As the final day of 2012 is upon us and I sit back and look at my life this past year I can’t help but have a variety of emotions running through my mind and heart. It definitely has been a amazing year,so much that I don’t think I can put it into words but I am going to try. Usually my blogs are more photo based but this one I am going to attempt to speak (or type rather) purely from my heart so bare with me.
I guess it is only makes sense that I start from the beginning. In Jan. 2012 I was getting ready to report back to a studio job I had been working in Culver City for about 2 years, being that I live in Chatsworth makes it roughly a 30 minute drive (with no traffic) each way. But I do live in Los Angeles so my commutes really were roughly 45mins to a hour. At first this didn’t bother me one bit since the production studio had a awesome creative type atmosphere that had a motto of “as long as your work gets done” Meaning that you didn’t have to be in at a exact time or stay till exact time as long as you were productive with your duties. Well that all changed after the studio was being absorbed by a larger company. My boss decided he wanted to turn the workplace into a more corporate atmosphere in hope of relating with the new owners. This new workplace made me feel like I was just clocking in at a company, it killed my work spirit and ambition. But I did have a outlet that took my mind off of all of that, which was photography. It was what skating to me at 13 years old and dealing with jr. high school was like. It was work,it sucked but I knew I would always have my skateboard waiting for me. Same with this job, the work and atmosphere started to suck but I always had my camera there as a outlet.I felt like I was hitting a brick wall though, in the sense I knew this was my true love,my true passion that I should pursue but didn’t have the time due to my commute and the demanding work hours. I would do photo shoots every weekend and after work if I could but not like I was forcing myself. It was all in the name of doing something I loved, and since I strongly believe if you work within what you love not only will your end result be pure but it will come off as genuine as well. Thus it seemed to make more sense and follow your heart vs. a paycheck.
I also believe that all things do happen for a reason,sometimes it just takes longer to find out what that reason is. For me it took about 9 month. Back in March 2012 I had a falling out with the owner of said studio which resulted in me no longer have a secure job with benefits. Now I think most people would probably panic.They start to think of their next move,think of their bills they have to pay,etc and just get stressed out. For me, that first morning of not having to wake up and commute to a job I no longer enjoyed was one the happiest moments I had felt in recent years. At the same time I knew not to waste a moment in pursuing what I loved. I threw caution into the wind and much like Peter Gibbons (Office Space reference) I just stopped caring. I had no plan, I had no agenda other then I am going to do what I love and fuck everything else. Figured since I am not married and don’t have a kid what do I have to lose? During this time I get a phone call from my buddy Tyrone at LRG who puts me in touch with his co-workers Albie and Millhouse. This phone call turned into me shooting LRG’s summer look book and 2 ads with the Workaholics and The Cool Kids. My excitement was through the roof, but don’t worry I kept it cool. Shortly after I get a call from Keith Hufnagel asking me about shooting their 420 campaign for a t-shirt and packaging for their weed socks. Of course I was down, an opportunity to work with someone I had looked up to since I was 14 was a instant yes. I got my friend Kristina Rose to be the model for this project which turned out quite cool. The next month after I went to Miami for a work trip and got to photograph a model out there named Jamzz Baby and turns out Sk8Mafia wanted to do another board with me and since I had these great photos of her and they liked her look a Jamzz Baby board was in the works. I also got to shoot with a model by the name of Evelyn Cates which caught the eye of Nick Schonberger who happens to be a writer for complex and he posted our pictures on their site. I reached out to him to say thank you and then he offered me a portfolio review for Complex. Also my last night on this Miami trip I shot with Abella Anderson for a Foot Soldiers campaign involving the Jordan 7′s in the olympic color way that dropped this summer. And now I realize how productive that trip was and I wasn’t even out there to do photography…. damn.
Shortly after this I was asked to be apart of the Fersher Zine and was happy to contribute to such a fun project with some other talented photographers. Around this same time I had been contacted by 13th Witness to contribute photos to a issue of Frank 151 he was curating. I get another call from Huf asking to do a collaborative calendar project, then a month or so later Ray from Mighty Healthy mentions he liked one of my photos I had done with Asa and wants to turn it into a t-shirt. Then Murs contacts me about shooting album photos for his project with FaShawn titled “This Generation“. Oh yea I also got asked to shoot a project for Hall of Fame as well for their fall look book. October came and boom I had a exhibit out in Philly courtesy of Exit skate shop.
Trust me my mind had been running laps at this point but I just keep looking ahead and kept everything going. But then another opportunity came out of left field that I wasn’t expecting which was Bobby Hundreds asking me to be apart of his blog which went live at the beginning of November. After this is when I started to reflect on the year and all that had happen. Just a bit of a shock that all of this occurred in the time that it did, not this isn’t including the projects I did this year that will be released in 2013. I tried to figure out what I did right to make all of this happen and I can’t really say any one particular thing other then I just forgot about all the bull shit and focused on what made me happy.
Now I share all of this with you not to show off but to show you my own shock at how crazy this year had been for me.I also wanted to share a message…… never stop doing what you love.I felt stuck in a job I hated but was sticking it out due to the steady pay check and “thats what you do” mentality. Now I find myself beyond happy doing what I love,working with fun people creating photos and what I feel it truly living life. But remember never get distracted by money or material possessions. At the end of the day they don’t mean shit. I feel so blessed and fortunate to have had the experiences I had this year with the people I got to meet and work with. And I know none of this would have happened if I would have never had the falling out at my “content and safe” job. Due to the hours I would have been working I wouldn’t have gotten to take the pictures I did or meet the people I did. I also know if it wasn’t for Instagram and my blog giving me a platform to share my photos no one would have even noticed what I was doing. I did all of this not because I had a mapped out plan from a to b. or that I figured something was going to happen, I did it simply because I love photography and wanted to share it with all of you. I disregarded my typical grown up fear when not having a job and struggled and strived to get through it. I realized what I wanted to do and set my mind to do so. It has been a amazing 9 months that all of this has happened in and knowing that final day of 2012 is here I wanted to say thank you.
Thank you to any model I had ever shot with,to all of my friends who believed in me,to any company that gave me a chance,to anyone who has ever e-mailed me positive words in regards to my pictures,to anyone who has ever “liked” one of my photos,and to you…… the friendly faces who I never see,who are checking my blog and sharing my photos with your friends. I may not know what you all look like and I may never get the formal chance to meet you but again… thank you. I know if it wasn’t for you guys showing my work to your friends,family etc. then most likely I would not be able to do what I love. You all are helping me follow my heart and that means the world to me. Some people ask me “if I felt I made it” and when I think that it wasn’t even a year and I got to where I am at my reply is in no way do I feel I made it, I am just getting started.
I look forward to 2013 with excitement curiosity as to where I will be a year from now and I hope all of you are still here with me to reflect back and see what adventures I get to experience.