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One of the most beautiful things in life is getting the opportunity to work with your loved ones. Often times they say that going into business with those close to you is a bad choice, and i would agree nearly all the time except for when it comes to this lady. Elle-May has been incredible in her openness of ideas, her ability to craft greatness out of tough situations, and turning bad weather into even the happiest of days. This was one of our favorite shoots this year, for Son De Flor, an amazing linen brand out of Lithuania. 

Photographs by Christian Watson, Hanna Walters, and Elle-May Leckenby. 

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CHRISTIAN WATSON Comments
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Pursuit. 

It's a word we often associate with success or gain, and yes i'd be deceiving you if "happiness" also wasn't included in that. In our world though, by which of course i mean "culture" more than anything, pursuit tends to be akin to "What's next?" the great generational question. 

So what is next? What's to come? 

We're all aware of the small-time obsessions we find ourselves frantically fighting over, whether its with strangers half a million miles away, or our loved ones just inches from our skin. Pursuit comes from the words "following after". 
And you can see that definition really come to life now, so many of us following after these small-time addictions in exchange for something, we hope, will bring us betterment. i'd like to refrain from saying things like crypto-currency, next generation Apple products, etcetera. "if it gets better, i get better" the desperate split belief of a person who wants to better themselves through a third party, it's typically what "following after" means. 

But Pursuit isn't some negative thing, i don't dare swear on gloom by these words, just showing how easy it might be to chase after the wrong thing. 
For those of you that don't know me all that well, i got engaged last year in a desperate attempt to fix my own issues. In that pursuit, pre-emptive and selfish, i caused damage and harm to those i loved. When you are not ready to obtain something, be it status, a thing, a person's love, etc... you find yourself all too eager to prove that you are ready instead of taking the dignified road and admitting to yourself, and harder still, to those around you, that you are unprepared. 

Pursuing for what's next can be grand if you're ready for it, but if you're just endlessly chasing, never satisfied, then why is there so much emphasis on the journey before this one? It's a question i find in the middle of the warm afternoon, wondering why i can be so plagued with challenge. Am i not ready? Am i wrong about where i'm going? 

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We're all after God in our own respect. Even the origin word of "God" is an incredible English marvel. We really don't know the truth about where it came from in history. Yes we have our theories and ideas but even the smartest answer we can come up with is "well, it's just back there somewhere we think." 

But really God is associated with the phrase, "To whom {or what} sacrifices are made {in act of worship}" i think you see where i'm getting with this. 
God is oft' some giant myth that we look up to the sky in our moments of weakness and desperation screaming to and pondering on. We've all done it, humanity is not limited to the single-minded character of our individual lives. We've all cried out in hopes of understanding something we can't. 

So, we do what any survivalist does, we improvise and we create something that works for us in the now. For some, waiting for an answer from God {again, this being whatever you define it as} is like waiting for a rain in a dust-bowl drought. 

In pursuit of God that we don't often understand, we make sacrifices for gods we manufacture in order to feel better in the here and now, answering our prayers instantly. If you've ever just sat alone in your room without a phone, person to talk to or television to watch you're probably twiddling your thumbs out of nervous habit, as if completely uncomfortable with your own presence. 
At least, i won't condemn so many to this lowly assumption, but this was my own circumstance and one, upon conversations with many others, is shared more often than otherwise. 

It's a funny sadness that we will hype the world up in our heads, and be so anxious in our "waiting" for the things to come, for our pursuits to be met by our own, seemingly intensive, efforts. And yet, in that, we are so clearly unable to wait, begging the question: "when does contentment ever come?" 

"Content" "God" "Pursuit" "Waiting" all good words we use individually but generally not together. Through pursuit we are taught the importance of our efforts and often how those efforts cost us the act of waiting, and in that state of mind learning to be content, this i feel, helps us make our own peace with God, again, whatever that may be for you. For me, it's of biblical regard for the life around me not being my own. For you, it could be a number of things, but as surely as i know tomorrow comes, i know it's not the little obsessions we bother ourselves with. 
 

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In saying all that, pursuit is a beautiful thing that isn't always about chasing after. More than not, it's about timing, when we're ready for what we're after it tends to come - not the other way around. If goals are met preemptively we can self-destruct and do more damage than good. There are simply no shortcuts. 





Note from the author: If you haven't already noticed we have made some headway into a new mood/mode of photographing, we are working on focusing on design and branding for our clients and presenting our huge archive of work for all of you to look and gander at here, along with gathering more antiques for the shop. We are also working on a new Presets package a new book called DEFEAT with NYT best selling author Ajaz Ahmed, and much more. OH and you can see our new work instagram. Would love to hear your thoughts on all this and the writing below.

Warmest regards, 

Christian Watson. 

 
CHRISTIAN WATSON Comments
 
 
 
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Now don't get me wrong here, the last few years were packed full of experiences i could never have dreamed up, some really good ones, others were difficult and trying. But overall, i was able to do things i never had before and help others in a way that was entirely new to me - there is definitely a peaceful use from social media. 

For me, it hadn't become some blatant obsession, contrarily i was simply not focused on the things that mattered the most, like what i was actually doing to begin with. It was this sort of linear thinking that got me stuck in a loop of: "hey, this will work on instagram" as opportunities and jobs came more abundantly i found myself repeating this all the stronger, less focused on what i was producing, more focused on what was being produced for me. By all means, use social media, have fun with it and do so wisely, but look at this more as a cautionary tale from someone who should have known better - it is not the end all, be all. 

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You knew that already i'm sure, but if you're reading this, you can probably take a swing that you already understand the underlying issue: myself. It's the one thing we always seem to overlook when we're dealing with a struggle. 

Hope.

i am forever expectant of good things to come, not in a "i deserve that!" kind of way, but in a strong-willed, "i'm gonna go after that!" way. Since i was young, i've had this ambition and level of creativity, it's got something to do with my imagination and growing up in a wooded little area in Southern Oregon, when it's nothing but rain and fog outside, you have to think of something, and so think i did. Drawing, design, photography, building, all of these things have interested me and been in my practice either since i was a young child or a young teenager, as i have evolved, i have always wanted a LOUD PLATFORM TO SHARE IT ON! But as you grow, you soon realize that isn't totally necessary. The people who want to find it, will seek it out, and there's no need to go around shouting about what i have going on in my life in order to get people to listen, sometimes you can just talk. 

So, what's next?

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 i am as excited as i can be to let you know that i will continue to share and grow 1924us as a branding and design studio, with massive projects in the works lately, i don't see us letting up anytime soon, right now it's just a new set of challenges: How to survive without the access to a social media audience. Now we still have roughly 20,000 visitors a week to the 1924 site, so you can do the math on that, there's a large volume of people who come through and want to read, but its not such an accessible "hey cool post!" "wow" "great job" sort of thing, the people who want to engage really have to go out of their way (I'm talking to you few who have commented on my last few posts, you know who you are!) but not so far out of their way that they feel left out. 

We are working on a new design section of the website, a new book, called Defeat (seriously it's going to be one of my best works along AKQA's very own Ajaz Ahmed) new photography posts, new journals, new items for the shop. Through 1924us as a site i wanted to build a home-like experience where you don't have to go and follow us on all these social medias and try to keep up with an ever-changing number of new channels that seem to hold us to opening new tabs, new apps, new this and that... i just wanted to simplify the whole experience. 

So though i have left something behind, it is not me who is gone, just an app. The audience who endures will come to listen, and read, and peruse and that's the experience i want to elicit. There will be all sorts of things for me as a person to share with you on a deeper level, (plus you get to see my landscape photos now, i mean C'MON that's a plus right there) while some people will think leaving instagram is a limiting thing, that it's done damage or put some off... i'd say the opposite is true: 

There is only everything else to come now, and i'm ready to embrace it. 
 

 
CHRISTIAN WATSON Comments
 

i long to write to you about some adventure that i was on, maybe in some daring turn of events i had something epic to tell you, but that's not the story i have. Instead, i am here to describe to you the whole of what took place and in the end, why i walked away. 

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For most of you, (assuming of course that "most of you" fall within the category which i'm addressing) it isn't hard to see that social media of all kinds is absolutely entrenched into our daily lives. It is rooted so deeply, that it defines entire conversations, relationships, opportunities and much more. While i promise to make this not a "damn the technology!" sort of speech, i can't promise that i don't utter those words at some point or another during my week.  

i left Instagram, and while i won't bore you with the numbers of it all, i do know the numbers by which i was defined for the past few years, and it topped out at 605,000. Followers, a number of people, robots and businesses that "follow" me along on my journeys through sponsored posts, travel experiences, and personal relationships. In my head, i humbled myself as often as i could - not often enough truth told - but still, i drudged on through the cyclical process of, go, photograph, edit, post, observe. i could have a conversation with massive design firms and hear "We love your instagram" and a piece of me felt missing. i'd have random (and nearly always delightful) strangers come up to me to talk of how they loved my work, and a piece of me felt missing. i'd go home to my family where they would ask about my recent expeditions, and where Instagram had taken me, what i was working on, what, what, what, your, your your... 

i was missing. 

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Though i could never have admitted it before, all the "success" drained me of my own ability to deal with the ever-growing problem: self-awareness, or the lack thereof rather. i believe ferociously that my intentions with social media has always been, well, let's say about 60% good. 
i'd write these longwinded, poorly reviewed words of hope and 'off-the-cuff' emotions that i was dealing with and slap it underneath a photograph i'd semi liked. This isn't some cut at the crowds of kind people who followed and heard and really saw themselves in the truth of my work, it's more an honest review of the darker side of what was going on while so many were clicking "like" and "follow". While i was showcasing the tip-top, best moments of my life, i was tip-toeing around the shattered remains of my relationships (of all kinds) and pointing the blame at all of them, ever-fearful of stepping on something that may hurt me; honesty. 

 

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We have a word for honesty now, it isn't really honesty, it's just rebranded. We call it authenticity, or genuineness, and now these are words you can buy on tee-shirts, they come attached to people like me with glazed-over eyes to the reality of their definitions. i can't tell you how many groups i've sat down with to talk about purely Instagram. if you think that's sad, you're right. i didn't use social media originally as a drug, but it was a crutch. i thought to myself "if i'm doing ok here, if my bank looks fine, if i can pay the bills and take care of others and show the world how well i'm doing then it has to be real." This was not the start of my false-self, but it is the underlying foundation of it. So what was going on didn't really reflect my state of being, even if i was writing books and traveling to breathtaking places just to shout it in the faces of thousands of listeners, "I'M OKAY!" i'd scream out, and the minute someone would counter with a disagreement, i'd yell back, "WHAT DID I DO WRONG?" cowering in the corner between my kitchen door and the fridge, my hair matted to the dust where the broom goes, tears of confusion resting on my cheeks.  Authentic. If i had to honestly describe myself during the past few years, it would be: self obsessive, delusional, manipulative, cowardly, and oh does that list go on. And just before you reach into your pocket for change to throw at the beggar in the street i seem to sound like, let me tell you, these are not words of self-hate, just honest. They are not reflective of me now, thank God, all the same, we have our growth to go through. 

It's a lesson and i learned. For the past year i have gone through what was undoubtedly the most challenging year of my life, and it brought out the man in me. Masculinity not defined by my car, my finances or stories of some half-built fame, deep and flourishing masculinity that comes out of confrontation and confession - taking on the worst in yourself to be best for others. i wanted to run from this, run and run, and not look back, like a child who hides his hands after throwing rocks at windows (thanks Johnny Cash) and boy let me tell you, i threw some rocks. 

i was a wildfire of a child, my emotions rode me to the ground and i lashed out like a crazy man flailing about when the nurses try to tie down his arms. In my past life i was that little scrappy kid pickpocketing and playing poor-boy when caught redhanded. i learned how to turn this wildfire of emotions and circumstance to my benefit, i'd talk it out and call it passion, and funnel it into what i'd call work, and others if they could see me, would call scratching by. Now, 25, and Myspace, Tumblr and Instagram behind me, all things society would think i was 'good' at defined me for about 10 years. Some will tell you it's not about the numbers, but really in this day of first world society, thats what it becomes. Actually, i'll counter my own statement and say that social media is more about self-glorification. Ouch. Hard thing to hear, really though think about why you do it, why you Snapchat, or Instagram, or Tumblr, or Tinder, or Facebook.
I'd tell people it was about "sharing" and "i like to see what others have to think" and "well it's fun to..." this and that and every other thing you can think of that would take me away from facing the hard truth of calling it like it is: self-glorification. Now of course, you can have a business from it, but if you're not on there simply to make money, you're on there to buy into it or yourself. There's no other realistic explanation (well there might be, but i don't know it) for why you would get on and write about or photograph yourself, it's to see how others react. If you were doing it just for you, then you'd have no earthly reason to share it anywhere.

To be continued... 

 
CHRISTIAN WATSON Comments
 

It has been sometime since we've tried our hand at getting back into the blogging schedule. It's not an easy one. The transition takes more dedication than I have allowed, in order to find ourselves in living the stories we've been neglecting to share. But now, there are stories after stories, like a rich ocean full of nutrients: we have so much to finally share with all of you. And I'd like to do it correctly from this point on. So to start I will say that just a few weeks ago I was traveling back from Alaska through Montana on what was supposed to be one of the last adventures I was to take this year. While there, I ran into the ever-inspiring Alex Strohl, who through and through has put the rest of us "instagram-era explorers" to the test. He's one of the few who really do get out in the world in a genuine way, one which even I can't match. 

He subsequently invited me on a last minute trip to Iceland alongside Benjamin Hardman, where, all three of us found ourselves together in good company fighting for day break to help us. Light was not our friend this trip but simultaneously did everything to help us...

  In the dark of dusk, we found fog laden mountains that rendered the grown wet beneath us. The rock slipped constantly and once we got to a point no longer surpassable we simply laid down our efforts.    

In the dark of dusk, we found fog laden mountains that rendered the grown wet beneath us. The rock slipped constantly and once we got to a point no longer surpassable we simply laid down our efforts. 
 

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Though there were many issues along the way in Iceland, we did happen upon a last few incredible days, full of blessings and good light - though weather was not our friend in these moments. On the most eastern Fjords of the small Atlantic Island, we battled biting rain while the quiet minds and full hearts of the locals kept us warm. 

 
 
 
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Through an array of mountain ranges and other land-formations we had the pleasure of enjoying our own individual solitude as we also delved into light-hearted conversations that kept our breath short. As I sit in reflection of the quickness of everything, I can't help but announce my excitement for all things to come in my life and those around me. All that I have put my effort into is slowly and assuredly finding itself paced well in my life. 

I am happy to have you along with us. 

 
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