My (Mostly) 2012: Year in Review

Goodbye 2012! You were fantastic. It felt like a long year, simply because I saw so much change and excitement. When I looked back at the beginning, I couldn’t believe that stuff had happened just one year ago.

I like it better that way. Simple lives are fantastic, eventually, but with complex ones it feels like you just get … more of it.

It’s the end of the year, so here is my “Best of 2012 Weddings” post.

Except that it’s not about 2012, or weddings, or about which photos are best.

You see, there’s a good reason that I haven’t done a Year in Review post since 2006 or so. When you have a busy shooting schedule, your year doesn’t really end on Dec. 31. You’re still processing away, crafting the stories that you recently documented, and you never know where the next photos are coming from. Heck, I have a fantastic wedding to shoot today, and I’d want to include it in any sort of year-end wrap-up. But the problem is, that means I can either do a year-end wrap-up that doesn’t have the full year … or I can do it some time in February. Neither option works for me, so I’m telling a slightly off-kilter story of a year. From 11/1/11 to 10/31/12. And I’ll do the same next year, so that my fantastic November and December weddings get their due.

But along the way, I realized it’s not about weddings either, or just picking out the “best” photos. I’ve said before in workshops that any individual wedding photo should be about the subjects and content, but if you place a whole portfolio together, then it starts to coalesce into a self-portrait. Wedding photography demands so much of our personal vision that the way we see the world is writ large, and ever part of our personality and experience is part of the story. So this is my self-portrait.

Best photos? Best weddings? Nah, trying to make those sort of choices would have ended my year with a breakdown. But I can tell you how I felt when I took every photo. I am not an impartial observer — I try to take photos that evoke emotions in the viewer, and as that shutter is clicking, all I am is the first viewer. My joy is reflected on my subjects’ smiles, my heart breaks at tears. I can tell you if I was excited, frenetic or calm. I can tell you what the temperature was, and everything that was going through my head for each one of these. And this is from someone who can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday. When I make memories, I’m also making mine. This is my year — presented in a random order that isn’t random.


This post is quite long, and some of the images are fairly big, so I’m putting it behind a cut so it won’t drown the rest of my site with its mass. Also, unless WordPress have fixed the bug, iPads might not load most of it at all. Click on the image for the review.

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