2011 was a lot of fun…. I shot a number of race track events (drag strip and road course), portraits, an engagement shoot and wedding, several architectural jobs, family events, collaborative shoots with other photographers, a non-profit organization to help families with special-needs children (THE most rewarding shoot I did all year!), and more. I spent some great quality time shooting with photographers who helped me see things differently and how to try new techniques.. I also took the chance to shoot for another photographer, who was able to give me some great feedback on my shots in order to help me get even better (Dito, owner of http://www.gotbluemilk.com).
Facebook has been a great way to show off my work and get in touch with other photographers and groups with similar interests. I’ve found inspiration and motivation by looking through the work of other photographers, which has helped really push me to a new level with my techniques. I’m very thankful for the talented people whom I’ve had the chance to work with this year, whether it was just ‘playing around’ in a studio (Tim), or a location shoot with multiple models and other photographers (Byron, Greg, Coree, Katie, Lisa, Linda, Donna, Monica, Tom). There are still other photographers I have yet to work with (or even meet), whose work inspires me.. I hope to get to meet some of them next year – Jim Perdue, I’m talking to you.
One photographer in particular who has really inspired me, and not even as a result of their photography, is Jen Burgess-Thompson. I followed her work on Facebook, along with a ton of other photographers whose work inspired me. On August 30 of this year, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She bravely shared updates on her diagnosis, emotions, fears and frustrations with all her readers. She created a blog, where she (and her friends) could update everyone on her treatments. Jen saw an outpouring of messages, love, well-wishes and prayers from thousands of followers, including many people she had never met. Jen is still undergoing chemo treatment, but her CA125 levels are now within “normal” ranges. Jen’s strength through this challenge is inspiring, she’s not looking for pity or handouts.. more than anything, she wants people to see that she is not the “typical” cancer patient… she’s young, takes care of herself, has no family history, and there’s nothing that stands out in her history that would have been an indicator that she may end up getting cancer some day… and by her not fitting the typical profile of a cancer patient, it should increase everyone’s awareness.. and hopefully plant the seed in other people’s minds that they should get checked too. Jen – I don’t know you beyond Facebook.. but you are inspiring.
Finally.. I have to give credit where credit is due – my amazing (and beautiful) wife, Emily. She’s been supportive and encouraging of my photography for years, and this past year was no exception. I sincerely appreciate your support and understanding of the long days. Also, to my great friends and family who constantly inspire me (Reese, that’s you, buddy) and encourage me to ‘do more’… thank you.
So, as we wrap up 2011, I’m excited about what 2012 has in store… new photos, new friends, new opportunities and new challenges.. and with any luck, more new equipment!