I started to write a “2013 in Review” post a few days ago. It was entirely too overwhelming so I decided to color instead.
2013 was the best year. And 2013 was a shit year.
In April 2013, I published and sold out of my first book and had my first gallery showing.
I sold my car to buy a plane ticket and moved back to Kenya with a couple hundred bucks to my name, my camera and my laptop. I had three months to find enough work to pay for an extension on my flight. Otherwise it was do or die.
I was anxious, nervous, and excited. The fear of failure and the desperate need to prove I could make it yanked the covers off my bed every morning and threw cold water on my face.
After moving back to Kenya I finally got accepted into the Eddie Adams Workshop in New York. Worked for several major NGO’s and was commissioned by an international news agency for a photo story. I traveled to 13 states and Washington D.C. as well as four countries.
So my career has taken off. Money isn’t so tight anymore. I’m not as worried about “making it” as I was six months ago.
But the reality is, as high as 2013 took my career is as low as it took my soul.
I’ve lost touch with many friends and don’t know how to reconcile that. Time multiplied by distance is a hard obstacle to overcome. I’ve been a horrible friend to many. And a great friend to a few. Something I’m learning to be okay with… that I can’t be everything to everyone, no matter how much I love them or want to be. But man does it blow.
Also, my heart was broken, specifically speaking, twice. The first I still haven’t recovered from. And there has been so much death, though I think that is more a product of age than it can be blamed on 2013 distinctively. And Westgate. Which I still get slightly quezzy at the mention of.
And I care less. About life in general. But also about what people think. Which is both good and bad, I suppose. 2013 was a blur. Of people and places. A constant whirlwind, one where the only moments of silence were blanketed in flashes of the realization that I was more lost than ever.
Somehow, in the middle of all this, photography has gone from my gift to the world, to more of a means to an end. Hear me correctly, I do love photography. But it’s lost the ability to save anyone, including myself, and that is something that I still don’t know what to do with. Though maybe that is exactly what photography is supposed to be — a tool to save, rather than having the power to save in and of itself.
Instead of showing my best photos from the year, or one photo from each assignment as I had planned… I will only share one.
This image and it’s context is changing me. Maybe 2014 will be able to explain a little more but for now I will just be thankful that 2013 is over and a new year is full of new dreams to be dreamed and chased.