2011 was a mixed bag, for sure. Photo wise it was one of my best years, possibly my best photo year EVER. I'm really proud of a lot of the images i made, the ways in which i pushed myself, and yes, even the money i brought in. For once i'm not at the end of year looking back, feeling disappointed or like i didn't accomplish anything, and that is a wonderful thing to finally be able to say.
In almost every other way though, this year was a mess. Our house flooded, many pets belonging to family and friends passed away, we DIDN'T move, and i was reminded [again] that just because you're related to someone doesn't mean you can expect them to be your family. Just to name a few things. But, we're coming out healthy, and still relatively happy considering, i have my girl and our furry kids, and i'm hoping 2012 brings us big [positive] change and more good than bad.
But, back to 2011.
Going through this years images a few things stood out:
1. We could easily call it "the year of dead things". I've worked with a bird skeleton, dried cicadas, jeweled flower mantises, beetles, grouse heads, sparrow wings, turkey feet and a bat. [The images with turkey feet, grouse heads and beetles no one has seen, and are all going to be something i need to reshoot next year.] It was all definitely a step out of my comfort zone, especially all those bugs, but it's gotten remarkably easy. Which is kind of unnerving, but after the tears and near breakdowns with the cicadas, and later the cicada wings, i'll happily take being ok with handling it all.
2. I've worked with a bunch of people, at least by my standards. I've always been really bad about working with other people. I want to, but after having spent so many years taking self portraits, where it's a very private, and almost personal thing for me, it's hard to get out of that. This year, not including myself or my sister, i worked with 5 people, 4 of which i'd never worked with before. I know, i know, it's a ridiculously low number for most, but for me it's a record! Feel free to laugh. =) And there would have been more too, if not for scheduling issues and then our cat getting a little sick at the end of the year. Am happy with 5 though.
3. Kind of an extension to #3: I've stopped doing things the way i always have, just because it's easy, since it's been holding me back. This is still a work in progress, but i'm at least moving forward instead of standing still.
4. I came out of more shoots having accomplished exactly what i wanted. Now, often, i go in pretty vague, or having only half of things worked out in my head, so it's no surprise things come out a little hit or miss, but this year i more often had specific plans, and i somehow conjured up the patience to put in the time to get things right. [Granted, that didn't work for every shoot, and i had a few epic letdowns, but i think that is to be expected.]
5. I love a whole heck of a lot of my self portraits, but that is something i went into in [THIS] post.
Ok, enough with the talk, on to the images!
You can click on each to go to flickr and see the ridiculous full sized versions!
As far as 2012 goes, it's hard to say. I'm not huge on having a list of set goals, and i generally frown upon the idea of new years resolutions [for myself].
I'd like to work with more people, for sure, but i'm not going to kill myself to try and meet a certain number. Though, i think after this years shoots, and a few conversations i've had with some of the girls i've worked with, i definitely feel more confident going forward and working more with new people. More than 5 should definitely be doable, especially since it's not so big and scary anymore.
I'd like to do more videos, but it's not something i'm going to do just for the sake of doing. If i don't have anything to talk about i'm not going to force it. [Though, i would like to do some mini movies. There are a few images i've kind of expanded on in my head as tiny little videos, but i've been too chicken shit to try them. My camer takes HD videos, i should use it!]
There are definitely specific things i'd like to shoot, but as usual there isn't a timetable for it.
It doesn't feel like a huge NEED for me to do gallery shows or be published. Which i'm sure will sound weird to some people. I've done some before, more were nightmares than positive experiences, but regardless i don't ever want success [or failure] in those ways to define who i am as a person or a photographer. If i'm happy with an image, that is all i need. If other people like it too, that should just be icing on the cake. If something comes along, i'll do it if it seems like a good thing for me to do, or if something feels right for me to submit to, i'll submit to it.
Where i want to go as a photographer is always a hard conversation for me to have with myself. I don't want to be famous or rich. I don't want to work for other people. I don't want to teach, do workshops, etc. I'm very happy with the concept of just plugging away, shooting what i want when i want, challenging myself regularly, trying out those ideas that seem too big, and hopefully making enough through print sales and sales through the stock agency to have a income that allows me to continue on and contribute to grown up stuff, like bills. =) A small and simple dream probably, but it's really all i want.
Otherwise i'd like to be less hard on myself. I need to learn how to just walk away from a shoot or images that just don't turn out right. It's ok. I can reshoot things. I can wait until i'm ready, until i've worked out how to make it right. The idea isn't going to expire. If i never get around to shooting it, or it never works out, maybe it wasn't meant to. And it's ok to get rid of images i'm not happy with. Learn, and move on. Don't beat myself up in the process. etc, etc.
So, yeah, generally i think i just want to expand on what i started doing this year. To TRY, but not have the outcome of trying mean everything.
And maybe i should try and stop making bad decisions that lead to pain and tears just for an image. Maybe. Probably not gonna happen though. Just think of all the images that wouldn't exist if i did that!