I believe you should open a door that says, ‘Don’t Open.’ You can go somewhere you thought was not possible and that usually creates a situation where you learn something new and makes whatever the outcome is worthwhile.
I’m a really big believer that we can all create positive change in our lives. The reason why so many people don’t is because it’s easy to become complacent, and complacency leads to fear. I want to be fearless.
There’s something about being transported from my normal environment to somewhere new - it makes me more present. It makes me take everything in without taking it for granted. That practice charges me to do good work. Being present is an important part of being a good photographer or filmmaker.
We’re really excited to share our latest edition of Short Journeys featuring Allan Cole. In our conversation Allan discusses his quest for career independence and how travel has made an impact on his creative perspective. Check it out.
My personal desire to create really took off in college. It was around the time when the internet felt new and it was very open. You had things like Soulseek, Napster and enormous amounts of files online that people wanted to share. It was all out there. You could just browse and download it all. That’s how I found out about a lot of music. That’s how I found different designers, different resources and was introduced to so many new ideas. It was publicly available and open. Seeing stuff like that, and my own personal engagement with the internet, made me want to create stuff for it. That’s when learning to code fell into place.
Travel isn’t about an itinerary or doing super luxurious things. It’s about being immersed in something else. Curating is better than accumulating. Edit out the unnecessary and only take what you really need.
When I think about travel and its impact on my career, I think travel taught me how to observe. My parents would take my brother and I to Egypt frequently. I didn’t know what was going on half the time, but I had to pick up things quickly. I became a pretty good observer at 6 or 7 years old. And that’s a lot of what I do in my films. It’s a humbling position to watch and pick up context, especially when you don’t know a language and have to figure things out as you go. I had to focus on other things. I would focus on social cues, body language and gestures. I think that’s what travel did for me. It opened up my understanding of how people communicate. It was the first time I was put in the observer position because I was no longer the center of attention at such a young age. I had to watch other people.