A quest by definition is a long and arduous search for something, an expedition to accomplish a preset task. It involves a considerable amount of strenuous effort and albeit an uplifting experience, it’s difficult and tiring. Medieval knights and heroes of fairy tales set out on quests, to rescue princesses from overbearing captors, to battle the unbeatable evil that no man has defeated before. They also firmly believed that if said challenge (or their attempt at victory) should claim their lives, their name will go down in history, but let’s not get into that.
So a quest starts with a vision. Then through determination and perseverance comes victory but truth be told, there is always a price to be paid. What that price is, depends on the nature of the quest but it is some form of sacrifice, something that challenges us. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a real quest but merely a task and its completion wouldn’t be nearly as victorious.
For what reason do we embark on quests? Is it to demonstrate that we can stand our ground in the face of uncertainty? To prove ourselves we’re better than others? Maybe both. The word quest originates from the Latin and means “to seek” something. And seek, we do. All of us, in our small ways. Modern day knights, and therefore their quests greatly differ from their medieval counterparts. Our cultural settings and diversity have changed and with that, our values. Some of our quests may be slightly less epic but outside of the realm of legends and fairy tales, a quest doesn’t have to be epic. It could be as simple as seeking to get our favourite recipe right, raise money for a good cause, or find that one perfect picture that speaks louder than any amount of words.
A photographer’s quest is to find the next perfect image. Perfection is subjective you might say. Yet a picture that emanates powerful, naked emotions speaks undeniable truths and therefore is perfect. And the sacrifice we make? Mastering a serene patience, hours of wait (if the occasion calls for it), all to convey a message that no one else was able to say in the same manner before.