But I recentlyÂ realized that looking back at accomplishments over the last year can be just as important as setting goals for the next. I also want to look at my year in review.
I learned a lot in 2016. I took a class onÂ large format photography. I gained the courageÂ to ask strangers if I mayÂ takeÂ their portraits. I participated in my first three photography shows, two group shows with my class and one online.
More than Â anything, though, the bestÂ decision I made for my photography was starting a blog. In the past, I was reluctant to shareÂ my work. I didn’t want any of it out in the world for others to see until I felt completely ready.
Instead of allowing me to improve privately without judgement, hiding my workÂ set me back. I was convincedÂ I shouldÂ keep my images private until I considered myself a fully fledged photographer.
But that’sÂ just not how it works. I rarely shot anything except when it was required for class and I hated the results when I did. Working alone in secret gave me little motivationÂ to make anything at all.
The piece of advice that changed my mindset cameÂ fromÂ Steal Like an ArtistÂ byÂ Austin Kleon. I read the book several times in years pastÂ but his wordsÂ finally sunk in in 2016: “You can’t wait until you know who you are to get started.”
If I’d waited to know who I was or what I was about before I started “being creative,” well, I’d still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things. In my experience, it’s in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are.
â€”Austin Kleon,Â Steal Like an Artist
I knew he was right. I couldn’t wait until I perfected my work to start interacting with others. I had toÂ honeÂ it byÂ sharing. And so I launched this blog in September 2016.
ComposingÂ a blog postÂ every week was a challenge, but now I’ve written over 20 posts and am glad I took time to make every one of them. I went through at least double the film I was before starting my blog, probably more. Plus,Â knowing the images would be public forced me to try even harder to produce my best work every time I went shooting.
Secondly, startingÂ a blog allowed me to find a community of photographers online. Between this site and my Twitter account, I’ve learned acquired all kinds of useful advice. Any time I have a question, I now have a small army of film photographers I can call on for help.
Lastly, my blog offeredÂ me a spaceÂ toÂ shareÂ work in progress fromÂ where I am right now at this moment in photography, not where I will ultimately end up. Looking at my blog as a sketchbook rather than a perfectly curated galleryÂ allows me toÂ focus on what’s most important: to keep creating work.Â One dayÂ I mightÂ look back at the work I am making now and dislike it. But the fact remains that continuing toÂ shoot is the only way to get where I am going.
Here are some of my favorite images I made inÂ 2016: