Wrapping up 2013 and looking forward.

In two weeks it will have been a year since I was laid off at Southern Living Magazine. Not being clairvoyant I couldn’t have imagined this past year. I lost my job and only a couple weeks later our beloved dog Henry died at 14. There were other major stress points in life at that time. And now, a year in, I couldn’t be happier. We’ll miss Henry forever. But I have a new career freelancing, some great clients and we have two new canine family members sharing my day and office space.

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As much as it might have made me anxious for the future it wasn’t all that upsetting to be laid off. In fact there was s sense of relief. I’d been on the road for almost 25 years traveling every week. After 3 million air miles, some 3000 nights in hotels and who knows how many Hertz-Avis road miles I was tired…of the grind….of being physically banged up…of the constant motion…of being gone from home. No complaints though. For some 160 plus days and nights a year I was witness to the best the South has to offer. I worked in an office full of bright creative inventive hard-working curious passionate professionals. We all leaned on each other for help in work and support in life. There could be no better world for a creative to be immersed. 

Looking back now in life’s rear view mirror I have come to recognize what was likely the single best part of my career at the magazine. I traveled week-in and week-out meeting and photographed people with a real passion in their life. They were involved in their community, their art, their craft or business in a way that was inspirational to others and elevated lives around them. It was humbling to try to visually honor what they were doing, to share their life and their story with millions of readers.

I was fairly convinced that after being off the road for a few months I’d get a ‘jones‘ to go, the road would call me. After all, it was all I knew for almost half my life. Hasn’t happened. In fact I’m fighting the urge to be more and more reclusive.  I’m willing but love being home and in my own bed every night. I need to go see family in other states but don’t even want to contemplate getting on a plane.

The most wonderful thing about being laid off, besides being home of course, is that I discovered how many people around me respected me enough to assign me work.  There are no words to express how much their faith and support has meant to me.  Those first few shoots gave me hope that I could survive as a freelancer. I met new people, saw new places and made new friends all here in Birmingham, a town I never really got to know. 

I won’t list all of their names or publications but you have left me smiling more than I have in years. Thank you all. 

I want to share a few photos from the year. They may not be the ‘best’ or most visual but in some way they were significant to me. Learning to shoot for new publications, to shoot something other than ‘Travel Photography’ made me push harder to learn new ways of looking and lighting.  I wish I could say every effort was a success. I can say every one taught me something, whether it was a software technique, lighting or just dealing with life with patience and a smile.

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9 thoughts on “Wrapping up 2013 and looking forward.

  1. You are a brilliant recorder of our times, passions, views, and life. And a phenomenal photographer to boot… Always a bright spot to see your work.

  2. Great photos, Art. You’ve always had a great eye and you continue to produce great work. I’m so glad this past year has turned out so well for you. I know (all too well) there IS life–often a very good life–after a layoff. Take care!

    • Thanks Linda. I’m sorry if you got to ‘experience’ a similar change but it is good to know that we all survive and often flourish.
      My very best to you in this new year.
      art

  3. You might not have seen the soft landing from the layoff coming, but Ashli and I did. We never for a moment doubted you’d be very successful as a freelancer. Your combination of talent, experience and work ethic pretty well guaranteed it. Glad you’re fulfilled and happy and home. Great blog post. Hope to see you soon. Your built-in Little Rock trips are over, so we’ll have to plan a get-together!

  4. Art, these are terrific photos but they always are. I love also how your life has flourished in ways you didn’t anticipate with the lay off. Sometimes the terrible things really are blessings even if it takes time to discover that. You deserve all the good stuff.

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