In which I look back over the second half of 2016, photographically speaking, with lots of links to click on if you'd like to see more...
July brought first a fortnight in Florida, then a few more weeks in Georgia, by way of the ever-fabulous Savannah. I spent a happy day at Old Car City, home of the best veteran cars in the US, and had some fun making a little audio-visual of these later.
I also appreciated having a beautiful model about, and after a little vintage clothes shopping we staged some shoots in the mellow evening light at the North Georgia farmhouse.
The summer break had started well, with two photographs accepted for the NIPA exhibition, but it almost ended in disaster after a careless mouse-click in Lightroom. I accidentally synced my catalogue to my mobile catalogue, which had nothing in it, and at a stroke I'd lost two years, hundreds of hours, of work. I did actually cry. I thought there was a possibility that the back-ups I'd done before leaving the UK might restore some of it, but I wasn't at all confident. A million thanks to Darren Brown for carefully fixing everything on my return, despite his shock at my haphazard folder system. Back stuff up, people.
September, back to school, autumn evenings claustrophobically setting in, can be a bit of a gloomy time for me, but I'm always nerdily excited by the thought of European Heritage Open Weekend. This year I visited Gracehill for the first time and made a spooky little story after my Templemore Avenue Baths visit.
And I achieved my long-held ambition to see inside Riddel's Warehouse, with its excellent ironwork and evocative Belfast-a-hundred-years-ago atmosphere.
Throughout August and September I'd been working with my very kind mentor Gerry Coe to prepare a panel for an LIPF distinction assessment. If you want to experience a rollercoaster of photographic emotions, have a go at this .... from thinking you have some quite nice work, to thinking it all totally sucks and success is a ridiculous delusion, and everything in between. I spent the assessment day sitting very nervously in a hall full of tense candidates, watching each person's precious work being displayed in turn and either succeeding or being dismissed. The guy beside me disappeared for a smoke break every ten minutes, on his third attempt at an LIPF, which wasn't really helping my jitters. I knew I'd fail from the start, as I listened to the eight judges comment on other people's work, all of which seemed much better than mine. Finally, I watched my own ten little prints go up on the display stands and wanted nothing more than to snatch them down and just go home. So when the panel passed and the friendly cheer went up from the gathered candidates, I couldn't quite believe it. It was definitely the biggest deal of the year.
October brought my usual little jaunts around the peninsula...
...but it finished on a big high with a half-term trip to Venice. I stayed at a charming Airbnb in Cannaregio and walked and walked and walked. I know Venice quite well, but this was the first time I'd visited specifically to take photographs, and it was a fantastic break. Food, wine and a bit of Italian chat figured too, obviously. It's still one of my favourite places in the world.
Visiting Burano for the first time resulted in a particularly enjoyable day.
November brought a couple of thrills too with the sale of an image to an independent publisher for use as a book cover, and my acceptance as an artist at Arcangel Images. J benefited too, when the image of him walking on the beach was keyworded by the inhouse analysts to include the search term "young man". That has provided plenty of material for boasting for the foreseeable future.
December is almost over now, and as I look back I can see what a positive and encouraging year it's been for me as I've worked on my photography skills. Big thanks to the many people who've helped and encouraged me - it's very much appreciated. Thanks to you, my readers too - it's always fantastic to see and hear that people have enjoyed looking at my work. And here's to a 2017 full of beauty and creativity to come.