The end of the year is always a time to do a balance of the time passed and make new resolutions for the new year. At least it is for me.
The 2017 was a peculiar year. I took a sabbatical from my work, I had the option to put myself in a situation where I had to work 16 hours a day to make a sufficient gross to have, after the italian 85% taxes (35% income, 22% V.A.T. and 27.7% mandatory state managed retirement plan) enough to pay for someone taking care of my 91 years old father, or I could just do it personally and avoid to work 85% of my time for the government.
The choice was a no-brainer: I took time for myself and gave back the care I received all my life.
Professionally I consider this a great year. With the few time I had for myself I managed to write some books with very good reviews and realize some personal projects.
To be far from the pressure of the profession I reignited my love for photography and had the time to think and develop new ideas.
January started with a beautiful review of the book “Pensieri Fotografici”, a collection of philosophical, political incorrect and ethical thoughts about photography. The book is in italian because is really specific for the situation of photography and the italian policies.
More I think about photography and the direction photography has taken with the infinite possibilities of digital manipulation, more I find myself attracted to the past: simple analogue photography.
Pinhole photography is the most basic form of photographic expression we can imagine. I did not had the time to go out and test some new pinhole camera but I finally had the time to scan some old films made with a pinhole. I realized how much I need to clear my mind from the digital habits. When I was much younger I had the option to choose a career coding software, I choose to not follow it because computer were alienating me from real life. It was not for me. I think for the same reasons I like to get away from digital photography and computer screens. Don’t get me wrong, I like digital and all the opportunities that give us, but I simply like to feel connected to my analogue soul and roots once in while.
2017 for me was also a big change in my digital equipment. I sold all my Canon and switched to Fuji. I really like the X-Pro2, the optical viewfinder is perfect for me and the simplicity of the dials with the old school style is exactly what I needed. I hate to have to go thru menus to do simple things as a change of ISO.
The quality of the lenses is exceptional at a much lower cost than the previous Canon lens I owned, so after a year with both systems I went all Fuji. The only Canon lens I miss is the 17mm TS-E. I hope someone will design a TS lens for Fuji x!
A tool can really change the way we photograph, in this case I started to bring the camera with me always (also the X-Pro1 I converted to infrared) and take pictures in the few moments of free time I have.
Thanks to the Fuji always with me I was able to put together the book “Bovisium Infrarubra”. A collection of images in infrared of the town I’m living in. I not only had very good reviews of the book but I also had an article posted on FujiLove about the project.
With the IR images I also got nominations at the B&W spider award for all the 5 pictures I submitted. Not bad at all!
Some satisfaction came also from a merit in the PPA International Print Competition… but personally I feel I’m getting more and more distant from the painted/retouched/elaborated pictures that are becoming so common in the contests, specially in the PPA IPC. It is a personal taste so I do not judge the choices, I simply feel distant and not really stimulated to submit my images.
Another advantage of sabbatical time: I do not need to care about what is trendy but only about what I like to do. And more I do what I like and more I receive appreciation by potential clients also when I’m not trendy for some contests. It is nice!
The best of the year was a travel to the USA. Wisconsin to do an exhibit at the International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival and Florida, just to relax a couple of weeks and visit friends. It was 5 years since the last time I was in the USA and I felt home more than ever. I really loved that.
Traveling is my passion, and USA is even a greater passion. The first break I had since my mother passed away in 2015, I really was in need for it and I was in need to feel again at home in what I consider my spiritual homeland.
The year is ended 30 minutes ago and my father is not getting younger, so my free time is less and less but I can still dedicate some hours to a book I’m writing, to a personal project I hope to finish for the beginning of 2018 started with and old Pentax Spotmatic I bought and repaired and a photography book about an old army base.
I was worried 2017 was going to keep me away from my profession and passion but actually it gave me time and inspiration enough to keep myself at the top as photographer. I’m proud of myself!
I will see what the 2018 will bring, for now I’m forced to live day by day, if not hour by hour, so my only resolution is to keep to give back the love I received all my life and use all the available time to do as much photographic projects as I can.
I do not know what I will be able to do, but for sure I have time to review my archive and finally print some images. The idea is to print a couple of images a week… It was my idea of a challenge for 2018, priorities and time available have drastically changed in the last few weeks, so I will not challenge myself but simply do my best to try arrive at 100 prints for the end of 2018, if I will not be able to do it no worries, give back the love I received all my life is much more important than anything else for me now.
So, Happy New Year to all of you.