As we bade farewell to 2013, my thoughts turned to the coming year. Past resolutions sprung immediately to mind, most of them broken almost two months into the year. So, with that in mind, what are your goals for 2014?
Are you likely to repeat the resolutions, or the mistakes, of past years? Or are you more likely to learn from experience and make them a little more 'achievable'?
For my part, this year I’m trying something a little bit different.
There are quite a few things I could or should change in my life, so it would be impossible to mention them all in detail in one blog. And before you ask, no, I’m not keeping it to myself because it would make me feel a hell of a lot worse if I broke it. Because would that be missing the point and starting off on the wrong foot anyway? At the end of the day, if we HAVE to make a resolution to change something, being afraid to tell what it is because we may not succeed is almost like you’re only half-heartedly making that resolution, as you half-know you’ll fail!
Most of us know what we wish to change. Many more of us know how to change. Yet still, year after year we make the same resolutions.
So as I was mentioning above, this year there is no resolution for me, there’s just me. My reflection in the mirror every morning monitoring everything I do with uneasy eyes.
2013 ended on a both a high and a low. On the low side, I was diagnosed with a right shoulder impingement, which almost needed injections; luckily I was saved by quite a few physiotherapy sessions, but the pain stopped me from going out and do what I do best – take pictures. On the higher side, I found out that one of the photos I submitted to Leeds City Museum’s Natural Beauty 2 Photographic Competition had been awarded 'Highly Commended' by the judges.
Am I bothered about not winning, or even having a second place in this one? No, I'm not. When I enter a competition, it is not my sole purpose to win the prizes on offer. Success in competitions represents an emotional and motivating victory for me, and also a chance to compete and to see how my current images square up against others in the eyes of judges. Getting a Highly Commended image shows my work is progressing in the right direction. And as on this occasion the prize was a Canon camera, this wouldn’t have been too attractive when I am a Nikon user!
Making progress in larger and more widely publicised competitions is the goal. Showcasing my work and pushing myself to achieve those goals will take time.
So the question beckons, is there an end goal? Well, there is and there isn't.
This is a journey with no set destination. The journey can bend and alter its direction in ways I cannot fathom, like a river flowing and curving around the landscape. Many would say that I most definitely SHOULD have an end goal in sight, especially if I also view my photography as a business from which I make a living.
That is very true but sometimes the fastest way isn’t always the best way. Sometimes the best things in life take a while. And, as the American writer Henry David Thoreau said, “If a man doesn’t keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away”.
I know I’ll get there in time, in my own way. It’s true that maybe I should be making more money, charging more, or whatever. But I know what I am doing, and just because I don’t immediately chase the almighty buck, even though according to my bank manager I should, it doesn’t mean I won’t, one day have enough to do all those things I dream of.
So with that in mind, my plans for the coming year is to progress my commercial photography by concentrating on attracting more clients, and I intend to photograph parts of the Tour de France – with its conveniently located Grand Depart right here in Yorkshire – and which goes past Harewood House this year, as well as returning to many sites and places in the UK for fresh landscapes, wildlife and architectural projects.
My galleries have also got a bit of a face-lift recently, and will also host an influx of new work for people to see.
So as soon as my ‘physioterrorist’ gives me the all clear you can bet that I will be out and about at full speed.
It's already February and I have lots to do! Therefore… “so long, farewell; Pip! Pip! Cheerio! I'll be back soon!”