I cannot think of a better way to start off a new year! Woke up this morning to hear the great Rick Sammon and Juan Pons saying “he uploads some incredible work on the DPE community website” (at the 1:08:18 mark) on the latest episode of The Digital Photo Experience podcast. They were introducing the image above, "Family Time," one you’re already familiar with if you follow this blog or me on Google Plus, that I uploaded to the show’s Google Plus community with hopes of being chosen as one of their critiques.
That’s the 3rd image critique by these heavy-hitters in the past 12 months that I’ve been humbled with, further validating, at least to me, that after more than 3 decades of life-defining (and psyche-altering) mistake after another, I may finally be doing something right!! 2013 was definitely what I’d consider my breakout year in photography as I’ve finally become comfortable with myself, what I have learned, and what I have yet to learn. It’s like a switch hit me at some point in the sense of, when I used to not know something or get it wrong, I would get frustrated. Now, and I’m not sure if it’s a matter of confidence or if it’s simply naive excitement at realizing that it’s more fun when you struggle through something and finally get it right…there’s more value to that, so now (in most cases at least…) instead of marinating in frustration, that thought comes and goes within a split second, being replaced by, oh well, now I know better, I can practice that…
And with that, thanks to Rick and Juan, I finally have my New Years Resolution…roll with it, and invite everything as a learning experience. God knows I know we all go through really tough times and we all go through really good times. We have lonely moments in which we believe we are alone in a world of 7 billion humans, and we have overwhelming moments reminding us that we really never alone. It’s reallllly easy to fall into the trap of sulking in the negativity, especially when you convince yourself that there’s no way out, making it way too convenient to overshadow the good, but it seems to be just that simple switch in your mind that you have to hit that transforms sulking into exploring - exploring your thoughts, your feelings, your ideas, and how and what you need to do to learn from your explorations and come out the other end with an idea of to correct it or turn it into a learning experience. At the very least an idea of what not to do and what you don’t want in your life. In other words, to look at things not as setbacks, but as challenges to overcome.
So after spending New Years Eve alone on the couch with a glass of scotch, the remnants of a nagging cold, and Anthony Bourdain’s book “A Cook’s Tour - In Search Of The Perfect Meal” (a real paper book!), in which the colorfully eloquent rebel chef travels the grittiest corners of the world in pursuit of his true passion, that one thing that brings people together like nothing else - the perfect meal - I woke up to a reminder of what life is all about…the journey, the search, the experiences, the ups and the downs, that keep us in pursuit of our true passions - learning what (and sometimes who) to hold onto, and what (and of course, who) to let go of.
So thank you everyone for being such an inspirational and positive part of my journey in 2013, and thanks to all who who graciously allowed me to be a part of yours.
And with that, I will leave you with a quote from a very good friend:
“May the high point of 2013 be the low point of 2014…”
Boom! Let’s do this thing!
Here are the rest of images from the series that "Family Time" came from, all shot on the Samsung NX300: