2018 A Year in our Ordinary Extraordinary Life

I started this project last year, yesterday (as it were). I was excited and nervous. Could I really take a portrait every day for a whole year!?!? I saw a friends end of the year video on January 1st 2018 and was really inspired by the everyday life that she had captured so beautifully. My background is in documentary photography and that has always had my heart. I really wanted to try this daily portrait project. So I took a pretty average shot of my Christmas tree (I liked the light at that moment) and set a reminder in my phone to go off every morning…until I didn’t need the reminder anymore.

There were good days and bad days throughout this year for us personally and in images. Some days I found myself desperate to find something inspiring or even interesting to take an shot of and other days were so fun that the finals were hard to choose.

I became super busy with my business and found it hard to keep up the downloading and editing. In the end though I forced myself to work nights and weekends when needed. I became determined to see this through.

When I put all the slides together and spent hours looking for music it was an immense amount of work. And then at 11pm on Jan 1st I watched the slideshow for the first time. And I cried.

Moment by moment an entire year was being fed back to me. Just every day ordinary things. Eating breakfast, dropping Charlie at school, playing outside together, hanging with the guinea pigs, seeing her with her friends, looking at flowers and the ocean and all these little things…all in one beautiful presentation of our lives. And suddenly it wasn’t ordinary at all. It was quite the opposite. It was extraordinary.

I became so full of pride for what I had done. So so grateful that I had stuck with this and captured a full year in my daughters life. She will be 11 next month and the time has flown by so quickly. I know what a gift this is for both of us. We will be able to look back and see these moments all in one place 10, 20 and 30 years from now. I can’t think of a better gift to have been given. I am making these into a book. That thing I do for clients, but often don’t have time for myself. I am proud of that too.

When I showed Charlie the slideshow she cried too. I was so taken aback. She is normally not as sentimental as I am! And she asked to watch it again and again. She talked about her favorite images. And she begged me to do it again this year. I was shocked. She had grown tired of me with my camera at times and I assumed that she would want to take a break. But she saw the value of what we had created together and she wanted to keep it going. It made me really happy. I am going to take a break this year as I have something else that I am hatching and I want it to have my full attention. I will come back to this project in 2020 though!

I do wish that every family would do this. Even just with you iPhone. I encourage all of you reading to do this. Even if you don’t have a family. Record your pets, your friends, flowers or books or bugs. Whatever it is that you love. Then look back at the end of the year on a life well lived. (:

It was in looking back at the year that I realized another layer of complete overwhelming gratitude. You see I think that most people that would watch this video would think that I live an easy charmed life. For that is what I see. A beautiful life full of adventures and wonder. And that is absolutely true. But the magic in the slideshow for me is this, a life that has been hard earned and worked for. I grew up on government cheese and welfare. Abusive relationships and a stifling religion held me back for many years. There were years in deep depression and on meds and lots more that I won’t share here. Learning to run a business, raise a daughter, be kind to and value myself are all lessons that have taken me what feels like a lifetime. But I see them now. I so clearly saw this wonderful life I built for myself when I watched this slideshow.

I share this because I think it’s important to be honest when you are someone who spends a lot of time on social media. My life and business are pretty transparent online. I want my clients to know who I am and what my values are. To be truthful is a value that I hold high. Also, I want others to know that just because your life may seem completely out of your control or not where you want it doesn’t mean you can’t change it. I am proof of that, as are many others. I am just one more person who proved that life can be grand when that was the last think I would have expected years ago.

I hope you enjoy watching these moments and maybe at the very least it helps you slow down just a bit to enjoy your own moments.

- Jen