Here we are, another trip around the sun and another wrap-up blog about it. It’s been a crazy year for me, both personally and professionally. In short, 2016 had:
Photo count: 25,000+
Travel: Eighteen days split in three trips to the States
Hair colours: about half a dozen changes, including red, teal, and the long-coveted purple
Adulting level achieved: moved out
Coffees drank: ha are you kidding I don’t have time to track that
and many good (and some bad) days throughout it all.
There were definitely a couple of things that stuck out this year though. One of the biggest moments was getting my first official press pass - and for Sum 41, no less. First time shooting in an actual photo pit at a concert. Honestly, I was over the moon about this. It was something I’d been working towards for over four years, pretty much since I decided I wanted to pursue photography as a career and not just a hobby. It is still, of course, only about step two of several thousand I would like to do, but step two feels pretty damn good when compared to step 0.003. Technically I don't have license to share the photos yet, but I'm still thrilled I had the experience. It always feels good to cross a major milestone like that off my list.
I also started assisting a little bit this year and, most notably, I had the opportunity to work with a phenomenal photographer by the name of Kimberley French. What a learning opportunity. What an experience, period. I’ve never worked with a photographer of her caliber before, and doing so taught me so much in not only technique, but a mindset and approach to photographing. I’ve done very little portrait work as well, so pushing myself into that genre (and subsequently out of my comfort zone) - even as an assistant, was incredibly valuable. I sometimes get so caught up in my own head and my own research that I forget what I can learn from talking and working with other people.
In another step out of my comfort zone, I've somehow allowed myself to be roped into live audio engineering. Not really photography related, I suppose, but still cool. Still important. I figured, if I want to start working with bands - and ultimately, one day, touring - then knowing my way around an audio set up can’t hurt. It’s been a hell of a learning curve, to be honest. I’ve never really done anything like it. But it’s interesting and fun to learn, and I’m lucky enough to work with and learn from great people. I’m interested to see where it’ll take me. Honestly, I’d love if I could somehow get into light design too. I’m a bit better with visual stuff than audio - after all, I quit a career path in music to be a photographer. I feel I might pick it up easier - but then again, I literally know nothing about it and I could be dead wrong. Oh well. I’d still like to try. LEARN ALL THE THINGS.
Basically at this point, if it could potentially help me get on a tour bus sometime, I’ll give it a shot.
In terms of photos themselves, I’ve seen a ton of growth in my work over the past year. I won a photo contest for one of my street photos, which was a moment of validation that I haven’t really experienced before. There will be a part II of this blog that strictly deals with my photos from this year - I ended up rambling too much for one blog (as I always do, it seems). But in short, I’m proud of the work I’ve done.
That being said, there was one thing this year that... I don’t want to say “failed,” but I wouldn’t call it a success. In case you missed it, I started something call Polaroid:Three-Six-Six. It was a daily project - shoot one image a day, every day, but on a polaroid camera. If you scroll back through this blog, you’ll see some of the monthly galleries. They stop after June.
In reality, I did actually keep this project up into October. With travelling, I fell behind on the scan-summarize-blog portion of it, but I kept shooting. For a while. Eventually though, I hit a point where I decided to call it quits for a number of reasons:
- Falling behind on the blogs and web-posting to the point where catchup was …not impossible, but close.
- Money. These things cost about $4 a photo, and I don't always stop at one a day.
- Having already met one of the primary goals for the project - to learn to see light in any given situation and be able to tell whether or not it would translate well to a polaroid.
- Perhaps the biggest - a lack of inspiration and motivation.
When I photographed the same ceiling fan in my apartment a half-dozen times, I started to wonder what the point was.
Regardless, I’m happy I made a solid attempt at it - I definitely got further than I expected I would, in all honesty. And I did find that forcing myself to shoot every day meant I was just out shooting more and more in general. I want to get to a point where I’m photographing every day, but I think trying to build it into a project - especially a 365 project with a set start of January 1 - is a bit too much pressure. Still, I got a bunch of photos (some of which I actually really love) and I tried something I hadn’t done before. Can’t be too disappointed with that.
So, all in all, it was a good year. Lots learned, lots accomplished, lots set in motion for next year. In particuar, I’m really excited to announce that I’m going to be part of the new chapter of Beers & Cameras opening up in Calgary. (If you follow any of my social media accounts, you know I’ve not shut up about this.) Basically, Beers & Cameras was a thing that started in San Diego a little over a year ago as a community of photographers that meet up every other week to drink beers and shoot cameras. Sponsored by The Camera Store, this is now kicking off in Calgary come February, and I am stoked. I love beer. I love cameras. I’m lucky enough that I will be hosting a bunch of episodes as well, which I think is going to be a lot of fun. There's a fantastic community of photographers here and I think this will continue to grow and strengthen it - and potentially growing it with other communities, some even as far as Manchester.
I’m looking forward to 2017. The new year always seems to bring a chance to refocus myself and my work. I’ve seen a lot of growth this year and I’m hoping to match or exceed it in the year coming. I want to extend my thanks to everyone who’s supported me this year in any way. I’m blessed with so many extraordinary people in my life, so many talented artists and remarkable friends. Thank you thank you thank you. I would not be at this point without your help.
Stay tuned for part II where I actually, like, have photos.