I sometimes have the tendency not to give myself enough credit for where I'm at at this stage with photography. Shit ... I was barely even comfortable calling myself a photographer until earlier this year and even then I wasn't sure if people would even take me seriously. It wasn't until I started sifting through my images from this year and comparing them to my images from last year that I noticed just how much my craft has grown.
I'm grateful for all the DMs, comments, and text messages you all sent me throughout the year about my work. A lot of times we lack the perspective to see our own growth but all the positive feedback I got from you let me know that I'm heading in the right direction. It means more to me than you probably realize. Like my ex-wife Erykah once said, "I'm an artist and I'm sensitive about my shit."
I still love you Erykah ... let's work this out. 🙏
It's so easy to get caught up comparing yourself to others (#shoutout social media); as an artist it's even more pronounced when you're constantly stacking up your body of work against another photographer or painter or musician or writer. God knows how many times I've stumbled on another photographer's page on Instagram and asked myself what the fuck I'm even doing ... "I'll never get there". It seems like it never ends.
But most times the self-defeating narratives we feed ourselves are not even remotely true. Throughout the entire year I had the nagging feeling that I wasn't shooting enough or putting in as much effort as I should be with my photography but Maury (and Lightroom) determined that was a lie ... I was shocked to find out that I took four times as many images this year than I did in 2016. 😲
Apart from the negative self talk, I also sometimes wonder if the doubt I have about myself and the path I'm heading down is ever going to go away. I think about if I'm ever going to get to a point in life and with my photography where I feel like I've finally "made it". The checks might get bigger but I honestly hope I never get to that point. The truth is there are no finish lines in life ... we should always keep challenging ourselves and working towards something bigger and better.
So if there's anything this year taught me it's that the only person I'm ever really in competition with is myself and the person I have the potential to be. (#Major🗝️Alert)
Everything else is just noise.
But anyway enough about me let's get to the pictures...
Top 10 Portraits
The portraits I was going to include in this section changed a few times as I was thinking about which ones were going to make the list. At first it was going to be the ten portraits I felt you guys liked the most but then I realized there was no real way I could quantify that. I came to the conclusion that it was much more important to me that I list the ten portraits I am most proud of this year.
You might be surprised to find out which one was my personal favorite.
What were some of your favorites from this year?
Leave a comment at the end of the post and let me know which one of my images from this year you loved and why ... I'm offering a 🌟 25% discount 🌟 for the print of your choice to the first 5 people to leave a comment!
Top 5 Street Photos
One of my biggest regrets in 2017 was not shooting more street, while the portraiture side of my photography really took off this year I completely neglected street photography. Considering street is how I got started with photography altogether, I definitely want to make sure I devote more time to it in the new year.
I was blessed with the opportunity to make two trips to the Caribbean this year, Cuba back in March and Trinidad earlier this month. The two island nations were a cornucopia of color and vibrant energy and left me with no other choice but to pick up my camera (or iPhone in some cases) and document my experience.
The following are my five favorite street shots this year ...
🏆 Social Media Awards 🏆
I recently converted my IG from a personal to business account and with that came access to Instagram Insights, insights are a set of metrics that help you learn more about your followers and offer the ability to see which posts and stories your audience views and engages with the most. Insights were super useful in helping me learn what type of content you guys like the most and even the time of day and week most of you use the platform (😲) ... relax ... there's no personally identifiable information.
Viewing on a desktop? Click and hover on each image for more details.
Viewing from your mobile device? Tap on an image to view it larger and then tap the white dot at the bottom right portion of the screen for more details.
Totals include likes from other accounts.
Reach = The number of unique accounts that have seen a particular post
One of my favorite new features from Instagram this year was the ability to save and catalog photos you come across on your feed. These are the ones you guys saved the most throughout the year.
2018 Goals 💭
A recent study found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis. The likelihood that you’ll transform your desires into reality goes up even further if you share your written goals with a friend who believes in your ability to succeed. There's a certain level of accountability that comes with putting your goals out there so here are mine for the new year ...
- Have one of my images published in the New York Times.
- A commissioned gig by an online or print publication.
- Solo exhibition.
- Win a photography contest.
- Do at least two photo shoots per month.
- Sell 10 prints.
- Begin working on two personal projects.
- Have one of my images on exhibit at a gallery in New York City.
Manifest. Manifest. Manifest.
The Universe conspires to help the Dreamer.
What are some of your goals in 2018?
Think about it. Write them down. Share them with a friend.