While so many have written off 2016 as "the worst", "horrible", "negative", etc. I tend to disagree (as usual!) Our years are what we make them. We choose to get caught up in the bad, the negative, the news, the politics, etc. That's a choice. Yes, many legends and talented people passed - we're all getting older and I'm guessing every year forward will feel like we're losing so many good people. That's part of life...death. Isn't it?
Ok - onward! 2016 for me was pretty incredible. Many parts of this creative journey I'm on have seemed to come together and/or became more clear. There are reasons for this. I asked for help in the form of mentorship from other creatives who I am fortunate to call friends and have in my life. I won't go into details in this post and will likely expand on these things in their own posts. Just know for them I am grateful (don't worry I'll call them out as well).
I use the word fortunate a lot! It's true though. I'll try not to overuse it in this post. I'm also not going to do a month my month breakdown - we'd be here for weeks.
Fortunate! I am very passionate about traveling and yes, very fortunate to have been able to go the places I did. From Minneapolis several times to Brownsville, Texas to visit mom, to North Dakota to Svalbard in the Arctic and the South of France and of course, many trips to Chicago and the wonderful parks near home. Some of these trips will be their own blog posts. For now, here is a slide show of several of my favorite images from my travels. I still have many images to go through, cull, edit and post! (Question: Do you prefer slide shows? Do you mind them? When I'm posting so many images I don't want to post single larger images. Let me know in the comments or Contact me!)
Drink & Click
I am a coordinator, leader, person in charge, Julie the Cruise Director for an International organization known as Drink & Click. Yes, it is what it sounds like, mostly. Every month there is a theme to shoot and there are prizes for the top 3 images worldwide! I've been heading up the Chicago chapter for going on three years now and am constantly searching for new and different places for our group to shoot (and eat and drink). There have been times when there are only two of us and we've had a group up to around 15 or so, it doesn't matter how many or few of us there are, they're a great group of people who have become friends. It gets me out of the house and out shooting at least once a month! I really enjoy challenging myself to find something that will set us and our images apart for each month's theme. It's always fun to have one of our group have an image win for the month!
Here are a few shots from our outings in 2016. (I want to say last year but that makes me want to go find images from 2015!)
Personal & Artistic Growth
Again, this is topic for several individual blog posts that I hope to share this year. As for now, I'll just give you a bit of an overview.
The Arcanum: I've been a member of The Arcanum for two years. It's a program based on the master/apprentice and group learning platform. It's been life changing for many reasons. I've learned so much and grown as an artist. The friendships I've made are life-long. I've had incredible masters/mentors in Karen Hutton & Ron Clifford (thank you for the cover image!). I would not be where I am or who I am today if it hadn't been for this experience and all those I've connected with through this. More on this in another post as well! (I have a lot of posts in my head that never were written - can you tell?)
Social Media: Yes, Social Media. Mostly Google+ for that matter. Yes, Google+. It's not dead for many of us. I've moderated themes, participated in themes and mentorship programs and have actually taught my own mentorship program on Google+. To find a group of like-minded people, artists, photographers and friends has been a treasure. These are the friends who 'get' me, they don't question my motives, they don't tell me I can't do something, they certainly don't tell me how to do what I do (yes, I've had that happen more than once while shooting). They encourage, support and have been there for me in ways they probably don't even know. I can't even imagine where or how my life would be without these people.
Out of my Comfort Zone: I shot a small wedding and an anniversary party. Those of you who know me know I don't tend to do this type of photography. It's all part of pushing and growing. Also out of my comfort zone, Photoshop! I am learning a little bit, just playing, just seeing what can be done. I'm not going to start going all crazy creating composites and removing people from images but it's just another tool to use to create.
Awesome! Amazing! Brilliant! Fun! Crazy! Full! Whirlwind! Fantastic! Adventurous! Growth! Knowledge! There are so many more words I could use! Mostly good!! We all have down times, it happens, but it's how we choose to react, how we choose to get back up, to push ourselves out of those down times that help define ourselves and the kind of life we can have.
3 words for me in 2017: Focus (that's my word every year!). Flow. I've gotten away from this, I do better when I just go with it, do what I do, how I do it. Stop forcing the issue. Enough. I am enough, in photography and in life. (Thank you Karen for that one).
I'm going to be posting here more. It may just be a one image post, a story I feel like telling or a summary of a trip. I won't say I'm behind, but I have tons of content and lots in my head! (Scary place that is!) A friend of mine is offering a daily writing/thinking prompt and I'm going to use her prompts to, well, prompt me! Want to get your own prompts? Shari Miller Photography would love to send them to you.
January 3rd I will be hanging quite a few pieces as the featured artist at the St. Charles Library. If you're in the area stop in and take a look and let me know if you do.
I'm heading to see my mom again later this week, when I get back I'll be posting a sale for January and another for February. Time to reduce my inventory! You win! Stay tuned for that or if you want to receive an email about it sign up here and request to be added.
If it weren't for the friends and family that I have much of this would not have happened in 2016. I'm very grateful for a supportive, understanding and loving husband who truly understands and 'gets' me, sometimes more than I get myself!! So Thank You!!
I hope you are able to pull out many positives of your own from 2016! If you look, you'll find them. Wishing everyone a wonderful and creative 2017!