Another year has almost come to a close, and I wanted to take the time to acknowledge some of the progress I’ve made, as well as discuss a few plans for the future.
At the start of the year, I tweeted the following list of things I’d like to do in 2023:
- Make successful pitches; drop contacts who aren’t responsive
- Make progress towards an exhibition
- Cover a festival again
- Get my name back out there
Let’s talk about these a bit. I pitched ideas throughout the year—both to new and existing contacts—and made sure to be diligent about following up. Although my efforts didn’t result in any new assignments this year, I did successfully maintain a few relationships, and that could lead to better things for 2024. As far as I know, I haven’t made any major progress toward an exhibition, but I have thought about photos I’d like to include, and I did reach out to a place that I thought would be a good host. This isn’t the progress I was expecting, but it’s progress nonetheless.
I didn’t get to cover a festival this year, but I did make it known as much as I possibly could that it’s something I was looking to do. Of the four goals that I set, I’d say this one had the least measurable progress. It was difficult to find leads, but that just means it’s become a goal for 2024—and that’s okay.
The last goal is a difficult one to quantify, but it’s one I’d like to consider a success. I’ve restarted this blog, I help moderate a music photography discord server, and I did a couple of other things that I think qualify as “getting my name back out there,” which I’ll get to later. Honestly, I think my list for 2024 is identical to my list for this year, with one addition: get more paid concert assignments.
Last year, I photographed 33 shows, only one of which was paid. This year, I photographed only 26 shows, but 4 of them were paid. Ideally, I’d like both of these numbers to improve, but I’m always happy when my time is valued. I’m also very grateful for recommendations; without them, my paid gig count would be cut in half. This isn’t the only photo work I did, thankfully.
This was my second year with both Symphony Space and Orchestra of St. Luke’s as one of their photographers, and they have been an absolute pleasure to work with. I’ll be looking forward to more of that in the new year as well.
I mentioned it earlier, but I got back into writing my blog this year, and putting time into writing again has been rewarding. There have been so many times in the past that I’ve wanted to write something long-form, but all the places to write it are feed-driven, and that means they have an incredibly short shelf life, relatively speaking. Putting my thoughts on this blog means that anyone can come here, any time, and find what I’ve written. It won’t get buried in the depths of your timeline—it’s just here. I plan on keeping this going, and sticking to my schedule of roughly one post a month.
I also started a newsletter called Addressed to No One, which has given me a way to tell people about these blog posts, as well as the random things I’ve found interesting lately.
Hulu premiered its show RapCaviar Presents this year, based on the Spotify playlist of the same name. One of my photos of Tyler, The Creator appeared in the first episode, and that was really special. It’s my first time seeing a photo of mine presented like this, and it’s also the first time I’ve ever seen my name appear in the credits of a show. The gears for this started turning back in 2022, but it was nice to see it finally out in the open this year.
Abbey Road Studios held its second annual Music Photography Awards, and I served on the shortlisting panel. Not only that, but I had the privilege of participating in their Amplify festival of panels. It was a really unique opportunity, and I feel like I got the chance to connect with some new people in the process.
This year, I also finally committed more to meeting more photographers. I met a few new photographers in the pit (and introduced them to the discord), I went to a photowalk with ICP and Photodom, and attended a couple of photography meetups (also hosted by ICP). That allowed me to connect with more people who were excited about photography for photography’s sake, and it gave me an opportunity to reconnect with street photography and film photography.
All I really want for 2024 is to do more of what I’ve been doing already. The progress has felt slow at times, and I sometimes feel like I’ve fallen behind. However, writing this out has shown me that I still had some wins, and it helps remind me that there are still more wins to be gained. I’m hoping that the next year sees me making noticeable progress toward my goals, and I hope that you’ll be able to say the same for yourself.