When I embarked on this blog earlier in the year I always worried there would be a moment when pressure of work might run a little too hard against the limitations of time and something would have to give. So it proved the case these last couple of months - just what happened to November and December? The good news is that a couple of the projects I was working on in the latter part of the year grew in scope and may well result in further exciting outcomes in the coming year. These came on top of a typically busy autumn, so while I have some ideas and pictures which I am looking forward to sharing in the weeks ahead, the not so great part is that it all resulted in a couple of months of neglect here on this page. And now, suddenly, I find myself at the eve of a new year, that classic temporal viewpoint from where we contemplate our journey so far and scan the horizon for directional clues to future opportunity and fulfilment.
I don’t think 2014 has been a particularly kind year to the photographic profession. It's difficult to get figures but the talk that I am picking up is that social photography in particular is in decline as a profession. Photography as an art form came under attack and the digital camera market has shrunk further, to levels similar to 2004. At the same time, conversely, nothing appears to abate the growth of photographic output and consumption, which has never been greater. But is it in a good way? In the words of Turner Prize winning artist Grayson Perry, “We live in an age when photography rains on us like sewage from above.” If 2015 means setting one resolution, it is to adapt and think laterally about where the opportunities lie.
It wasn’t all gloom and doom, however. When I look back on 2014, I realise that I was lucky to make new friends, visit new places, work in a couple of fabulously exotic locations and establish relations with new and interesting clients in diverse fields. I have compiled a pictorial diary of the year, just one or two pictures from each month - this is not a best of - it’s more of a behind the scenes glimpse at my photography moments of 2014, at home and at work.
January brought wide-scale flooding to many parts of the UK - this reflection of a tree in flood water in the New Forest was caught on an uncharacteristically clear day. Meanwhile, back at home in Winchester, the River Itchen burst its banks.
There were many Swiss chocolate box moments to be had in February, during a three day lifestyle shoot in St Moritz and the beautiful Engadine Valley. Everywhere you looked in fact, including this view out of the train carriage window.
March brought the annual Save The Children musical fund-raiser to the Roundhouse again. Following previous years' smash evenings of Soul & Funk and Blues, 2014 was the year of Reggae. Here, Jimmy Cliff wows guests with the hit "The Harder They Come".
April, and it has been an eye-opening experience to become more involved with the remarkable Blue Apple Theatre over the last 18 months. This company of adults with learning difficulties stages ambitious productions, including this "Tales From The Arabian Nights" at the Theatre Royal in Winchester.
I love May, when the thought of summer starts to take a hold and family photography comes into its own. This shot of Olivia running freely through a tulip filled garden in Sussex sums it up.
Old cars and cycling featured one way or another through 2014, but perhaps none better combined than in this chance shot taken during a Citroen 2CV rally in France in June.
Let's not forget our own family holiday - we managed to escape to Crete for a week in July. Son No.2 enjoyed attempting handstands in an unusually vigorous surf on Phalasarna Beach.
It's not possible to get through the year without mention of the ubiquitous i-Phone. The shot for August is suitably sunny, courtesy of a Hipstamatic filter.
September brought a remarkable trip to Venice and enough photographic potential to fill a blog for a year and inspiration for October's post. One of the city's hidden gems that I was lucky enough to visit was tucked away behind the obvious view - the Bevilacqua weaving mill, an extraordinary throwback in time, continues to produce fabrics in a centuries old tradition.
In October, it was back to France to put the finishing touches to a project there and another chance to visit the dramatic Cathar castles at Chateaux des Lastours.
There are a couple of fantastic family projects that remain a work in progress. One of them produced my favourite Hampshire portrait of the year in November.
Finally, I can't help but say that December speaks for itself...
It has been a fun and instructional exercise to recollect the better moments of the last year and I look forward to the chance to share more in the coming months. In the meantime, whatever profession you are in, I wish you happy and prosperous endeavours in 2015.