I'm titling this post "Thoughts" ... Not because I've sat down and thought this all out, but instead, it's just what's on my mind, currently, and has been for some time. I'm coming up on my year mark as a freelance artist (I say, artist because throughout the last year I have been far more than just a photographer), and although it's been one of the hardest years of my life, it's also been one of the most rewarding.
What do I mean, when I say hardest? Well, rejection hurts like hell, depression can set in. I've questioned my ability far more than not. Physically, I've pushed myself to the point of breaking and mentally I've been destroyed. I've questioned every decision I've ever made, over and over again. I've had an avalanche triggered on me. Climbed up haggard ropes, and questioned my life existence as I worked my way up 1500 feet into nothingness. Sleep... well, don't even get me started. I've had some of the best nights rest ever, and also some of the worst. I've come upon grizzly bear cubs with the only question of where is the mother, and where are our supplies? I've driven over 30,000 miles and had more car problems than I ever could imagine. I've never been poorer in my life, yet I've never been more well off and secure in my financial choices. In all reality, the grit I've gone through has made me who I am, and I wouldn't trade a second of my life, for anyone else.
Now, is this a "whoa is me" post? Hell no! This is a post of gratitude and observation. I am grateful for all those who have believed in me. I've been able to work with some pretty amazing companies. I've honestly worked with every company I've ever wanted to. I've been featured in Outside Magazine. I've met with some of the biggest names in the industry I work in and pushed my skills as a photographer to an all new high. I've linked bridges to my styles that I can't be more grateful for cause it opens the doors to a whole new world of possibilities. I've been revisiting roots from my childhood that were full of potential. I have an end goal. All in all, life is grand. I can't thank my partner/wife enough, for all that she's done for our little family. She's been stronger than I ever expected, and that's saying something!
So, what's next? Honestly, that's a good question? Each day I ask myself what's next, followed by the small steps of the daily activity. I learned last year when I was working my way up my first winter ascent that life is a shit ton of little steps and all too often we forget to set our goals within reason. Have I been able to work with every company I've set out to? YES! Yes, I have. Have I had to work for it by taking small steps? Yes, again. I've learned, for me, social media is not my outlet for success. I've weeded through all fluff and tried to become 100% real with those I engage with. I don't believe fame's right for me. Sure we all want it, but I don't think I'm ready for it. Maybe one day, but for now, I've just had to worry about being a friend to those I have been able to be around, and stay true to that, cause you're the reason I've even been able to get to where I'm at.
To all my friends, (who probably won't read this, not because they're not good friends, but rather because they're out and about), thank you! Thank you for the adventures, and the awesome times. Thank you for always being good sports in getting your pictures taken. Thank you for putting up with my annoyance, and mumbling of swear words getting to our destinations. And most importantly, thank you for being patient with me, as I carry 20/30 pounds of extra camera equipment.
As for the next year. I honestly don't know how it'll go. I know that I've been working in a different direction, but I don't know where that will take me. I think it's safe to say, that it'll be a risk, but so far that's always seemed to have a good reward. Either way, thank you all, for the support you've offered. You have no idea how much I really appreciate it!