This was a lost year for almost everyone. Instead of allowing that for me, I am taking some time to reflect and make plans for the future. Those plans include a lot of self-love in the form of shooting and writing.
2020 sucked, everyone knows that. What would normally be blog post upon blog post of “best of 20XX” are likely to be non existent this year, including mine. I never really liked “best of” posts anyways.
But this year made me realize a lot of things. For one, I took my freedom to travel for granted. I’ve always felt guilty about not traveling more, but this year I realized that never taking time for myself is a flat out crime against me. I don’t know why it took being stuck home to make me realize I need to get out. I don’t believe in resolutions, so I’m not messing around with any of those… but I do believe in new beginnings, and 2021 will be a new beginning for me. I will try as hard as I possibly can to get out of the house, shoot some more, and write some more.
I spent the past few days and a couple hundred bucks getting my website updated once more. I’ve done this so many times, but this time I feel like I’ve got some direction. Instead of building a website to “sell” myself, I am building this website for myself. I don’t care if it brings in new clients or business, I need it as a form of therapy for myself. As a way to make what I want and put it out there for people who care. And for those who don’t, they’ll likely never find it anyways.
The first thing I want to focus on is shooting for me again. I’ve said this a billion times, but once photography became work, the fun just wasn’t there. I recently started shooting with the Fuji X-Pro3 after switching back to Fuji earlier this year, and wow… this camera has brought the fun back, and I’ve found myself shooting a lot more personal stuff. I plan on including a lot of that personal stuff on this blog.
To facilitate this new jump to shooting personal work, I want to plan a trip this year. Not sure where… or when… still have to see how this pandemic thing plays out, but I am set on going somewhere. Even if it’s just a few hours away, getting out of this (new) house and somewhere different.
Travel is long overdue for me anyways. In high school, my mentor told me to take some time off before college and travel. He said to go to Europe and get a train pass and just see as much as I could. I didn’t do that. In college, a well-published photographer told me to find a way to make money so I could fund my own photo expeditions. I didn’t do that either. In my adult life, I planned on taking a big trip before having a family… and again I neglected travel.
It’s not that taking a trip is the only way to make new work, but I am learning now that it sure would help. I thought I didn’t shoot enough in FL because I was bored of my town, but now I am in a town which I love… and I am still not that motivated to get out and shoot around town. So, it seems, travel is in the cards for me.
I used to write a lot. Most of it was for myself, but it was therapeutic. I enjoyed it, and sometimes I would look back on things I wrote and I liked it. I’ve always preferred the long-form, whether it was writing or conversation.
However, a year or two back, anxiety set in. It was real bad… still is. While this year hasn’t been without its own (extremely obvious) stresses, it somehow how has helped my anxiety. I can’t really find the words to explain how or why, but I plan on exploring this personal phenomena more through my work.
For me, stress and anxiety are completely separate, but still intertwined. My anxiety is almost completely caused by my hypochondria, and stress is caused by everything else: work, family, responsibilities, etc. The stress is fine, I don’t mind it. In fact, in some ways it just helps me. Stress is like a motivator for me. When I am stressed, I get frustrated and angry and I am not my best self, but I can usually come out of it and find a way to destress and be a better person.
Anxiety, though… man… that is totally different. It eats me. It kills me. It steals away hours, even days of my life. And as of late, it’s stolen months… or possibly even years at this point, I don’t know. And so this is why I haven’t written in a while, it’s because I don’t want to look back on where I was these last few years. While I am coming out of those dark times, I expect I’ll be back there again before long and I want to get a head of it. I want to stop looking at old photos and only reliving old anxiety. So, I will be working harder on creating good experiences and photographing those and accompanying them with some writing.
A couple years back, I took up cycling. It started at first simply as a way to get in shape… but something about it really got me hooked and now I am planning my first overnight bikepacking trip this year. The goal is to load up everything I need to survive for a few days, get together with my friends, and hit the road in the mountains. It’s going to be one of the most difficult things I have forced myself to do both physically and mentally. Currently, we’re planning for sometime in March.
As a part of becoming a better photographer and more interesting person, I have taken some advice from Dan Milnor and am trying to take up some hobbies. For most of my life photography has been my “thing”. I’ve had very few interests outside of taking photos. That makes for a rather boring person, especially as the things I am shooting become more boring (real estate). I’ve picked up some interests with historic preservation and 3d scanning/modeling, but I haven’t done much with it this year thanks to the current conditions. But, biking is always there, tugging at the back of my mind and beckoning me out again. It should be a good way to help facilitate the first two items on this post.
And finally… the one item I am a little nervous about mentioning. I don’t want to make any lofty goals here, but I have been filming some more personal things. I am far from a skilled videographer like some of my friends, but I do enjoy making short videos. I’d like to explore this a little more this year.
So, now is the time. It’s time for me to refresh my site, rebrand it as a personal endeavor, and have faith. Faith that good things will come by being myself and creating just for the sake of creation. Sharing that work and seeing what’s in store.