The end. Die Ende. Fin. Sfarsit. 終了. Конец. Son. hasof or ze haso… Finally ;)
I’ll apologize in advance for it taking me so long to post the final days of 2009. I think after a year you can easily look back and reflect on how you’ve grown. But only until you REALLY start looking do you peel back layers. Undoubtedly I’m in a much better place than 365 days ago. And really, that’s what it’s all about. I’ve learned so much about photography. As cliché as it is I’ve learned a lot about me too. I missed a few days here and there but ultimately I achieved my goal. I wanted to be 100% dedicated to an idea and finish it. This was the first real hobby I’ve picked up that just seemed to fit my life perfectly and grew right along with me. I’ve discovered I’m a bit of a perfectionist (I’ve been told I can’t use the expression OCD so we’ll just say I’m quite particular about certain things). I get discouraged easily at times and distracted often. I’ve learned I have to sit down, finish one task and move on to the next if I really want to complete it on a deadline. That’s hard for me. I’m better at multi-tasking than I am dedicating my time to one particular thing. It might take me longer but I feel so much more accomplished.
I’ve learned I’m easy to forgive but also easy to hurt. I have a very trusting heart and unfortunately, some people will take you for granted. I’ve never really been a stranger to heartache but as I get older I get more invested and it really seems to hurt more when people become inconsiderate of that. While my friends understand that I can suck at keeping in touch or being on time, they love me anyway and I’m so unbelievably grateful for them. They’ve held me when I’m down and I’ve tried to do the same. Sometimes I’m reclusive or try to put on a happy face, but they always know the right way to help. They offer unrelenting support, even when nothings wrong. I mean, nothing really beats just going, doing, seeing, experiencing and living. My closest friends love me for me, even if that does include my crazy spontaneity and my obsession for Nikon (I know I look like a tourist but they just point at something else for me to take a picture of. In fact, most of the friends I have now all have cameras so we all look like the paparazzi which is just fine by me). I’ve also learned that my parents are really amazing people. I knew that before but they really give me the room to stumble, make my own mistakes and always have open arms when I cry to them about dumb I can be. I’ve learned that life goes by all too quickly; already my little sister is a high school senior and will soon be entering into this crazy world of adulthood. I’m so proud of her, for everything she stands for and how big heart is. She’s inspiring and beyond mature for her age. Not everyone has a sister like me, and I’ll selfishly keep her all to myself. Thanks.
I finally found love. But the only way I could have found it was to really find peace within myself. I believe you will only truly find happiness when you’re happy with you. Seth loves me for exactly who I am. I didn’t realize how important that feeling was until I finally had it. True, 100% love. I still don’t believe in fate. But if there is such a thing as a soul mate, I found mine. Once you have that feeling, you’ll never let it go. I could talk all day about him, but that’s for another post ;) I’ve also learned that love comes in many forms. Maverick got me through some of the loneliest parts of my life over the years. To anyone who has a pet that’s just a pet, you’ll never understand what I’m talking about. But if you’ve ever shared your ice cream with your dog, let them crawl in bed with you just so you have someone to snuggle with, if you’ve ever had you dog lick your tears because you were too in pain to even move, if your 4-legged friend has ever made you laugh just as hard as your best friend…then you know they’re more than “just a pet.” My dog isn’t just a panting, smelly, whinny mut, he’s my buddy and I love him. And I can’t wait to see him when I come home.
I didn’t take all the pictures I wanted. And not all the pictures I took came out great. But I did learn a lot, and that’s what I set out to do. I’ve never taken a class but I’ve spent hundreds of hours reading through tutorials. I’ve went through even more flickr streams constantly trying to define what style I love and how I can get there. I probably spent more time reading and learning than I did behind the camera but I will change that. I’ve tried to share what I know in hopes that I can help how others have helped me. I’m not sure there’s another community out there quite like photography. Essentially you’re training your competition and yet so many people will divulge everything they know because they are passionate about it. I absolutely love that. It’s those people who post the details behind the camera settings, that tell you how they processed a photo or spent the time posting a blog that have really helped me. And after 8760 hours have passed since I started this project, I think it’s safe to say I’m no longer a beginner. By no means have I passed amateur, but that’s what year 2 is for. I’m not entirely sure what my photographic future holds but I do know a few things for sure.
I know I’ll keep shooting. For the fear of an uprising, more self-portraits will be taken but I’ll never do another self-portrait project like this. If I ever do another year long project it will be a 365 of stuffs. I have found I love to be behind the lens, not in front of it. I may be the model for my girls on occasion but I have no desire to look at that many pictures of myself ever again. You become very aware of every single detail and flaw, and I don’t think that’s healthy! I have to focus more on the details and it’s hard to do when you’re staring at you. I did love how challenging it became, I know I wasn’t always as creative as I could have been. But I have such a finer appreciation for the other self-portrait artists I love. As I’ve grown, my appreciation for all things photography has turned into a passion and I’ve decided to upgrade my equipment. The trusty d60 has done well for me, and I will continue to shoot with it. But, I think I’ve outgrown it for what I’m hoping to accomplish in the future so the d700 will be purchased in May when I return from my deployment. I will be starting a blog and venturing outside my comfort zone searching for new faces and places to capture. I don’t know how that will take off, but I know I’ll be doing what I love and for now that’s enough for me.
I’ve realized we’re in a very new era than we’ve ever been before. I have real friends that I’ve never even met in person because of a photo-sharing website. I’ve confided and connected with people that 10 years ago I wouldn’t have even known existed. I’m posting my final thoughts about my self-portrait project from a country that’s younger than I am. I’m so blessed to be alive today instead of 400 years ago (I would not have done well without indoor plumbing). We can touch people’s lives and hearts in a way that is so new and fresh. I’ve talked to a lot of really closed minded people over the year, and I think our culture is shifting. In some ways it’s not a good thing. But, in others it’s really exciting. And I’m stoked to see the end of 2010 and beyond.
I didn’t mean for this project to take so long to wrap up, but thank you Flickr. You have all been amazing and I’m so excited to see how my life and photography will continue to grow. Some of my Flickr contacts I’ve known since the very beginning of this project, and others I met along the way. I'd list all you guys here but I'd forget someone and then I'd just feel bad. I know I’m not the best about posting and keeping in touch but trust me, as the peeps in real life will tell you I can suck at that and I really do love you guys!
Life will grow and change right around you, even if you don’t want to be a part of it so you better make sure you’re along for the ride <3