Time flies over us and leaves it's shadows behind. This time last year I was starting my first day as a self employed photographer, or unemployed depending upon your point of view. I had no work in the diary, no business plan and as time would prove no real idea of what I was doing. What I did know was that I was delighted to have closed a chapter on a 15 year career in retail that ultimately disappointed, took up far too much of my time and if I'm brutally honest, made me unhappy. 15 years is a long time when you are 31 and sitting here a year later, I can honestly tell you that life is too short to worry about the what-ifs and to just get out and take care of the things you can.
The opening sentence is true, I can't believe where a year has gone. Strangely though, I almost can't remember a time before, this photography thing has become such an extension of me it's as though it has always been there. The year itself has been an incredible adventure that has led me to some wonderful places, opened up unthinkable access to events that I have always dreamed of going to and perhaps most importantly introduced me to some fabulous people, people that I am certain will become life long friends. Conversely there have stressful times, sleepless nights and anxiety induced by not having a clue what I'm doing. The learning curve has followed a gradient that at times has been perpendicular to the ground, I've had to learn to be self motivating, self critical and develop networking skills that don't come naturally to me. My comfort zone has not been somewhere I have necessarily spent a lot of time this last year, but the rewards this has engineered have been more than I ever could have hoped.
As tough as it has been at times, I don't wish to come across as someone who bemoans the struggle. I'm sure it's the same for anyone attempting to forge a career, I am not unique in that regard, and I have to acknowledge the incredibly fortunate position I am in to even have the opportunity to pursue a life as a professional photographer, not many people get to follow their dreams and this is a fact that will never be lost on me. I am also not naïve enough to yet consider myself a professional. I've come a long way in a year, but I'm still not what I would call a pro. There is still so much to learn and so many boxes to tick before I can truly attest to being a professional, jobbing tog. But I will invest some time for some private reflection on what I have achieved this year, as important as it is to constantly evaluate and strive to improve, I think one also needs to take a moment to enjoy success as well.
I couldn't write this post without acknowledging all of the people that have helped me out this year, given their time, cooked me dinner on the road, fed me beer, listened to my fears or offered encouragement. There are too many of you to name and this isn't an awards speech, but I am humbled to have met you all. I must make a special mention of my dear old Mum though and my Old Man. Dad for being the person that instigated my obsession with motorsport and Mum for being chairman of the board, I couldn't and wouldn't be sitting here without the constant support and the upbringing I've had. So here's to the upcoming year, I'm looking forward to more adventures, catching up with friends and making new ones. It kicks off with a bang in a few weeks when I attend the Hero Events Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo, which I couldn't be more excited for.
This time next year Rodders...