When I sat down at roughly this time last year, to write my 2013 review, I had no idea of the changes that would unfold in 2014. That’s the nature of life I guess, but maybe it wasn’t something I was prepared for. When I established this business in 2010, I created a regimental routine, which I worked from month to month and year to year. I had a set way of doing things which helped me stay organised and on top of my duties. I took great pride in this ‘system’ because not only did it keep my occupied but it meant I could be relied upon. There were two issues though with this routine. One, it was focused entirely around one client. And two, it didn’t allow for any down time to recover. From April 2010 until April 2014, I estimate I had maybe a total of two weeks holidays (not including sick leave). That sort of pace catches up with you very quickly and is quite counter-productive in the long run, especially for a creative. If you don’t crash and burn, you just end up on autopilot.
In April of this year, after more years than most realise (I started contributing to the project whilst still a college student), I parted ways with Speedhunters. Looking back, I think it was the best thing for both sides. They weren’t getting the best of me, and I was becoming more and more frustrated with the direction they were going in at the time. It was an amicable parting, but a parting none the same. On the first of April, I was a solo artist with no regular income (something Speedhunters provided). It was time for me to sink or swim.
April was a particularly scary month. If I worked a single paid job during those weeks, I would have done well. Despite having solid experience and an appreciated set of skills, these mean nothing if you can’t promote yourself and fight for work. I may have spent years dreaming of being a photographer, but I never once imagined myself as a business man. Unfortunately for me, to survive, this is exactly what I needed to become. I started to network, spoke to people within the industry and I set out a game plan for how I could make this work. A lot of things had to be learned, and learned quickly. I developed a strategy, identified potential new clients and went for it. The funniest thing about all of this? It actually worked.
My main goal for 2014 was to survive. Simple as that. By working hard and striving to provide the best work I possibly could, it has paid off for me. By being my own boss, it has also allowed me to develop not only as a photographer but as a person too. I’ve learned – and continue to learn – just what it takes to stay afloat in a highly competitive market. More than ever, I’m aware of how privileged I am to continue to work in this industry but also how quickly it could all go away. The latter part of that is what drives me.
Do I have regrets? Yes. I definitely haven’t shot enough motorsport this year. This is something I’m already working on to rectify in 2015. I’m also not satisfied with simply surviving either, I want to expand and I want to work more with more manufacturers. I want to do more editorial work and more personal work. I want to try different things and perhaps even re-ignite old passions.
Honestly, looking into 2015, I have no idea how things will pan out. You know what? I kind of like it that way.
Below is a selection of fourteen photographs from the year 2014. Some you may have seen before, some you may have not. These are not necessarily my best, but they provoke the strongest emotional response for me. This was because they either remind me of a great particular moment or one the sense of relief having avoided certain death (I’m looking at you Mr. McKinley). None of this would be possible without the help and kindness of so many people. I’m not going to name you this year, instead I’m going to show you my appreciation every time we meet in future.
Thanks for stopping by.