Well, 2016 is finally behind us. Despite it’s grave disappointments on a national level and the many sad celebrity deaths, 2016 was actually pretty good to me.
I was never the traditional college student, so other hands-on learning opportunities as well as lack of fulfillment in a conventional education system kept me from finishing my undergrad. In 2016 I finally found a place where I could see myself settling down for awhile to get that damn degree. I moved into a tiny house in Olympia, Washington and am now studying environmental photojournalism at The Evergreen State College with a particular focus on plants. Within my first term, I ate mushrooms that I grew in a milk carton and learned and memorized the names of over 100 organisms, I AM LOVIN’ IT.
One of the highlights of my year was trekking in Peru with one of my sisters, Tally. We did roughly a 100 mile loop around the Cordillera Huayhuash mountain range, an unparalleled beauty in rural, northern Peru. I climbed up to 16,500 feet at one point and did not die (I was the skinniest I’ve ever been when I came home… but that didn’t last long).
I got to see friends and family get married and have babies and excel in their careers and grow in happiness. I went on lots of walks and picked many wild bouquets for myself. I started exploring the mossy wonder of the Olympic National Forest and I got to visit my beloved Shaw Island where my nun friends live. I went to protests and became a writer and photographer for the school newspaper. I foraged for mushrooms and ate delicious meals with friends. I found my happy place in a secret green pocket of Portland where I hung my hammock up for the summer to swing under an old oak tree and listen to birds. I did so many puzzles this year (mostly with my puzzle-queen friend Laura) that I should really call 2016 the year of puzzles. I went sailing for the first time ever, fell in love with graphic novels, watched all of Parks and Rec, most of LOST until the terrible ending was spoiled, and got a new car! My partner, Amos, and I traveled to New Mexico for Christmas where I fulfilled a childhood dream of visiting the cliffside dwellings of the ancestral Pueblos. For New Years we soaked in a Japanese bathhouse in a symbolic gesture of washing ourselves of the past year’s flaws and hindrances and stepping into 2017 pure and revitalized.
One of my intentions for 2016 was to believe in my talent and abilities as a photographer. I enter 2017 with a strength of confidence I haven’t yet had. For this, I am grateful for all the couples, families, and individuals who have put their trust in me and my work, for other wedding photography friends and colleagues who have shared their wisdom, and for my friends and partner who tell me time and time again that I don’t give myself enough credit. Self-confidence is a hard place to get to, y’all! My intention for the new year is to focus on honing my craft, broadening my creativity and technique, and getting this photography business thing a rollin’ for real. I’ve always had second jobs, never quite sure that photography could carry me through the year, but now I am committed to making it happen and it feels gooood!
Enjoy this highlight reel of my favorite moments of 2016 and let’s all kick some ass in 2017
(or if you’ve been there done that, may this year bring you many relaxing baths and good books, you deserve it).