How do you define success?
This is a question I pondered a lot over the festive period as I reflected on the past year.
Was 2018 successful?
Could it be deemed successful even if I felt personally and creatively unfulfilled?
As I mentioned in my previous blog post (here), 2018 was a strange year for me photographically.
In terms of my personal work, when I had time to shoot for myself I had no inclination to pick up a camera. I couldn’t find any motivation and my output for the year was incredibly low.
I lost my mojo…
Ironically, it was probably my most productive year to date in other aspects of photography - I shot many weddings, gigs/festivals, events, parties, website images for businesses, corporate portraits, and ran my own competitions and tutorials.
I also started an online photography community called Spyder and had my work published in a street photography magazine.
It was certainly a busy year, and very productive. I had an unprecedented interest in prints of my work too so, in a commercial sense, I have to accept that it was successful.
I really enjoyed doing the work, and shooting across different disciplines has developed my photographic knowledge and skills more broadly, but it definitely had a detrimental impact on my own creativity.
Despite limited time, my ongoing project of Leighton Buzzard (the small market town in Bedfordshire where I live) continued to grow in popularity during 2018 and through it I regularly met amazing people and collaborated with local businesses.
I strongly recommend that you spend some time in 2019 being creative within your own community, particularly if you live outside of a major city or large town. It’s challenging, for sure, but tremendously worthwhile on many levels. (See more about my project HERE).
Although it wasn’t a conscious decision, 2018 definitely leant far more in the direction of clients. I’m not a full-time photographer so, whilst I got many shots I’m very proud of and worked with some great people, my primary passion as a photographer will always be my own work, which I create for myself. In that respect, it was a failure!
And that’s the key thing I’ll take into 2019 - the aim of maintaining a healthy balance between working for clients and working for myself.
I’d be really interested to hear your own views on how 2018 worked out for you.
How have you defined success? What are your targets for 2019?
The photographs in this blog post are a selection of images from 2018, all shot on a combination of the Fuji X100T and XT1/XT20 with 16mm/27mm/56mm.
Let’s see what 2019 brings…