End of the year posts are always really hard for me. There’s so much that I want to say and condensing it into a blog post that’s not novel-length? Not the easiest. But, I will try again.
First, let me begin with a photo.
It’s no surprise for me to say that this 30 Day Project has been something of a challenge. Partly because of my schedule, and partly because I feel like the things I’ve been creating recently haven’t been my best work. Creative slumps get under my skin more than anything. They affect my mood, productivity levels, etc..
Two days ago I was sitting in my room and these feathers I bought were staring me in the face saying, “create something out of me!” But what? Out of the endless concepts that have to do with flying, feathers, growing wings, I came up blank. Convinced there was no location that would suit the possible photo I had in mind, I gave up. I walked over to my bed and sat down. And then, Meg Myers’ song Feather came up on shuffle.
“Get up, get up, get up, feather
Now I’m flying and everything feels so free
Take me higher, take me
Now I’m flying, and with these broken wings, take me higher
Obviously, now, the photo had to happen. I don’t believe much in signs from anywhere, but hearing that song was what was needed for me to get up from bed and go. And, wouldn’t you know it, this is my favorite photo I’ve taken all year.
In my last blog post I talked about how near this time every year I get the itch to make something beautiful. That itch hasn’t gone away since last year, when I felt the two attempts I had were lackluster. But this photo is it, and I couldn’t be happier with what it represents for me.
Hope, growth, inspiration, darkness, beauty, freedom. In a nutshell, everything I aspire to be in the coming year, and everything I aspire for my photography to be.
Now. Let us move on to the highlights of 2015.
The juicy stuff. The meaty, meaty goodness.
Seeing the Foo Fighters live, again. Twice. I mean, isn’t this a given?
The Foo’s were nice enough to grace Austin with their presence for both weekends of ACL this year. So, both weekends with two of my favorite concert buddies in tow,
we were front row dancing and singing along for two hours. Does both weekends setlist top Nov. 20th last year? Trick question because nothing ever will. But, we got to hear Everlong be a surprisingly great opener, and feel the energy (and oh my god, pushing) of All My Life starting the second weekend. Too good.
Also, so I’m not filling four more numbers with concert experiences, L7, Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas, Lieutenant, and Royal Blood (also at ACL!) are on my list of favorites too.
2. Hosting a photography camp in June.
Around the middle of May, I got an email from a fellow photographer from where I live. Someone had contacted her about hosting a week-long photography camp, and her schedule didn’t allow it. So she asked if I was interested! Of course, I said yes, and for a week I taught 5 lovely girls about the wonders of photography.
I didn’t know that teaching would become such a large part of my year this year, but it did. I’m so thankful for the things that teaching other people taught me.
3. RTX 2015.
In the dead heat of the summer, my brother and cousin and I stayed downtown for one of my favorite weekends of the year. I won’t go into much detail because it was way too much to even begin to talk about, but let me just say I’m looking forward to RTX 2016 already.
4. Learning how to love myself.
This is something definitely more recent than the others. It’s going to be a journey, still, but every day there are improvements in the way I view myself. Physically, mentally, as an artist, as a person, and so on. But what I’ve learned so far on this journey is that a little goes a long way and to never stop realizing wonderful parts about yourself. You learn something new every day in general, and you can learn something new about yourself too.
5. Buying a car.
My brother and I took the plunge! The scary, terrifying, but oh so worth it, plunge. Our Dad’s friend and his wife (shout out to Justin and Julie!) parted ways with an old car to sell it to us. We couldn’t be more happy. I still can’t be more happy. It’s a shiny white hunk of metal and every time I see it I swear I can still hear angels singing.
6. Living life presently.
This year, above all other years I can remember, I feel that it’s been lived in big moments. However, I also feel that it’s also been a year that’s been lived so incredibly present. Does that make sense? It’s been beautiful and hard and scary, and I remember all of it in these big chunks. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a wonderful feeling.
I can still feel the vibrations under my skin of getting my first tattoo, the heat and sweat of waiting for the Foo Fighters to play, the scent of the train early in the mornings, the multiple times I’ve been scared and yet so incredibly exhilarated.
It’s as if looking back on this year, I remember nothing and everything at the same time. It feels incredible.
Now, It would feel wrong posting this without mentioning who has continually inspired me throughout the year. So, ahem:
- Joel Robison. One of my favorite conceptual photographers. Every photo he releases feels like an adventure waiting to happen. There’s such a magical undertone to all of his photographs that can’t be mimicked. Joel’s blog posts inspire me to be a better person. His openess about dealing with depression and anxiety soothes the soul and regardless of whether you’re struggling or not, it gives you hope. Every time I feel a little lost or out of sorts, viewing Joel’s magical photographs or blog posts puts me back to where I need to be and I am incredibly grateful.
- Dave Grohl. I mean… obviously. The guy broke his leg and continued playing the gig. The Foo’s recorded four new songs in Austin and released them a little over a month later (with proceeds going to help the victims of the Paris attacks). He never has stopped giving his all, making good music, or caring about the community he influences and is a large part of. Endless, endless love for Dave Grohl. Do yourself a favor and download their new EP, Saint Cecelia, for free. Dance your ass off to the first track and get a speeding ticket to the last.
- David Talley. I feel like if I spent a day alongside David Talley, everything would be interesting and every photo I took would be beautiful. When I see his photography, I just think of strength. Every photo of his looks powerful and purposeful. He does the most meticulous edits I’ve ever seen, too! Jeez. The time he dedicates to living and creating is something I dream to achieve.
- Brooke Shaden. My love for Brooke Shaden is abundant. I hope to someday carry myself how she carries herself, with kindness, love, and inspiration. Her blog, Promoting Passion, has been a constant in all of 2015 for me. Weekly posts about everything under the sun! Inspirational and informational videos! I cannot be more grateful for what the inspiration her work brings me does in my life. And, her as a person.
- My mother. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that without my mom, I’d lose my mind. She’s a woman that doesn’t quit and there’s endless good things I could say about her. She will always be one of my favorite people to be with, to laugh with, and to cry with. All at the same time. Strength exudes from her and I hope to one day be as strong as a woman as she is. I love you, Mamma!
What I hope for in 2016.
I have a lot of aspirations for 2016. Things I refuse to call “goals”, because that word has always intimidated me to no end, but things I hope for myself in the new year. Again, Ahem:
- To be a smarter photographer, editor, and business owner.
- Complete projects that weren’t able to be completed in 2015.
- Be devoted to learning new things.
- Stop thinking so much about myself.
- Continue to do things that scare me.
- Do everything I can to make each day a happy, good, productive day.
- Teach myself Peace, Love Death Metal (an album by Eagles of Death
- metal) on the drums.
- Stick to a strict workflow with clients.
- Make regular content.
- Be active in my community.
- Give back as much as possible.
- Volunteer for organizations I believe in.
All of these things are things that when I looked back on 2015, I wished I would have done more. So, these are things that I will implement in 2016. No excuses!
Since this post is nearing 1,600 words, I’ll wrap it up.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has shown me support this year. There has been so many wonderful opportunities that have fallen into my life. Without continued support, it would make everything worlds harder. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Most importantly, thank you to my family. Without my family’s constant love and encouragement I have no idea what I would do.
Endings are hard, but beginnings are new and fresh. Happy New Years to you all. I hope it’s rung in with love and excitement.
“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” ― Meister Eckhart