It's been three years since I first started photography, and it's seemed like each one has flown by quicker than the snap of a camera shutter. But it's at the end of every year, when I look back on my photos, that I realize just how invaluable photography has been to me. Photographs have provided me with memories, both bitter and sweet, and with hope that there will be better photographs to be made in the future.
2015 has been a year of both love and loss, but also, the ultimate proof that love prevails in spite of misery- in spite of human violence and natural disaster. At the dawn of spring, I created new friendships that I still treasure to this day. At the end of my junior year in high school, I said goodbye to beloved friends as they left to start their new journeys in college. In the summer, I visited my grandparents, not realizing that it would be my last chance to see my grandmother.
Meanwhile, I had started to take my professional photography quite a bit more seriously. During my internship for the City of Redmond, I attended and photographed many events hosted by the City. Through each shoot, I gained experience in the art of street photography along with more ability in approaching strangers.
In addition to my internship, my senior portrait business gained traction as the class of 2016 entered its final year of high school. Shooting senior portraits was one of my best experiences of 2015- from photographing friends of many years to shooting with classmates that I rarely spoke to, I was exposed to the hidden diversity of my high school class. Through senior portraits and portrait shoots that I did for personal work, I observed both my compositional and editing skills improve.
As I prepared for my transition into my last year of high school, I started the dreaded college application process with uncertainty. In addition, the start of my senior year presented new challenges and adventures to face. To ring in my high school homecoming, I broke my only camera at the time, my Sony a7R, during a school assembly and was left with no professional cameras. I photographed for two months with the occasionally borrowed Nikon D750 (big thanks to Tommy Leers) and a Fujifilm Instax. It was through this time period that I realized who had true compassion and who was full of empty pity and nothing more. During the first few months of senior year and coincidentally, last few months of 2015, I met new people that would become dear friends within a short amount of time.
However, I chose not to capture most of my time with loved ones because I realized that by spending time photographing every moment, I was actually missing out on them. Ironically, my obsession with creating perfect images ruined my chance of enjoying picture perfect moments. Nevertheless, I didn’t miss out on the moments that I thought were worth remembering with photographs.
Through the ups and downs of 2015, I’ve come to realize that tangible material (including photographs) has an expiration date, and to derive happiness from it is one of the most unfortunate things that can happen to any person. Photography is only one way of connecting with other people, but nothing is more satisfying than face to face communication. I wish I could've told my story to you in person, but for now, this is the only way to show my story alongside my favorite photographs of the year. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed your 2015 as much as I did. Happy new year!