Well, It’s almost February, so I figured I had better get these up tonight. It’s hard to pick favorites from the most fun year of shooting I have ever had. I’m so thankful for the people who have come with me on spontaneous photography sessions, and for the people who have taught me so much about the art of photography, from old trailblazers in the art like Ansel Adams to folks like Aaron Coury, who have been kind enough to sit down with me and share the heart behind their own work. I’m thankful to those who have invited me to photograph their weddings, people who share joy and love with everyone around them, and to God for being the giver and source of that joy in the first place. I find myself at the end of a year realizing that photographs with no emotion behind them are empty. A wedding makes you feel something. Hopefully something uncontainable, like joy so deep you have to dance to let it show. Endless mountains also make you feel something, watching them fading into paler and paler blue, and then into the magenta and gold of dusk. But I find that pictures of these things often don’t make you feel the same way. Even beautiful pictures of sunsets or mountains so often lack the power to bring the appropriate emotion.
There is more to art than mastery of a medium. We’ve become accustomed to looking at art and saying to ourselves things like, “Wow, that’s a really good painting. It looks just like real life.” But what real life does it look like? It looks like the surface of a person’s face. But the real person lies underneath the face, and the face is a master at hiding the person. How can I learn to photograph the person underneath? Or to paint the beauty of the land rather than the look of the land? One photographer says, “This is what I saw, this is what it looked like.” The other says, “This is what I felt. This is what was really there.” I know of a few photographers whose pictures make me feel deeply, and I am on a journey of learning to make photographs that carry that power. With that in mind, here are some of my favorites from the last year behind my camera.