Let's look back at 2023

Earlier today, I caught myself thinking about the things I was "leaving behind in 2020," only to come to the very rude realization that I was, in fact, not entering the year 2021. Instead, I'm falling headlong into 2024, a number that doesn't even seem real, and a year that I was totally unprepared to enter, despite having spent the last two months on parental leave thinking almost exclusively about the future.

And, as every year since I started this website has gone, I utterly failed at my resolution from last year to "write more on my blog." (I actually think I have fewer blog posts here than I used to have on my site...but that's more of a symptom of migration to self-written code than anything else.)

Getting over my intrinsic need to do something consistently or neglect to do it at all has, evidently, not been a part of this year's growth. I've had other things to focus on, in my defense.

For starters, I'm a dad now. About halfway through this last year I went a little radio silent. I stopped posting new work on social media, I didn't put much on the blog, and new projects weren't coming in. This is because I had a baby (or, more specifically, my wife had a baby and I was also around), and she's pretty much the greatest thing I've ever been graced with encountering.

It's cliche to talk about fatherhood this way, but it genuinely has been life-changing. I'm busier, of course, and I get less sleep than I used to I suppose, but the reward of having a daughter is worth so much more than any sacrifice I could've ever made. Every day is a new adventure, and I'm thrilled to experience it all.

Moving forward, I'm slowly rolling my way back into taking on freelance and client projects. Weddings, videography, photoshoots, all coming back in the coming months. I'm still working on the balance of work and life with a new member of the family, but the high-flying goal of being Minnesota's "Catholic filmmaking guy" is still ever-present in my mind.

Another (less impressive but more business-related) update is to this website. Every year I seem to go through this change of redesigning my website and moving it to a new platform. I started with a site on Squarespace all the way back in 2020 (remember when I launched a freelance photography business in the weeks before a global pandemic? That was neat), then I went to Wordpress, Framer, back to Squarespace, back to Wordpress, and now...I'm doing it myself.

I laid out the more technical reasons in another blog post, but this past year drove me to doing this because, maybe more than any year prior, the events of this year really showed me how nothing on the Internet is mine unless I truly, really, own it. Social media companies across the board are making massive changes that hurt photographers and artists like myself, either using our work to train AI, allowing endless spam and bots to flood our inboxes, or even just straight up not showing our work to anyone unless we pay.

It's soooo cool how Instagram won't show my photos to people who follow me unless I buy an advertisement. And they even say that in the post as I'm making it!

To avoid going on a long-winded tangent, I'm saying that all of that led to me saying "screw it" and learning how to code myself. This website that you're reading is coded by me, your favorite photographer who is simply tired of having the Internet run by a couple rich maniacs.

There's something in my mind about this "do it yourself" approach being a radical thing in the Internet age, but that's a post for a different day. Today, what I'm saying is that I'm glad you're here, reading my post, on my website. My social media presence in 2024 will continue, because that's a necessary part of staying in touch, but I genuinely will be focused more on my own personal blog than I will be on social media.

I just want to be able to share my work and speak my thoughts without being taken advantage of.

So, if that's something you'd like to continue to see, I would love if you continued to come back to my site in the future. Check back in to see what I'm up to. Or even subscribe to my email list and get periodic updates. All of these are good options.

And, as always, I want to thank you for being here. I don't do this for fame or attention (and I'd be a very misguided man if this was the path I chose to fame), but I do appreciate it anytime someone takes time out of their day to see what I have to show them.

Here's to 2024! Let's make it a good one.