In rare but extraordinary cases, photography focuses on the person looking through the lens. English retailer Wex Photographic has initiated a campaign that aims to explore what photography means to the individual. The series titled #MoreThanAnImage follows Giles Duley, Daniel Regan, and Hannah Laycock, three photographers that have faced compromising real life circumstances that have shaped the way they view the world from behind the lens.
Giles Duley’s relationship with the artistic medium began at the age of 18. Initially a live music photographer, Duley felt unfulfilled and would go on to seek more purposeful work as a care worker for a boy with autism. The boy’s family suggested documenting their son’s life with photos, which lead to incredibly powerful results. This redefined Duley’s understanding of the power of images.
“I wanted photography to be an advocate for those people; I wanted to tell their stories,” Duley explains. His interest in documenting civilians caught in conflict became his primary focus.
His chance came on a trip to Afghanistan when he and his platoon were ambushed. Duley stepped on an IED, leading to the tragic loss of three of his limbs.
While his life faced inevitable change, the passion he had for his work became stronger than ever. “Whatever happens, I can still be a photographer," Duley said.
Duley put his talents into action. His photography helped raise a quarter of a million dollars for a Syrian woman who had been paralyzed by a sniper. Duley says that his work completely changed that woman and her family’s life.
“I never thought I could change the world with my photographs,” Duley said. “But if I can inspire just one person who can change the world, then I’ve done my job.”
The #MoreThanAnImage series continues with the story of Daniel Regan, and his battle with personal conflict.
“When I look back at the relationship that I have with photography and how helpful it’s been, it is really clear that photography has definitely saved my life” explains Regan. “Photography for me has been very therapeutic, very calming and very soothing.”
Since the age of twelve Regan attributed photography as means of escape; a portal into a different world. It coincided with his struggles with mental health. While studying at university, Regan, tried to take his own life after an overwhelming series of events. He says photography saved him. It also reinvented his purpose in life and his views of the art form.
The campaign continues with the story of Hannah Laycock, who has also struggled with a personal battle pertaining to her physical health. She says she found her voice in images and that her battle with Multiple Sclerosis made photography a cathartic outlet for her condition.
“It’s a tool that I use to better understand what I’m going through” explains Laycock. “Photography came into my life and that’s when I felt that it was my way of being able to paint, but painting with light.”
Her father, diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease, would initiate Laycock to utilize photography as a platform to explore what she was going through. Her unique style of photography integrates different modes of fine art, visual art, and symbolic imagery that capture her father’s diagnosis, her own diagnosis and the effects it has, and continues to have on her family.
“There isn’t an hour that goes by where I don’t notice my M.S., but with photography, I’m getting closer to that sensation of forgetting my condition," Hannah explained. “There’s always that glimmer of hope that there’s going to be a positive out of a negative.”
The #MoreThanAnImage campaign has garnered extremely positive feedback, with Wex Photographic planning on releasing more videos in the near future. While these three brave photographers have shared inspiring stories, the role photography seems to have played a vital role in the lives of many. Wex Photographic conducted a survey of over 750 participants. Conclusions stated that 74% of people claim photography had changed their lives.
You can watch Wex Photographic’s #MoreThanAnImage series here.