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  • Danielle

My Beginning & End (of 2022)

I'm of the mind that we can make changes, start projects, quit bad habits any day we choose. We aren't bound by the time of year, the day of the week, or which even house Mercury is in. I've never been one for new year resolutions.

But I am in a reflection sort of place right now, as it's been one hell of a year for my family & I. In between sessions, we have had a lot going on (like so many of us, if I'm being honest).

The blog is something I wish I had done more of; I adore writing. I assume because I read so much from a young age. I love writing little pieces about the creatures & the people I meet through my photography, & I guess I feel like you cannot have one (the photo) without the other (the words).

The photo, is the obvious. The words, the less obvious. The photo is like the sun's first rays trickling through the trees, reflecting off dewy leaves, & melting the last bleak mist of the morning, a soft but clear depiction of the moment. The words, however, are like the deafening quiet of early morning, the sigh of the breeze in the leaves far above your head, the fragrance of the earth underfoot & the warmth of the sun as it first touches your face: the little extras that add so much to the adventure. You may not notice them right away, as they aren't as immediately obvious, as the sun is, rising in front of you, but they're a profound part of the experience.

Words help give life to photographs.

I mean... I think so, anyway.

My first shoot of the year, with Sadie, Sophie, Jill & Paul (read about the corly girls' session here) came not only as an exciting session (as always!), but also as a welcome reprieve. My father suffered continued health challenges at the end of 2021 and throughout 2022, which has been extremely hard on him. After spending our 2021 Christmas in hospital, my father & I ended the year on a desolating note, his healthcare team having just told us of two more complex (& incidental) findings on recent imaging. We were feeling pretty hopeless, as was the rest of our family.

Shortly into January, I met Jill & her family on a short break from being with my father in hospital. I can't tell you how nice it was to just be in the moment for that hour, shooting to my heart's content, getting to know the corly gorls, & experiencing the love of two humans and their two dogs.

It was exactly what photography has always been to me; peace, flow, awe, excitement-- but in that moment I had never been more grateful for it, for this art I get to create because of people like Jill. People like you. People who share their lives with exceptional, altruistic beings who don't speak our language, but do.

My last session of 2022 was just a few days ago; a dear friend of mine named Megan, visiting from Ontario. We hadn't seen each other in a few years. & guess who she welcomed to her family since I last saw her? A little mutt named Hazel with the most quirky ear hair you've ever seen (as well as a gorgeous mare named Bea, whom I didn't get to meet this time, but maybe there will be a trip to Ontario in 2023 ...). Megan was adamant she wanted to have a session while she was home, since she couldn't guarantee Hazel would ever accompany her to Nova Scotia again.

Megan got Hazel as a puppy, & I heard all about her puppy woes. I followed along with her on social media for the last 2 years. I knew she was a sweet, well-adjusted, go-anywhere citizen who was the perfect family member for my friend. But actually meeting Hazel, wow. Traveling side by side like old friends, both wise beyond their years, these two are the definition of peas in a pod, barely needing to look at each other to know one another's next move, next thought, next emotion. I'm so grateful to Hazel for being a constant for Megan as she finds her way & heads toward her goals. She is a very special dog.

Seeing an old friend, meeting a new one, & doing a session on the beach was exactly what I needed to end 2022, even though I didn't know it.

Thank you.

To each of you.

My clients: you let me in. You allow me to meet the little (& big) souls you share your lives with. You trust me to reflect your connection back to you, to catch the little quirks, and the big love. I don't think you know how much I admire you.

My supporters: maybe we haven't met yet, but I see you. Maybe we have met, but we haven't had a session together. I see your support on social media, I hear your recommendations, I appreciate every single way you support my work, & me.

My friends: the ones I harass with my constant JEP chatter, the ones I send test emails to, the ones who recommend me, buy gift certificates, think of me when a loved one's furry soulmate is ill. The friends who tell me my ideas are great, even when they probably aren't always, & who love my photos and the individuals they depict just as much as I do. The ones who share my art with everyone they can, just because they love it, too.

My family: my biggest fans, even when I don't always deserve it. My sounding boards, my test subjects, my objective eyes when I can't put my finger on what I don't like about something. My honest reviewers, who will be straight when I need it, or gentle when I ask. The ones I know will always, always have my back.

My dogs, past & present: because you need to know connection, to have experienced it, in order to capture it. Thank you for keeping me grounded, challenging me, loving me & always being up for an adventure.

Whether you love a good New Year's resolution or not, whether you've had the best year of your life, or the worst, whether we know each other or not, I hope you know that I appreciate you, and hope you find time for yourself in the coming year. A quiet moment here and there, where you look up at the stars & take a deep breath. I hope you take care of yourself. I hope you reach a goal, or let go of something you've been meaning to let go of for a long time.

I hope you find exactly what you need, even if you might not know what it is right now.

Here's to another year.


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