I have 7 blogs started and unpublished on here. Seven – I just counted. And they are unpublished for a very silly (but very “me”) reason, and that reason is, like always at the beginning of the year, we have a new website in the works, and I’ve been putting new content on hold until it can be occupying the new, hypothetically better space of that new website. I say this is very “me” because I’ve been known to put things on hold until *fill in the blank* happens, and I’m working on that.
And the funny thing is, I actually really, really enjoy blogging – new website or old. I’m a writer, and I even once had a blog about DIY projects and sustainable living in NYC (for real, check out Meanwhile in Brooklyn for a good laugh.) Blogging has always filled a space for me creatively that not much else can. I keep a journal, and I keep much of my poetry to myself these days, so blogging for me has always been a way for my writing to feel (somewhat) heard, or at least it gives me the illusion of it being read.
I can’t say that those 7 would-be blogs will be coming out any time soon, but this post is one I didn’t want to skip – my favorite photos we’ve taken this year. Every time we photograph a wedding, as I work I feel confident. I’m thinking, “Oh yeah, I like this, I think I’m pretty good at this,” and then I’m editing and thinking “Gosh, I’m a bad photographer.” Then I edit and cull the images and look at the final product, and I’m like, “Okay, maybe I’m not the worst, maybe I do kinda sorta like my own work.” And then I compile my favorite images of the year and I feel like maybe I’ve accidentally stumbled into my “calling,” two and half years ago when I picked up my camera for the sake of taking stills instead of video for once, cheesy as that sounds. Alex and I like to equate our films to novels – they tell whole story. But in my photography, I’ve found so many similarities to my poetry – the quick glimpse, the opportunity to look back at the same thing over and over again and find something new, the movement of something still, the many ways different minds can interpret the same thing. In a lot of ways, the act of taking and editing my photos has filled the space that writing poetry once filled. The new website (and new branding that will be coming along with it) will seek to extrapolate on this correlation, and try and further stake out my specific place in the world of photography.
On January 1st our business will be 3 years old. 3 years of filming weddings, 2 years of photographing them, and 1 year of wedding florals. That seems teeny tiny (and it kind of is, compared to everyone else,) but I really don’t remember what it was like to do anything else. This year we had a baby, we took less weddings, and it felt like maybe we went backwards. I began to doubt for the first time whether or not self-employment is for us – the having to work through things I should be calling out of work for, the financial hardship and uncertainty, the way I so quickly fall into unhealthy comparison to my peers, the way I feel like I’m never not working but also feel like I’m never working as hard as I should be. Whenever I feel like we should be in a different, further-along place with our business I used to say, “It’s only our first year.” Then, “It’s only our second year.” And I know 3 years is nothing, but it’s feeling less and less like I can console myself with our newbie-ness.
No answers or tidy conclusions to be found here my friends! This year was one of transition for us, and surprise, surprise, we haven’t found neat answers to this year’s questions just because the year is coming to an end. But we meandered through the journey of pregnancy and welcoming Kahlo earthside. We made SO many new friends (yay!) because of the new community we’ve become a part of here in Grand Rapids and because of becoming parents and discovering that whole new community. We were welcomed to capture 17 weddings this year (for 2017, how perfect is that?) – admittedly, this is a low number for us. Kahlo was due smack dab in the middle of wedding season, but you know what? These were some of my favorite weddings ever. So many of them we were working for close friends or even family. Everyone was so remarkably understanding, kind, and generous in regards to my pregnancy and then to our fresh, new parenthood. So many of them brought me to tears and gave me a swift kick-in-the-butt reminder that yes, Brittany, you love what you do and you’re doing it for a big reason, even though it’s been harder than it once was and the growth has not been linear.
I wasn’t going to post my favorite photos from this year, but here they are, and now I’m so, so glad I did.
2015’s list is long gone on yet another previous website, but if you want to see 2016’s list, here it is.
Because of the growth of our family, this year’s work wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my sister-turned-second-shooter, Brianna, so if you see a photo that has both Alex and I in it, it’s likely that she took it, (and she’s even responsible for some of these taken at weddings I was unable to be at right after Kahlo was born!)