Well, we finally made it to the end of 2019! I can’t even begin to tell you how much this year has meant for me professionally and personally. I’ve grown so much and I truly enjoyed this year and can’t wait for 2020 to bring new adventures and life lessons!
Before I officially kiss this decade goodbye, I wanted to share some snapshots from this year. They are some of my favorite photos that I’ve taken or that were taken of me that represent some incredible memories.
This year was partially defined by the many art festivals I worked all along the East Coast and this year began early with a two-day outdoor art show in the suburbs of Tampa, FL. The weather was beautiful on the first day–I even wore shorts! I snapped this photo of the sunrise on my phone, and while it barely does the scene justice, it helps me remember how magical these early AM adventures are.
In February, I purchased a 50mm lens for my Canon 60D and I was anxious to try it out. I tested some of my first shots on my dad, capturing images of him working on new paintings and this one remains one of my favorites. It’s a unique perspective and seeing him working with his work in the background always inspires me!
In March, we headed to Florida for the third time and this festival was even more exciting than usual because nearby Gatorland had a tent with LIVE BABY GATORS. Their mouths were taped shut but the handler promised that he wasn’t in any pain. I spent the morning working up my nerve to hold one and was so surprised to find that he was soft and felt a lot like leather.
On a different trip to Florida in this same month, we stopped in Montgomery, AL to visit the new memorial for Peace and Justice. This is one of my favorite cities to visit because I’m a huge history buff. The sobering memorial is a beautiful homage to the lives lost by racial terror lynchings and is a valiant effort to correct history books. There are a lot of shots that I like from this trip, but this one is my favorite.
This is just a fun one! I attempted double buns on my hair for Easter and they came out pretty decent! I love being natural and it challenges me every day to take better care of myself and embrace who I am. It has exposed my narrow view of beauty and helped me to walk with more confidence in other areas of my life. Every so often you need a day to pamper and celebrate, and I couldn’t think of a better time to do so than the most meaningful holiday (to me): Easter.
This was my second time in Michigan in my entire life and I had a blast–even though we got rained out. I was able to drive through my home state of Ohio and see the gorgeous campus of Michigan State (Master’s anyone? lol). Most importantly, I met a lot of great people there and photographed my first outdoor live concert. This is personally my favorite shot, but I also have a few of a parrot sitting on a spectator’s shoulder. You never know what you’ll find when you travel!
June gets three pictures because I went on 3 memorable trips! I chose this photo from Brookgreen Gardens in Pawleys Island, SC because it makes me laugh every time I see it. There’s a Lowcountry zoo at the Gardens that you can take yourself on a self-guided tour through. Once we’d passed horses and chickens and bulls, we stumbled upon a creaky gate that led to this bird sanctuary. Stepping through it felt like that point of no return in Jurassic Park movies right before you get attacked by some pterodactyls. But luckily, no one was harmed in the capturing of this photograph.
This trip was all kinds of stressful for a myriad of reasons too numerous and personal to name, but I will tell you this. I’ve never been downtown Pittsburgh before and attending the Three Rivers Arts Festival was one of the most exhilarating shows I’ve been to. I had no idea there were so many skyscrapers! I mean I’ve seen the skyline but being downtown walking between the buildings was entirely different. I have a strong love affair for cities. Growing up in a modest area of the Midwest and now living in North Carolina we have cities but we don’t have CITIES, if you know what I mean (although Charlotte has just about arrived). I love the energy in this shot.
Philly, the city of brotherly love, is one of my favorite places. I fell in love when I visited as a kid for a poetry convention. I ate amazing food, saw the Liberty Bell and had a cute bellhop congratulate me on a poetry award. But that’s another story. The atmosphere is always on 100 in Manayunk and when I saw this corn roasting on a food vendor’s counter, I just about drooled onto my Ricoh. Anybody feeling hungry?
In July, I got the opportunity to represent the non-profit I work for at an educational training in Charlotte. Since I’ve been vending for years, setting up wasn’t too difficult and I enjoyed sharing our college access work with new advisors and even ran into some old friends who are just starting their careers. When I was grabbing dinner one of them told me about a cute rooftop bar at the hotel where you can see the whole city. I took a quick pit stop there while I waited for my food and it was worth every minute. Cheers to great views!
In August, I had the good fortune of snagging a trip to AFROPUNK Brooklyn, which is still a blog I plan on completing. My bestie and I went to the festival and explored different parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan. By far one of my top 5 memories of 2019 was flying First Class into JFK at sunset (don’t ask me how that even happened). There were so many moments that stuck with me so I’m going to give you a sample below–I have to save some for the Afropunk blog post!
In September, I was chosen to be on the official photo and video team for the Art of Cool Festival, an R&B/jazz festival in Durham, NC that brings out the legends. Jill Scott and RunDMC headlined this year. I got to shoot from the pit during Ari Lennox’s set and weaved my way through crowds and VIP areas looking for the right shot. I proved that I can create some stunning captures. Although I’m most proud of this close-up of Ari, my favorite shots are of the crowd. To be honest, the most authentic moments at a music festival happen among the fans.
I haven’t done portraits in a while but when your best friend asks you for a photoshoot for her birthday you polish those camera lenses! It’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite shot but this is easily one of them. From location scouting to mood-setting music to walking all over Durham we worked up quite an appetite! (see below)
Nothing original here, right? Just an overflowing plate of traditional Thanksgiving food. But this photo represents so much love that was put into cooking these dishes. And it features the bomb roast turkey I made and stressed out about for like six hours. Life can change very fast, so I’m constantly commemorating and showing gratitude for making memories – and meals – such as this one.
My favorite photos of the year feature my favorite people: my mom and dad. No surprise here! They always have my back and it’s a blast spending the holidays with them year after year. This year felt special for some reason, we truly had a blast playing games, watching movies and exchanging gifts. I ate a lot, as you can tell by my chubby cheeks. I hope you had a wonderful December with your loved ones.
And just like that, it’s 2020! Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for following along on Scribing Fingers and being patient during my down season (which is really my busy season). I promise to share more adventures this coming year.