I was going to title this post “The Best of 2014″, but I think it’s more appropriate to review those favorites, those “bests”, and figure out why I like those above all others. This time of year has a way of forcing us all to take stock. As we’re wrapping up 2014 and looking toward 2015, it’s just one of those times we naturally reflect on things.
If you had the chance to listen to me speak at the 2014 Out of Chicago Photography Conference, one of the things I spent a good amount of time discussing is taking the time, periodically, and hopefully more than once a year, to go through your work. Both what was made recently and even work that was made in years past. Pick it apart, uncover common threads and themes that keep cropping up from one year to the next. Was that favorite from last year just a trend you jumped in on or a gimmick or something that truly speaks to you? Believe me, I’ve come to all three conclusions. This is not a quick process, but the more you shoot and review the work the more you discover your own voice and what all this means to you and what you’re trying to convey.
What did I figure out this year? Well, architecture is still what most interests me, those small town roots still can’t get over living here and I’m amazed and excited to be here everyday. And because I’m a very detail oriented person, abstracts, isolation, minimalism, simplicity…creating order out of the larger scene is still what appeals to me most. Shooting this way is very meditative for me and couldn’t we all use different forms of meditation in this crazy world?!
I didn’t complete any profound series this year and most of the work I did was adding to those smaller series that don’t seem to have an ending. And I’m okay with that.
However, in 2013 I did create an image that stuck with me, something that was a bit different than how I typically shoot, so into a random folder for future perusal it went. Then one spring day I was wandering around the lakefront and shot another image reminiscent of that 2013 image, it’s the first image you see below. Not until I started writing the blog post for that image did I start uncovering what this series could be and where I wanted to go with it. There’s no specific end to this series, Urban Quilt, either but it’s a slightly new direction and one I’m excited about. (By the way, someone far more talented with creative writing suggested the image looked like a quilt, I so apologize I can’t remember exactly who suggested the name, but I thank you very much and feel free to remind me…please!)
So, that’s what I learned and reinforced this year. It’s always an evolution, because aren’t we always evolving? In our work and in our personal lives, the two cannot exist independently of one another so keep your eyes and minds open in the new year and always!
The majority of the rest of these images remain a bit more typical to my shooting and processing style, black and white, architectural details and abstracts. There are a lot of wispy, interesting cloud formations paired up with the architecture. Another very common thread throughout my work. Despite living in a big city for quite a long time now, I grew up spending my days in nature. The two worlds are always intertwined.
Thanks for sharing 2014 with me! It’s been a crazy, wonderful year full of many surprises. The majority of the images above are personal projects and while I didn’t shoot as much for my personal work this year, I was lucky enough to be busy with some truly amazing photo assignments. From my first commercial shoot for an architectural firm to working with a few art consulting firms, selling work to both hotel clients and private collectors and a dream job spending 9 days in Paris creating artwork for an international hotel brand! I’m still amazed!
Not to mention my first time teaching photography at the Out of Chicago Photography Conference as well as presenting at a few local camera clubs. Winning a number of awards through IPA, PX3, ND Awards, Gallery Photographica, NYC4PA… a group exhibition in NYC and publications in Stark and The Plus One Collection, both publications helping amazing causes. And a feature of some of my architectural work on NatGeo’s Your Shot Blog!
I’m so grateful for such an amazing year and for all the photographers I’ve had the chance to meet over the last few years, both in person and online, here in Chicago and elsewhere. And for the amazing art consultants and creative teams behind the photo assignments I’ve been involved in this year. The photography is fun but but the relationships and friendships developed make it all that much more fantastic.
I wish you all the best in 2015!
Thanks for that great summary of your year. I've been all over the place with my photography and definitely do not have a theme, so it was nice to hear about your process. A quick question, I am heading to Sicily in April for a photography class and want to focus on B & W. Are you using Lightroom? I love the feel of your B & W pictures. Happy New Year!
Thank you always for the inspiration in your pictures and adventures you take-
Hi Melissa! Typically I do basic adjustments in LR on the color image (wb, highlight, shadow, contrast) then take the image to PS. Here I usually apply one of the b&w actions I have from when I was doing portrait work, and adjust opacity, then might use the curves adjustment layers to tweak things. Then back to LR for further playing around with the black, white, highlight, shadows, contrast and clarity sliders. I don't always mess with all of them it just depends on each image.
You can definitely do a lot of this, actually all of it, in LR and adjusting the color sliders in LR after converting to b&w is a great way to boost contrast and change the feeling of the image.
I hope some of this helps and feel free to ask any other questions you might have.
Sicily sounds amazing! Have a fantastic trip!!!
I love this post. So much of it translates to all creative endeavors and life in general. And the pics are amazing, as always! Happy New Year!
Thanks so much Christie! I agree, I definitely think it applies to anything creative. Happy New Year to you too!
i've admired your work on Out of Chicago, but this is my first time visiting your site...after reading this post, i'm kicking myself for not stopping by sooner!
your photos are obviously phenomenal, but your words are what really resonated with me. i especially appreciated your thoughts on creating order out of a larger scene. i enjoy shooting the most when i feel connected to the essence of the moment and the subject, and the pursuit of creating a photograph that is true to that essence through, among other things, creating order is extremely rewarding.
maybe that interpretation is different from what you're getting at...but regardless, your words prompted some welcomed reflection! i'm off to go inspect my Lightroom library, but i'll be following your photos and thoughts more closely in 2015... keep up the great work!
Thank you very much Kyle! I appreciate the comment and I think we're both on the same page with what we like to shoot or at least what we like to get out of creating images. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read the post and comment. It means a lot! I hope you have an amazing 2015!
I loved reading your year in review and can only speak from the "otherside" , we at Le Meridien Hotels are so excited about the work we have done together and love every image of the Paris shoot - as well as all the pieces feature in the LM Oakbrook Chicago ... we look forward to more projects with you as well as the reveal of your beautiful work in Paris!! All the best for 2015!
Thank you so much Julie! It's been so amazing working with you this year and everyone else involved in both the Oakbrook and Paris projects. I most definitely hope to work with you again this year. I hope your 2015 is off to a fantastic start!