The first thing I have to say is a big fat Happy New Year! A little late I know, but I haven’t logged on here in a while. January always brings me hope, and renewed enthusiasm for all that is going to be achieved in the year. This year perhaps more than ever. The world as a whole is badly in need in of some stability, and some good news. 2016 was in many ways like a bad joke, a comedy of errors. Time and time again our mouths hung open in disbelief in hearing news that at best was sad and shocking, and at worst changed the world, and not for the better.
So last year was I think a strange year for most people, and left even the most confident person feeling a little uncertain and anxious. As the news got worse and worse as the year unfolded, oddly my career as a photographer and my little online space blossomed in a way I had really never expected. I made the conscious decision 12 months ago to really try and make a go of it, and I worked very hard all year to improve my photography and hopefully create content that was interesting and appealed to people. I began 2016 having only just started to work with a few brands, and earn money from styling and photography. I also began 2016 with over 100,000 less followers on Instagram than I have now.
I still can’t quite believe how well things have gone for me, and I’m very grateful to people who have followed along through the year. However with my blog I feel a lot less confident, and find myself questioning more what I am trying to do here. At the start of 2016 my blog was only 2 weeks old and I had little expectation or ideas of what I would achieve with it. Why did I start a blog? Because everyone else did?!? Hahaha of course that’s not the sole reason, but it was about extending myself beyond Instagram and creating something which would remain here if Instagram went up in smoke.
I have heard people say it’s foolish to have an entire career based on an app, and I think they are probably right
It’s a LOT of work to keep up with and hopefully grow an Instagram account, and we are all now at the mercy of the powers that be at there (whether it be a person, a computer or an algorithm, who knows?!) essentially choosing whose images are seen by the masses and whose are not. This is where I hoped my blog would come in, for me to create something which I could control, it couldn’t be deleted or hacked (or it could but but as long as you back it up you can build it right back again). It was also to share a little more – more photos, more thoughts, more of me.
I have mixed feelings about how I think it’s gone for me here. I don’t class myself as a writer, just someone who occasionally writes things. I would still never call myself a blogger, but rather a photographer who has a blog. I don’t really feel I’ve earned “blogger” yet. I still get nervous about publishing posts here and putting myself out there. Although my audience here is tiny (TINY!!) compared to Instagram, I have more faith in my abilities to portray myself through images than I do through words.
I am also rather in awe of the rest of the blogging community. In my effort to extend my reach this year I started a Twitter account and it has opened my eyes to so many well informed, hilarious, pithy and super talented bloggers. They know how to do vlogs, and have youtube channels, and understand code and SEO, and talk at blogging conferences and go away on bloggy and beautiful weekends together. I have to say I felt a little bit like I was back at school and in awe of the popular girls – their hair, clothes and confidence was all way superior to mine. After months of watching, reading and learning, I would say the blogging world is still not one I am involved in but seems like a friendly and supportive one, and
I am still in awe of the writing talents out there and how hard these people work
A year ago I never expected my blog to be a source of income for me, and I feel very lucky to have worked with some fantastic brands and been involved with some amazing projects. I’ve made some mistakes both here and on Instagram, but we live and learn don’t we! I am constantly learning more about my capabilities and what I am comfortable with photographing and promoting.
So a year that will probably go down in history as one of the worst, was really quite an amazing one for me professionally. However the news events did make me often question what I was doing though and why.
It is important? Does it matter? Does it matter if it doesn’t matter?
As I grew increasingly uncomfortable with things happening in the world around me, I got two very clear and distinct feelings. The first one is stand up and be counted. If it’s wrong, say it’s wrong. The voice of good needs to be heard loud and clear because the people who hate often shout the loudest. I felt strongly towards the end of last year that if I could make any difference at all, I wanted to. I still don’t know if I can or will, but I believe that is the right thing to do.
The second is quite contrasting, but I see no reason why they can’t go hand in hand. My children are young and thankfully fairly oblivious to the sad and awful things that happen in the world. They are also completely oblivious to a time when things were any different. And that is the way is should remain, for now. The time for them to learn the mistakes that we have made, and that it is their job to do better is not quite here yet. What is important now is for them to be safe, and happy, and loved. So my mind turns more to looking after what is closest to my heart and my home, to enjoy the little things, be more mindful, less wasteful of both time and resources. I want to teach my children to enjoy the great outdoors, to be kind and compassionate and to enjoy this world and the great beauty and diversity that is in it. I don’t wish to narrow their world, but to widen it and help them to love it.
So I will keep photographing these little moments of time, these small details of a life less ordinary
Because I think to notice the small things and to allow ourselves to find joy in them is important to feeling more content, and less angry with the world. I largely have photography to thank for helping me notice that there is beauty everywhere, and I plan to keep on rejoicing it.
Career wise, I hope 2017 will shape up to be an exciting year too. I already have three trips abroad planned for January and February which I’m incredibly excited about. I’m pushing myself further than ever before, and looking ahead to September when I will have both children at school and I very much hope to able to work full time on this. I would also like to blog more.. shorter, more frequent (and more confident) blog posts. We will see… 🙂
One last thing. I started doing the monthly collections of nine photos that compose the photo at the top two years ago, and when I see the whole collection together at the end of the year I’m glad I did (you can see 2015 here, my first ever blog post!). Although people always seem to enjoy seeing them I don’t think I’m doing to continue posting them on Instagram this year (maybe just for myself to put them together like this at the end?), I’d love to know your thoughts on this.
I will stop waffling on and wish you all a wonderful and peaceful year. And seeing as this is supposed to be about photos.. here are a few of my absolute favourites of the year. Of course including these little boys, who are my everything xx