As another year came to close, I thought about how long it really has been since I have been working at photography. I started in 2006, and was mostly playing for a few years. I started my website in December 2008 (5 years!) and my blog in June 2010, but it wasn’t until a cold December night under the stars later that year that I decided to really take photography seriously. A few months later, I linked up with the acclaimed Floris van Breugel, who led me into Olympic National Park and helped see the artistry of the craft.
After I dedicated myself as an photographic artist and not just a hobbyist, I found photography much more fulfilling. Each picture was a figurative representation of myself, not just a representation of the literal world around me. The problem I found, though, was that I did not know what that representation of self was. What was I representing? What is my artistic message? Am I calling for action or just to observe and appreciate? Are my images speaking for themselves? What am I saying that others aren’t? So many questions stood where before, it was just a picture.
So began another journey into photography and myself. At first, I was impatient – anxious for an ah-ha moment. But finding the message wasn’t that easy for me. Some photographers have their message before their imagery, and some know it right from the start. Others exude their message subliminally through their work. Some may never find their message and instead, and either brush it off or wallow in a purgatory of blandness and repetition.
Rather than come up with an answer, I instead decided to… wait. It is relatively easy to build a working expertise in photography — all you need is to spend enough time studying technical tools and light. It is, however, much more difficult to pair that technical expertise with a coherent thought that is illustrated in imagery but still somewhat intangible. After getting quickly frustrated with an apparent lack of progress, I realized that… this takes time. No one becomes completely confident in his or her abilities overnight. But, I am happy to say I have had several companies buy large prints to hang prominently on their walls. I am happy that some artists find inspiration in my renditions enough to paint them. I am humbled when each one of my friends or acquaintances compliments my work. Overall, I am proud of the work I put into photography — planning, shooting, editing, printing, writing blogs, coding the website, and marketing. And with more work and time, I think I’ll continue to refine my message and art into a body of work that can ultimately speak for itself. An analogy that comes to mind is for me to chisel, not hammer, into the next year and beyond.
In 2013, I spent much time refining my Washington, D.C. portfolio. This was with purpose, as I taught quite a few photography classes in and around the city and because I want a marketable portfolio to help my clients see my other, non-city work. I was also fortunate to capture some local/travel shots from Great Falls, Northwest Maryland, Western Virginia, California, and Italy. Overall, I am happy with the turnout of images from this year.
As I turn to next year, I will attempt to become more “inventive” and “figurative” when shooting in and outside of the city. It is relatively easy to recreate what is clearly in front of you rather than to look just a little longer, just a little deeper, and find that little something that is more unique. That’s the goal at least.
Now, onto the images from 2013. These are only my personal favorites. I would be very happy if you would comment on your favorite, or perhaps another that didn’t make my cut.
Thanks for the support and kind words… and Happy New Year!