Photography has been part of my life for almost as long as cycling. I remember my art teacher in 7th-grade teaching photography and I specifically remember developing my first roll of film. I was so excited to develop and see the shot of a squirrel in front of our school sign. It wasn’t until this past year, however, that I really understood what photography means to me and its current purpose in my life.
Let’s be clear about something. I am a self-taught photography hack. I came to photography after oil painting. While I loved the texture of painting on canvas it just wasn’t something that fit my life as I wandered off to college. First, it was film photography and then I went to an even quicker format, digital photography. That transition from film to digital paralleled the advancement of both my personal life as well as professional life. With less and less time I needed the immediacy of digital. I also shot a lot of imagery for work to support the brands and businesses that I led and managed.
If you have followed along the last year, you likely know that I quit my job, my wife & I are empty nesters, and I am working hard at recreating a purposeful life. Since I quit, I have spent an enormous amount of time with a camera and with photography. During this time, I have not only thought of photography as my creative muse, but I have also flirted with the idea that just maybe photography could be something that provides an income and is part of my next career as I figure out what I want to do with my life when I grow up.
I spent quite a bit of time in 2022 relearning some needed skills to get a foundation in place. I even photographed a few events, most notably Gravel Worlds in Lincoln, Nebraska. I rebuilt my digital asset library. I started building a portfolio as well as pulling together images that I thought had commercial value. I learned some new, more capable photo editing software. Given my propensity for planning and preparation, all of this was in an effort to prepare me and get me to a specific goal I had for 2023. In all honesty, even though I had a few setbacks and conflicts with certain events that I wanted to shoot like CX Nationals, I was prepared and had done the work needed to achieve the goal I had set for myself this year.
Sounds like things are all going according to plan, right? They are, or shall I say, they were. Over the course of the last 12 months, other things have changed and have been going on in parallel. Most notable is my personal health. Despite having surgery in July that set me back way more than I expected, have made so much progress in 2022. I feel like I have added years back to my life. I also feel that work in this area is not done yet. In addition, I started my new, small business, Iceworm MFG. As I wrote earlier in the week, time is both fixed and known. While I could continue to pursue photography with the same goals, to truly pursue health & fitness and to get my small business where it needs to be, something has to give.
So this brings me back to photography. What and where does it fit in my life? Honestly, photography is still my muse. I love it. I love experimenting with it. I love the learning associated with it. I love sharing it. My focus for photography is to get back to true storytelling. I have a few bike trips that I hope to document and share in new ways. Commit to learning to shoot and edit video. Shoot film. Print. Share. Review gear. Participate in the local photography community. Heck, I might even pick up a part-time job at a local camera store. I also don’t give a flying fuck about what social media tells me is popular or how many likes I get. I simply want to keep photography fun. When it’s fun, I keep my passion. I also believe that when it is fun, I am much more creative and my imagery is better. So that’s the plan.
Images today are not new. In fact, they are just a collection of some of my favorite bike, bike trip, and bike culture images that I have shared here at Imaginegnat over the 10+ years of Imaginegnat. These are images that make me smile and represent the ethos I intend to stay focused on with cycling and photography in 2023!
Click on any image to move to slideshow mode!
Next up in 2023 framework: Mental and Physical Health. Stay tuned!