That time of year again, to reflect and contemplate. For me, that means an exercise in reviewing and selecting my favorite images that I’ve taken over the past 365 days. How many to include? Why one over another? What order to display them in?
All good questions; none with great answers. My photos, my (arbitrary) rules, my stories.
In date order, here you go:
“An Intimate Portrait”
This photo is representative of a project and series of photos I took. My father and his siblings were kind enough to play along with me as I met with each of them and their spouses for a brief interview and photo session. This particular photo appeals to me for the tender embrace and placement of their hands. Also for the care that went into my aunt prepping for her photo shoot; choosing a perfect blouse to complement her skin; the beautiful strand of pearls and the makeup done just so. It was a fun experience for me. I learned a ton about my relatives and some of the things that shaped my own childhood and upbringing. And I’m glad that I embarked on the project when I did. Sadly, we lost one of my uncles this year. I’m thankful for the time I had with each of them.
I don’t like to pick favorites, but every time I ran across this image in my catalog it stopped me. I was on my first wedding shoot, acting as the second shooter. I was privileged to have been with the bride and her father just prior to the doors opening to her new world. You can almost feel each of the powerful emotions she must be experiencing in that last private moment. I absolutely love this shot.
I live here? Really I do? Yes. I do. This shot was taken on the shores of Lake Michigan while on a shoot with a friend who requested my help with her website. Peace. Tranquility. All just a short distance from my front door. It’s a good reminder of how blessed I am with Mother Nature’s abundant beauty so nearby.
Unscripted. Pure youthful exuberance and joy. That gap in his smile! Maybe this takes me back to my first Major League game with my own parents. When I was his age, I was fortunate enough to get an actual game ball. Just like this one. I had no concept of how lucky I was and how rare an occurrence that is. CitiField in New York marked my 25th separate visit to a Major League stadium. Only five more to go!
A friend diagnosed with cancer. Scary shit. The strength to stand and fight, on her own terms. She wasn’t going to let her hair fall out due to chemo, she was going to cut it all off when SHE chose. Her kids decorated her hair before they helped remove it. Her husband, in his own show of support, shaved his head as well. This shot taken at the end of an emotional, ceremonial exercise. That shadow! She’s still fighting; still smiling; still awesome. It wouldn’t hurt that if you pray, send one her way. Keep her and her family in your thoughts, or others you know that are fighting their own battles. And remember to embrace each day for none of us know what tomorrow may hold. Rock on, woman.
My niece is a senior in high school and was one of a handful of kids who asked me to handle their senior photos for them. This was my first year doing something like this, and for the most part, I enjoyed it. I could have chosen almost ANY of the images from my session with her as she was so comfortable and confident in nearly every one of them. I liked this one, however, because I was trying something a little different than what I’d done before. She made my job easy.
“Morning in Motown.”
There was effort in this one! Waking up in the middle of the night, to get to Detroit before sunrise? On a weekday when you’ve got to work after? Heck yeah! A bit spontaneous. A fair amount of uncertainty. But worth it in the end? Absolutely!
“Make a Wish.”
I got to spend time with this young lady and her family on their farm, looking for fun or interesting spots for pictures. It’s the ‘between’ moments that are sometimes the best. Unrehearsed, unexpected. Another instant of innocence and fun.
I don’t know who she is. I’m not sure she ever got to see this photo. I tried to send it to the organizers of the event in the hopes they might be able to share it with her. She was a volunteer at a public art exhibit. There was something about the light, the flaking paint, the way she looked dead into my lens and didn’t flinch. Who knows how long she’d been there that day? Or how many other people had already pointed their cameras her direction? I do know that this is another image that stops me every time I see it and I’m happy that she put up with me.
“Friends in High Places.”
I’ve met some cool people and had some pretty awesome opportunities recently. This is an example of both. She wanted an updated profile photo for her employer’s website. Something a little less traditional and more authentic maybe. She also knows the right people to get us access to the helipad on the roof of one of the taller buildings in West Michigan. This photo makes me smile because she played along. We tried a few ‘posed’ shots prior to this. Finally something clicked and we both relaxed. Totally her. Totally powerful. Effervescent. Fun!
“Go stand over in that doorway, will you?” By no means am I a pro or do I get things right every time, but the combination of the light, the colors and my subject told me this had the makings of something good. It was a cool, rainy, day. We were wandering through a back alleyway looking for stuff that captured our interest. Her coat. Her scarf. Her eyes. The shades of green in the door and the shadows. It’s gritty. It’s real. I like it! And I like that I’ve suckered someone else along into this creative hobby. Sorry not sorry!
“Into the Mist.”
Plans change. I started out intending to go to a camera store that afternoon. Before I got out of town, the foggy weather had me convinced that I needed to change course. Instead of looking at cameras and gear, I needed to go USE my camera. I knew the exact spot I wanted to go. I pass by this barn often enough to sense there’s something I like about it. The conditions made it irresistible. There are more shots of this place waiting to be had. I’ll have to be patient to find the exact mood I’m looking for.
That’s it. Twelve of my favorites from 2014. As we tear the last page off another calendar I want to say “thank you” for following along. For your ‘likes’ and comments on my photos. I do this because I enjoy it. I enjoy it even more when I realize there are others who find value in what I’m doing.
Happy New Year!