Every Little Step

Careers and Ideas

The Photography Blog

Photographic Field Guides
Practical Philosophies
Good Gear
Inspiring Journeys

“Birds at Hermaness”
July 2015

1/1000th @ f/6.3
ISO 800
Canon EOS 5DS R

Every Little Step
Every little step you make towards enriching the world we live in is worth while. You may not feel like you’re having a huge impact, but don’t stop trying.

The Photography Blog

I got into this caper for the purpose of doing some good in the world. I wanted my life’s work to amount to more than just myself. I had other careers before photography, one that was highly profitable and one that was highly noble. I chose this path because I felt of all the skills I possessed, capturing the beauty of the world and sharing it was easily the greatest good I can achieve.

These past few months have challenged my fortitude, made me question whether I get more from this career than I put back into it.

I never expected to change the world, not all of it. I did expect to change the world for some people however. I remember my first trip to Cambodia when I learned about the parable of the Starfish. The story goes that a monk and his novice were walking along a beach after a big storm, and the monk carefully gathers a single starfish and returns it to the water. The novice is incensed, “There are thousands of starfish on this beach, you can’t save them all so what difference does it make to save just one?” The thing is, for that one starfish that was rescued, it makes all the difference in the world.

Shaking the Future

In April and May I watched helplessly from thousands of miles away while Nepal was shaken and battered by earthquakes and aftershocks. The economic damage to the country will be far more wide spread than the physical deaths. Nepal desperately needs help. I began a campaign called “Bring Your Smile to Nepal”, with a simple idea to let the world know that Nepal is open to travellers. Most of Nepal was untouched by the quake, most hotels are waiting for guests, most of the scenery and people are eager for visitors. But who wants to visit an earthquake zone for their holidays right?

My campaign hit many setbacks before it even launched. Two months later than I hoped we launched the webpage, and while it has been the second most visited page in the history of my online life it has generated an abysmal amount of bookings to come and visit Nepal. I designed a unique gourmet experience with the help of some fabulous friends, plus a stunning motorcycle trek into the Mustang Kingdom that had been on my wish list for years. Everyone I talk to agrees that they are amazing opportunities. But so far the conversion from applause to bookings has failed.

Nepal is a big deal to me, it’s a country I feel a huge debt towards. The people of Nepal have proven their spirit and kindness to me so many times. This was my chance to give a little something back, and I feel I have failed them. I totally understand why people don’t want to visit Nepal right now, and yet it’s the one thing I really wish I could influence for the sake of my out-of-work guides, empty hotels and idle drivers.

Global Resonance

My life in recent months feels like it’s under siege, ever since the earthquake in Nepal. I’ve spent more time in the company of Doctors and Lawyers this past 12 months than I have in a lifetime, so you know that’s never a happy sign. The plight of refugees in Syria has added a note of panic to my own bubble of awareness. As if the inhumane treatment of refugees on Nauru or Manus Island was not reason enough to be sad, the national shame of both Australia’s political parties is more depressing than ever.

At a time when I feel like the entire planet is heaving itself into a sewer drain, I am challenged more than ever to feel like I’m doing anything good in this world. My usual source of comedic retreat from the harsh realities of life, Twitter, has also turned it’s back on me. Instead of hilarious mockery the tone of tweets has turned decidedly deadly. The only levity this week provided by a misguided social media campaign by the mining industry to rebrand little black lumps of coal is our key to global happiness.

Checkout the hashtag #coalisamazing for a good laugh. It’s even crazier than the demented chirpings from Donald Trump or Rupert Murdoch.

Disconnect and Reconnect

Watching my travel media friends post stories about the best places to enjoy a spa holiday in Europe, while 2 million refugees are flooding in via Hungary, was really the last straw. I can put up with people posting a photo of their pampered dogs, new shows and the bacon they had for breakfast, but a travel feature on spa treatments while the greatest refugee crisis of modern history is happening in Europe was just too much.

It especially galled me because anyone privileged enough to have a voice in the media should consider themselves lucky and give proper thought to how they use that privilege.

It occurs to me now that we *all* have that privilege of course, however small our sphere of influence may be. I know some wonderful people from my time orbiting the sun, all of whom have had a clear influence on me and many who continue to do so. Some of them have been brave enough to talk politics over brunch, respectfully and with an open mind. Others have shown me by example what it means to build hope for a community, or dedicate their knowledge to helping others learn.

Every Little Step

I know many of my regular readers are artists and creators in their own right. You pick up a camera not just to earn a living, or to earn praise, but because you have something to share with the world. The camera is your voice.

Much like that lone starfish on a beach, every single time you make an effort to share something positive with the world you are helping to add something of value. However modest your influence may be, the difference you make may not change the entire world but may well change one little part of it none the less. Every step you take is a step forward.

This has been my personal mantra for a decade. I started off my career with nothing but my ideas. I even had to sell my motorbike to buy a lens, which at the time seemed like a hugely risky step to take. But each step you take will bring you closer to your goal. Change doesn’t happen overnight, it requires patience and persistence until eventually something old topples over to make room for the new.

Hiding your expression away will do the world no good. I implore you all to make today the day that you dedicate yourself to sharing your ideas, thoughts and images of the world. Expressing your views is how we advance the discussion.

And if you see a starfish of your own in need, please take a moment to help it back in the water. It may seem like such a trivial act of kindness, but it may also mean the whole world.

Please Share Your Thoughts


Bring Your Smile to Nepal


Starfish Project in Cambodia

This feature was last updated on Friday 01st March 2019

Copyright: All images and words on this web site are copyrighted and may not be used without permission.
Article published and written by

Related Links
  Global  Careers and Ideas

There's more to photography than just the camera. Looking at the bigger picture is good for your development.

Take it Slow at the Night Market

Take it Slow at the Night Market

Last week I shared a series of stills from the Queen Victoria Market, from the reopening of the Night Market. This time I've gone back with my very modest video rig to capture a slow-motion series using the high-speed ability of the Lumix G9 and a single lens.

Free Advice for New Beginnings

Free Advice for New Beginnings

If you've suddenly found yourself in the freelance market, or have a very small business that needs to be online instead of on-site, then starting up a web presence is key to your future. I'm offering my time and expertise to help strangers get started on this journey. No charge, I just want to be helpful to other people who are struggling.

Behind the Feathers

Behind the Feathers

I started trying to write a thankyou list for all the people who helped make the "Feathers of the Dragon" exhibition possible, and was quickly overwhelmed by how connected the world really is. Both the world of galleries with their images on the wall, and the world of wild spaces where birds exist in harmony with the Himalayan mountains. Apologies in advance that it took 1800 words to say my THANKS.

Putting The Photo First

Putting The Photo First

I believe that the photo should be more important than the photographer. When I travel with camera in hand my objective to achieve something wonderful in the way of photography. I want to make a beautiful image, something more amazing than anything I have done before. It’s about the photograph. It’s about the act of creation.

Talent is not enough

Talent is not enough

What hurdles are in your path to becoming the best photographer you can be? What opportunities exist for you to get over those hurdles? When is the right time to make the jump? Are you helping to make someone else’s day a little bit better?



Working in a freelance career offers you an ocean of opportunity, but can equally erode your sense of belonging. Being part of something greater than yourself is not something you want to avoid as a freelancer, in fact it is essential to your success.

Ewen's New Book

"ReIMAGINE" is now available to order online.
It's a very big and very generous book that will help you to reconnect with your creative side.


Stay Inspired
Join Ewen's newsletter for short updates on new articles and photographic inspiration.

Thanks, you are now subscribed. Please check your inbox for a welcome email.

Computer says NO.
Please check the email address.