I’m often asked how I could set aside my career as a physician and my focus on medical sciences for something as “subjective” as photography.
In Jill Bolte Taylor’s thoroughly riveting and engaging book My Stroke of Insight, the author--who had a left brain stroke and recovered over a period of eight years--pointed out that we are highly rewarded for the left brain’s rational activities like math, memorized facts, and certain analytic skills. The right brain is not rewarded with nearly as much social and economic benefit, much as it is the part of us that recognizes when we are in safe environments and allows us to relax. It integrates us to our surroundings along with other things that are not remunerated.
I have had an interesting life.
I started with pure left brain activities like my appreciation of science and math and an abiding interest in how things work. Perhaps it was my good fortune to not excel in these realms as much as I would have liked, which eventually led me into a field that ideally combines facts and logic and problem solving with the need for some level of humanity, empathy, and an understanding of the nature of collaboration and cooperation.
That led me to lead the most fulfilling life a person can have, combining the art and science of medicine to truly make the difference between life and death while doing so in a humane, caring fashion. That ability was a genuine gift from God that I’ve worked hard to pass on…an interesting perspective considering my early years as an atheist.
Then, once retired from the left brain world of medicine, I was drawn—almost compelled by an unseen force—into the challenging real right brain universe of photography. Nothing could have been more of a change, as I discovered the "nailed it moment" of capturing the right image at the right time, a feeling akin to a continuous infusion of cocaine. That creative high lasts for days and somehow brings me inexplicable joy.
At this point in my photographic journey, I enjoy the first rush of making connections between myself and my subjects...and then the second--equally addictive--rush as the viewers find the same connection for themselves.
The ultimate goal is not easily achieved, but it is what drives me: to bring the viewer to a connection with himself or herself.
I’m thankful to have had the opportunities to have great lessons with my different careers, and to be aware of them and then the creative introspection to learn something from my own life. I believe that learning those life lessons is our true purpose and the wisdom we gain in the process is the greatest of riches.
At the end of the day, we are only fulfilled by our sense of Love and Gratefulness. I love what I’ve done and what I’m going to do…and for that I’m truly grateful.