You don't get white-pills from me very often but when I do dish them out they're large and sweet.

Expand full comment
Nov 18Liked by Morgoth

Ahh this one really speaks to me, thanks for that!

I've been taking motorsport photographs for nearly forty years, began when I was about 12. There are a lot of differences between what I do and what a wildlife photographer does but there are many commonalities. At my local track I know exactly where I want to be on any given corner, to within about six inches, to get the photos I want. It has taken years to refine this down, and for someone else with a different eye they may well think that somewhere further around is better for them, or over on the other side, it's hugely subjective.

The satisfaction is immense, I can take easily 1000 photographs in a day but there are only ever truly a handful that I'm totally happy with, and only two or three in a season (which is 20,000 pics!) that I'm genuinely proud of. I might perfectly capture the expression on the driver's face, a wheel lifting off the ground entering a corner under braking, the thousandth of a second that car doing 80+mph flashes through a gap in the branches of a huge old tree, the moment a crucial component lets go and flies through the air, or any number of things. There's a continual drive for the perfect dynamic angle, a slow enough shutter speed to give the picture motion without being blurred, or a composition with the right combination of cars in the fore and background to really make it pop. A lot of it is kind of a waiting game, will a particular driver nail his line perfectly next time round? If not then where will he be and how can I be ready? How many laps are left for me to capture one particular car and the one a split second behind it?

"So something else drives these people. It doesn’t seem to be any financial gain, and it isn’t comfort, so why bother doing it all unless there is a glimpse of something more profound?"

I've often asked myself why I do it, I mean I love old cars and motorsports but why do I have to get so deep in to photographing it when I should really be enjoying the moment in full rather than squinting through a viewfinder with back and neck ache from the weight of the lens? For me, the answer is kind of simple - I have to do it because I'm fortunate enough to have the knowledge, equipment and ability _to_ do it. More often than not I'm the only person in the vicinity with a "proper" camera. If I don't capture these moments, who else will? If, say, that rare exotic bird only appears once a year but nobody is there to capture the moment then the beauty goes unseen. Who will see the focus and determination in the eyes of a driver giving his machine absolutely everything it can give in a particular moment if I don't snap my shutter at the precise 100th of a second?

It's also a completely in-the-zone thing, all the weight of the modern world disappears in the tyre squeal and exhaust noise. My phone goes unchecked for hours as I stand, absorbed in the scene in front of me, click click clicking away.

Quite a ramble! But the first time I've written some of these things out, it's good to see my thoughts fleshed out in front of me.

Expand full comment

Tasty food for thought.

And it's why I make sure I have things that are not internet or political in my life. Though, I suppose, those 'things' are political to some people.

It's good to unplug and live life. That's the whole reason I'm in favor of small government. So I have more room to live in without fear of some government bureaucrat telling me what camera I can use, what birds I can photograph and charging a fee to use a bird hide, as examples.

Expand full comment

It is easy to lose sight of the fact that there is still so much beauty in the world. The birds, the wildlife, the flora and fauna have no opinion in the shenanigans in Gaza. They had no opinion on the disasters of the World Wars nor the invasion of William the Bastard in 1066, which ended the Anglo-Saxon world. The other day I was pegging out washing in the back garden and totally engrossed in events at the Cenotaph and the awful predictability of it all. My youngest son tapped me on the arm and said ‘look, look at that really interesting ladybug and those huge caterpillars!’ I hadn’t noticed one thing around me. Young children live in the present. They don’t tend to reflect on the past or worry too much about the future. This state of grace inevitably recedes as we grow older, and our consciousness of the world outside of ourselves grows,. But that ability to live in the present moment is still there within us, and there’s no better medium than nature.

Expand full comment

Photography is the modern equivalent of hunting, for the defanged normie citizen, (how’s that for blackpilled lol) I think there’s also elements of escaping modernity, trying to catch lightning in a bottle by capturing a sliver of gods beauty in a wonderfully framed moment of one of his creations..... probably also a good excuse to get out the house and not watch the electric cube of doom too

Expand full comment

That was beautiful. It's a reminder, I think - what we fight for, ultimately, is a world where more people can devote themselves to the pursuit of La Gran Belleza, without having to trouble about technocratic mind control or migrant invasions.

Expand full comment
Nov 18Liked by Morgoth

Moar! This is why I enjoy your policy of avoiding hot takes and keeping things introspective and metaphysical, Morgoth. The only trans I find here is the transcendental.

Expand full comment

Great piece that nails the vital question for all of us on 'our' side of this catastrophe, MG: namely, how to reconcile (and revel in) the contemplative life and the treasure chest of values it contains, with the need to actively engage in the fight for our culture - the very culture that allows the 'work' of the photographer in the first place.

I've come to the conclusion that maintaining a balance is, by definition, a tightrope walk: one simply has to get out there and feel one's way along the wire - on a daily basis.

I've found personally, that too much mental agitation for, and daily involvement, in the cause, drives you mad. You end up scrolling down forever, mentally speaking...or swiping away your very sanity. And, of course, the ongoing attempt to try to spread the word to so-called 'normies' in daily life is its own unique kind of minor torment.

Conversely, your photographer is a kind of revolutionary. And the contemplative act - which is where we contact beauty, and where all true art begins - is itself a revolutionary act in this grotesque, rebarbative, shallow age. That being the case the photographer does have, as an artist - ie., someone who can capture and communicate a sense of transcendent beauty - an absolute duty to try and communicate it to those of us in desperate need of such affirmation - which is nothing less than the confirmation that an infinitely better way of life exists for us all and is out there if only we go in passionate search for it. - Thanks again for making this plain to us with your wonderful writing, MG.

Expand full comment
Nov 20Liked by Morgoth

I used to do a lot of bird watching with my dad when I was young, a lot of time we couldn't ever find the bird we were looking for, we went up and down the whole of the country looking for a particular bird, but when we did find one it was really thrilling, and I got to mark it off in my book. I often think we had better lives then, and now we have to work really hard to find authenticity.

Expand full comment
Nov 24Liked by Morgoth

As a birdwatcher myself I loved this video.

I don't do it to the extremes of that guy, nor can I explain the appeal. I just know that when I'm standing in my garden or a park watching any bird, even something common like a robin or sparrow, I feel alive in a way that sitting indoors looking at a screen can never replicate.

Expand full comment

Man i read, and i read a lot. Everyday. And in this language which was not gifted to me from birth, which is a weird mix of french and saxon. And i spend so much time reading and absorving concepts. Politics and History mainly, sometimes fiction. I'm the most well read person i know. Yet sometimes it gets too much, and i just turn on "alive mode", where i go back to my amusements of youth. Booking an escort, getting drunk, talking to strangers, seeing old friends, riding a horse along a trail, playing acustic guitar. And then i feel happy, one can even say satisfied with life.

But then i remember, i remember my duty towards myself to be educated in what matters.

And thus i go back to my obsessive reading.

The cycles goes on and on.

It's amusing to believe that photographer is just like me, where he simply breaks down for overstymulation and goes to do something inexplicable.

Fine post morgoth.

Expand full comment

Beautifully narrated. I had a similar experience with such a man in a bird hide whilst visiting family out in the wetlands of Norfolk about 6 months ago. I never once thought about his politics though, as he allowed me to look at and through his equipment.

We must remember our deepest roots. The most astonishing relics of our European ancestors from 40,000 years ago are the cave paintings of animals. It is clear that despite modernity, as often expressed in children, we have a deep connection and fascinating with nature and the animal world. These "nerds," as I'm sure most normies would call them, are perhaps among the best of us?

Expand full comment

Actually living. That is the best part of this essay. Who among us is actually living, actually alive or fully alive?

The photographer has found something bigger to focus on, or perhaps just something beyond himself. It consumed him to the extent he will embrace discomfort and other costs to achieve it.

It is all too easy to assume the models and schema we develop in our minds represent reality. Left or Right. Progressive or traditional. The difficulty Morgoth had classifying the photographer perhaps represents reality. It was irrelevant because the focus on life rather than an internal representation of life helped the photographer transcend all the bullshit and actually live for a brief moment.

Just as free speech is not a law or a line on a piece of paper but an action where an individual attempts to speak freely, so life is not a thing to be understood and dissected but an experience to be had.

What a great essay. Thanks for publishing.

Expand full comment

>"No man would sit on a rainy hillside all night because he might get a glimpse of some furry porn or whatever,"

Morgoth's contemplative pieces only rarely dip into hilarity, but this is one of those times.

Expand full comment

Who maintains the bird hide?

Expand full comment