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Stuart Media Services

Blair Stuart from Victoria, Australia is the Owner of Stuart Media Services, and runs a website which also promotes other creatives. As a Freelance Photographer he travels for 9 months of the year. We have conducted an interview with him.

Blair Stuart

What is the main motivation and inspiration in your life?
A most difficult question to answer; what is the main motivation in my life.
On the other hand, the second part of your question; what inspires me, is far easier for me to answer. In short, I am inspired by the beauty that surrounds us everywhere. One of the things that as a photographer I have trained myself to see, is the beauty that exists in everything. Take for example spiders; I suffer from arachnophobia, yet I find something exceptionally beautiful in spiders and the webs that they weave. There is always beauty to be found, if we look hard enough and deep enough.

Back to the first part. I could ask, do you mean what is my motivation for continuing on with this life? When I am so very tired, so very much over this life that all I long for is my death. No simple answer to that question, suffice to say that the love of my family and my dogs that are the glue that holds me together and keeps me from taking my life. For the most part, I just go through the motions of an existence, on a good day my photography is a source of some motivation, and on those other days, it is time out on my Cruiser that helps keep me grounded. I also run a Website Stuart Media Services and the people that I promote on the site also provide a degree of motivation in my life.

Being an Independent Freelance Photographer and Visual Artist, I was only too well aware of and understand the frustrations and the constant struggle faced by all independents; be they Artists, Authors, Photographers, Poets, Musicians, or Sculptors, to be discovered for the talent that we are. We sit outside of the Commercial mainstream and are, for all intents and purposes, ignored by them.
I set up the Website, initially as part of my therapy with the aim being to promote my own photography work, then I realised that if I was finding it difficult to make my mark, then other Indies would be in exactly the same boat. With that realisation, the decision was taken to expand the sites horizon and to start promoting not only my work but the work and skills of other Indies, through the various Social Media Networks.

It was from that concept that "Stuart Media Services" was born. It has taken a few years to get it to the position it is now, but I like to think that it has been a journey, made all that more worthwhile by the struggle to achieve what we have thus far.

How much are you affected by PTSD?
I guess it is easier if I just read a little something that I wrote during one of my bouts with the proverbial “Black Dog” (which by the way is the name given by Sir Winston Churchill to the depression that he suffered from), this will explain it best, I think; 

“When PTSD hits, it hits you hard, right between the eyes and the result of that hit is life altering, for there is no recovery, no going back to the person you were before.

All one can hope for is to learn to live with it and strive to remain as stable as possible. For it is akin to having a dark cloud over you day in, day out.

Every day is a struggle and it is difficult at times just to do the very basic routine day to day things. There are those days when I am somewhat able to cope and then there are the other days, which I call "Black Dog" days, when an overwhelming sadness closes in around me and my world descends into a place of darkness and pain.

It is in this place of darkness, a place that I know so very well, that I face my Demons. There is no fear for me here, though that has not always been the case. Now there is only a sense of anticipation as I sit with Death at my board, smiling to myself as I challenge her to release me from the Demons that haunt my mind.

Whilst it is a release that I both want and seek, I have thus far lacked the strength and courage to take my own life, and I feel no shame at having stared Death in the face only to choose life instead.

Oftentimes when I am at my lowest ebb, some of my friends mistakenly think that I am simply wallowing in self-pity and that I have jumped aboard the so-called "Pity Train".

They are so far from the truth, for it is apparent that they understand nothing of Depression, simply labeling it as self-pity and something that happens to others, never to them.

I do not hold their viewpoints against them, for it is a truth that in order to understand Depression and in particular PTSD and the impact they have on the sufferer, their family and friends, one must have experienced it first hand, there is no other way.

As for me, each day I now count as a blessing for I have no tomorrow. I dream of death, long for Death and await her coming. There is no fear, only a calmness and inner peace in the knowledge that my pain and internal torment will soon enough come to pass.

Yes, I have no doubt that one day the "Black Dog" will win and I will take my own life.

I no longer take any antidepressant medication or mood stabilizers, as I do not want to spend my days drugged to the eyeballs. I have chosen instead to fight, for as long as I am able, the PTSD and depression using my own inner strength.

It is a tough and hard road to travel and one on which I will, one day, stumble, fall and never get back up.

Each passing day just gets harder and harder to cope with as I grow weary of this life, of the masks I wear in front of my family and friends.

It is harder to live, easier to die.

In my nightly dance with her, Death's overtures are becoming more seductive, more inviting than anything life has on the table.

Perhaps one day soon, I will succumb to her call.

So it is today, like yesterday, that my Dance with Death will continue unabated.

For today, I awoke as if from a Terrible Dream for Death had once again walked the corridors of my mind.”

As I mentioned, I wrote this during a period in my life of intense darkness and much personal sadness.

I, along with so many others, suffer from PTSD. A life changing illness and yes, it is an illness. Though the way some people carry on one would be forgiven for thinking that it is a Contagious Disease that must only be spoken of behind closed doors.

What is the most therapeutic way to feel good moods and bring about personal improvement?
I tried a number of different things; however, there were three which I found to be of therapeutic value to me in my efforts to deal with my PTSD and all three I still use to this day.

They are riding my bike. She is a Kawasaki Meanstreak VN1600. I do tend to push the envelope when I ride, but my Deva keeps me safe lol. Running my Website, that keeps me distracted and busy.
My photography and the ability to exercise my creative side is a great therapy. There is one other, and that is spending time with my family, my grandchildren and my dogs (two Dalmatians)

What is the simplicity that you seek for your photography works?
I seek to keep things basic and simple, to touch people with my words and with my Photographic Art. I strive to impart a small part of me into the images that I capture, I want them to be able to move those viewing them on some level, and I want them to see what I saw, to get a feel for what I felt.

Which piece of written expression was one of your favourite? Why? 
A book that I was given by a lover, as she left had a marked and long-term impact and effect on me and the life that I lead from that point. It is a book written by Kahlil Gibran called the “Prophet” I have learnt many lessons from the book and it continues to provide guidance and inspiration to me and always will.

Indulge me if you will, whilst I read you a couple of excerpts from ‘The Prophet’.
The words of Kahlil Gibran taken from his book ‘The Prophet’.

"On Pain. Kahlil Gibran
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; and you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity: For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen, And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

On Death.

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.

Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."

Stuart Media Services Reviewed by JaamZIN on 5:41:00 PM Rating: 5
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