I've been pretty M.I.A. here on my blog for the past year or so. As we all know, 2020 was an unprecedented year. Back in 2019 I had taken a break from my personal work to focus on myself, and although it wasn't really according to plan, 2020 ended up being pretty much the same. Typically at the end of each year I like to look back and reflect on the photography accomplishments I've made. I looked at the calendar and all of a sudden we're over a week into 2021 and I realized I never did it. To my surprise, speaking for myself (and I assume many others) though there is much of 2020 I'd love to block out of my memory, there were actually some notable achievements I've made with my photography.
I usually do a top five countdown, but because I didn't shoot much in 2019 I switched it to a top three. Well, in 2020 I had more than three but less than five, and because nothing truly matters these day, I've settled on a top four.
Life is Good x Grl Swirl SS20
This was truly one of the biggest photoshoots I've done to date, and incredible that we managed to squeeze it in mere weeks before the pandemic and lockdowns hit the US. Life is Good booked our annual shoot in LA, but instead of being a second shooter I had my own set of assignments alongside our lead photographer. One of those being to photograph a collaboration with Grl Swirl; an all-female skate community based on the west coast. This was by far my favorite lifestyle shoot to date, and one where I really felt I bridged the gap between my personal shooting style and the work I do for the company. Though much of the work was never used due to the pandemic, I'm very proud of this one! You can check out more right here.
3. Food Photography
2020 was a year for breaking into unexpected mediums; the first one being food photography! In the middle of the summer I was approached by an old colleague to shoot for the launch of their up-and-coming restaurant Cobble. I had done a little food photography here and there over the years, but usually smaller dishes like desserts and salads - not food that was cooked and prepared to shoot live. I spent the day photographing (and taste-testing! 😋) each dish on the menu, and I had an incredible time. Since then I've returned to work with the wonderful ladies of Cobble to shoot interiors of their beautiful space, and even had the opportunity to pick up another fun food photography gig. Food wasn't something I ever deliberately set out to shoot, but I've really enjoyed it and am excited to add it to my repertoire. Check my 'Editorial' and 'Tears' pages to see more from this shoot!
At the beginning of the pandemic started a personal project like never before. We were in COVID lockdown; I was working from home for the foreseeable future and no longer had access to the photo studio at work. Anxious for the uncertain and recognizing the unprecedented circumstances, I made the choice to document it right from the start. The project towed the line between photojournalism and a visual diary of what I saw and experienced week to week during the first 4-5 months of COVID in Boston.
The series was aimed to be documentative of my own personal experience incorporating my urban/street photography shooting style. I've always loved shooting urban landscapes, but had never approached it in a photojournalistic way. I also have very limited experience with long term projects of this nature. Much of my personal work consists of pre-planned concepts that typically span a couple months at most. So starting a weekly "assignment," if you will, with no end in sight was a new venture for me. One that kept me busy creating and thinking about my art, but also kept me in tune with this new world and how I was navigating it. After almost 20 weeks of what I thought would only be a temporary project the weight and endlessness of the situation began to wear on me. The series was no longer a source of inspiration but a constant reminder of the terrible situation we have been in, and I decided to step away from it. In retrospect I wish I had kept with it through the end of the year, but am also glad I did what was best for my mental health at the time.
Looking back on it I'm very proud of the series. It showed me new ways to interpret my experiences through my art, dedicate myself to something long-form, and was an important project to keep my sanity at the time. I'm really happy to have this to look back on and reflect. You can see the entire series here.
Last but of course not least, we conclude with myself. I also came in at #1 in 2019, but mostly because I chose not to focus on photography and instead my personal life/mental health. Since then I've fully realized that it is truly a never ending journey. I spent most of my years prior dedicating myself to my work and my passions, forgetting that working on yourself is just as (if not more) crucial. I really felt like I was in a good place at the beginning of 2020; I had come so much further than I had ever been. But the circumstances faced in the last year of being forced to slow down and spend an overwhelming amount of time alone in my thoughts with my feelings showed me just how much more self work needed to be done. I'm not going to sugarcoat it - 2020 was rough in many ways. Through it though I've been able to really reflect and gain much stronger self-love and acceptance. And for that I am truly appreciative. I'm looking forward to the road ahead.