2016 was a whirlwind.
Of new experiences, of growth not only as a business, but personal growth as well. Of changes, of passion.
I found myself in so many ways this year. And a lot of those ways were either through, or because of, my cameras.
At the beginning of 2016, I wrote out my New Years Resolutions.
1. Develop my own film.
My original bucket list was to develop a roll of my own black and white film. But, one was nowhere near enough for me. After learning to develop, it awoke a passion in me that I didn't know existed. Since February and developing my own roll of film, I upgraded my film camera and learned color processing as well.
2. Become More Social.
Well. Im not too ashamed to say, I'm a homebody. And sometimes social situations make me extremely nervous and it's very hard for me to feel comfortable when meeting new people or attempting to make new friends.
I wanted to push myself past that fear, and make new friends and relationships and build the ones I already have.
I have managed to meet SO many new incredible people this year, that I am so so sos osososososo so SO thankful for and that have brought so much happiness into my life. I can't even begin to list off the people that have come into my life and blessed me with their friendship this year.
As I stepped into this new year, I was feeling an itch. I wanted to see more of this world. It didn't have to be epic international trips, or even across the country. I just wanted to explore and adventure the world around me, and I have done just that.
I danced through the streets of New Orleans, I hiked mountains in Asheville at sunrise, saw 7 states at once on top of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, I lost my glasses sticking my head out of the sunroof somewhere in Arkansas, dipped my toes in creeks all over the south, and discovered a Japanese tea house tucked away in Alabama. 2016 has only fueled my need and desire to see more, and I can't wait to see where 2017 takes me.
So, I suppose I'll stop rambling now. Here are some of the images that I made this year.
Not all of them were work-related, in fact, most of them are personal. Some of them were taken on my digital camera, some were taken on film and developed in my bathroom, and I think even a couple were taken on my iphone. Some are blurry, some are imperfect, but I have a strong connection with each of them and they all mean something to me.
Top: Atop Art Loeb Trail and Black Basalm Knob in North Carolina.
Bottom: Clingman's Dome: The Highest Point in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Top: These were the first two shots taken on my new film camera, it was so nerve racking not knowing what to expect, or if they would even turn out at all.
Kowa Six / Tri-X 400
Where do I even start with this little family.
For the majority of 2016, they were my roommates. I use that term loosely, because they were more like my family.
In some of the toughest, yet rewarding years of my life, they were what kept me grounded.
As I look back through my photos in 2016, they make up about 60%.
You photograph what you love, and I love these people.
I also find that Aiden was a huge inspiration for me while living with them, and eventually directed me to pursue a more documentary style photography. Watching him grow, and learn, and eventually go through potty training (as seen below) opened a door to a huge appreciation for the everyday moments.
Top: Shot on the Contax 645 / Tri-X 400
Cedar Falls at Petit Jean State Park
I spent a lot of this year in the woods with my favorite person.
My sweet, sweet friends Moriah and Eric spent 2016 in love and engaged. I've watched every stage of their relationship over the years and getting to watch them become husband and wife next spring means so much to me.
Top: Proabably one of my top 5 favorite photographs of 2016. I didn't know these two, but I saw this moment happening while I was at Fall Creek Falls State Park.
This shot was taken at Gus's Fried Chicken, and it was the last shot on the first roll of film that I developed myself.
Top: I once agreed to a 6 hour round trip with a person that I had never met on a rainy, foggy February morning. Partly because just the month before, I had promised myself in the form of a New Years Resolution that I would travel more, I would be more social, and I would learn to develop a roll of my own film.
This trip resulted in all of those things being accomplished, and much more.
After Michael and I's plan A (exploring a couple caves in Huntsville, AL) was spoiled by a menacing iron gate, plan B resulted in us stumbling on to a hauntingly beautiful Japanese teahouse hidden away in the forest of Alabama.
Top: Art Loeb Trail: North Carolina
Top: Tegan and Sara at Joy Theater in New Orleans, LA
Top: My first time developing color film. Orange Beach, AL.
Ektar 100 / Kowa Six
This photograph taught me a valuable lesson, and I still from time to time have to be reminded of it.
Sometimes you don't have your digital camera on you, sometimes you just finished your last roll of film, and sometimes all you have is an iPhone. I once heard a quote, "The best camera you have is the one you have on you." It's not always about the gear. It's about being present, in the moment, and ready to see the world around you.