It’s amazing what can happen in a year. It’s also amazing how short a year becomes as you get older. I remember this time of year as a kid and thinking the next Christmas seemed like an eternity away and it felt like it. Nowadays, every moment flies into the next and before you know it you’re in a mall lined up with the masses again purchasing Christmas gifts for 2014!
As a mother and a photographer I do have some stand out moments this year that did seem to make their way out of the blur and come into sharper focus. From the motherhood side of things (and as a breast cancer survivor) I was grateful to see my five year old daughter grow and transform before my eyes. She’s no longer a toddler relying on me for everything. She’s her own person with amazingly creative thoughts and sometimes stubborn opinions. She draws, takes photographs, plays guitar, reads, writes and dances. She’s my inspiration each and every day. One of my stand out moments with her this year was going out on the shores of Lake Huron one breezy evening to take this shot.
My husband was standing nearby and it was a rare family moment with just the three of us surrounded by the rhythm of the waves and the rhythm of each other. I live for moments like those.
As a photographer it has been a fantastic year of growth. I was fortunate enough to have my first solo exhibition in Toronto, Ontario in May. It was nerve wracking and a great deal of work but worth every minute of it. After that I was asked to speak at several different venues, one even being the University of Toronto! It took a great deal of strength to fight off the usual emergence of “am I a good enough photographer?” but I turned my back on that fading voice and gave my first hour and a half lecture about my work.
I haven’t been doing photography for very long but I always find I have to remind myself that I have been leading up to this career for a very, very long time through my fine art degree and my background in film. Speaking of which I also branched out just recently and shot my first music video which should be released early 2014.
This year I didn’t enter too many competitions but I did have some success with Vogue Italia having five “Best of” photos and one “Picture of the Day.” Considering the volume of photographers they represent and the degree of talent I was very honoured. I was also lucky enough to receive two honourable mentions in the International Photography Awards 2013.
So, just when I thought I couldn’t love photography anymore I discovered the world of underwater photography. It was love at first click. I spent the majority of time this summer underwater and the time since thinking about what I want to shoot when the warm weather comes back next summer. I feel so drawn to the photography/water combination that I am more excited for this year of creating than I have ever been.
As, always with my end of year blog I have to thank the ones who have inspired me along the way. Again I’ll be picking my top 10 photographers that have moved me in some way this year and pushed me to new levels. Art is so subjective so just remember that there are hundreds, thousands of amazing photographers out there, many which I haven’t even discovered yet but for now these are the ones that have delivered a message to my creative juices.
I wanted to try to pick 10 new photographers this year so before I do that I want to mention that I get continued inspiration from some of the conceptual greats that I mentioned last year – Patty Maher, Brooke Shaden, Oleg Oprisco and Kirsty Mitchell.
So here we go……
A Step Through Shame – Kylii Sparre
Most people know this photographer from Estonia as Sparrek. She has an extraordinary story telling ability and her execution of it is mesmerizing. This photo is the first fine art photography print I had ever purchased. It is hanging in my office as a reminder of how much I want to try to support my fellow fine art photographers. It’s not easy to try to make a living from this path we’re on so if we can support each other I think it is a wonderful thing. I love Kylii’s work so it was hard for me to narrow it down to this one but I think having never seen anything like it before is what won me over.
“Vestige” Faerieland – Ashley Lebedev
I LOVE ASHLEY LEBEDEV (Bottle Bell Photography)! I find I “study” her photographs more than anyone else’s. Her attention to detail and her post processing are things that ignite a fire in my belly to go out and create. She has such subtle tones and a softness that is uniquely hers. The photo I have chosen of hers (and again like Kylii there were many to choose from) is the one of her Grandmother. I have thought about this photo often and also about the person behind it. I was very sad to hear of her passing in November but this photograph will always be a beautiful reminder to cherish what we have while we have it.
she walks these hills – Heather
A fellow Canadian is one of my top picks this year. Heather has a very unique style continually framing herself in interesting vistas. Her photos are often soft and feminine. The photo below is probably my most favourite photo of the year (if I had to pick just one!)
Hung out to dry – Ellie Ellis
A photographer from the UK, Ellie has lured me into her world of creative set-ups and interesting models. I don’t know Ellie personally but she seems to have no fear of getting out there and setting a scene. The picture below was hands down my favourite of Ellie’s from this year. It still amazes me how so many great artists get overlooked on Flickr – this only had 8 favourites last time I looked!
this living hands – Christine Coral
I actually didn’t discover Christine on Flickr but through PhotoVogue as she had received one of the 25 coveted spots for Glimpse At PhotoVogue held in Italy this past spring. Christine and I share a passion for working with water but Christine takes her artwork further by working with beautifully textured wallpaper and furniture as her backdrop to simple gestures with her hands and body. This photo is an example of the elegance she achieves when working with water.
I don’t typically like to compare photographers but I was originally drawn to Anka’s work because it reminded me so much of Oleg Oprisco’s work…and that’s not a bad thing btw….but once I delved in further I discovered an individual who had carved her own niche in conceptual portraits. Another photographer I had difficulty choosing just one from but I settled on this as it was the most memorable for me.
The haunting and emotional portraits of Aleksandra’s are stirring, beautiful and artistic. Each one is created in either black and white or old world tones giving you a sense that you are looking back in time. The one below is an example of a haunting image of a young girl that stayed with me.
Breach (from Duplicity) – Barbara Cole
As I mentioned before I have a newfound passion for underwater photography. So when I knew I was going to be a part of this world I found out who else had discovered its magic. Toronto based photographer Barbara Cole has been shooting underwater for 10 years now and you can tell. Her work, that includes lenticular lenses and no photoshopping, is mesmerizing, elegant, creative, liquid, powerful, soft, unique…I could go on and on. I was able to see a small exhibit of her work just recently and fell in love with her series “Duplicity.” I know I mentioned supporting fellow photographers but I couldn’t afford the hefty $30,000 price tag that went along with one of her photos – mindblowing creation!
Again I had to pick just one but I thought, “If I was able to put one of these on my walls, which one would it be?”……
Equilibrium – Mallory Morrison
Another underwater photographer who gives me plenty of inspiration. Her work can be conceptual, painterly, moving and ethereal. Similar to Barbara Cole, she utilizes the weightlessness of water to her advantage.
Let it Rain – Patty Maher
I know I mentioned Patty Maher earlier and she isn’t new to my “favourites” list but I had to put her in again this year. I have been fortunate enough to get to know Patty over the year and I learn from her continually. I love that in this saturated world of ideas that are overused, she has created a recognizable world for herself. She is the “Faceless Woman” who keeps appearing and reappearing in wooded glens, earthy trails and harvesting meadows. I adore her style and her quiet passion for the craft. It’s no secret I’m not a fan of doing self portraits but when you have someone like Patty do one of you it’s a whole different story. This picture was taken while we were out shooting with another fantastic photographer Claire.
Thank you all for giving me endless inspiration! I look forward to seeing all of your new creations in 2014!