I have a terrible confession to make. Brace yourself, but… well… I’m not a photographer! Like, I’m really not. I point and I shoot, sometimes with success, occasionally with inspired brilliance, very often with staggering mediocrity. In recent years, thanks to improved technology and a little more care and attention on my part, these photos of mine have definitely improved, but are nothing to rival the infinite parade of gifted photographers out there.
Nevertheless I’ve seen some amazing things over the past eighteen years and built up quite the record of my life adventures. When I began Leighton Literature, it was primarily as a platform to host my short stories; memoirs if you will of a life spent living, working and travelling the globe. But then one day, while scanning through my colossal back catalogue of past trips, I thought Wow, I must have enough material for literally hundreds and hundreds of articles.
A lifetime of photos.
And so The ‘My 5s’ concept was born, a collection of bite-sized travel pieces from the places I’ve been to. 5 memorable photos accompanied by a short, easily digestible blurb on my experiences. When I kicked this project off two years ago, I made the mistake of branding it My Photographs, which I recently realized was a major faux pas. As previously stated, these little editorials are not about wondrous photo quality, I have no interest in presenting my pictures as fantastical art. I’ve seen what those guys do and while their shots are undeniably magnificent, in most cases you’re not getting an accurate depiction of the location in question. Believe me, I’ve been to a lot of those places and they don’t look like that. In case you’re wondering, the photos on my site come from two sources: 1. My trusted Sony Cybershot HX50 & 2. My iPhone, usually when I get caught by surprise or for cheeky people shots.
My visit to Ko Lanta, Thailand – May 2015.
So I’m happy to let the real photographers transform rural Austria into otherworldly Tim-Burton-type dreamscapes of impossible colors. What I’m aiming for is a sense of time and place, a tangible expression of nostalgia born from photos and words from the heart. After all they are My 5s, an army of messages in bottles washed up on the World Wide Web for your perusal. Some of them have a standard travel report feel, others are more personal, informed by the sights, smells, sounds, celebrations and regrets of a life lived.
Working on the launch of Leighton Literature – Chengdu, China – October 2014.
At the time of writing I have published around 250 My 5s from across 30 countries. And there are still so many more to write up. Sometimes it feels like an endless project, but the goal I guess is to finish publishing all those old trips so that I can go back to focusing on the short stories. My progress is often stunted by the new adventures I undertake, which of course take publishing priority as I look to ensure LL continues to put out fresh content whenever possible.
This massive project is a labour of love, no doubt about it. First and foremost it’s for me, my family, my close friends and the people I’ve travelled, worked and lived with over the years. The fact that others also enjoy reading and that I get messages, likes and shares from total strangers is a nice bonus. If you’re new to Leighton Literature and have never read a My 5, please don’t hesitate, just dive right in with my articles from:
Wales (coming soon!)