“Blessed are those who can hear the music of life.”
Sometimes, as the sun sets and the birds begin to call out their evening song, one cannot help but be beckoned to adventure, to sample the sweet night music that so often floods summer streets, gilding souls and hearts with its ebullience.
Such was the case when I visited merry old England recently as part of my work as a destination photographer—caught up in the hubbub of vibrant London, I decided to seize the night and venture out one evening with a friend of mine for a game of pool. As neither of us was all that familiar with our surroundings, we turned to Google, which led us to the Mau Mau Bar on Portobello Road.
When we arrived, we found that there was no pool table present after all - but there was something even better: Live blues music. Being fans of blues and jazz, we decided to stay, and to grab a glass of good wine and toast to whatever melodies the night may bring. Surrounded by the mystical transcendence of beautiful voices, I let my soul loose in dance, having not a care in the world as the notes lifted me higher. It was the perfect setting for my muse, as it turns out—during a trip to the bar, I bumped into Aleph, one of the musicians who had been playing. Sparks met artistic tinder and before I knew it, my camera was in hand, guided by the intangible vibe that emerges when many imaginative people congregate together.
Aleph, a 35 year old Venezuelan guitarist and musician, was kind enough to agree to an impromptu portrait session, even though he only had 30 minutes to spare between gigs. We hurried outside and I quickly made the most of the vibrant colours on the walls around us, finding them the perfect complement to Aleph's effervescent spirit. Much to my amazement, he was willing to dance on the street and smile his heart out, letting his unique personality beam through the lens like a warm ray of evening sunshine.
While the source of Aleph's radiant glow might have seemed mysterious to many, I had a good idea where it likely came from: His eyes were alight with the passion of a person who is not guided by obligation to material necessity so much as the thrum of God-given gifts. His dreams of being a musician were what led him to London, no doubt in the face of many obstacles and at least some criticism, and today he is so much in demand that his days are packed with gigs - a sight it did my heart good to see.
It is no secret that the world is tough for creative people; on a planet so bound up by duty to the mundane, those who pursue their deeper truths and heartfelt inspiration are often seen to almost be at play, to be doing work which is inherently less serious, and therefore less valuable, than the work of those caught up in the solely pragmatic. This view does a great disservice to humanity - where would we be on summer nights without people like Aleph filling the space between our words with the myriad moods of music? And where would we be without the writers and photographers who capture the stories of such people?
Those who bring dreams into reality sow the seeds of hope; those souls who find joy all around them leave it trailing in their wake wherever they go. As Anatole France so aptly put it, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.”