So, it's been another year since my last blog post. This seems to be becoming a habit. I'd make a bunch of promises about updating more regularly, but let's just see how things go in 2018. As my sales colleagues would say, 'under-promise and over-deliver'. Maybe if I make no promises I can exceed all expectations?
This year has been another step back up and toward the track, but with far too much emphasis on my day job to the detriment of my photography. With recruitment happening currently to split my role, I'm aiming to take back control of my working hours and work-life balance in 2018 so I can focus more on my photography and my own life, and less on the aims and goals of the company I work for.
With so many hours consumed by my day job, it feels like I didn't achieve much with my photography or do much generally this year, but I did take an awful lot of photos with my iPhone, posting 511 photos to Instagram. And despite feeling like I didn't get much editing done, especially in the last few months of the year, I did manage to work through quite a lot of photos from my travels in 2012.
I turned 40 in April, which felt quite surreal. Well... it still feels quite surreal. I'm completely at peace with my age - a stark contrast to 10 years ago when I was on the cusp of 30 and suffering from anxiety and depression, diagnosed with anhedonia - but there's a large part of me that feels about 23, not 40. It's probably not helped by the fact I work in a junior role during the day; I don't own a home, have any kids or a significant other; my finances are a mess; and people regularly mistake me for being late 20s or, at most, 30.
2017 marked the first time in over 12 years that I've not taken any 'proper' self-portraits. You know, the kind that involve my dSLR, potentially a tripod, and more than five minutes of premeditation. While in a way that feels kind of sad and disappointing, in some ways it's been a relief not to be in front of my own lens for a bit. I'm sure 2018 will bring more self-portraiture, but sometimes it's good to look outward, not inward all the time (or maybe it's just another side effect of being a workaholic...)
Speaking of self-portraiture, I finally had a chance to catch Paranoid, the television series some of my images were licensed for, thanks to my friend, Aer. The range of images licensed was pretty broad, so I wasn't sure whether I would see my work as wall art in the homes or offices of the characters, or what, if anything, might be used. So I was more than a little amused to find a selection of my self-portraiture appear in the hands of major characters as evidence toward the end of the series!
Amongst the many days I spent gallery-hopping with friends this year - seeing more exhibitions than films for once - Phil and I managed to get out and about in May to explore part of London with our pinhole cameras.
My Flickr friend, kegangd, gifted me with one of his homemade pinhole cameras which arrived just before my birthday. The negative size is 6x9, so the lab I took the films to could process the film but not scan them correctly, so Phil will be scanning them for me in the new year so I can finally share them in the proper format. The above is a quick edit of one of the cropped scans from the lab.
This year brought more changes on a personal and professional level: Kyle moved out in May and my current flatmate moved in at the end of June; and our company moved offices in June from London Bridge to a co-working office right by St Dunstan in the East church garden.
With Hornsey Gas Holder No. 3 being dismantled in late February and invisible above ground by the end of March, my attention was drawn even closer to home, with my local kit of pigeons drawing my eye and my iPhone lens throughout the year.
This year included a fleeting visit to Manchester for work, but the highlight of my travels was spending a week travelling up and down the country with Mum and Dad during their visit in June and July. We visited some places I'd been to before, and a number of places I hadn't.
I was pleased to have my parents visit me and to spend the time with them during their stay, though it was a stark reminder that while I don't feel 40, time is marching on. It was quickly evident my Dad's itinerary was a little over ambitious for them in the time allotted, but we managed to see quite a lot and cover a lot of ground even then.
I'm looking forward to being able to spend time with Mum and Dad again in 2018 on their home turf. I'll finally have the chance to visit them at their home in Tasmania in March, where they moved just after my last visit to Australia in December 2012/January 2013.
The visit will also give me the chance to catch up with my Uncle John and his partner for the first time since 2013; and visit friends and family in Melbourne - many I've not seen 'in the flesh' since leaving Melbourne in September 2009.
Conveniently, a number of my friends from Brisbane have moved south, so I feel less guilty restricting my time in Australia to just Melbourne and Tasmania.
I'm also looking forward to being a bridesmaid for the first time! It's more than a little daunting and a little bit of a logistical nightmare, but I'll be one of three bridesmaids for Erin and Nick's wedding near Christchurch, New Zealand, in March. It will be wonderful to see them both so many years after they left London and to be there for their special day. It'll also give me a chance to pop into Wellington to see some old and new friends.
While this year feels like it passed in a heartbeat, it has mostly been a good one, spent with good friends, and I'm hopeful for 2018. I just need to re-channel the energy and commitment I had this year for my day job toward my photography.
However you're spending the turn of this year into the next, I hope 2018 holds good things for you.