A Year In The Life (Favorites from 2019)

January 7, 2020

I’m having a bit of trouble writing this blog so I’m going to switch the format to thoughts about different topics I’d like to touch on.

 

Thoughts on van life / Living in NYC

 

Normally when I start writing these I’m at a coffee shop but this time I figured I’d start it off in the van. Dorothy is her name, and she’s been wonderful here in NYC for the past 8 months. The decision to move into a van was actually a really easy one to make in that I knew it was going to happen for quite awhile, I just didn’t know when. The summer had a couple real humid nights which made for tough sleep and a couple cold mornings so far but as I write this, I haven’t had to zip my sleeping bag once. 

 

The main questions I get about van life in NYC are where I shower, park, and go to the bathroom so I want to answer those questions. For the shower, my job has one with exceptional water pressure, so during my 4 day work week I use that. On my days off, I just shower at friends houses. For parking, I either go to Sunnyside, Queens which is very easy or else in Sunset Park, Brooklyn in which case I drive around for 30 mins looking for a spot. Living out of a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country with blacked out windows allows me to keep a low profile so no matter where I park there’s nearly no chance of anyone being suspicious. For bathrooms, since I don’t look like a deadbeat, I can pretty much go into anywhere and use one so there’s never really an issue there. I do keep a jug in the van if there’s some late night situation. 

 

These are in no specific order other than separated between color and BW.

 

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I can’t really say I’m missing any of the “comforts of home” except maybe a kitchen. Having grown up in and around Minneapolis, Minnesota I can’t recall feeling like that was my home. For most of my adult life I’ve always struggled to assimilate the idea of “home”. Could it be as simple as a physical place where you keep your stuff? Perhaps. However, I’ve always felt like there’s something more to it then that. After over a decade of unpacking this question, I still haven’t arrived at what I can say are definitive answers.  What can be said though is that New York City is the closest I’ve ever felt to understanding what a “home” can be. Every day for even the shortest of moments I think about how amazing it is to be in a place I love so much. To be in a place that constantly inspires me to progress as a human and within my craft. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have experienced so many moments in my life where I’ve thought to myself “this is exactly where I’m suppose to be” and this is no exception.

 

 

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Thoughts on Photography

 

Picking up where I left off last year, not cropping was a big focus of my photography this year. I’m proud to say only 11 of the 54 photos I selected this year have any crop or straightening adjustments. To me, it’s of critical importance I do as much right in camera as possible, a film mentality in my mostly digital world. I feel with that in mind, it makes you work the scene just that much more to build a better composition whenever possible. Conversely, I have also been shooting more from the hip than any other year which has actually led to a few of the photographs in this blog. There’s no right or wrong way to shoot, but if you can, why not take your time? 

 

Speaking of film, I shot over 600 film photographs during my month long trip to Mexico at the start of the year but I won’t be sharing any of them. I’m planing to go back a second time in order to get enough material for a book. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t expect to make as many photographs as last year and I didn’t. The real surprise this year was how many that I made that I’m super happy with. Initially, the intention was to match last years amount of 39. However, I can’t seem to narrow it down under 54. It’s not that I like this years more than last years necessarily, they’re just different. Last years focus was mostly traveling, while this year the majority of my time has been spent here in New York City. In hindsight I wish I tried a little harder this year. If i’m being honest, the last few months I haven’t been shooting that much. I wouldn’t say it’s out of boredom of the city or of shooting, but I’m also not trying to force it either. This year I found myself walking mile after mile and never even lifting the camera to my eye. That could seem a bit discouraging but I realized a long time ago that it’s ridiculous to think or assume that I’m going to get something good every time I go to shoot. 

 

 

 

 

 

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I started photography in 2012 and pretty much since then I’ve had thoughts of becoming a paid professional and making a career out of it. This thought has brought me so much anxiety and has even made me jealous of other peoples success. It wasn’t until more recently that I finally arrived at the conclusion that making a financial career from photography wasn’t going to bring me the happiness I thought it might. What a fucking relief that was. The thought of turning photography into a paying gig seems to be a natural progression for many as I’m seeing it all across Social for the last few years. Even people that have been shooting for a year are trying to cash in on the action. I’m not trying to knock their hustle but it made me think about how that mental progression happens and more importantly why? Most of the full-time photographers I know hardly even shoot for fun anymore. I don’t know about you but I never want to be in that boat. While I still want to make it a career, it’s more in line with going down as one of the greats that really left a mark on the medium. No matter how much money a photographer makes, a legacy is something that can’t be bought. 

 

I have a few photography goals for 2020 that I’m pretty excited about. There’s a couple trips I want to go on, a couple books I’d like to put together, but mostly I just want to keep improving my skills and developing my eye. I also want to work more on getting my work out to the public and who knows, maybe do a gallery show. What I do know for sure is that I’m not going to put too much pressure on it like in years passed. 

 

 

Thank you so much for all your support over the years, or even if you’re new to my work. It truly means a lot.

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