Looking Back and Looking Forward – 1

As we prepare to celebrate the passage of one completely arbitrary division of time to another this week, there’s a seemingly natural call for reflection or at least looking back. I’ve not been immune over these last days. I’ll not be sad to see 2013 fade into the rear view mirror. I can think of no year as full of frustrations as 2013. There were moments of fun and happiness of course and I’ll speak to those tomorrow. But there were parts of 2013, especially the spring and summer months, that challenged and placed me under some of the worst stress and pressure I’ve faced. It often wasn’t fun and I more than once felt like a ship adrift in storms far from a safe harbor.

So forgive me this week if I take some time to look both directions. Backward to the past, and forward to the coming year over the next few days. There will be photos too.

Like many children, I had a fear of the dark. It was never the dark I feared, but unknown things that could be lurking in the dark. What those things were are lost along with many other childish thoughts from those days. What I think I truly feared though was the unknown that the dark represented, and that fear of the unknown lingers in us all.

I no longer fear monsters hiding in the night, but those unknowns still exist.  It comes in when a person you trusted and cared for hurts you without explanation. The fear arrives as the tone in a lover’s voice when you realize that she’s going to end the relationship. It will show up as the ringing phone in the middle of the night that leads you to a loved one in the hospital. It brings with it injury and age as they take a toll on those you love. It comes when those we care about and trust leave or betray us and we do not understand why.

As a child I could hide under the covers feeling from the fear or run to the light of my parent’s porch where safety lay. My adult fears cannot be escaped as easily. Instead they follow me into bed during sleepless nights passed staring at the dark ceiling. They cannot be defeated like the monsters in a horror story.

But they can be defeated by facing them. By feeling fear, but moving anyway. By trusting again after someone breaks your trust. By letting someone else in to see the scar the last person left when they parted. By cherishing time that remains with those who have little left.

Fear tells you what you care about. Fear sharpens your focus to what truly matters.

As the year ends I’ve been buffeted, hammered, and perhaps a little bent. But I’ve not broken. I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off, and begun moving forward again.

I’ve been angry and hurt this year, but I’m choosing to forgive. There were friendships that have been lost or strained, and I’m choosing to attempt to rebuild those. To reach out to those who hurt me and attempt to repair the damage done without worrying about who did what to who. I do so knowing they won’t all repair, but that some will and those are worth the pain of the ones that do not. I will let people in again knowing some will hurt me someday, but those who do not will be worth that pain.


This week I’m going to post some photos from my early shoots. I’m going back into the archives for these so expect to see more of my learning process than polished work. Some are images I like, but all, along with many others not posted, were part of the growth process toward getting to where I am as a photographer today.

In 2008 I decided to make a real push to get more serious about my photography after dabbling in and out of it for a few years. This photo comes from a shoot that fall and one of the first shoot after making a late year decision to really start working and improving my craft. Tammi was inexperienced, but willing to learn, and had a lot of potential as a model. We only worked together this one time. A similar color photo this pose is still in her portfolio today though she didn’t model long.

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