Well, as we enter the final week of 2015, I am wrapping up some things up on the photography front. The great thing about keeping a library of photographic work is that it is very easy to look over all your images and recall what took place during the year. As a year comes to a close, you can look back and reflect back on what happened, what was accomplished and perhaps chart your path for the year to come. For me, 2015 featured some of the following events:
- Bouts of frigid subzero weather in January and February providing interesting frost and ice conditions for shooting
- A trip to Utah, which is a beautiful place to shoot, provided you catch it when the weather is good. We happened to be there for the rainiest Spring they had in years. Ugh!
- An opportunity to produce images for a renewable energy firm and see those images used in international news publication
- A project for a landscape firm that allowed me to haunt hundreds of acres of tree farm for early morning shoots.
- Continued participation as instructor for the Joliet Junior College Night photography class, which was near impossible to pull off this year with the perpetually turbulent weather we had all summer
- A trip though Pennsylvania and Maryland that allowed me to visit Civil War battle fields and experience some beautiful Eastern landscape scenes
2015 has seen a lot of change occurring for our family. My wife and I are moving ever closer to the “empty nest” stage of life so the order of things in our home continues to change as our boys move on to the next phase of their lives. This year I also decided to end an eight year involvement with a large corporation and opted for a position down in the “urban jungle” at a much smaller company. Unfortunately, no it is not a photography job. Although I wish I could spend my whole day being a photographer, the reality is I must stay the course in the IT field lest I fall into that classification known as “starving artist”.
Although the city has brought opportunities to shoot a whole range of subjects I don’t normally cover, I find daily immersion in the urban environment to be akin to wearing an ill-fitting set of clothes. It rarely feels right. For a person who has lived a significant portion of their life in or near the countryside, urban existence to me is a story of tall metal and stone canyons filled with perpetual noise and milling herds of smartphone absorbed cattle, who will seemingly walk through you, or over you, if given half a chance. It is something to which I doubt I will ever be fully acclimated. I always look forward to the trip back to my small town area at the end of the day.
This year I also made a conscious decision to decouple myself from regular involvement in “social networking”. While I do still maintain a business page on Facebook, I eliminated my personal profile to stop what I call “news feed nonsense”. The internet seems to bring out “Mr Hyde” in a lot of people and I grew tired of the ugly and often bizarre behavior that began being pushed to my computer every day. Another reason for dumping Facebook was that it had become a fruitless exercise to market myself there. I managed to get myself connected to a lot of people who weren’t really interested in supporting my photography business and there were more than a few who had a notion that photographers should be happy to work for free or, we should be flattered when people just take our images without paying. It was just time to move on and find a better place to market my work.
Of course, photography will continue to be my passion in 2016, albeit I will be marketing my work in different ways and to different people. No, my images won’t be popping up in your “news feed” on a regular basis, but perhaps that is best. As an artist, I want to produce distinctive images that can be displayed as art for on-going enjoyment and I am not looking for image to be “liked” or “pinned” for a brief minute in today’s news feed.
For those of you who have supported my efforts in 2015, I thank you. Best wishes to you all in 2016