian village farmer, Roma families in their mud huts, English folk dancers, and rickshaw drivers in Bangladesh, Taylor photographs all kinds of people, cultures, races, and ethnicities. Taylor’s Grandpa taught him that “There’s no such thing as a stranger.” That is the essence of Taylor’s photography, seeing the human, friend, and person in all of us and everyone that he photographs.
Since 2006 Taylor has used Canon T50, Canon A2, Mamiya RZ67, and now solely uses (pictured below) the Twin Rolleiflex 3.5 from 1965 that was passed on to him from his Great Uncle. The Twin Rolleiflex allows the subject that Taylor is photographing to feel more comfortable and less threatening than the average camera. Rather than covering his face with a big camera lens and missing the personal connection that you get face to face, he can simply do all that he needs to do and still look at the person in the eye.
Taylor has been working in the darkroom since 2006 and is continually learning techniques and discovering “the perfect print” does not come in 10 years, but possibly 20 years or more. Taylor loves the darkroom because working with hands, chemicals, paper, and film feels more like creating a piece of art rather than a printer doing it for you. He’s able to spend more time with his subject than he had when taking the photo, like he is in the darkroom.