2013 Wrap Up

It is that time of year… a time for reflection… a time to plan ahead for the year to come… and, as 2013 comes to a close, I am happy. Not for any of the things I have, but I am happy because I am grateful for all of the experiences and all of the new people in my life. Here are a few highlights that made 2013 stand out for me:

1. My year long documentary of Revere Beach wrapped up in April. I took a risk with my camera and set out into the night and spoke to and photographed perfect strangers – who I am grateful to for their honesty and trust in allowing me access to their lives.

2. I finally graduated college! It even says so on my resume! After spending 9 years in college, full-time and part-time enrollment, while being fully employed for 10 years… That’s a lot of bosses who offered me flexible schedules and a lot of teachers who understood how hard I was working. BFA Fine Art Photography and Professional Certificate in Commercial Photography? Check!

3. I am grateful for the Photography class of 2013 at AIB, the people who worked the AIB Lock-up, and my professors… too many to list, but every week you opened my eyes and mind, got me out of my head, gave me just what I needed, and pushed the conversation around my work. I only hope I did as much for you as you did for me…

4. Howard Yezerski of the Yezerski Gallery in Boston recognizes my work with an Honorable Mention award at my Senior Exhibition at The Art Institute of Boston. I thank you Howard for your keen eye and your involvement in the art community!

5. I participated in 6 exhibitions this year… 2 of them solo shows, 2 of them fundraisers for local galleries, and two group shows with my other artist friends!

6. I set out in April of this year to be completely self-employed and freelance as both a photographer and photographic assistant for Boston area commercial photographers. (Basically, my customized-Master’s Degree in Business and Photography). After a slow start, I ended up assisting 15 different photographers this year and shooting for 6 new clients, most of which still call me on a regular basis. Each of their approaches to the business of photography and endless technical knowledge has been a major contribution to my self-guided study of this craft professionally.

7. All of the studio producers and managers who read my e-mails, took my phone calls and gave me a shot!

8. All of the other Boston area photographers and assistants who show tremendous amounts of respect for others in the industry and for sharing work with each other!

9. I moved to Salem, MA – one of New England’s oldest ports with amazing history and inspiration. The thriving economy in Salem is booming with small business growth and is full of potential as my home-base for offering commercial photography to the North Shore of Massachusetts.

10. Jerard Fagerberg. A one man lyrical genius, my collaborator and friend.

11. Heather McGrath, my long-time photographer friend, for giving me the opportunity to present my work in my first solo exhibition.

12. My wife, Stephanie, who stood by me during the most hectic April on record! And, who continues to encourage me everyday.

13. And, lastly, of course, my family and friends. My Mom, Dad, Brother, Mother-in-Law, Father-in-Law, … each of which played a huge roll in my life this year. From sequencing my work, scouring contact sheets, providing snacks and wine for art shows, dog-sitting, giving advice, and for just being near the phone the times I need you. Thanks!

2014 will be a lot of fun. There’s no doubt in my mind. The network of individuals who I rely on for support, comedy, and a chance to share ideas with, is growing every day. I have found the photographic community here in Boston to be very accessible and friendly. The year ahead will be filled with new picture making opportunities!

So, as we raise a glass to the end, and to the future, tomorrow night I will be reminded of how happiness can truly be achieved. Not by gathering inventory of all of the things you have, but by gathering people around you and doing the grand things that mean something to you and others.

– JF