The end-of-year wrap-up stresses me out a little as a photographer. It’s the time when we start to see compilations of favourite and best of photos. It’s quite prevalent on Instagram where there is even an app that grids your top nine ‘liked’ photos from the year. I’m not a fan of this myself, because - as I stated on my account last year - my life is about moments and not likes. So, I go ahead and do my own grids, picked by me and not an algorithm based on the opinion of others. Not saying I don’t value the opinions of others when it comes to my photos. It’s always interesting to see the responses and popularity of images when they are posted. It pushes me to challenge myself in skill and creativity. And in the end, it’s nice to see people enjoying the work I share.
But that’s just it. I’m sharing my work, that usually comes with a backstory no one will ever see or hear about. And so, sometimes the photos I care about the most are not always the most popular. For brief moments I question their validity, and my validity as a photographer, until I remember that I’m doing this because I love it, and that’s good enough. Then there’s the experience of getting a photo published or shared; a photo that maybe I didn’t care about as much, but I get to re-see it again with different eyes and appreciation. It becomes a complicated relationship of attachment to your own work and non-attachment to the outcome of it all. It’s frustrating, it’s fulfilling, and I don’t see myself giving it up anytime in the foreseeable future.
This year had a lot of challenges and I wouldn’t expect anything less. That’s life. That’s growth. But it was a good year. Facebook reminded me of that with the compilation video they did for my account. I don’t tend to share those things, but I will watch what their own algorithm finds for me. I was a little surprised actually. And pleased. The day the video appeared was a day when I was contemplating how long the year felt and how happy I was that it was almost over. As I watched, my 2018 flashed by in Facebook style and I was suddenly reminded of how much I did and how far I had come. According to them I:
was published in Canadian Geographic magazine
experienced 2 lunar and 3 solar eclipses
graduated from the Editing program through Simon Fraser University
spent a lot of time volunteering as a board member for the Christina Lake Arts & Artisans Society (many, many summer concerts!)
took a super fun cake decorating class
traveled to my beloved Montana
spent time with family and friends in Alberta
enjoyed my favourite lake through paddleboarding and hiking
made new friends and continued to share life with long-time friends
A video produced by myself would include a few more moments, and any loss and struggle has not been forgotten. The thing is, I’ve gone from focusing on the want of 2018 to be over, to the looking forward to what 2019 will bring. Onward and upward, as the saying goes.
I did two photo compilations this year. My paddleboarding needed to stand on its own. As did my photography. I know how my photos are received socially, so the challenge is to authentically discover my own likes, and to love my work without the bias of public opinion. It’s interesting that the more I share with the outside world to ‘judge’, the more confident I am in doing what I like best. This is also something I am learning to apply to all aspects of my life. So how did I choose the images? Some came from the heart and some came from their backstory; none were winners in a popularity contest (well, one may have been a ‘winner’ in something - thanks CanGeo). I’m not playing favourites for this and I hope you enjoy a brief look back at my year.
I hope 2019 brings the love and support we all need to chase our dreams and be our best. Happy New Year! xo