2017 was a rough year for most people. While my personal and work life went sideways at times, my photography really grew. There wasn't any decisive moment that changed everything but a contextualization of things I absorbed over the years.
1. Read More
I picked up a bunch of books this year. They started out as books on shooting but shifted to photo books like, Ward 81 from Mary Ellen Mark. The lessons I gained were on composition, topic, style and determination. I tried to incorporate as many of those lessons anytime I picked up my camera.
2. Less Choices
I mainly shoot with two cameras and two lenses. A Hasselblad 500CM with a 50mm F/4 lens and a Leica M4-2 with a 50mm F/2 lens. It has made packing and choosing gear brainless. Using both are becoming second nature to me and makes shooting more automatic. I still get the occasional camera to review and play with but I'm no longer hunting eBay and youtube in search for a "game changer". Now I'm hunting for images.
3. Force It
Going out to shoot when you don't feel like it is a great way to push yourself. I'm like everyone else, I get tired and lose motivation. But when you force yourself to leave the house and shoot, you end up making photographs. This act more than anything else got me to try new things and create images from nothing/nowhere.
4. Print Your Work
Printing my work helped me see two things really quick, what was repetitive and what I needed to shoot next. I printed out 30-40 images for my tattoo book and had them hanging around my house. Patterns emerged and I found out I needed to mixup my compositions and subjects to make the project more whole. I wouldn't of discovered any of this without having physical copies of those images.
I did three podcasts and on online interview in 2017. A podcast each with Jon Wilkening and Kristen with a Camera, a livestream with Dan Bullman and an interview with Emulsive. All of them were really fun conversations about photography and shooting. Interviews/podcasts put me out there but also let me learn a lot more about the host of the shows and their interests. Meeting up with people who are into photography grows your world and gives you a person to bounce ideas off of. It sounds small but these relationships really do help grow your work.
In 2018, I'm planning on growing more and honing my skills. What lessons did you learn in 2017? What are you looking to do in 2018?
Thanks and Happy New Years!