"I wanted to begin tonight by quoting from the Gospel of Thomas: “Know what is within your sight and what is hidden from you will be revealed.”
… What we find, we ourselves never knew—it came as a shock, it came as a surprise. It was new. We could never have known what we were going to do before it happened. In that sense, we discover. “
These are not my words but that of Emmet Gowin as part of a lecture he gave to his students on his retirement from teaching at Princeton University in 2009.
In my ignorance, I never had heard of Emmet Gowin until recently yet his words had a profound effect on me. I saw and read some more interviews he had given and was struck by this beautiful, thoughtful humble man.
I was away from home and in upstate New York and it was probably the right time to listen to those words.
For as long as I remember I have struggled with my work mostly with trying to bring out the emotions I feel when I am alone on the road …..photography has always been my vehicle out of Forest Gate, London, where I was born and still reside. It is home but not…
How do I convey the untagible feelings which are usually quiet sombre that transcend on those journeys. …why do I want to make work in these other places, what draws me away, whose story am I telling …my own or those I meet or am surrounded by.
Can those feelings be put into words when I talked about the photographs….
So reading Emmet’s words for the first time this February came as a solace to me …….their simple profoundness have helped silence the struggle and allowed me to embrace my practice….. to let the work speak for itself….some will like the work others will dismiss it…..what should remain within oneself is clarity of your own vision…..that “What we find, we ourselves never knew”
Kalpesh Lathigra is a British photographer based in London.
Discover more Kal's work at
(Interview by Alex Crétey Systermans)