"There is a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in" Leonard Cohen, ANTHEM
In August 2013 darkness threatened to seep through the cracks in my life.
I’d spent 10 days in hospital to find the cause of what, for over a year, doctors had told me was a bad back (I was a TV news cameraman and bad backs went with the territory). But a professor of neurology had just told me I had MND – AKA motor neurone disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS, PLS, maladie de Charcot.
It has many names, but it meant one thing: I would relentlessly become more and more disabled, possibly ending up with a fully functioning mind trapped inside a paralysed but fully feeling body.
“Keep off the internet” said the consultant...
Yeah, right – after being very shocked at what I found on the internet about MND, I vowed to appreciate and enjoy every moment of life I had left.
I turned to my more than 10 years of buddhist meditation practice for comfort and help; I completed 4 months of intensive mindfulness courses; I enjoyed my wife’s 50th birthday in Venice with our daughter. With the help of drugs and crutches, I was able to stumble around the beautiful lagoon “at one with my camera” and I took these beautiful images (click HERE to see them).
I’m lucky that I went to Venice when I did, because since then I’ve become restricted to a mobility scooter – Venice was not built for the disabled photographer!
I now take photographs much more locally from my mobility scooter and publish them on a blog called Scooter Shooter. I’m also very involved in a photography project aiming to raise awareness of MND and funding for the MND Association called 26Miles4MND.
In a lot of ways, I’m happier with my Scooter Shooter images than the ones I took in Venice – it’s more of a challenge to see the extraordinary in the ordinary – the Venetian lagoon is certainly not ordinary!
I’ll still be updating Mindful Photos but for the time being here is a gallery of some of the photographs I’ve taken in my alter-ego as the Scooter Shooter (sounds a bit like a super hero doesn’t it). Enjoy!
(click on any picture to enter the gallery)
Words and pictures © all rights reserved Miles Pilling