On a not-so-random day in October, I was trying to decide on whether or not I was going to leave the house. I did. What happened next was pure magic.
There's a group (likely several) of bikers in DC and in Baltimore who ride ATVs and dirt bikes through the city. I see them in my neighborhood. I've always been captivated and smitten by them. I admire their lack of fucks to give. They care about what they're doing. They just don't care what you think. I appreciate this way of life. Maybe it's the nearing of 40 that clears the lenses. The idea I was able to stand with them and they let me capture these moments? I was honored.
As a photographer, I'm always thankful when someone allows, even invites me, into their world to capture their moments. I don't want to intrude or be a bother. I don't want to exploit or embarrass. I just want to document, highlight and show the beauty of what I see.
Not only did I have a chance to join their world for a few moments, but I was changed and energized by the few moments I was there. I'm sure the look of pure love and awestruck didn't hurt. I had the moment of awe watching this group of 30 or more bikers ride off into the sunset - literally. It was a moment of wonder. Maybe a little bit of connecting all of us together and realizing we have some of the same qualities.
So. let's talk about this photo. I love this brother. I don't know him. I don't know who he is or even what he looks like, but I love what he represents - for me.
Honestly, he's a great example of how I had to face this year without knowing what was coming - wheels up. He's a metaphor for courage, for rebellion, for audacity, for passion and for having the chutzpah to get up and do what moves you during the day.
Some people have their own opinions about the bikers. They think they're a nuisance. They think of them as criminals and outlaws. I don't. I think of them as free. I have this love of their rebellion. And maybe that's where I understand them - that in order to get shit done sometimes, you don't (albeit can't) do it the way everyone else expects. Or maybe that it's not even that deep and they're just doing what they love.
To be very frank, many of us could use more of that lesson about doing what we love and having less regard to what others think about us all the time.
I could come up with this really amazing list of lessons I learned this year. But the most valuable lesson I learned this year? My own value. While it sounds like it's a simple concept, it's not to be taken lightly. I know I've mentioned it before, but it's a seemingly simple concept people will wave off and tell you you should master. It's not as easy as everyone touts. But there is true merit and wonder in understanding your worth.
Just for the record: you're invaluable.
Back to this day in October....
The moment I snapped this photo, I realized my idea of beauty might be a bit different. Aha moment! That's why it's important to capture these moments and document life as I see it. I'm thankful to be able to share my vision with you. If you've been reading the blog, I'm also thankful that you're able to see it. That I've had any effect on the community and inspired and influenced (hopefully for the better) is a blessing to me.
However, I will admit I'm popping a wheelie on the fact that 2014 is about to be out of here. It's honestly been the longest year ever. I'm thankful to have made it through. I'm thankful to have gotten through the challenges and obstacles that came my way. I'm thankful for my family and my friends. I'm thankful for my camera and for purpose. I'm thankful for my relationship with God. I'm thankful for love. I'm thankful for companionship, for community and the notion that I'm not alone. For all of the help that's been brought my way this year, the encouraging words, the gifts, the letters, the cards, the notes, the road trips, the long and short phone calls, the laughter. While an extremely difficult year, it's been one of infinite riches, lessons and a suring up of myself that I'm not soon to forget.
As I'm preparing for 2015, I started working on Susannah Conway's Unravelling the Year Ahead. It's a great way to close one year and start another.
Confession: I've tried over the last few years to fill it out entirely but it gets SO into your business that you have to be willing to face yourself and be honest. While I'm extremely honest with myself, sometimes, putting it on paper makes it seem too real. At any rate, the goal is to finish it this year.
In the next few days, I hope you'll take time to choose some of your own favorite moments of the year.
In closing, I want to say thank you for all of your encouragement, support and love this year here on the blog. I've been overwhelmed with the blessings and the response you've had to what I've been working on and am sincerely thankful for your support.