Thursday, December 31, 2009

Photostory Friday: And so we end as we began...

Sometimes the most marvelous journeys are the ones that take you to places you didn't expect to go.

364 days ago, I began a project that I thought would take me in a certain direction. I started a 365 day photo project -- one picture each day (at least) for the entire year. I imagined my photos getting better and better. I thought I would learn to look at life differently. I thought I would gain new perspectives.

I thought that, by the end of the year, I would have tapped into some cosmic vibe, and I would be taking pictures so stunning that the world would be beating a path to my door step (okay, I didn't REALLY think that...)

I missed two days, though the record will show that I missed three (I lost the pictures I took the Thursday after Thanksgiving), and mostly the pictures I took are of the mundane variety, but the real treat - the payoff -- is to look back now, at the year that was -- 2009, which was so brutal in some ways -- and realize, like George Bailey, that I have a wonderful life.

And it all began with a stack of pancakes, on January 1, 2009.

Pancakes are a staple at our house on Saturday mornings, and I make the best pancakes (from scratch) in the world. Trust me.

Day 23: The day I almost stopped. This is a picture of my shirt -- the blackest thing I could find.

This was the day that changed our year, our family and our lives.

This was the day that my wife's doctor said "Cancer."

Day 77: Coping. In a year of upheaval, I found solace and comfort on the basketball court, with my son. We didn't keep score, we just shot hoops, and talked. Turns out I really like that kid.

Day 100: Weeds. At the beginning of this kind of project you think your mind is really going to expand, and that you're going to find inspiration everywhere you look.

That ain't necessarily so.

About day 100, you start looking at the weeds in the cracks of the sidewalks, and the dandelions in the grass. 2009 is, by far, my greatest year for weed documentation.

Day 129: Disneyland. After the hellacious start to the year, by the time May rolled around, with the cancer surgery and recovery (mostly) behind us, we felt that we deserved a vacation. And we took one -- our first full blown, we're the grown ups here, paid for it ourselves and took the kids along for several days vacation.

It was a SMASHING success!

Day 171: I just love this shot -- it encapsulates the relationship between Emma and Matt perfectly: she, going anywhere he'll let her go, and he, putting his arm around her (so to speak), and taking her -- no complaints.

Almost none.

Day 211: Yeah, it was THAT kind of year.

Incidentally, I do have another daughter, and I did take plenty of pictures of her this year too...

Day 231: My wife's birthday. The only thing more beautiful than this surreal scene, was having Sharon there to see it with me.

Five months earlier, I didn't know if we would see this day.

Day 263: I caught a lightning strike, how could I NOT include that shot?

Day 291: Andrew and Michelle. This is my brother-in-law, and his, at the time, almost-officially-engaged-to girlfriend. At this point, I knew that I would soon be out of a job, and thought I had better get serious about this photography thing.

I love shooting couples -- especially couples who REALLY like each other.

Day 307: The day I had been waiting for/dreading for nearly ten years -- the day I was laid off/released from a job I hated. Just in time for the holidays. Just in time for the job market to hit it's lowest point. I gave this company ten years of faithful service (my need to support my family suppressed my dignity), and in the end, they decided I made too much money, and they'd try to make it with their minimum wage employees. I wish them luck, and I wash my hands of them.

Desperation is sometimes a blessing, and because of what happened above, my life heads down a new path:

Day 347: The wedding.

The first wedding I had shot in a couple of years, capped a month of photography-for-hire jobs. I know I'm supposed to do this now. It may not be something I can do full time at this point, but I know that what I have to offer this world, is in my head, and my eye, and my pen.

Which brings us to the end of this journey, which brought me, somewhat unexpectedly, back to where it all began:

Day 365: Pancakes.

And as I sit here, thinking of all the times I cursed myself over the last year for taking on this project, of how I longed for the end to come, of how I looked forward to the time that I could set my camera down for a day or two, without feeling guilty (or panicked), I find myself smiling. You see, tomorrow is January first...

And I'm going to do it again.

Happy New Year!


Cecily R said...

AWWWWWWWSOME. The perfect recap.

And I'm glad you're going to do it again...and thinking MAYYYYBE I might jump on the bandwagon myself. Maybe. At this point I have a few hours left to really decide.

Happy New YEar Chris!

Anonymous said...

This is such a neat thing to be able to look back over. And I love that you are doing it again. I have really enjoyed following your pictures over this past year.

Happy New Year!!

Wendy said...

What a great entry and project!

Corey~living and loving said...

This post is amazing. you rocked it. love your last shot. WOW! very cool. Can't wait to see 2010.

Pam Emmons said...

I have loved all these pictures, and I am really hoping that you turn at least that portion of your blog into a book. I am going to challenge you on the 365 thing.
I decided a few weeks ago to do the same thing, because it can't make me any worse, right? I started this morning at 12:45 a.m..... we'll see how long we make it!

Terri said...

Hooray! I was just about to start crying - my Wednesday evenings!

I think you might have inspired me to do this too. Maybe. We'll see.

Love the recap. Happy new year! May 2010 be peaceful and prosperous for you and yours.

Mom24 said...

That's terrific Chris. You're really talented, I'm afraid I'd end up with all weeds poking through sidewalks pictures.

I'm so glad you're pursuing photography, you're really, really good. You definitely have "the eye".

I hope 2010 is full of good things.

Steph said...

Your pictures are all good, no matter what they are of. You do have the eye. I love reading your blog and seeing your photos. I'm so glad to have found you in 2009!
I hope your 2010 is fantastic beyond your imaginings!

Kelly Deneen Raymond said...

I have LOVED seeing your pictures over the course of the year and following along on the journey of your life. I look forward to see what this year will bring. :)

Kat said...

Oh, how wonderful!!! Doing it again too! I am looking forward to it. :)
I do hope that 2010 is a fabulous year for you. You so deserve some peace and happiness. :)

kayerj said...

I'm glad--and it has been a journey for me too.

{krista} said...

WOW... what a year you've had! Can't wait to see what you come up with this year... and I hope that this year is nowhere near as exciting as the last one!

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Each year you grow, each moth something new, each week some helpful insight, each day a blessing! Wish you all the best in 2010!

Carolyn Ford said...

Packed with beauty, emotion, commitment and strength. Wonderful post and, I too, hope you continue growing and growing with your photography skills. What a year you had. Happy NEW year!

latree said...

I wish i lived near you and get a chance to be shot for even once. you are amazing photographer!

okay do it again, we are waiting.
happy new year!

Emily said...

This is a great post. And I'm SO glad you're going to do it again. Maybe you'll discover an unknown type of weed and have it named after you. :P
Here's to a happy, healthy, and joyful 2010!

Liz {Learning To Juggle} said...

What a lovely recap!!

You have inspired me - I am going to attempt this in 2010!! I love the idea of 365 photos...lets just see if I can stick with it (hopefully by the end I will be a much better photographer!!)

I can't wait to see what 2010 brings - including what amazing photos you share with us!!

Heidi said...

Chris that was perfect!
I loved being able to see the recap of all that you have gone through this past year. You captured your trials and your joy so artfully. I think that as you look back over the years at this documented journal, you'll be able to really see the joy that you have found this year despite all the crap that has been thown at you.
Here's wishing you a Great New Year, with all its possiblities.

And ok, I'll do it with you. Where do I sign up?
But I'm going to pester you to do the photo hunt challenges. I'll email you the info when she starts a new one. :)
(becuase you're right, it's funner when friends play along)