I was sitting in the lounge of my friends house which I was living in. A girl I met at Glastonbury rang me and said she was coming to London to see the band that she had told me about, I had a vague recollection. I was sitting listening to the same music I had been listening to for however long and thought fuck it, i'll go. I was waiting for an invite to a gig. I was becoming increasingly interested in the music photography, Im not sure if it was through a love of music, which I certainly had, but more so access to the people, musicians/artists...
I have lived a fair amount of my life with the firm conviction that romantic love is a delusion. Its a futile hedge against our existential terror that is our own singularity. Then I met ….. and that forced me to reexamine those convictions. She of course, turned out to be …… . I feel liberated. I am, now and forever, post-love. And as such, I am free to pursue a life of meaning.
Little time is presented to sustain the elaborate ruse of marriage. An unnatural arrangement which forces its participants into an unhealthy monogamy. An accretion of petty fights and resentful compromises which, like Chinese water-torture, slowly transforms both parties into howling, neurotic versions of their former selves.
Friendship, as Ive come to understand it is most accurately defined as two people working towards the best aspects of one another, it is a relationship of mutual benefit and mutual gain.
My isolationist tendencies are decidedly not my best quality. I am not a better person for the lack of connection. If you must know, I have been feeling rather down lately, its the process of maintaining my sobriety. It repetitive and relentless and above its tedious. I have accepted the advice bestowed upon me and committed myself. Now two years in I find myself asking…”is this it?”. Sobriety is simply a grind, a leaky faucet that requires constant maintenance and in return offers only not to drip. I am alive, I have solid reliable friends and I have my work, I have told myself this so many times that is now has no meaning. To relapse is usually a ginormous anti-climax. Surrender to insistent drip drip drip of existence.
Rest, Ho Chi Minh City, 2016
Ive often wonder if I should’ve be born in a another time. Ahem, sorry, my name is Nic Shonfeld and I’m an addict. “hi nic”. My senses are…, well one could say, unnaturally keen. And ours is an era of distraction. It’s a punishing drumbeat of constant input. This cacophony which follows us into our homes and into our beds and seeps into our souls, for want of a better word. For a long time there was only one poultice for my raw nerve endings, and was, er, copious drug use. So in my less productive moments I am given wonder… if i’d been be born when it was a little quieter out there,… would I have even become an addict in the first place? Might I have been more focussed? A more fully realised person? I want some of the wonders of modernity…just before everything got amplified.
So, tell me, is it truly possible to know another person? Is it even a worthwhile pursuit? YOUR’S is the opinion that I trust and is the only point of view that holds even the faintest of any interest
”i think its sad nobody knows you, and that you have given up, I think you have a lot to offer the world if you started believing in yourself again”
I am not cut out from the world, I am engaged in creating one that is actually worth living in. One that addresses my needs entirely and eliminates everything extraneous.
If I had not been so concerned with jostling for attention, and position (taxi-seating) it might be noted and nursing an obligatory am dullness, i might have taken more photographs of take-off. To be fair, the day started terribly. It is a morning, that thankfully I have managed to disassociate with the other 16 hours of the day which proceeded to be nothing short of exciting...
Núi voi / Elephant Mountain, Bach Ma National Park (I think!), Central Vietnam.
I was asked to select the chicken which we would then monster whilst sitting under the protection of a canopy whilst 'tre chau's' continued to say things which i didnt understand about myself and the girls. The other dudes we were with didnt seem to care, I shouldn't have either, it is a cultural difference to be a bit pissed off if little wankers are dissing? My staring, at fuck knows what given my lack of and need for proscription glasses, was broken by the sound of a chicken being done-in and mt attention was diverted back to 'Whintey'. 20 minutes later the chicken turned up and I was afforded a new experience this time being in dissection.
Vietnamese men are quiet, particularly if they are with their partners, in a social capacity. I spent the whole day with him and her and didn't have the slightest idea they were married, in fact I didn't have the slightest idea he could speak English very well, although I had noticed his genuine Swiss watch and tendancy to use a knife and fork as indefferently to an average westerner, it transpired he had lived in America for the last however many years and more notably had inevitably been quietly soaking up my wretched anxiety and not done a thing to help me. I doubt he really cared, I wonder if I am paranoid, I doubt it, it is was obvious how socially incompetent I was on this occasion, regardless of Bronchitis.
I found myself foul to sickness the night I arrived in Hue. I had arranged to meet some friends, two of whom where performing at a children's charity gala.
What you don't see, is a comical moment presented itself for the 10minutes preceeding the taking of this photo. Being very early afternoon (the least busy time of the day in any given part of Vietnam due to the heat) there weren't too many people about just a few bus loads of Chinese O.A.Ps following guides around. After the walking dead begun to dissipate, one chap remained and proceeded to stand dead centre of the frame (as you see it depicted above, way back in middle ground on the grey tiled space).
Kinh thành Huế / The Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam.
I hadn't been prescribed my glasses but younger and with his camera/phone on a selfie stick but facing me so through natural deduction prosuming that he was filming himself with the old structure in his background. Some dude doing his vlog, I was like "come on mate, ffs, how long you going to....whatever." I was stood looking at him for a few minutes waiting for him to finish, but he just kept standing there with my camera in hand hoping he would notice me and then notice my camera and the become a little less oblivious to the idea that I was waiting for him, quite patiently, to move out of my frame. I got too hot and fed up and went and sat down in the shade waiting for wallychops to get a finish his narcissism. After a few moments matey boy walks pasts me in and in a near perfect Korean-American accent said "Hey man,I thought you were never going to move out of the way". I hadn't dawned on me that he might have been trying to photograph (using a selfie-stick for a higher projection) the grand old gatehouse I had been standing in front and I had therefore quite unassumingly been in something of a photographic standoff upon which I had now seemingly backed down from to the young vlogger for the last 5 odd minutes!
'A view from one of two respites I was afforded whilst otherwise being ordered to swan pedalo, with bronchitis, half way across The Perfume River', Hue, Vietnam.
Photographer, designer and filmmaker Nic Shonfeld applies a reportage and fashion background to his stories of people, cultures and places. Nic was born in London and is currently located in Hanoi, Vietnam.