It's en vogue to trash on 2016 right now. A spat of celebrity deaths to end the year, plus numerous notable deaths throughout, along with an unsavory American presidential election have lead to dozens of trending hashtags declaring 2016 to be the worst ever. And while 2016 has put me through some of my more devastating hardships, it hasn't passed without awarding me my greatest triumphs.
The triumphs would not be possible without some people in my life. I experienced possibly the worst financial troubles I've ever had to face and I have had to rely on the love and charity of others to get me through. My gratitude has reached levels nearing shame for having to rely so heavily on my loved ones. I shall keep them nameless as their acts were not done for public recognition but were done out of the kindness of their hearts. Much of my adult life was spent believing myself to be lonely and unloved, my shame derives from being proven wrong. I am not lonely nor am I unloved. I am humbled and eternally grateful. My goal for 2017 is to be more like the people around me showing me their love. I can't continue to live in the darkness. I have to live by their example and carry the light.
2016 saw the end of my freelance career. Well, full time freelance at least. I took a full time job photographing jewelry. In an age where the staff photographer position is hard to come by, I lept at the opportunity to fulfill that role. Photographing jewelry was something I had no experience doing but I somehow weaseled my way in to the gig. I struggled at first, but now I am proud of the work I do there. While it's a small family run operation some of our clients include Sears, David's Bridal, and a number of other major retail chains throughout the US. Using my experience there I applied for my dream job at a big name company in the online box subscription world. I was confident in how I interviewed and my inside man told me they loved me. In the phone interview they even talked about salary and benefits, which to me was a clue they had me pegged as a candidate. I was right, but they didn't pick me. Unfortunately, they selected a candidate who had interviewed before me. Not because they liked them more, and not because they didn't like me enough, it was simply because they wanted to go with their first instinct. While I was devastated I go on knowing I am capable of working for larger companies. I have taken this confidence and I am putting more effort in my current job. I hope to leave massive shoes to fill once I move on.
In 2015 I attended an NYCFC game and wondered how I get on the pitch to photograph a game. So, I set a goal - photograph an NYCFC game. But I had no idea how to do that. Then one day I saw an ad posted on CraigsList - Wanted: photographer for local amateur soccer league. Perfect! I can build a portfolio of amateur soccer and use it to get myself a job photographing the pro game. I managed to land the gig and began shooting. Soccer is a lot more difficult to photograph than I imagined, especially when kickoff isn't until 10pm. I needed the power of the sun to pull off what I truly wanted. But, as it turns out, proving I could do it at night is exactly what I needed. I answered another ad looking sports photographers. Turns out they recently got credential approval for MLS and I could start shooting the 2016 season with the NYCFC pre-season press conference on Thursday followed by game 1 on Saturday. Strangely, my first day of my new day job was Wednesday. I found out I got both of these gigs on the very same day. I had also met my girlfriend's parents earlier in the week and they seemed to like me too so overall, March 2016 was a great month.
2016 has set a high bar for 2017. I hope my worst financial crises are behind me and I hope my greatest achievements are ahead of me. I am gearing up to launch my e-commerce page to start selling prints. I plan on shooting more weddings, as I've done two in 2016 and feel great about them. I will shoot more amateur and pro soccer. I will continue doing my best at my day job but will keep my eyes out for bigger fish to fry.
Say what you want about 2016 but I'd do the whole thing all over again.