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  • Writer's pictureRichard Mark Dobson

Leap of Faith

"Being challenged in life is inevitable. Being defeated is optional". Ajmal Samuel

An extraordinary journey began for me with an extraordinary gentleman this week in Taiwan. With a gorgeous primordial setting as our backdrop, I had the great privilege to witness, film, and photograph someone take on an astonishing challenge - a quantum leap - to complete a lifelong dream of becoming a paraglider. But this is no ordinary man, for he's a paraplegic.

In front of his paragliding mentors and peers, he committed himself to the ultimate leap of faith and threw himself off a mountain in a customized wheelchair. With an absolutely flawless inaugural flight, he proved to us all that he could paraglide just as well as his able-bodied friends. As he says, "Being challenged in life is inevitable. Being defeated is optional."

Our journey together over the next six months will take us to Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, South Africa, Namibia, Cambodia, and Thailand. I've charged myself with the responsibility of not just photographing pretty scenics and gorgeous locations, but as a photographer and artist, I'm seeking images that capture moments and scenes that speak to us on a deeper level.

I will reveal my subject to the world incrementally, and I start with one picture posted here.

Namely, I think the juxtaposition of the lush and beautiful setting with which we see him, almost a heavenly scene, garden of Eden, paradise, yet within this, we see him as a lone figure struggling with traction in the grass, and we feel a sense of awe and sadness at the same time. Life can be both a heaven and hell experience.

I hope the eventual book and film of this extraordinary human being will inspire us all to reason with another of his quotes;

'When life gets you down, improvise as if crawling was part of the choreography'.

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