What an incredible year.
There is so much I could say about the things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met in the last 12 months. But I think I’ve documented those lessons thoroughly in this blog, and I can only hope that all of the friends I’ve made this year know how special they are to me. If someone had told me last New Years that by the end of 2013 that I would have worked with The New York Times in May, gone to Oregon for a summer internship, and then moved to New Jersey by Thanksgiving to begin a nine-month internship, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here I am, getting ready to ring in 2014 with the New York City skyline in my sight.
Just before I left for Jersey, a photographer whose work I have always admired complimented me on the improvement he’s seen in my recent images. He’s part of a group I’ve been meeting up with for a while now, and they’ve been looking at my work for what feels like a long time. At our first meeting about a year ago, I briefly considered saying I’d left my hard drive at home and had nothing to show that night. After seeing all of their photos, I was too nervous.
But I stuck around and showed a few images that night, and I kept coming back to more meetings. I might have felt completely out of my league at times, but that group is where I learned the importance of surrounding yourself with work and people you admire. Having a photo community to participate in, whether it’s a set of photographers who you follow online or a group that you have pizza and drinks with every month, is one of the best ways to improve. Whether they know it or not, that group inspired me and pushed me to look for new ways of seeing things. And they – in addition to the great photographers I worked with at The Oregonian and The New York Times Institute – taught me more than I could have ever learned on my own.
Last New Years, I couldn’t have dreamed of producing so many images that I am this proud of. This year, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can create in 2014. So here’s some of my favorites from this year, both for the memories they represent and the improvement they show.