2012 in review.

Well. 2012 has come and gone….and what a year. Looking back, 2010 was kind of stagnant, 2011 was really hard, and 2012 was overall, totally wonderful. It was a year measured in successes and joy, more so than any in recent memory. One of my resolutions was to let go of the anger and resentment that colored so much of 2011 and not let feelings like that define any part of my experience of the year, and I feel like that was achieved;  it was cool to see and experience the kind of positive growth that comes along with letting go of that kind of energy.  I am costantly reminded of how extremely blessed I am in so many ways.

So….here are just a few things about the year that stand out:

I feel deeply grateful to have a job (/several jobs) in which i find meaning and joy. it has been an honor to work at SWAN for this whole year- I have met so many amazing people and been a part of some really meaningful, great things. it is really, really wonderful to work with kids in urban agriculture again, and it feels awesome to look forward to going to work every day. Getting to also work with the Horizons program for the summer was an added bonus and made for a really plentiful summer in the sun.

When i think back on the year’s accomplishments, there are three big ones that stand out to me- all things that you never could have told me, this time last year, that i would do. the process of each of these really helped to shape the year, and i learned SO much through them all.

Dancing in the street. when Erika asked me to be part of One Dance Co.’s summer performance, Scene and Herd, I said no thanks- preferring my usual role behind the camera. However, a few friends convinced me to give it a whirl, and I’m so glad that I did. It was an incredibly unique experience, and so much fun to get to work together with such talented folks. It was more than a little nerve-wracking- I had not performed in front of an audience in almost ten years, and definitely never anything of that caliber- ie, literally stopping traffic. at the Jazz festival. but it was such a blast.

2. directing a play. okay. there is literally NOTHING that makes sense about this. i have never been in a play. i am a terrible actress. i don’t (didn’t…?) know the first thing about directing. I mean, i am about as  unqualified for this as one could be. But despite all odds, when the idea at work came up to make a play out of one of my favorite books, i jumped on it. And it was absolutely, unquestionably, THE most gratifying and rewarding project I have been a part of so far in my 27 years- and i’ve done a fair number of things!  SO many people helped to make it happen, and seeing the kids work so hard and and feel  so proud of themselves at the end was completely wonderful. it was not without a whole slew of challenges and “why are we doing this???” moments, but so, so, so worth it.

3. Continental Breakfasts. And for the last big event of the year, we printed and hung 2100 photographs, no big deal. There’s nothing quite like seeing every day of the last three years lining the walls to really make you stop and reflect. I still sort of cannot believe that this finally actually happened. Anna and I have kept this blog since January 2010, and for her to come here and for us to have an opening and for it all to come together as well as it did, felt like nothing short of a dream come true.

And speaking of that, its been really great to be a part of so many great things going on at The Yards. I’ve never been so proud to be a Rochesterian- for many  many reasons, but all the many remarkable events that have gone on at the Yards alone  make me so excited about the deeply talented, remarkable community that we have here.

I feel as grateful as ever for the beautiful, supportive people I am so proud to call my closest friends.

and also for those friendships  that have spanned many miles and many years. I was lucky enough to have visits from and adventures with two of my dearest far-flung friends this year, it was so wonderful.

i am so happy to still be living with Marisa, she is the best roommate I could ask for. AND this year, we gained the greatest neighbors ever when  two very very special, sweet people that we love got married to each other and moved in to the other apartment in our house.

i got to photograph the weddings of several other extremely wonderful friends, as well as the incredible new baby of two other magical dear folks.

and then, to finish out the year, my best friend in the whole world got engaged.

In summary? Those are some, but not even close to all of the great things that happened in 2012.  I feel awesome about this past year. I have minimal complaints, in fact. And I am stoked to see what happens in 2013.

I don’t do many specific things consistently from one day to the next. About the only thing I can be counted on is to start the day with a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee….and, also, for the last three years, to take a picture (or three)

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at some point in the morning.

In early January 2010, my roommate at the time, Seth, announced that he’d be having a visitor- a woman named Anna he had met the month before during his west coast tour. Anna lived in Kelowna, BC at the time, but was home in Ontario visiting family for the holidays, and took a few days to make the trip down to Rochester.

As it happened, the night before Anna arrived, I found a book called “A year of mornings” at the bookstore. It was a year’s worth of two women on opposite ends of the continent documenting their daily morning routine. At a time when I was completely low on photographic inspiration, the simple quiet of their lovely photos struck a chord, and I thought, “I would love to do that.” I’d tried the ‘photo-a-day’ thing before (I even have a ghost of an old semi-daily photo blog here) but had never been able to stick with it. The collaborative nature of this particular project was especially attractive to me- the relationship that was created between not just the photos, but the two women themselves, through something as simple as a photo a day.

I bought the book, finally hit with a flurry of inspiration. And over the course of the week Anna was at our house, we began developing a friendship, and an idea took root. How often is it really that you become friends with someone who’s a fellow photographer, farmer, and morning appreciator, who lives all the way on the other coast, when thats EXACTLY the sort of person you are seeking? So one day I left the book out when I went to work, and when I came home at the end of the day, exactly what I’d hoped would happen, happened: Anna mentioned how much she liked the book, and that she thought it would be cool to do something like that….and, well, I jumped on it. A few weeks later, when Anna had returned to the west coast, Continental Breakfasts was born.

Fast forward 2 and 3/4′s a year- we’ve been at it ourselves ever since. We’ve now been posting a photo a day from our mornings (and honestly- sometimes afternoons) to our blog for over 1,000 days. For someone who is not the best at doing things consistently, this has sometimes felt like the one thing that has kept order to my weeks.

It’s been fascinating on so many levels: the sometimes uncanny connections between our photos; the way the project has resonated with friends and acquaintances all over the place; the fact that something so public also serves as a deeply personal journal for both of us- a record of the many twists and turns our lives have taken over the last thirty-four months. The photos have seen us through major life changes: moves, deaths, breakups; new homes, new jobs, new loves. They’ve seen us through seemingly as many magical adventures and journeys as they have average, ordinary mornings.

And finally, at almost the three-year mark, we have the opportunity to take it from our little corner of the internet to the walls. We’ve wanted to do this since pretty much the beginning, and I can’t imagine a better home for a show of this project than The Yards- home to collaboration in so many respects.

The last few weeks have been dedicated to intense preparations: organizing and printing everything, figuring out how the hell to get 2060 photos onto the walls (that was without question the hardest part); finding materials, constructing a hanging system, talking on the phone to work out logistics, etc. On Wednesday, Anna will fly here from California (!!!!) and we will go immediately into a frenzy of photo-hanging; and by Saturday’s grand opening, the walls of the Yards will be covered completely with our last three years. I can’t really even imagine how that is going to feel.

The question people keep asking: “ALL of the photos?” I can’t see any way around it: so much of whats made it great- besides the the relationships embodied in the entries- has been the consistency, the dedication to doing something daily, no matter what. The sheer volume is daunting to be sure, but its also essential. I’m guessing somewhere around hanging the 967th photo or so, I may feel differently, but really, I know its worth it.

None of this would be possible without the support of the completely amazing people that I know: my wonderful boyfriend, who has been at the Yards working basically every minute that I have and has really probably done more work than I have; my friend Brian, who’s been in my corner encouraging me about this for months, his girlfriend, who came after a long day at work to help us build; Sarah and Lea at the Yards, who have been so so so supportive; and of course all of the positive energy from so friends who have been supportive of and excited about the project along the way. etc etc. I’m already completely overwhelmed with gratitude about all this, and I’m sure its only going to increase as this crazy week progresses. (I also sort of can’t wait to see what kind of morning photos Anna and I end up with during the days we are actually TOGETHER, after so many days on opposite sides of the continent.)

As my roommate put it today, it’s the project of a lifetime. It’s meant so much to me already; I can’t imagine how it will feel to see it put all together at last, and to share that experience with the public. I hope to see you there.

Continental Breakfasts: A 3-year photographic collaboration.

GRAND OPENING Saturday, December 1st, 6-10pm.

The Yards Collaborative Art Space
50-52 Public Market Way | Rochester NY 14609
attheyards.com

A few months ago, my friend Chris asked me if I would take on a portrait project for the Good Food Collective’s end of the year bash. The Good Food Collective is a multi-farm Community Support

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ed Agriculture (CSA) project that provides food from 12 different area farms to over 800 members. If you know me at all, you know I love visiting and photographing farms more than most other things. Plus this one had a fun twist……the farmers were all asked to wear their fanciest attire. As Chris said, the idea was to go beyond the typical “farmer portrait” to capture the farming crew as the sophisticated, polished, and professional individuals that they are. It took a few very solid days of driving all over this side of New York- but it was a great deal of fun, and so neat to get to see all of the farms and meet everyone involved. So far as I could tell, these fine folks are as nice as they are nice looking, and they grow some awfully delicious food. Enjoy.

Doug Mason, Mason Farms

Jonathan, Erin, Mike, & Joanna, Mud Creek Farm

Trystan & Max, First Light Farm and Creamery

Kurt & Jake, Clearview Farm

Sara, Ed, Mary, & Clare Fraser, Fraser’s Garlic Farm

Jamie, Chelsea, & Jeremiah, Squash Blossom Farm

Natalie, Jessica, Brian, Oliver, Shannon, Carolyn, & Sam, Raindance Harvest

Leith, Sweet Grass Meats

Sue & Amy, Hurd Orchards

Chris, Adam, Jake, & Mark, Lagoner Farms

Fred & Kira, HoneyHill Farm

Phil, Fisher Hill Farm

Nissa, Natalie, Carolyn, Shannon, Chad, Sara, Sam, & Chris - the Good Food Collective Distribution Team

it was such a wonderful experience to be a part of the whole process of In You is Home- the stunning performance put on by Erika Ruegemer & Co and the Pickpockets at the Yards at the end of April. The photos from the initial promo shoot ar

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e a few entries ago, and I thought I would post a few of my faves from the actual performance here- there are a LOT but i just picked a few for now. (You can see way more of them in the album on facebook.) There’s also a really great review of the performance over at the Yards’ blog, that does an excellent job recapping the whole thing. I still have some of the music from it floating around in my head….

Erika already has the next project underway (that girl does not stop!) and someone else will have to photograph…because I’m dancing in it! Aah! We’ll see how that goes. It involves animals and the Jazz Fest. !!

Jen & Jeremy

and wedding season begins! two weeks ago i did engagement shots with Jen & Jeremy. I’ve danced with Jen at Bushmango for a few years now and she is super fun, genuine and sweet. I’ll be shooting their wedding next September, so it was grea

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t to get to know them a bit more as a couple by doing these photos……