I recently caught up with a good friend of mine who returned from working overseas for a year. We had studied for our PhDs at the same university and we shared an office and worked together at another university. It was great to see him after a long time and we caught up on all of the stuff that he’d been up to in the time away. We spent quite a lot of time talking about his work and there was a point during the conversation when I had a realisation – while I was interested in everything my friend was talking about, I felt nothing pulling me back to it. When I first became a photographer, the plan was that I would do it for a while until I wanted to go back to science. But I realised at that instant of our conversation, I am so content doing what I do, it’s not even a consideration. If anything, I’m even further away from going back to science now than I was when I finished up in March 2012. But who knows, never say never eh?
My happiness stems from so many things but basically, my life is intensely satisfying. The opportunities and adventures that I have in my life are ones that I never could have expected for myself and I want to take advantage of those opportunities each and every day. But I don’t think that I am special in any way – I feel like these are things that we can all have. Kristen and I have built up our business based around being good to people and doing stuff the right way and we’re so humbly grateful for the outcomes that get from them. I’m writing this from our beautiful villa surrounded by quiet paddy fields in Ubud, Bali and we’re heading to Malaysia later today to photograph a wedding there on Friday. All of this comes from bartering with couples and we get these amazing experiences that we wouldn’t ordinarily be afforded. Doing things differently is really working out for us and we’re privileged that we’re able to live this way.
This year has been quite a surprising one to be honest. It started out in a haze of weddings, I worked out that I shot 34 from Nov 2012 – April 2013 and then headed off to Europe to do a little holidaying, catching up with family and friends as well as shooting weddings in Sweden and The Netherlands. While I was in England, I was invited to speak at the Folio Final Fling which was utterly and completely nerve-wracking but ultimately a great experience where I met a whole bunch of lovely and like minded photographers. I was also interviewed by Professional Photographer Magazine for their October Special Edition (I met PP’s editor Adam at the Final Fling) and subsequently asked to write a monthly column on ethical photography, sustainability and social responsibility as a photographer of which the very first column has just appeared in the January edition of PP. I also had my very first magazine cover with the beautiful Hayley and Jon featured on the front of Helly May #2 and a number of other magazine appearances (including a surprising one for Houses magazine featuring some images of a beautiful off-the-grid shack that one of my friends designed). Kristen and I also ran our very first workshop, “the be nice + take nice photographs workshop”, and we think it was a huge success (and the feedback said it was pretty ace too!). Not only did we get to meet some AMAZING photographers (who were also great people), since the workshop some of them have been excitedly working towards forming a collective around encouraging and supporting the ideas that we talked about. This collective will be open in the future to other photographers who want to be part of a community of nice and like-minded photographers who are dedicated to creating sustainable and ethical photography businesses. But more on that in 2014!
As well as Kristen working with me full time since July, in the last few weeks I’ve been able to expand a little more and bring my dear friend Cass on board. She joins the team along with Social Media Guru Quark and Image Retouching Expert Meow (trust me, you’ll want to click this one)!
If you had told me that all of these things would have happened in 2013 in December 2012, I probably would have laughed in your face. But they did, and I still pinch myself everyday.
Thank you for your support over the past 12 months and that goes for all of the people that like, comment and give me feedback on my images. I also really appreciate all the bloggers and website owners who want to feature my work, thank you for giving me a platform to show the world my images. And to all of the couples who asked me to photograph for you, I am grateful for your belief, you help make me into who I am. And finally to Kristen, the dearest person and most amazing thing that has ever happened to me, none of this would have happened without her heart, brain and ideas – I am who I am because of her. Also, without her love and encouragement, I never would have had the courage to take the path I am taking now, I’d probably still be stuck in a lab somewhere writing Medical Physics software!
Have a wonderful break over the Christmas/New Year period and I’m looking forward to seeing you in 2014, there’s quite a few weddings waiting in the queue to be featured on the blog. In the meantime, here are some of my favourite images from the past year (and there’s still 2 weddings to go before we’re done!).