At age 7, Dan Eldon moved to Nairobi, Kenya igniting a life long fascination with the land and its people. At only age 14, he started keeping journals, using art and photography as a medium to express the desires of his teenage and young adult life, growing into the man who saw his camera as a quest for justice. He combined his passion for art, adventure and activism into a personal philosophy that he called “safari as a way of life”
Following in the footsteps of his journalistic mother, he recognised the power of the media to inform and inspire others. He decided to transform his ideas into actions. Working with the local community and leading missions across Africa he documented his travels, fascinated by the fact that his work could make a difference.
In 1992, the famine in Somalia was raging, so Dan flew from Kenya to Southern Somalia, where he shot some of the first pictures to touch the hearts of millions, attracting attention to the devastating situation. He worked with Reuters, an international news agency, shooting the increasingly desperate situation.
Throughout the spring of 1993, Dan stayed in Mogadishu, both horrified and fascinated by the violence and tragedy he recorded. The situation worsened, and the death of Pakistani peacekeepers turned the conflict into an international incident. During this time, Dan’s pictures were featured in newspapers and magazines around the world.
However, trying to put a stop to the unrest, UN forces intervened and bombed the residence of warlord Aidid, where they thought he was hiding, and killing scores of people. Enraged loyalists violently retaliated and attacked Dan and three of his friends, who were there covering the story, and stoned them to death.
Although his life was short, dying at only 22, Dan lived his life with passion, leaving behind 17 extraordinarily powerful volumes of artwork showing the world through his eyes. These journals are filled with images of his life in Africa, images of war torn Somalia and the people around him. They blend the photographic reality with opus of his life, to create a vivid blueprint of his imagination.
At his funeral, his friends and family plunged torches into a fire to commemorate the sparks that he lit in others and in many way the flames have never died because people have found inspiration from his life.
Yes this is my first attempt at blogging and hopefully it won’t be the last. I have started blogging because I want to be able to relay my thoughts and feelings with the hope that it will influence others and most importantly inspire you as readers, as I have been inspired.
You will see most of my blog conveying my interests in fashion, photography and art, but also books, columns and ideas that have captured my attention.
So lets start.
Lets shake the world.
Currently studying at the university of Southampton, I have found that being a fresher means you have a lot of free time on you hands and so, I have been trying to fill it with as many things un-Facebook related as possible, otherwise I find my time quickly slipping away without actually achieving anything other than recent whereabouts of my friend.
Even though I am studying with the hope to come out of university with a degree, I actually have no idea what I want to do after I have completed my time here and have to progress into the quick changing world, that we call the UK market place. Although college and university applications have reached a record high, we are facing one of the highest rates of youth unemployment on graduation. It is no wonder that young people are reassessing the meaning of work and the purpose of their education.
Upon this conundrum, I have found myself looking for inspiration and possible holes in the market, into which I can use the skills I have and develop something, meaningful and exciting. This is how I stumbled upon one of the most inspiring books I have ever come across – ‘Shake the World, its not about finding a job, its about creating a life, by James Marshall Reilly.
He’s trying to show the younger generation that if you combine your passions with an inclination to be a disruptive force, it is very possible to open your own windows of opportunity. Shake The World has shown me that learning to cope with failure, appreciating life, and being persistent and determined are imperative for one’s success. Time is relative, flexible, and unpredictable and it’s ok to enjoy the stepping-stones toward progress, even if we don’t know where they lead.
James Reilly has a passion for entrepreneurship, social enterprise, business and innovation and at only 29 he has set out on a mission to find out exactly how the ‘game changers’ of this generation have defined and achieved success. What he discovered is that we have landed in a new place, not only in terms of generational expectations and new technology, but also in terms of education, perceived limitations and the job market as well.
“We spend years preparing for college, tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars attending school, and then we often send out resumes and apply for jobs that we hardly understand, at companies we know little about and take the first proposition offered. We don’t craft a life, but rather we take what we can get and then settle in and try to make it work.”
How is it that some people are able to convert small, seemingly ordinary life experiences into power, money, happiness and global change of unprecedented magnitude?
How can approaching problems and challenges from unique angles lead to the development of a multimillion-dollar company?
And, more importantly, how do these stories relate to us?
“When we don’t think of ‘what we do’ as a job, we are freed up to find ‘who we are’. We can kindle the most dramatic change – change that will enable us to define and achieve success on our own terms – if, rather than looking for a conventional job, career, or lifestyle constrained by traditional norms and expectations, we harness the opportunities afforded to us as a result of a drastically altered global landscape and a shift in generation expectations as we set out with an objective that is all together different.
Creating a life.”
After looking into the lives and success of examples such as Blake Mycoskie (TOMS), Jessica Jackley (Kiva the microloan platform), Shawn Fanning (Napster), or Tony Hsieh (Zappos), these individuals can show us how young people with powerful ideas and perseverance can create an entirely new kind of organisation. Reilly said in an interview. “Failure, risk, these things usually have negative connotations. I reframe risk as unbridled opportunity.”
His whole book is written on a new ‘vibe’ that is trying to reach the younger generations (and older starting over!) and communicate to them this intangible idea, that we shouldn’t let the market place define us and we can be part of a movement that is classifying entrepreneurship with a purpose.
“We have landed in a new place. Shake the world”