Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 - Year in Review

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me.  Four days before Christmas, Brittany and I left for a Christmas getaway in California, with stops in both San Francisco and Sonoma (which I'll be blogging about later).  After we returned, I finished up a few year end things at work and then we were thrust into new year's celebrations and enjoyed Christmas with my parents on New Year's Day.  I still have one more Christmas party left, so it seems like the holiday season is still ongoing for me.  This is one of the reasons that this post is a few days later than I would've liked.  However, with a return to normalcy imminent, I can finally spend a little more time creating the posts that I touted last week. 

So, in general, 2011 was a very eventful year in the world.  It was also very eventful for me and my photography.  At the beginning of 2011, I had just finished my first two years of photography.  I reached a point in which I had acquired general knowledge of camera functions (relation of aperture to shutter speed, etc.), I had been shooting more frequently, I became more comfortable with showing my work (in public and to the public) and I had upgraded to an SLR and a DSLR camera.  I thought 2011 would be a good year to set photography goals (resolutions) for myself.  You can view that blog post here, but here's a condensed list of those resolutions:
  1. Undertake Project 365
  2. Take a photography class in the fall
  3. Begin working on a (or multiple) themed series
  4. Develop an idea and create a stop motion video out of my photographs
  5. Start shooting more film
  6. Create my best work yet
  7. Show my best work yet
  8. Have fun
The first item on that list was easily the most daunting.  To some, it may seem easy to take an image everyday of the year, but it's not.  I can't tell you how many times I was walking around our house at 11:50 p.m. trying to find something to take an interesting image of.  It took a lot of patience, drive, perseverance and support.  I can say that I successfully completed the project and I'll talk more about it on the Project 365 page here.  I do have to say thank you to my wonderful wife, who stood by me the entire way and put up with my creative blocks, my stopping to take a picture and the countless times she was my chauffeur as I was looking for that image of the day.  Brittany - thank you for your support - I love you!

Unfortunately, I didn't complete the second resolution on my list.  It was something I really wanted to do, I just didn't get around to it.  I was busy completing the final three classes of my B.S. in Marketing and after a grueling first half of the year, I needed a break from coursework.  Sadly, not too far along into the fall semester, the photography professor at my local community college lost her battle with cancer.  She was a huge inspiration to me and she was a driving force in my development as a photographer.  I worked along side her for two years in the Edison Photo Society and I will never forget what I learned from her.  She was a great woman, a great teacher and one of the main reasons that I'm the photographer that I am today.  I will miss her and I'm sorry that I'll never be able to take one of her outstanding classes, but I plan to take the knowledge I gained from her and use it in my photography everyday as well as applying it to any photography classwork that I take in the future.  Every person she touched and every photographer she taught or guided will help to keep her spirit alive in the work they complete.  I hope that every image that I put out there is a testament to the photographer and teacher she was. Thank you Jane Giangulio. 

My third resolution was to begin working on a (or multiple) themed series.  I successfully achieved that resolution as I began multiple themed projects in 2011.  At this point, I don't consider them complete, but I'm still working on them in some form.  I will continue that work in 2012 and beyond and with any luck, they'll be presented to the public sometime in the near future.  I have multiple ideas floating around in my head and I'm sure I'll undertake numerous other projects throughout the year.  I can say that I'm very happy with my progress and I look forward to presenting these projects to the public.

The fourth resolution on my list was to develop an idea and create a stop motion video out of my photographs.  This was another resolution that I didn't complete.  It was never high on my list and somewhere along the way I lost interest.  However, it did spark an interest in a different manner.  I began shooting marketing videos at work using a flip video camera, and in doing so, I became a little more accustomed to working in a video editing program.  I slowly began a shift away from digital technology in regards to image creating during 2011 and I began entertaining the idea of shooting "moving" pictures on Super 8 and then editing the footage and presenting it as a short film in a digital format (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)  So, while I didn't create a stop motion video with my photographs in 2011, I may have something better in store for 2012. 

I alluded to the fact that I slowly began a shift away from digital technology to create my images and that was primarily due to my fifth photo resolution of 2011 - start shooting more film.  At the beginning of 2011, I was armed with my Canon AE-1P, Holga 120N, Diana F+ and Fisheye No. 2 film cameras.  By the end of 2011, I had run numerous rolls of film through each of those cameras, obtained approximately 15 additional film cameras throughout the course of the year and shot entirely on film on various photo shoots/photo walks.  I love shooting film and my work will continue to go that direction in the future. 

Resolutions six and seven were very closely related.  Those resolutions were to create my best work yet and show my best work.  I believe I achieved that in 2011.  The work I produced this past year was better than any of the work I created in 2008, 2009 and 2010.  I was pushing boundaries, experimenting and really putting myself out there as an artist; something I hadn't really done before.  I graduated to the "professional" category in a number of regional art contests this past year; placing in all of the three major shows that I entered, including 1st Place in Photography at the Gateway Arts Council Annual Spring Fling Show in Sidney, Ohio.  From there, I went on to complete my first ever solo show and I sold four pieces along the way.  It was a very fruitful year for the public showing of my photography and I look to build on that as we begin 2012.

Finally, my eighth and final resolution of 2011 was to have fun.  This was the easiest resolution to achieve.  I had an absolutely great time creating images in 2011.  I went on numerous photo outings, I discovered the joy of shooting Polaroid, I experimented by creating my first emulsion lifts, I anxiously awaited my processed negatives after shooting film, I displayed my work, talked about it and blogged about it and I met some great people along the way.  There was a lot of joy in creating art this past year and I look forward to carrying that joy into 2012.

As I look back on the list that I created a year ago, I can gladly say that I accomplished almost everything that I set out to do with my photography in 2011; in some ways I feel as if I did more than what I initially set out to do.  I would like to thank everyone along the way that looked at my blog, commented on a photo, interacted with me about my art, came to my show or purchased a piece.  It was a great year; I think 2012 will be even better and I look forward to everyone that follows me along this journey.  Cheers to a great 2012 and stay tuned for my 2012 photo resolutions!

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