DECEMBER 30, 2009
I would like to say that 2009 was “challenging,” but “grim” is really more like it. My biggest client cancelled its annual ad campaign because its revenues were down. Other companies and individuals faced with economic uncertainty also cancelled or have postponed planned photo shoots. Many area businesses have shut down entirely, so I consider myself fortunate to still be plugging away, thanks in part to long-standing clients like Stevens Institute of Technology and great referral sources like iBec Creative.
Reflecting back on the year, I’d like to acknowledge several of my photo friends and colleagues who have been going through transitions of their own. Despite their own challenges, they have reached out to give me support and encouragement, and their work is a constant inspiration to me.
Danielle Richards, my dear friend, (what would I do without you?) has successfully made the transition from newspaper photojournalist to establish herself as an outstanding wedding and portrait photographer. She takes the time to send me information to help me in my business, to listen, and best of all, with her great sense of humor, always makes me laugh. To see some of her beautiful work, visit her blog at http://danipix.bigfolioblog.com. If you post a comment on any of her entries between now and Jan. 1st, Danielle will donate a can of food for each comment to the Center for Food Action. Keep her family in your prayers, too – her son, Patrick, joined the US Marines in 2009 and may be deployed overseas some time in the new year.
Although Matt Rainey is still a working news photographer (two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize), he has developed a wedding photo business on the side. To see his amazing images, go to www.mattraineyweddings.com. The student has become the teacher, little grasshopper, and I thank you for all the professional insights into the business of photography that you have shared with me this year. Matt’s wife, Michelle Segall, formerly a photo editor, is to be congratulated for recently completing her education and certification to become a paralegal. It’s not easy to switch gears from the work you’ve known and loved and been doing for years, and I admire you for the hard work you’ve put in to do that.
What can I say about my friend Mark Sullivan, who continues to fight the good fight, trying to produce good journalism in the face of an ever-downsizing newsroom and ever-increasing work load? He could give up and not care anymore, but he has too big a heart and too much pride in his work to do that. He’s one of those photographers that can do everything well, whether it’s news, or sports, or features, but his passion is rock & roll and doing concert photography. You can almost hear the sound coming out of his pictures, which you can see by going to www.markrsullivan.com. Rock on, Mark. Mark’s wife, Doreen Sullivan, was downsized out of her job this year as a computer tech at a sister newspaper. She is now a certified Mac technician and is plugging away in a job search, still not an easy task despite all her knowledge and experience.
Thriving in their businesses despite the horrible downturn in the economy are two of my newer friends, Beth and Brian Fitzgerald. They moved into a new studio space this year, and their success is a testament to both their talent and their perserverance. Brian has launched a commercial photography business, www.fitzgeraldphoto.com, since leaving his photo editing position, and Beth is continuing to make a name for herself with her high-energy wedding photography. She writes a very entertaining blog about her couples and their events, which you can read at www.applyingblush.com.
Najlah Feanny Hicks continues to inspire and amaze. She completed her graduate program at The New School and has launched a company called Design for Social Good, www.designforsocialgood.com. She continues to use her photography and to encourage other photographers to give back to their communities through Do 1 Thing, www.do1thing.org. I wish I had a fraction of her energy. It was so great to see you during your presentation in Portland this year.
A year of so many changes for so many friends: Scott Lituchy now working as a multi-media producer at West Virginia University (and beating me mercilessly in our online games of Lexulous), Jeff Rhode taking his skills as a Mac technician to Ramapo College, Beth Balbierz starting her freelance youth sports photography business, Debby Berger and Lisa Boley each going back to school to get trained for their new futures, Lisa Kyle moving back to New York, Robert Rodriguez losing his father and surviving his own cancer scare, John Decker welcoming a new baby …. This doesn’t even include all my colleagues like Amanda B., Aris E., Bob S., Ed M., Jason T., Monika G., Kemi G., Jill B., Greg R., Derek D., Reena Rose, and so many other friends that I haven’t listed here (but I think about you more than you all know) that are out there every day, taking great pictures and hoping the economy rebounds so they can continue to do the work they love.
Thank you for doing the kind of photography that challenges me and inspires me.
Here’s hoping for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year to us all!