If you’re looking for the Rookster… You’ve found him. Welcome!
Born and bred in Brighton, England, I was a boy about town until the Smithers-Jones lifestyle sucked me in and turned me into someone I did not want to be.
Five years of looking out the same Canary Wharf window ignited the spirit of Ferris Bueller. So, with the missus in tow, we flexed our family free home life and fled our Revolutionary Road. It was a mid-life meander to Melbourne via southeast Asia and India. The new experiences I encountered along the way inspired me to write and make pictures – a habit that has continued to this day.
The lucky country and its most liveable city lived up to their reputation. Within a few months, we landed jobs that beat our London wages and had found a right nice drum in the bohemian neighbourhood of Fitzroy. Creatively, I branched out into oil painting, sculpture and collage, but street photography remained my cornerstone.
Learning the Aussie lingo, the phrase “too easy” became familiar to the ear holes. It’s a throwaway affirmation that means consider it down, no problem, or thank you. To me, the expression sums up our time down under. So, as another half-decade passed, we swapped the safe predictability of our first-world bubble for life on the road.
When the pandemic hit, we were in Madrid. My master’ module in Documentary Photography & Reportage at IED was nearing its conclusion, and we were plotting our future. Being banged up abroad was not in the plan, so we escaped to the relative freedom of Berlin and Amsterdam. With work options on the back burner, I turned my attention to a diploma in Freelance & Feature Writing.
Our lockdown dodging hit the buffers when we reached the UK. Kim Jong Boris and the party animals pulled up the drawbridge and gave us an extended stay on Shutter Island. But as Albert Camus pointed out, “the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” So, when the liberty takers relented, we continued our nomadic existence in Latin America.
Now, I work remotely as a freelance copywriter, travel, and use photography and words to question mainstream narratives, provoke thought and find new perspectives on the social and political forces that shape our world. Times are changing man, and, ”The more I see, the more I know. The more I know, the less I understand.”
Ben Rook (theRookster)
Ps. The name Rookster originated on the football pitch but has come to reflect my preferred perspective. As they say in Zen philosophy, “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind, there are few.”