How to summarise the story of 2016…? I could say so much here and in my head I have. I have experienced, unpacked, learned and hopefully grown some more this year. Always learning. Not everything about 2016 has been rosy, the big wide world has been an unsettling place this year hasn’t it? And so too have some things closer to home. So I made the decision not to unpack my thoughts here. If you catch me on another day I may well talk for hours but not today.
What I will say is that I am always happy to focus on the positives and look forward hopefully. In fact I would go so far as to say I actively seeking the positive in every situation.
One of the best parts of 2016 is that it has been filled with travel and experiences outside my comfort zone. I have tried my hardest to embrace and enjoy as many new things as I can. After sharing my thoughts earlier this year on motherhood and how it completely shifted my concept of self, I have finally shed some of the guilt I feel for looking after me too. (You can read my earlier ramblings here if you are interested…)
It’s all there to see, both here and on my Instagram gallery. It makes me smile just scrolling through the past 12 months of photos.
I have to indulge myself for a moment here and say I am so happy with the clear – to me at least – improvement in both my photography and editing this year. I bought myself a new camera in late 2015 and have spent 2016 slowly learning it properly. I still have gaps in my technical knowledge but that doesn’t bother me one bit because the progress is plain to see. And I am happy to learn it slowly. I am mostly terrible at learning anything through reading, preferring to learn by practical experience. I guess photography is a skill that indulges this method of learning so perfectly that it sparks my love again and again. Capturing that perfect shot, the thrill that comes with editing it. My favourite images of the year are mostly of my family and have not (will not) appear online. But many are here to browse too.
Having spent much of 2015 trying to find a true direction for my Instagram account, I began 2016 with a much clearer purpose. I wanted to share the development of my creative compositions but also a wider picture of what I love – by which I mean places (be they wild open spaces, villages, towns or indeed cities), architecture (no secret that I adore tiny white houses with colourful doors, but you know what? I love all buildings…), flowers – especially the wild ones – and the story of my table. My Instagram gallery has always been about seeking moments of calm and refuge from the busyness of everyday. Both for me and for those who visit it.
Looking back I am so happy with the feel of my gallery this year. It captures the world as I see it. Maybe I am a bit of a dreamer and am hopelessly drawn to white but hey, I’m happy this way so I’ll keep on.
Instagram has been a funny old place this year. Some of it has been brilliant though not everything about the changes has been positive and I have a lot to say about the new algorithm. I’ll save that for later though.
I have an annual debate with myself about whether to keep using the app, shall I? Shan’t I? Why do I? But always, always, come back to the same thing. It is fundamentally important to my headspace to have something calm and happy to focus on. A creative outlet that is just for me, not based on my families likes and dislikes. Especially given the rubbishness of many things this year, I need a space to escape to. A space to breathe. Instagram is that space.
I have asked myself countless times why share a photo of coffee and flowers? And have replied with the same answer again and again. Because we all need reminding of the simple things. The small moments we take for granted. The beauty in the everyday. Why arrange flowers around my coffee cup? Because I enjoy it. Nothing more.
And so after my annual month of self doubt, I will be carrying on. Who knows where it will take me this year but I won’t fear the unknown, so much of life is beyond our control anyway and honestly I enjoy the challenge. Why Instagram? Because I love it. It inspires me daily to improve and challenge myself. It is my community.
And so, looking forward to the story of 2017…
I don’t do resolutions. I am going to take it day by day, week by week, and seek the simple moments that feed my soul. That is my only plan. I make no grand claims and only hope to enjoy the journey. How about you?