RETROSPECT : 2018

2018, what a year. It started out with an insane flurry of activity, which gave way to the longest (read: scariest) work drought I’ve ever experienced, which in turn faded back into normalcy. Around the end of the drought, I assisted a veteran photographer, who kindly offered me a portfolio review. Despite my initial fear of the review being soul-crushing, he gave immensely helpful feedback and advice that would help shape the rest of my year. I was telling him that while I liked my work, I was feeling a lack of polish - or something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Why could I feel the absence of something, but not identify it? Should I be reading some life-changing book, trying a specific technique? He said something to the effect of,

“You’re just getting started. You can’t have experience til you’ve had experience. You’ve got to put in your ten thousand hours. Just keep shooting, kid.” 

It helped unsnarl my overthinking mind, and I tried to just put my head down and do the work. 2018 was one of finding consistency, continuing with craft what was begun with enthusiasm. By the end of the year, some of the experience was beginning to soak in. The best way I can explain it is that I feel the teenage phase of this work is nearing its end. You remember, the time when you were fifteen, and everything was a big deal because you hadn’t experienced much - everything was mortifying or glorious or devastating or thrilling - back when everything was high stakes? That’s how my business has felt - but now, I think I’m beginning to find the groove of it: What I would like to do, how I would like to shoot, the work I would like to make. There is still a long way to go, but it’s a long stretch that I’m excited to travel. 

PEOPLE

IMG_3843.jpg
IMG_3989.jpg
IMG_3797.jpg
IMG_0801.jpg
IMG_0895-3.jpg
IMG_0895.jpg
IMG_0788.jpg
The team behind the restoration of The Quietude in Hanover County, VA, were hosted me for a day in the life of work. It was eye-opening to see the painstaking care and grit required to bring a historic home back to its former glory.

The team behind the restoration of The Quietude in Hanover County, VA, were hosted me for a day in the life of work. It was eye-opening to see the painstaking care and grit required to bring a historic home back to its former glory.

IMG_0793.jpg
Trips to Fayetteville became part of the year’s rhythm, as I helped Sweet Tea Shakespeare document their productions. One of my favorite parts of the work was watching friends disappear into these timeless works and roles, and re-emerge at the end of the show. Plus: theatre people are the world’s best huggers. It’s just a scientifically-proven fact.

Trips to Fayetteville became part of the year’s rhythm, as I helped Sweet Tea Shakespeare document their productions. One of my favorite parts of the work was watching friends disappear into these timeless works and roles, and re-emerge at the end of the show. Plus: theatre people are the world’s best huggers. It’s just a scientifically-proven fact.

IMG_1401.jpg
IMG_0216.jpg
IMG_0517.jpg
IMG_0403.jpg
IMG_1440.jpg
IMG_1233.jpg
IMG_2174.jpg
Sweet Tea shows always end with music, and almost always end with a whirl of dancing.

Sweet Tea shows always end with music, and almost always end with a whirl of dancing.

IMG_1313.jpg
IMG_4984.jpg
IMG_4765.jpg
Caroline, being an absolute hero and climbing five flights of stairs so I could practice working with harsh light.

Caroline, being an absolute hero and climbing five flights of stairs so I could practice working with harsh light.

IMG_4221.jpg

Portraits of the artist, snapped throughout the year (all via iPhone of course, because this is a situation similar to the cobbler’s kids who have no shoes):

BE928523-92E6-48F2-994B-58EE1B97B11C.JPG
29514825-4978-4149-B15D-81F903D43F25.JPG
You can spot a certain red-headed pal passing through the frame here. :)

You can spot a certain red-headed pal passing through the frame here. :)

Feet on assignment, because there are occasions when a mirror selfie does not feel professional.

Feet on assignment, because there are occasions when a mirror selfie does not feel professional.

8CB7E077-28AF-4A4A-8151-27300A0F6920.JPG

LOVE + MARRIAGE

IMG_9770.jpg
IMG_9960.jpg
IMG_9965-2.jpg
IMG_0182.jpg
IMG_8597.jpg
IMG_8650.jpg
IMG_8651.jpg
IMG_8475.jpg
IMG_6798.jpg
IMG_6507.jpg
IMG_7004.jpg
IMG_7006.jpg
IMG_7405.jpg
IMG_2431.jpg
IMG_2422.jpg
IMG_2752.jpg
IMG_2741.jpg
IMG_6308.jpg
IMG_6321.jpg
IMG_6435.jpg
IMG_6548.jpg
IMG_6907-2.jpg
First looks with friends and grandpa.

First looks with friends and grandpa.

IMG_7513.jpg
IMG_7023.jpg
Not everyone is thrilled for photos. And that’s okay.

Not everyone is thrilled for photos. And that’s okay.

IMG_8006.jpg
Martin Blog-7.jpg
Martin Blog-52.jpg
Martin Blog-16.jpg
Martin Blog-21.jpg
Martin Blog-25.jpg
Martin Blog-45.jpg

REPORTAGE

IMG_1707.jpg
IMG_2028.jpg
IMG_2029.jpg
IMG_2271-2.jpg
Spent hours in this office hearing a museum curator’s story, surrounded by maps, blueprints, and archeology memorabilia.

Spent hours in this office hearing a museum curator’s story, surrounded by maps, blueprints, and archeology memorabilia.

State representative Pat McElraft. Spending the day with her at work in the state legislature felt all new. It was challenging in the best way possible (the legislature culture, not the representative - she was easy).

State representative Pat McElraft. Spending the day with her at work in the state legislature felt all new. It was challenging in the best way possible (the legislature culture, not the representative - she was easy).

IMG_2534.jpg
IMG_2600.jpg
Just the anchor from Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge. It’s fine. I’m fine. It’s fine.

Just the anchor from Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge. It’s fine. I’m fine. It’s fine.

The guys behind Sir Castle Teees, a custom shoe operation in the heart of Raleigh (and my first local story published!).

The guys behind Sir Castle Teees, a custom shoe operation in the heart of Raleigh (and my first local story published!).

IMG_8855.jpg
IMG_8835.jpg
I got to hang out in a paleontology lab for a morning?? What the even heck?

I got to hang out in a paleontology lab for a morning?? What the even heck?

IMG_3830.jpg
The lovely folks at Boulted Bread let me spend a morning in the bakery, snapping photos and asking sometimes dumb questions (as much as I would like to claim the status of a domestic goddess, proper baking has never been my forte).

The lovely folks at Boulted Bread let me spend a morning in the bakery, snapping photos and asking sometimes dumb questions (as much as I would like to claim the status of a domestic goddess, proper baking has never been my forte).

IMG_5279.jpg
IMG_5384.jpg
One of my favorite portraits of the year. I love rich colors and a simple setup, when the personality of a subject can shine through.

One of my favorite portraits of the year. I love rich colors and a simple setup, when the personality of a subject can shine through.

IN-BETWEENS

On my first round of assignments for 2018, in Edenton. I was wandering the church’s historic graveyard, and a friendly church member told me I should go in. It’s always open, apparently, and almost always quiet. After a day of driving and questions and being “on”, it was a lovely moment of respite.

On my first round of assignments for 2018, in Edenton. I was wandering the church’s historic graveyard, and a friendly church member told me I should go in. It’s always open, apparently, and almost always quiet. After a day of driving and questions and being “on”, it was a lovely moment of respite.

IMG_1849.jpg
Another year, another round of beach/water related photographs.

Another year, another round of beach/water related photographs.

IMG_6015.jpg
Nearing the end of the Great Work Drought of 2018, when I had yet another practice shoot fall through. As tempting as it was to wallow in feeling like a nobody, I felt the urge to get out of town. Half an hour later, two little sisters and I were packed into a minivan, heading to the Sylvan Heights Bird Park. There was an epic Disney singalong on the way, there were parakeets, there were birds screaming their heads off - and it was just what the doctor ordered.

Nearing the end of the Great Work Drought of 2018, when I had yet another practice shoot fall through. As tempting as it was to wallow in feeling like a nobody, I felt the urge to get out of town. Half an hour later, two little sisters and I were packed into a minivan, heading to the Sylvan Heights Bird Park. There was an epic Disney singalong on the way, there were parakeets, there were birds screaming their heads off - and it was just what the doctor ordered.

IMG_4508.jpg
IMG_4412.jpg
IMG_4247.jpg
IMG_5214.jpg
IMG_5164.jpg
Forever intrigued by strangers in museums. Also: the National Gallery is a gift.

Forever intrigued by strangers in museums. Also: the National Gallery is a gift.

Life imitating art.

Life imitating art.

IMG_0629.jpg
IMG_2301.jpg
This one is special to me for a couple different reasons. The first is, I happen to rather like the color and composition. The second is that I took it on a night when I desperately needed to. It was in the middle of one of the worst weeks of physical discomfort I’ve ever had, that pain led me to some conclusions about the impact chronic illness would have on future plans, and I’d not had a minute to myself to really process. So, I drove. I drove until I got to the end of an island, a spot I’d found in a rainstorm last year. And I rediscovered it, a place with golden light and bobbing sea oats, a warm breeze and deep blue water working some healing on my hurting heart. Shortly after this, I saw one of the most beautiful night skies I ever hope to see (Milky Way sighting included). So this photo reminds me of receiving exactly what I need exactly when I need it, and it helps to make me thankful.

This one is special to me for a couple different reasons. The first is, I happen to rather like the color and composition. The second is that I took it on a night when I desperately needed to. It was in the middle of one of the worst weeks of physical discomfort I’ve ever had, that pain led me to some conclusions about the impact chronic illness would have on future plans, and I’d not had a minute to myself to really process. So, I drove. I drove until I got to the end of an island, a spot I’d found in a rainstorm last year. And I rediscovered it, a place with golden light and bobbing sea oats, a warm breeze and deep blue water working some healing on my hurting heart. Shortly after this, I saw one of the most beautiful night skies I ever hope to see (Milky Way sighting included). So this photo reminds me of receiving exactly what I need exactly when I need it, and it helps to make me thankful.

I’ve been trying to capture how a wave turns jade juuuust before crashing for ten years - and I almost caught it here. It’s as close as I’ve come, so it makes me happy.

I’ve been trying to capture how a wave turns jade juuuust before crashing for ten years - and I almost caught it here. It’s as close as I’ve come, so it makes me happy.

IMG_6160.jpg

Well, if you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking around. Thank you for taking the time to read, to check in, to care about this strange little corner of the internet. Here’s to a 2019 full of growth, finding beauty, hearing stories, and navigating through - not around - the things that scare us.