I didn’t plan it, but the past year ended up being one of rediscovery.
I celebrated my 50th lap around the sun rekindling my love of skiing. I closed the year out getting back on my mountain bike. In between I took advantage of opportunities to re-explore some of things that have made me successful in my career and passionate in the hobbies I pursue.
2019 was a good start to the next 100 laps.
As people get older, they have a tendency to reflect on things not done, places not visited, dreams unfulfilled. Because, let’s face it, life gets in the way of best intentions. It’s far too easy to let what was missed overshadow what was experienced.
Such is the perch I choose to look at my life this past year. Were there things I wanted to do that I didn’t? You bet. Were there awesome things I ended up doing that I didn’t see coming? Yes. Yes there were.
My journey as a photographer continued. I created a bunch of memorable images and found my zone in portrait and street photography. Finding that zone was something that’s been eluding me for years. It shouldn’t have, though. It’s at the core of what I do for a living and where I get the most joy in my life: observing and telling the stories of other humans. This year I also began to get a better feel for my individual shooting style, something I often hear other people say they see in my images, but have never been able to see myself.
I continued to put a focus on shooting more portraits. What I didn’t expect was seeing that focus give me the opportunity to collaborate with professional models like Courtney and Jooj (who was signed by Joy Talent Agency and you can see on QVC).
I also saw a number of organizations approach me to shoot commercial images based not only on my photography background, but also because of my background in public relations. Organizations like Linode, The Black Bass Inn and Lumberville General Store, and The Quaker School at Horsham. It’s a potent combination I will continue to explore and one I think every company should be thinking about as they look for new, creative and powerful ways to tell their own stories.
Speaking of which, 2019 saw me get back into the corporate communications game, taking on a very cool contracting role leading corporate communications for Linode — a 16 year old, $100 million company based in Philadelphia that is making cloud computing simpler, more affordable, and more accessible to all. It’s an exciting opportunity to help build a communications function and do it for an organization with a mission and people that align to my philosophy of thinking bigger than the products a company sells. I continue to advise and consult exciting startups like RackN, which builds software to do the heavy lifting required to make IT infrastructure work; and Bigleaf, which has used a contrarian view of cloud connectivity to make the Internet more reliable.
2019 also saw words and phrases I wrote grace corporate web sites and a global magazine. As part of my work with Linode, I had the pleasure of digging into the company’s and the industry’s history to build their corporate narrative. You can check it out here. My trip report from our visit to Thailand in 2018 was published in Photo Plus, the top magazine for Canon users around the world. Yeah, that one felt all kinds of good for the ego, I’m not going to lie.
Community remained an important part of my life. I donated my photography skills to local organizations doing good work for organizations like CB Cares, Heritage Conservancy, the Thompson Bucks County Classic, and the Central Bucks School District’s music department. I also wore my photojournalist hat to capture student led rallies and demonstrations in Doylestown. I encourage each of you to take what you do best and find a way to use it to help organizations in your own communities.
I got involved in politics, refusing to sit on the sidelines while our democracy is dismantled. I used my messaging, communications and photography toolset to help get a good human — Jordan Yeager — elected to judge in my county. It was my first campaign and won’t be my last.
Throughout it all, I still found time to get out on my bike. It was a mix of shorter rides this year, but there were many, allowing me to add a decent year of mileage to my Strava profile. I even rolled up to the starting line for my first criterium…and rightly got blown off the back after making a dumb rookie move early in the race. I’ll be back to race again in 2020. I closed out the year doing something I haven’t done in 15 years: mountain biking. And, as it should be, I took my re-maiden pedal not on an easy canal trail, but in the rocky woods of Wissahickon on a cold December night.
But what I treasure most from 2019 was watching my daughters grow into amazing, talented, adventurous, caring and passionate, young adults.