“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
– Søren Kierkegaard
As I sit down to pause, reflect and write about the year that’s been, I will echo that single sentiment sighed by countless grown-ups and say, “where has the year gone?” Listen, I know we say this every single year but this time I mean it because really, where has 2018 gone?
Several days ago, I contacted a friend to discuss future photography projects for the coming weeks whereby she curtly reminded me that Christmas Day was less than 2 weeks away. My arguments to the contrary were refuted when I opened my calendar to see she was right. In big bright, and colourful text, my calendar smugly agreed that Christmas was indeed right around the corner and I had no idea where the time had gone.
So, as I sit in my cosy office on this wet and grey Saturday morning feeling the crunch of newly realised deadlines, let me extend to you an invitation; grab a flask of something hot, put on your favourite coat, pull up your boots and take a walk with me through the wide open plains, uncertain terrain and breath-taking vistas of my 2018.
As the old adage goes, “time flies when you’re having fun” and if the last 12 months are anything to go by then I must have been having a lot of fun because the year has flown by very, very quickly.
2018 was the year of inspiring single parent families, Disney Princesses and cake smashes. It was the year of kid’s parties, family reunions, the family who brought the dog and the time I photographed a goddess. It was the year of saying yes to scary opportunities and reaping the bountiful rewards. It was the year my website was born and the year I started to write again.
This was the year of the woman in the dumpster with purple hands and deciding I wanted to step towards people and not over them. It was the year of the Boamah wedding; the wonderful day I photographed my friend getting married and it was the year of the Cook wedding; the day I photographed my dear friend’s daughter getting married. That wedding was a gift that kept on giving.
This was the year of the Sweet 16, the Grand 50th and little Leo’s 1st. It was the year of couples old and young and it was the year of the Long Goodbye.
2018 was the year of creative exploration. It was the year of soil, mud UV light and water; of getting excited about creating new things and working with people of like passion. It was a time of pushing through boundaries and exploring darker themes as well as sensual ones.
This was a year of growth, of stretching and reaching. It was a year of learning that people will repeatedly let you down but also learning how to recover faster and keep pushing forward.
It’s been a year of upgrading; my kit and my studio, which has done a lot to boost my confidence in what I do and what I offer people.
It also been a year of finding my champions; those who cheer the loudest when things are going well but also those sat with me in the darkness of discouragement when I wanted to quit. Though there have been many, special mention must go to my parents, sister and brother in law as well as to Raine Simpson, James Saunders, Tyler Fixman and Christian Zamore. Thanks for being a welcome voice of reason, the painful but much needed kick up the backside, for cheering the louder than the rest and for sitting with me in the dark. I thank God for you.
Perhaps best of all, 2018 has given me the absolute pleasure of working with some utterly wonderful humans who not only gave me their time but indulged my creative whims without complaining – even when they were sick and the shoot involved getting caked in mud or standing next to a wind machine.
Mariola Zelazko (has it really been a year?), James Saunders (now let’s play with fire), Ellie Taylor (super-trooper proud of you kiddo), Beth Charles (proof that stalking and persistence ultimately pay off), Emma Farn, Ben Kemp, Nicole Dee, Hannah Thomas and Sam Collins (to name a few), a thousand thank yous for your time, your patience and your beautiful selves. Thank you for your creativity, your trust and willingness to get involved. I hope you’ve enjoyed the adventure as much as I have. I’ve got plans for 2019 that will make all of this feel oh so simple
Despite the many, many setbacks and numerous disappointments, an attitude of gratitude helps rid the heart and mind of a bad after-taste and instead, replaces it with warmth, fondness and a realisation of the progress I’ve made and the fun I’ve had doing it.
As we near the end of our walk, I think of the year to come; of where I’ll be and what I’ll be writing about a year from now. Though I have many plans and creative projects, I’m excited about the unknown; about where my “yes” will take me and whose paths it will put me on.
As I close, I will say a very special thank you to my brother, Steven, who runs my website from his home in Chile and lastly, a massive thank you to all of you who have liked, loved, shared and commented on my work. It means a lot.
Whatever you do and whoever you spend it with, have a very merry Christmas.
Until the next time