Mark Gillett – Photographer, Explorer, Adventurer and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Coach, LSP facilitator
I have always been driven by adventure, wanting to know what is out there? What’s next?
I was inspired in my youth by many people. Chris Bonnington, Ran Fiennes, Doug Scott, the Apollo missions and Jacques Cousteaux. Getting up at 4am to watch an Apollo rocket take off was a hobby and my missionary aunt in Burma and then Papua New Guinea was my hero. All this led me to explore more, not just in terms of the world but in life. Everyday exploration drive me too and I see the world in this way.
I was so overwhelmed by the culture difference when I arrived in Abu Dhabi to work at the age of 20, I bought my first camera, an Olympus OM20. Since then, photography has been a way of expressing my passion for the world and the people who inhabit it and I now spend much of my time documenting my journeys. Whether I am running an expedition, capturing key moments on training programmes, coaching or on a press assignment photography plays a key role in my exploration.
Running is a personal love and in 2006 I gave six months of my life training for and completing the Marathon des Sables. But it’s not just about the running, raising much needed funds for a local hospice, my expeditions found a new meaning.
I recently organised and led two youth expeditions across the Sinai desert for young, bereaved children that have had a profound effect on how they grow to cope with loss and also find themselves in relation to the new world they inhabit and in which they must become their own cartographers. This “unwritten space” that the desert provides allows growth without interference.