It’s that time of year when everyone with a blog is required to take a look at the previous year and take stock. I like this tradition. It gives you a sense of accomplishment for the things you’ve done and also brings to mind what still needs attention.
So what happened in 2013? So much!
I signed a contract with Conlan Press, Peter S. Beagle’s publisher. This has already brought some very exciting things about, and there are many, many more to come!
I created what I consider the first “real” DreamWorld piece. By “real” I mean a full-fledged character was brought to life with costumes and props which took months to create and inventing new ways to bring about my vision on a shoe-string budget. The inclusion of birds would also prove to be a frequently occurring theme in DreamWorld.
I got to photograph Lauren Cohen, aka Maggie from AMC’s The Walking Dead. The image also kicked off a sub-series of DreamWorld portraying the various steps along the Hero’s Journey.
I also got to photograph Paul Telfer, known for his roles in NCIS, The Vampire Diaries and other roles that require buff-and-handsome men. He perfectly portrayed the angelic kind of being you would want watching over you while you sleep.
This year also brought about a new, ongoing collaboration and friendship with actor/model Katie Johnson. I could write an entire post about how wonderful it’s been to have Katie in my life, both for artistic reasons and personal ones. I will leave it at two main points; that she is a spectacular model, equally skilled at following specific, minute directions as well as being let loose while I just try and keep up with her. Her friendship, strength and grace have been a great boon this year, especially during some notable rough patches. Thank you, Katie :)
One of those notable rough patches was learning about the tragic deaths of the 19 Hotshot firemen in Yarnell, Arizona this summer, and that one of them had been a childhood friend of mine.
In a somewhat similar vein, I took my passion for animal rights to a new level after watching the documentary Blackfish. This also meant that I finally tackled underwater photography, which I’d been quite nervous about trying.
I wrote an open letter to Jack Hanna criticizing his continued support of SeaWorld after the Blackfish allegations, which became quite successful and even garnered the attention of celebrities such as British actor Stephen Fry.
Like DreamWorld, the set of Blackfish photos has set in motion a more all-encompassing series addressing animal rights in other areas. More of that will come in 2014!
In championing human causes, I got to be a part of the Kickstarter campaign for the documentary Canary In A Coal Mine, in production, about myalgic encephalomyelitis, aka ME, previously known in the United States as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/CFS. The Kickstarter was an INCREDIBLE success, and we can look forward to seeing the film in late 2014 or early 2015! I’m proud to have been a small part of the movement. I also got to work a little more on my series on living with ME with the help of model/friend Aly Darling.
I visited a sheep farm to take photos of lambs and goats along with friends Katie and Brooke Shaden, to create a very personal portrait of my grandmother. This particular lamb was appropriately named Too Cute :)
I “celebrated” my 5-year anniversary with ME. I’ve tried many new therapies this year to combat the ME, but with the exception of ART massage, it has gotten slowly worse and finally forced me to quit my day job. In some ways this is a good thing, as my day job was doing my body no good at all, and it also means now I can concentrate fulltime on art. But it’s also a bit frightening; will the ME get a little worse every year? Will it level off now that I’m not pushing it trying to hold down a job? There are many unknowns, which can be worse than knowing something bad will happen. I try and keep a good attitude about things, but it’s also no good trying to simply ignore your fears. They won’t go away, they’ll simply grow in the dark.
This TED Talk sums up my fears, hopes and trials beautifully, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, especially any who struggle with depression.
I am still mourning Richard Harrow’s death (this was my light-hearted way of dealing with it) and I’m working on a photo to help work through those feelings.
But perhaps very best of all was getting to photograph author Peter S. Beagle, of The Last Unicorn fame, and bring him into DreamWorld as its King. It was such a tremendous amount of work, but that just makes the resulting photos that much more meaningful.
A year ago, I never would have thought I’d find myself not only merely talking to Peter, but actually interacting with him, making a costume for him, and casting him as one of the most important characters of DreamWorld.
If that all happened in 2013, what will 2014 bring? I am very excited to find out!