2012: In Review

Happy 2013 my dear readers!!

I hope that this first week of the new year has been relaxed and full of promise. I don't particularly believe in making New Year resolutions (I think people should decide to "improve" or work on something because they want to, not because they feel like they should due to a particular season), but I must admit that there is something magical about a new year and the idea of a fresh start. So, as I look toward the new year, I find myself wishing to discuss this past year with you all.

 Mitch: December 2011

Mitch: December 2011

Many of you do not know me personally, and of those who do even a smaller portion have been allowed into my truly personal life. I tend to be a private person. I am uncomfortable sharing my life with a large group of people that I do not know and probably (unfortunately) will never personally meet. However I do believe that your faith in me and continued support of my art should be rewarded by my trust- at least some of it. I don't think it is appropriate to discuss the intimate details of my life with you or to use this blog as a personal diary, but this post is going to be more... personal perhaps than what I normally write.

 Me: January or February 2012

Me: January or February 2012

I have spent this year learning about myself. This may seem like silly thing to spend time doing, because who could you possibly be but yourself? But for me, learning who 'I' was turned out to be an incredibly important and rewarding quest. I have always been on of those quirky people, and very early in life I was overanxious to please people. I don't know exactly when, but at some point in my life (middle school perhaps?) I began to adapt and change who I was to fit what people wanted to see. Now, some adaptation of spoken language, body language, and even attitude is natural- I think that people naturally change slightly depending upon the situation. This is not that type of adaptations I am speaking of. Instead I began to truely change, to hide who I was until I could barely remember who that was under the layers of "pretend" me's I created. It got to the point where I didn't realize that I wasn't being myself anymore- I was unconsciously changing myself drastically. This led to a lot of heartbreak, both for myself and for those around me, and is NOT something I would recommend doing.

 Me: March 2012

Me: March 2012

Anyways, it is what I did, and last year I made a radical (for myself) decision to stop being someone I wasn't  and to learn to appreciate and adore (sorry, there just isn't any other way to describe the drastic self-value attitude I decided to pursue) who "I" actually was. To do this I changed my life path drastically, and I broke my heart and someone else's in the process. As painful as that decision was, I cannot find it within me to regret my choice (though I do think I could have possibly handled the transition slightly better). Instead I find myself being much happier and healthier both physically and emotionally. My friendships are more rewarding and I find myself feeling better about almost every part of my life. One of my dear friends who stayed with me during this upheaval period made a comment something like this "who (last year) would have thought that we would become such great friends? And who would have thought that we'd both be so much happier overall?"

 Urban Urchins: Spring 2012

Urban Urchins: Spring 2012

 Brianna: Summer 2012

Brianna: Summer 2012

 Film: Summer 2012

Film: Summer 2012

 Film: Summer 2012

Film: Summer 2012

This past year has been immersed in learning who I am and in finding balance in my life between every aspect of my life. I don't think I will ever find a perfect equation for balancing everything, but I do think that I have become a much healthier person through this pursuit. I also started to allow myself to get much more personal with my art. I bought a film camera and I was given two Polaroids, and with these lovely new tools I began to explore the world with a whole different attitude. Film is a challenging and magical tool, and while I doubt I will every use it for my client sessions, I have been pushing myself to use it more in my personal work. At the same time I have been pushing myself to learn more about my digital work- learning new Photoshop tools and techniques and putting that knowledge to use. The more personal my art has gotten, the more cautious I am about sharing it- a reaction which I think is both good (as it means I put a great deal of love and effort into each photo and spend a great deal of time considering it before I share it) and bad (I share fewer images than perhaps I would if I were less cautious).

 Fall 2012

Fall 2012

This upcoming year I expect to continue to pursue self-knowledge and balance in my personal life, and I expect that I will continue to push myself to learn and grow as an artist. For standing beside my art throughout this past year I have nothing but the utmost respect and gratitude for you. You probably had no idea how important your support was to me this past year, and that makes you all doubly dear to me. You supported me without knowledge of my personal pains and triumphs. You supported me because you believed that the way I viewed the world was unique and worth following, and that- my dear readers- is priceless to me. Thank you, a million times, thank you.

 Self: Fall 2012

Self: Fall 2012

I end this post today with this advice: Learn who you truely are, and embrace that person. Embrace your fears, your joys, and acknowledge both the good and the bad which we all possess. There is always room for improvement, and we will all make mistakes this year, but that doesn't mean that you are not wonderful and valuable just as you are today. Love yourself. I'm not suggesting becoming self-absorbed or vain, but rather that you embrace every inch of yourself and make the time to do things that make you deeply happy.

                   <3 AK

 Recent Self Portrait: 2012

Recent Self Portrait: 2012