I’m going to step out on a limb here, and call myself a photographer. Never a title or description I’ve accepted for prior to this year, and one that I still have a little trouble wearing comfortably. For sake of this post and possibly for my own self-image, “I’m a photographer.”
Something I’ve noticed that successful photographers sometimes do is come up with a list of their 10, or 12, or 13 ‘best’ images from their year. The reasons vary, but one of the primary emphases seems to be an exercise of self-evaluation. What images best represent their work?
It’s a difficult process. Whittling through an extensive catalog of pictures, even throwing out several that are ‘really good.’ I’ve been at this a very short time (essentially since May of this year) and I have over 6,500 images saved in my catalog. I’m learning that it is also about culling the herd, and deleting some of the junk. Yes, I’ve got lots of ‘junk’ among those 6,500 images.
I’ve set my number at ’10.’ Don’t ask me why, I’m not really sure. But 10 it is.
Following, in date order, are my 10 favorite images from the year 2013:
Peru. The Giving Lens. In May I had the opportunity to travel with a group of 12 other photographers to Cusco, Peru. Without going into too much detail about the trip, it was life-changing. This was one of the children we had a chance to interact with while there. Such a beautiful, genuine smile. Her face just puts me at peace.
Another image from Peru. The bewildered expression. The intensity in the eyes. The dirt smudged on her cheeks. The colors in her clothing mixed with the stuccoed wall behind her. My photography has a lot of room to improve, but I think this is an image that’ll always be one of my all-time favorites.
The intimacy of being invited into their home and sharing a few moments with this family. Again I say, my trip to Peru was life-changing. I posted about this previously: Welcome to our Home.
Jack. What a good sport. One of my closest friends and his kid came to visit me this summer. Jack has an interest in photography so we got talking and soon experimenting. Jack put up with me while I set up lights and lit several smoke bombs under his feet. This image worked. Seems like a poster from a Terminator movie to me. I just love his stoic expression. Actually, I think maybe that’s just the face he makes when he’s trying to hold his breath?
One of the few images that I like simply because of the picture. No real back story; no deep emotional connection. Love the hints of purple picked up in the flowers in the foreground.
Jordan River, Northern Michigan. Another image that captures my interest strictly on its visual appeal. However there’s emotion with this one for me too, based on the people I was with. Genuine, authentic, good people. And great memories.
Reflection. This picture was taken on a night when I was frustrated with something; at this point I can’t even recall what it was. I had in mind a place that I thought would be good for a sunset shot. This wasn’t it. But as I drove past, I had to stop. This gap out to Lake Michigan just called to me. I sat in the weeds a few feet off the road and let go of whatever it was that was bothering me.
My niece and nephew. Great kids. Photographically, I like the colors and the light on their faces. Deeper, I like their spirits that shine through. Emily-a beautiful and goofy young woman, perfectly at ease. Her brother Anthony, a bit more uncertain in front of my lens. Yet his mischievousness still somehow pops through here.
Atlanta after dark. If you know me, you might say I’m a little bit adventurous, perhaps spontaneous at times. I grabbed this image at the close of a long day. There was this car for sale, in Florida. So I flew down from Michigan, bought a car, drove to Atlanta, and rested for the night with this view just outside my balcony.
Found in a junkyard. While touring an auto salvage yard scouring for interesting images of cars, I came across this. An old boxing glove. Bleached and faded, lying in a puddle of mud. And a cigarette, casually discarded that found its way next to the glove. I’m a sucker for stories. I’d love to know more about how these items came to end up here.
That’s it. My favorite 10 moments and images from the past year.
If you’re reading this and you found yourself the target of my camera at any point during this past year-know that I seriously considered including a photo of you. For it is the people that I find most interesting.
There’s something about capturing a glance or a smile that offers a glimpse into who you are. I have thoroughly enjoyed this process of taking photos; distilling the images; and sharing with you these Moments of 2013.