2014 Year In Review
December 29, 2014
Well, 2014 is drawing to a close. With less than a week remaining, I wanted to look back over my work a bit, and share with you some of the more notable things that took place.
The year started off with one of New York's most brutal winters in a long time. The cold brought snow, and along with it, buzz phrases like "polar vortex" and proper names for winter storms like Hercules. New York is extremely resilient on its best days when the elements are beating down on it, and it looks good, too.
As the temperatures continued to dip, Improv Everywhere managed to choose one of the milder winter days to do their 13th annual No Pants Subway Ride. This would mark the first time I would ever photograph something for a publication on assignment. I was asked to cover the annual prank for the folks at Gothamist, and things went without a hitch. It was definitely a different working scenario than what I was used to, but it was fun to be a part of something that has been a staple in not-so-random NYC occurrences for so many years.
That would end up being the only time I'd shoot for Gothamist the entire year, but it wouldn't be my last paid assignment. February would mark the first time I'd shoot a concert with an actual photo pass. After shooting a few smaller acts at local venues, and getting a taste of what a big concert experience is in 2013 after winning the opportunity to photograph Alicia Keys, I was really excited to be shooting for Live Nation. Throughout the year, I'd end up shooting a number of shows at Irving Plaza and Gramercy Theatre. I've been to more shows this year than I ever have in my entire life, and what was even better, I was able to take home souvenirs in the photographs.
It wouldn't stop there, though. The shows I would shoot at these two venues provided huge portfolio building opportunities for me, and that portfolio would eventually grant me the opportunity to shoot for Village Voice and Stereogum, which was very exciting. It was also exciting when an artist would appreciate my work enough to share it with their audience. Knowing that they enjoyed what I captured and wanted their fans to see it meant a lot to me, especially when these people receive constant streams of notifications. For them to take a second and share a photo of mine was nice.
The biggest of those assignments was shooting Made In America over Labor Day weekend. It was a whirlwind of activity and would be the biggest event I'd shoot all year—but not the best. That award goes to the Common concert I shot at Irving Plaza earlier this month. Being able to create images for acts I like, as well as for record labels and blogs...that felt really good. I'm eagerly anticipating what's to come in 2015 with my concert work. I can only hope it's as good as 2014.
Although I shot a lot of concerts this year—28 concerts and 3 festivals in 4 cities—I still made time for other things I love. I made sure to explore NYC like I usually do, and any time I traveled, I did the same. I spent some time in Los Angeles in February, and San Francisco in June. It was great to wander around these cities and observe how they breathe; to be a part of its everyday existence for a few days. I made use of whatever camera I had available, whether it was my SLR or my phone.
While exploring my own city, I also made some time to tend to my abstract project in a few ways. I made 13 new pieces, and I gave the project its own page and .nyc domain. The project gave me a chance to visit some locations I had never been to before, and to see familiar locations in a different light. I also made the decision to bring the project to a close in 2015. It's been a lot of fun and I'll be happy to see it completed.
While the year was very productive, I still had moments where I felt like I just wasn't getting enough done, and like my goals weren't being realized. I worried about having an engaging following online. I worried about the financial burden I was creating for myself in the name of my art. I worried about the masses not agreeing with my own opinion of what I create. It's a feeling that comes and goes, but I can say that overall, I feel happy with what I have accomplished. I also made sure to show the kind of appreciation that I would like to receive from others. I supported Kickstarter projects I believed in, several of which were successfully funded and produced. I purchased a friend's book, and I gave my time and skill to charity on more than one occasion. Lomography's Petzval Lens, Justin Benzel'sThe 5th Dimension, and Vivienne Gucwa's NY Through the Lens were all things I showed my support for. I also gave my time to the New York Children's Theater Festival and Rainforest Action Network to give some visibility to their causes. I encourage you all to show support for people and projects you're rooting for. A comment, share, or a dollar really does add up.
Speaking of support, a major thanks to those of you who helped put a dent in the cost of my 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 lens when I started a short fund-raiser. That really was a huge help, and that lens got some heavy use this year; it was with me at every single concert. Not only that, but I also wanted to extend a huge thank you to anyone who came out to one of the shows where my work was hanging this year. Preparing for an art show can be really daunting, so having familiar faces around was especially comforting. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Who knows what 2015 will hold? I made some potentially excellent connections throughout the year, especially during the portfolio reviews, so I'm looking forward to what is in store. I don't plan on slowing down, but I do plan on being more careful. I want to be more careful with my investments, and concentrate my energy on things that are working well, while discarding the things that weren't working at all. I stopped selling prints through this site, and deactivated a few extraneous social networks that I wasn't actively updating. Now I'm ready to tackle 2015 head on, and I hope you are too. Whether you're happy with what you've done in 2014, or just happy for it to be ending, I hope that 2015 brings you better things than you've ever experienced.