2016 is a huge question mark for me. As someone who likes to plan everything down to the very last detail, this is incredibly hard to admit. I realize that, like most others, my year is a blank slate full of possibility and unknowns, but even in all of those unknowns there is some sort of security. I graduate this May and I have no idea what’s next: none. Sure I have plenty of possible options, but there is absolutely no set plan. I am torn 50/50. Half of me wants to run away, roll the dice and pray for the best. The other half wants to stay, establish myself a bit and then go. Like always it all comes down to head versus heart.
The three days I have so far experienced in 2016 have been full of anxiety, and so I decided to write this entry. This is not about what’s next, but rather what already came. Last year took me to so many beautiful places; last year was the first year I actually felt like an artist. 2015 was full of surprises and kind words from people whom I highly respect. Never have I worked so hard or produced so much, and I defiantly saw the reward for my efforts. I grew so much as both an artist and as a human.
2014 ended with my acceptance into ImageOhio 15, or what I see as my first “big-girl” show. It was really the first time any of my work has been featured alongside other professional photographers. Two of my pieces were accepted, one of which ended up as a feature image in 614 Magazine.
I had an image hanging in the Tiffin Art Guilds 5th Annual Photo Prize for my 5th year in a row. I also got to be apart of the 4th Annual Young Hearts show at Sean Christopher Gallery in the Short North where I was honored to have won Best of Show.
I spent spring break in the Smokey Mountains with four wonderful ladies, prancing through wild flowers and mountain streams, eating nachos and drinking whiskey. I had been to Tennessee before but had forgotten how truly breathtaking it was. Now the volunteer state has moved very high up on my places to run away too after graduation list.
Side note: I had completely forgotten the few rolls of film I shot there until this exact moment which means I have a lovely new assignment for this evening.
I finished out my junior year at CCAD, and it was undoubtable the most technically difficult. I left feeling rather down and out about how much work I did and how little I had to actually show for it. Looking back, I realize just how important all of that was, how much I learned and how knowing the zone system and the ins and outs of studio photography set me up for a successful senior year.
Spring semester of my junior year meant Studio which gave me more anxiety than any class I have experienced ever. I woke up every morning with a knot in the pit of my stomach worrying about what the week would hold, but I made it through. I learned more in sixteen weeks of that one class than quite possibly every other combined, and although I hate to admit it, those skills are ones I use almost everyday.
May is my favorite month, I love Spring and its promise of Summer. This May was exceptionally wonderful because I spent half of it studying abroad in Ireland with my dear friend and roommate. Two weeks spent climbing mountains, frolicking through pastures, wandering through cemeteries, dancing, drinking whiskey in pubs and of course making art. I flew for the first time and had my first legal drink. I sat in fairy forts and saw the Cliffs of Moher. The images that came from this land are the start of what I now see as my “style”. I went there having no clue what would come of my two week stay and left with a better sense of image making then I had before.
Side note: I never shared my film photos from Ireland with you. I am sorry; that will change.
I spent most of June (at least artistically) trying to process the whirlwind that was May. My dance recital, as always, was the first weekend and as soon as it was over I went home and spent a few weeks in Sycamore. I credit this downtime in this place to the making of the Sycamore work. It’s when things began to come down and I noticed more differences than similarities.
This is the month that changed the way I make. I fell in love with a point and shoot film camera from Good Will and vowed to take it with me everywhere I went and that’s exactly what I did. The majority of the work I produced this year began in July.
I also spent a week tent camping at Hocking Hills in a nonstop thunderstorm and made a trip to Hillbilly Hotdogs in wild, wonderful, West Virginia.
Oh and I turned 21.
August was an end of Summer whirlwind. I had my first ever solo show, In Green Pastures, at the Tiffin Art Guild. I went to the Tri-Five Nationals (which I loved) and Mammoth Cave (which I hated) and began my senior year of college.
This was another month of making, but it didn’t really feel that way. It was so beautiful that I could be outside wandering around, making the work I wanted to be making without any weather constraints. My Heaven/Eden series began and I was reliving all of my summer adventures each time a new roll of film was developed.
It was still unbelievable beautiful and I was still out shooting trying to get a grasp on thesis (not that that has really changed).
November was a crazy, exciting month. I spent the semester in charge of most all aspects of The Line, a photographic exhibition at the Sean Christopher Gallery in the Short North. I also found myself co-curating Origins, another photo show as well as running away to Nashville the weekend before Thanksgiving.
I finished my last, first semester of college and then I drove home.
Things have come full circle; Wednesday I will drop off a photograph to be hung in ImageOhio 16.
When I look back at all of the imagery I’ve made this past year, I’m instantly taken back to the moment, the place, each was created. I got to spend 2015 doing what I love, being in nature, making photographs that attempt to capture its beauty, and I saw so much of its beauty this year, from so many new (and familiar) places.
Currently I am full of anxious excitement; if all of these wonderful things can happen in one short year, why should I worry about the next one?