My New Year’s resolutions are usually the same. I intend to spend more time in prayer, and be a better husband, neighbor, father and grandfather—and do a better job of remembering birthdays.
I go back and forth about resolutions, believing, like starting a diet or exercise program, I need not wait until the beginning of a new year to begin doing what I should be doing or quit something I shouldn’t be doing.
I don’t remember ever making photo resolutions. But this year feels different.
It has been 50 years since my first pictures were published in a newspaper and I began my photography career. I realize the shadows are longer and my days are numbered, and there are photo contributions I still hope to make. I cannot say with certainty I will do these things because only my Creator knows the time I have left.
Here, in no particular order, are my 12 photo resolutions I intend to keep and hope will guide and challenge me through the upcoming year:
- Keep a camera handy, battery charged and always have a flash card or film.
- Read at least two photo biographies.
- Continue writing and learning to be a better writer.
- Begin assembling photo books for my family—photos for my children and grandchildren to be given as graduation, wedding or anniversary presents.
- Have prints made of our loved ones and put them up on our walls.
- Taking the advice of now-deceased LIFE Magazine photographer Horace Bristol and begin putting my photo house (archives) in order.
- Teach at least two photo seminars.
- Return to Italy and, with my photographer wife, finish a book called “Postcards from Florence.”
- Complete several other books for publication—some photo, some not.
- Finish several photo projects, including a story about Benedictine monks in Vermont.
- Continue teaching and growing with the Athens Photo Project—a nonprofit art program that promotes mental health recovery by providing opportunities for community members living with mental illness to express themselves creatively through photography.
- Take a first step toward photographing (on film) with a medium or large format camera an interpretive biblical project I have dreamed of doing for 40 years.
I encourage you to make your own list. Write them down and post them in a place you and others see regularly.
Perhaps it is to buy a better camera that allows you to do more of the things your creative heart desires. Maybe there is a faraway place you wish to visit and photograph, a photography seminar you want to attend or a photo story you long to do. Perhaps you hunger to expand your awareness and competence with specific types of photography: sports, portraiture, macro-photography, nature or documentary. Maybe you have a list of pictures you want to make.
Hopefully, making a list of photo resolutions will help you discover what is important to you—your photo dreams—which should make your life and photography more rewarding while making you a better, more deliberate photographer.
It has often been said, how will we know if we have arrived if we have no idea where we were going?
David LaBelle is an internationally known photographer, teacher, author and lecturer. He has worked for newspapers and magazines across the United States and taught at three universities. He applies many of the lessons he learned during his magical boyhood years in rural California to photography. For more information, visit www.greatpicturehunt.com.