When I reflect back on 2018, it's difficult to know quite how to feel about it. Many good things happened: I got married; I adopted a new dog (who is the cutest thing ever); I was fortunate enough to make more money this year than I ever have before. I met some personal fitness and health goals, too. I started going to a therapist, and it has been wonderful.
It was also one of my hardest years. The momentum that built up in 2017 stopped cold by early spring, and I went several months without any wedding or large project bookings. My portrait business seemed to fall flat, and I really had to think long and hard about whether this photography thing is the right path for me. I know that rejection is part of life, but to completely stop booking altogether almost broke me. I also cared for my old dog, as she fell ill and basically withered away, right in front of me.
This year I went to Burning Man feeling very broken—and I really haven't completely pulled out of it, if I am being truthful. I have started working on how to market better, how to get in front of people who want to work with me, and who would value my work. I have looked back on my work from this year, and felt pride in what I did produce. I have tried to go for long walks, photograph for fun, and take deep breaths.
I am working on being kinder to myself, and not blaming myself for what feels like failure.
I am working on pulling myself out of this hole of self-doubt and heartache, to know what steps to take next.
I am starting to put together ideas for larger projects that will rekindle my sense of adventure, and will hopefully take me out of myself to create something bigger.
I am really working on putting together what I, as a photographer, artist, and business owner, really want and care about, and making it into something tangible that I can reference when I need grounding, or when a potential client asks.
I am trying not to compare myself to others and wonder what it is about me that is wrong, and instead to look at their success critically, and see what I can learn from it.
I am remembering this year's successes.
I am working on it. Stay tuned.
This morning, the first of 2019, I got up and took my husband and dogs out into the snow to photograph them, and had a great time. I am grateful to them, and to my clients and friends who have stayed with me and encouraged me through this year. Those who helped and sent kind words when Dulcy fell ill, and then when we had to put her down. Those who referred me to friends, and listened when I was upset. Who tried to help. It was felt deeply, and I am so lucky. This year will be better. I know it.
Below are some of my favorite images this year. Even as I struggle and feel like I failed, I still feel a lot of pride in what I did do.