Apparently I completely forgot to do one of these in 2015, but that's not really surprising. I've come a long way from 2014, when I was still working at newspapers and living in the US. 2015 was a weird year of not knowing who I was, and being angry that I had to change paths and what I was doing as a journalist. Things seemed up in the air and unsure then — and honestly, they still do. But I'm happy to still be exploring things and making pictures and finding what I love, and 2016 was more about embracing and reinventing and very much about flipping the bird to restrictions and growing despite them.
I still love journalism, no matter how far I get from it, but I find other value in travel photography, food photography and portrait sessions — all with pieces of what I loved about photojournalism, and with shadows of it, but also with new surprises and aspects that I love.
Portrait photography still has the relationships that I loved about photojournalism — meeting awesome new people and getting a glimpse into their life, which I attempt to capture at that slice in time.
Food photography is all about culture and creation to me — it's abnormal to me to have to create situations in the studio out of scratch, instead of being given the ingredients to make a picture and make it work, so I struggle with having complete control, but it's a struggle because it is limitless, not limited, which can be scary yet inspiring.
And travel photography is more about documentation for me, and always about culture, which is what I loved the most about photojournalism and was always drawn to anyway — capturing how people live and what is unique about that.
It's been a year of exploration — whether it was outward, with travel, or inward, with discovery of self. I've developed more of a style, and more of a voice, and am working on being more inspired by and less reductive of other people's work.
A lot of dear friends left Italy in 2016, which was really hard. With Tyler gone a lot, I formed fierce friendships with amazing women, and when they left, it left a big hole where their love and joy had been. Those holes don't get filled, really, but patched — and other areas of my personality grow with other amazing people, who don't really replace those folks, but distract from the pain of others being gone with their new light and kindness. I grow with these new friendships, intertwining with the holes left by the old, until I am a misshapen but happy person, pulled in many directions from the love of so many people reaching across the globe.
I won't say that things are perfect and lovely and wonderful, but there is a lot of growth and absolutely happiness, both in my professional and personal life. Our unique struggle here has created a foundation from which to grow and be inspired, and I am, indeed, thankful for the person I am today because of the challenges we've faced as a family living here. We are constantly pushed to our limits, though always knowing we could be pushed further, creating us to be so thankful for the weird and unique life we have. It's created bonds and beauty with so many people I love, even out of the rockiest of times, and for that I am inspired and thankful.