At the beginning of every year I try to set some photo goals for myself, and this year is no exception. As 2018 was wrapping up I spent a lot of time reflecting on what I had accomplished, and where I wanted to go next. 

2018 best nine from Instagram

By all accounts, 2018 was a groundbreaking year for me. I had my first solo art show, was interviewed on the radio, and shot my first music festival as a staff photographer. I am reminded of the saying ‘when it rains, it pours’. It wasn’t just one art show – shortly after the first show closed, another gallery asked if they could carry over the installation for a second run. I didn’t just shoot one music festival, I shot three. Through all of this, I was still doing my best to cover as many local shows as I could, although not as many as I’d like. I also got back into night photography and shooting film. I shot 42 rolls in 2018, the most I’ve shot in a single year by nearly two fold. I even shot two of the music festivals at least partially on film. 319 Fest was shot completely on film, using my Nikon F5 and Delta 100. Grey Area was shot in part on film, with my Bronica ETRsi and Delta 100. Finally, towards the end of the year I got my darkroom ready for printing. It required some basic woodworking, something I hadn’t done since middle school, but it was well worth it.

Roll of Ektar 100 film

For 2019 I’ve decided to focus on two main things: More film, and more content for this website and Instagram. More film doesn’t just mean shooting more on film, but also printing, and doing a better job focusing my paid work on film. I’m kicking this off with a challenge and a project. 

Crystal City at Trumpet Blossom in Iowa City

The challenge: To use only film until the beginning of March. I’m going to try to shoot all the things I would normally shoot digitally, just on film. A big part of this challenge is going to be figuring out how to make everything work within the limits of film. 

DIY print drying rack I built for my darkroom

The project: Now that my darkroom is finished, I need to get back into printing. I’m going through all my gig work that I shot on film. The goal here is to put together another show, but this time use only darkroom prints. 

The last goal, to make more content, should result in more posts like this. I want to do more writing, be it talking about current projects or how-to posts and reviews. I might even take a stab at doing some videos… who knows!

2018 was an amazing year of growth and new experiences, and I think 2019 will be even better. Last year taught me to follow my gut and take chances. That is the only way to grow as an artist.