A Brisbane Photographer’s Gratitude Statement for 2013

To say that 2013 has been an enormous challenging year would be an understatement.  For those who have been watching on Facebook, you would know the type of year I have had.  If you haven’t been following, then here is a recap!  Most photographers will do a summary of clients they have photographed throughout the year.  To be honest, there are many clients’ photos that I haven’t blogged yet, so I want to give them their very own blog post in the new year, as opposed to just mentioning them briefly in this blog review.  They each deserve to be celebrated individually…..as do I, I have come to realise. I found that I needed to do this for myself moreso than for anyone else….ever had that moment when you look back at months or a year gone by, and beat yourself about what you didn’t get done, or how much you “could” have achieved?  Well, that was me…..until a good friend mentioned that ‘our energy does all the best work when we are asleep’.  How true is this!?!  I have felt like I have been ‘asleep’ for more of the year as opposed to being awake, figuratively speaking.  In actual fact, I feel like I have been “asleep” for the last decade, living other people’s expectations of me, censoring myself to please others, lots of ‘thinking’ and not a lot of ‘doing’. 2013 has mostly been about SURVIVAL.  There have been peaks and positive moments as well, no denying it!  But survival would be the perfect word to describe 2013.  Stay tuned to the end of this post where I mention my word for 2014 🙂 Instead of beating myself up about how this year didn’t get the momentum I wanted, I have decided to embrace this year…for all of it’s imperfections, joys and difficult moments.  The Gifts of Imperfection book by Brene Brown really made an impact on me, when I did this course during my recovery at the end of this year.

 

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Your mindset can have such a powerful effect on how you approach past, present and future moments.  So I am ending 2013 with a bang!  With a summary of ALL of MY moments, not just the good ones.  It has been an amazing year in many ways, because it has seen me awaken from a decade or more of living other people’s dreams, meeting other people’s expectations, and suppressing myself.  What a powerful year it has been for me, when you look at it in that way….  So without any further delay….let’s get this review underway. Here is how I represented myself at the start of this year….my profile image….it’s a “nice” photo….one of the nicer ones that I liked of myself….this will be relevant when we get to the end of this blog post 🙂

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4th January 2013 – I am in the middle of my month long holiday, with two weeks left to go…..my husband has even taken time off from work so we can do some day trips and relax out and about.  Nothing really special is happening, other than me rushing around trying to get lots of things “done” during my holidays…..rather than just BE-ing…..I had moved the couch in the loungeroom earlier in the week to put some things behind it while I was cleaning up.  Walking back from the kitchen, I decide it is a good idea to crashhhhhh my toe/foot into the base of the said couch (which is not in it’s usual spot, so I misjudge the space for me to walk around it).  It isn’t unusual for me to kick my toes. My husband doesn’t believe me when I say I have broken my toe…..until he sees how it is ‘hanging’ from my foot…..a prompt visit to the GPs and x-rays….and apparently I have broken the bone further down inside the foot.  Oh joy! Automatic thought process:  Gosh I’m a klutz!  I have ruined our holidays!  I can never get ahead! The positive learning from this experience in hindsight:  Slow down, be in the moment, be aware of my surroundings….give myself time to rest and nurture myself.  Holidays don’t have to consist of the most amount of ‘stuff’ done as possible…….SLOW DOWN. Slow down is exactly what I had to do, with almost 2 months of recovery time….ouch…

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9th February 2013 – A good month since breaking my toe/foot, and still hobbling.  I had lost a fair amount of weight while doing the Michelle Bridges 12 week transformation program, so I wanted to be able to go to the Finale seeing as though it was in Brisbane finally.  A broken foot wasn’t going to stop me!  So I ended up going, all dressed up with a lovely walking cane in hand.  Part of me was frustrated because I had this image in my head of how I ‘wanted’ to be when I went to a finale, and my current situation was no where near this image (broken foot, still having weight to lose etc).  But you know what….if I had waited until everything was “perfect”, then I would have missed the finale. Automatic thought process:  You screwed up, you don’t look perfect in weight, you don’t deserve to go. The positive learning from this experience in hindsight:  Imperfectly perfect!  As long as I bring my attitude then I can rock on at the finale regardless of what my body is doing.  And I did 🙂

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19th February 2013 – I am intent on investing some time on myself, that doesn’t involve broken feet and mindless sitting in front of the television while I heal.  I decide to book myself in for a personal/professional development course called Life as an Artform with Jesh de Rox from the US.  It would have to be one of the pivotal moments to impact on me this year.  It creates a change in me that starts to “awaken” a side of me that I had suppressed.  The artist in me starts to surface, rather than just ‘photographer with a camera’.    The people I meet at this course become life-long friends who have witnessed sides of me that even I had not seen in a long long while.  A HUGE positive experience for this year!

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5th March 2013 – The plans BEFORE my broken foot, were to renovate parts of our house that we had been living in for 10+ years.  While still hobbling at times I managed to coordinate the construction of a brand new back cover, solar panels, updates to our kitchen and some other projects.  I am so grateful that we were able to invest time, finances and effort in ourselves and our living situation this year!

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8th March 2013 – The start of this year also saw me committing to some new training with the Beloved Technique….something I am bringing into my business in 2014.  It allows couples/families/individuals to reconnect on a deeper level, with invitations to express how they feel, within a trusting and safe space.  I love love love this technique as it allows me to reconnect with my training as a Psychologist.  This was another moment in 2013 where I started to “awaken” parts of me that I had suppressed, thinking that psychology had no direct part to play in my art work….boy was I wrong…… I got to work with the most amazing couple who truly threw themselves into the process with so much trust.  Watch this space for more about this type of photo shoot in 2014!

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13th March 2013 – I decided to enter WPPI for the first time ever.  I still couldn’t drive properly at this point, so collecting prints and mounted finished products was a challenge, but was helped along so beautifully by my amazing local suppliers, Frontier Digital and Photo Mounts & Albums.  Eventually I managed to send these over to america where they were judged in the Boudoir Glamour section.  I was ecstatic to find out that I was awarded 1 Gold and 2 Silvers in Boudoir/Glamour at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International competition.  What an amazing surprise!  It reaffirmed for me the learning that I need to hold a belief in my SELF, first and foremost.

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18th April 2013 – I am starting to feel healthier again at this point, after recovering from my broken foot earlier in the year.  So I decide to step it up a notch and give myself a boost in physical training and mindset, with Emazon’s Stand Your Ground convention in Brisbane.  This training was again another defining moment for me this year.  I had the opportunity to ride on a motorbike, give aerobics a try, and I even ate fire!!!  And yes, that is a temporary tattoo 🙂  I STOOD MY GROUND, and it felt amazing!

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26th April 2013 – My homelife, eating habits and routine is starting to embrace more and more Whole Foods!  Becoming more aware of what we are putting into our bodies, and creating our small slice of self-sustaining habits at home.  So I proposed to the husband to convert the space where one of our spare un-used sheds up the back sat, to our very own Old Macdonalds farm lol  So we did just that.  Chook Palace and 6 hens later, and I have become a fully fledged, self-confessed crazy chicken lady…..and no apologies for it 🙂

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20th May 2013 – I enter the Queensland Professional Photographers Awards, using my cancer series photographs.  I end up being awarded 1 Silver Disctinction and 2 Silvers, and to my greatest surprise I am announced as a Finalist for the Illustrative Photographer of the Year category.  Another defining moment where I learn never ever ever to underestimate myself ever again.

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21st July 2013 – The followup course to Life as An Artform at the beginning of this year, is Legacy which came at THE best time ever to nourish my soul and boost my focus for the remainder of the year!  This was probably THE most intense week of my entire professional development experiences.  There were intense JOY filled moments, as well as seriously overwhelming delving into our souls and who we are as artists.  When I think about it now, it was a perfect reflection of my 2013 in general, with the highs and lows that have happened.  The friendships I developed here cannot be described in any way that would give it justice.  To say that Legacy will have an impact on how 2014 unfolds would be an understatement, as I learnt SO much about myself during this week.  I awoke completely.  I unfolded in front of all of these amazingly supportive beings, and I love them all for it. xxx

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31st July 2013 – After an amazing week at Legacy, I then experienced one of THE most challenging days of my year.  I attended a specialist appointment that would turn our world upside down.  I’m booked into surgery at this point for 11th September.  So in the meantime, I turn to photography to help me process my emotions around what we are facing in September and beyond.  I put a casting call and create 4 pieces of work that reflect exactly what is happening for me and how I am processing my emotions, or not……  I decide to send these in to the AIPP national APPA awards to see how they will go being judged by my peers.

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3rd September 2013 – My parents have been through quite a few years of health complications.  This month brings my Dad to Brisbane to have heart surgery and then have a pace maker put in.  This photo is of him the day after his surgery.  Can I just say, how amazing surgeons are nowadays, and what they can do for the heart is truly remarkable.  I am so grateful at this moment that everything has gone well.

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11th September 2013 – The day comes for my own surgery.  It is planned that I will just be in over night, and will just have key hole surgery.  Instead, I am faced with 5 days in hospital, a massive abdominal cut, precancerous tumours removed as well part of my bowel, amongst other things they had to do.  The kicker is that I will need at least 8 weeks recovery time.  This entire experience knocks me for a six.  I am thrown off kilter, with all plans for the remainder of this year taken off the table.  Here is when I am so so grateful for my friends who come out of the woodwork to support me.  While in hospital I also find out that the 4 conceptual images I photographed for the APPAs, all bomb with no awards.  This would have to have been the hardest 2 months (potentially 3 months) of my year.  During these months I throw myself into the Brene Brown course surrounding the book The Gifts of Imperfection.  While I am ‘hibernating’ at home, huge changes are happening for me emotionally.  Physically I am weak but emotionally I am becoming more and more focused about 2014.

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1st October 2013 – I receive  a lovely surprise in the mail.  I receive my AIPP Associate ribbon that you receive after gaining a specified number of awards points over a set number of years.  Such a great honour!

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23rd November 2013 – I get to finally meet some amazing women who I am friends with online and offline.  These women (not all shown here lol) have been such a great support for me throughout this year.  It is a community of like-minded, spirited goddesses who have travelled very different journeys, and yet we come together for one soul purpose……to empower each other to shine in our own individual way.

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7th December 2013 – My husband turns 40 this month, and his family decide to travel up as a surprise for his birthday party.  Around 35 people end up attending, and I decide to throw all of my energies into creating a party where we can really celebrate and let our hair down after such a huge year.  And yes, I decorated the below cake……boy was that an experience LOL

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So the end of 2013 has come…..what a year it has been…..so many extremes as you can see.  I certainly couldn’t accuse this  year of being boring, that’s for sure.

However, even though it has been one of our hardest years, it has also been the one where THE most change has occurred for both Phil and I.

I think we have both been ‘asleep’ for quite some time, meaning that we have ‘existed’ as best as we could from one day to the next, without much serious change.

It has been ‘comfortable’.  It has been ‘familiar’.

Until 2013.

This year has been uncomfortable, and there have been rare moments of ‘familiar’.

But you know what, in hindsight, I LOVE 2013 for that gift.

Mind you, it seems really sick and twisted for me to THANK 2013 for a broken foot and all of the other extreme lows lol…..but…..

I do thank this year for awakening us both……there is no way that we can go back……we can never ever go back to just being ‘asleep’ and only existing……..so onward and upward!

I am SO SO grateful for 2013 and all of it’s learnings.

So goodbye to the word Survival for 2013, and hello to the word THRIVE for 2014!

Thrive!

thrive….thrive….thrive….

THRIVE!!!!!!!!

And my new profile photo that I took not long ago (in my kitchen no less 🙂 ) that will be uploaded to this site along with a series of photos in the new year….

It is ME!  It is me with no apologies!  It is me with all of my crazy, loving, open and celebratory soul!

Come on 2014!  Bring it!

Lou

 

I’m also not going to make any specific New Years Resolutions, like I have in previous years.  They never work for me, and are usually too restrictive and based on something I can’t control.

So instead….these are MY intentions I am setting for 2014:

I want to feel grounded, well prepared and organised both in my personal and business life. I want to be financially secure, feel freedom and clarity in my photography business and personally. I want to feel healthy and embrace physical activity as part of my daily life. I want to inspire women and men through my art to reconnect to their creative, bold, spirited selves.

I hope that you all have a safe and heartfelt New Years!  See you in 2014!

Much love,

Louise