Posts in Giving Back
2019 Goals: Dream Big

After everything I learned last year (read more here), I realized that it’s the “helping others” part that I want to focus on most in the coming year(s). This is the first year that my goals will look quite different than they did in the past; traditionally mine have read something like: “more weddings”, “more family photoshoots”, etc. Not that there was anything wrong with that approach, I did need to augment my bookings for my business to be sustainable. However, its the experiences I’m creating through those photoshoots that I want to focus on most.

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2018 Reflection: The Building Year

I like to use the changing of the calendar year as a start- and end-point to evaluate my metrics and to reevaluate my goals. This is the first time that I ended the year with a very different sense of achievement than I began: I entered hoping to bolster my bookings and set my goals accordingly. But I ended having learned the true “why” behind my drive to do each of these types of photoshoots. In essence, my work has become not just about the end product (typically a storybook photo album) but the entire experience of the session, and by extension an enjoyment of life.

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2018 Goals

Each year, right around Christmas, I evaluate my goals from the ending year and then write out my goals for the coming year. I them let them sit for a few weeks while I evaluate other metrics - making sure that these are the goals that really resonate - and eventually come back to them during the first week of the new year to write this blog post. This year I've been so busy that I'm just now getting to it!

Nonetheless, I'm more than a little excited about this coming year. While each of the past 6 years has brought be a step closer to my ultimate career goals, this coming year is the first one where I feel like I'm really on the right track towards doing exactly what I want to be doing. It took me a while to figure out that exact intersection where my skills, enthusiasm for the work and ability to help people all coincide to create my "calling", but I'm only 24 so it's hard to complain. So, without further ado, here are my intended plans for 2018!

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2017: Love and Lessons

New Year's Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not for the parties or the food (okay, maybe the food) but because it's a collective time of reflection and refocusing. I've always been a very goal-oriented person (which is both a blessing and a curse) so for my business, this gives me a very specific deadline to analyze not only the growth and financial status of my business, but also gauge my passion for the work I've been doing and decide what I want to pursue further. I'll discuss in my next post what my goals are for the year, but as it's still 2017 for a couple hours, I want to look back at the goals I set for myself this time last year and reflect on just how beautiful this year was for me. 

So here, in the same order as I wrote them last year, are my 2017 goals and how well they played out: 

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Thanksgiving Reflection: The Importance of Art Education

Each semester for the past 3 years, I get to work with a new group of Asheville Middle School (and Now Montford Northstar Academy) students teaching a darkroom photography program. For two semesters now, I've partnered with the Asheville Art Museum teaching a joint darkroom photo and mixed media class. On this year's Thanksgiving, I just wanted to share this work that's near and dear to me. I wholeheartedly believe that every single child deserves to be introduced to art in order to explore their creativity and personal voice and I'm thankful that I get to play a small part in these students' lives. 

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Oak Ridge High School Senior Photos

One of my very favorite things about owning a business is getting to give back to others whenever possible. Otherwise, what's the point?! So when my dad approached me to see if I wanted to work on a project at my alma mater, Oak Ridge High School, I immediately accepted. His idea was to take a few senior photos for a handful of students who had never had their photo professionally taken and then give them a couple prints to commemorate this time for them. I loved the original idea because I believe everyone deserves not only to have a tangible photograph of themselves, but also to be the focus of attention for even just a few minutes. 

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Giving Back: TAPAS Grant for Asheville High School Chemistry Class

In case it isn't obvious, I love photography; both as a storytelling device and as a visually appealing medium. So whenever the opportunity arises to spread my love for photography to others, particularly young and impressionable students who have the capacity to not only fall head-over-heels for the art form but the time to fully incorporate it into their lives, I take said opportunity. Such was the case with the Teaching Artists Presenting in Asheville Schools (TAPAS) program, a grant which brings local artists into the classroom to illustrate difficult concepts in a more comprehensible (and fun!) manner. I found out about this enriching program while doing some work for the Asheville City Schools Foundation last summer and immediately applied with the idea that I could teach my usual alternative processes to classes covering anything from storytelling to chemistry. As it happened - and in an ironic twist given my past dislike of the subject - I ended up working with an advanced chemistry class. Fortunately, this turned out to be an enjoyable experience for all of us. 

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Goals for 2017

We're a week in to the new year so it's about the time that outrageous new year's resolutions have run their course and realistic goals begin to take shape. For me, I spent the week (when I wasn't working on clients' work) crunching last year's numbers, analyzing what worked and what didn't and especially journaling about the direction I would like my company to go. As this long term vision is starting to take root (I'll keep the details to myself for now, wouldn't want to spoil the fun!) I've narrowed down a few of my goals for 2017 to get me on my way: 

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Love West Asheville

Last weekend I had the opportunity to work with a community organization called Provision Asheville. Provision, whose mission is to "create community through service," held their first community event, this one called Love West Asheville. The idea behind the four-hour-long event was to provide various services to community members that they would otherwise have to pay money for, money they may not be able to spend on such services, which included medical screenings, dentistry, massages, and family photography (as well as bounce house and painting activities for kids.) 

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