What's Next?

Not to get political on a photography blog, but I just wanted to say something.

On election day four years ago I was upset by the Bush re-election. At the time I was working as a freelance Art Director doing mostly online advertising, as I had done since graduating from music school. I knew I didn't want to spend the next 4 years wringing my hands and watch pundits talk and talk and talk.  I called myself a musician, but how much music did I make?  I called myself an artist but how much art did I produce? I called myself a photographer, but how many photographs did I take?

I was so upset by the results of that election that I decided to 'do something' with my time.  That night I started the first of 3 consecutive annual projects.. my first 365 Project, which began as an attempt to do something, artistic each day for a year, posting them every night so that others could share in creativity and bear witness to keep me honest in my challenge to myself.  That year found me confronting the diagnosis and death of my father of cancer. It was the loss of the one person I always felt I had to prove myself to. From then on it was really only myself I had to convince.

Soon after I had completed that year's project, I began the 52 Project, because I felt that I wanted to do larger things one each week.  So I wrote pieces for string quartet, and really cheesy pop songs, and I shot series of photographs, and I wrote a one act play.  Towards the end of that year I showed a book of my portraits to an art buyer who told me, "They're good, come back when you've got more to show me".

So I left and thought to myself, "How can I build my book and get better at this really fast". My project 365 portraits from last year was the answer.  It led me to meet hundreds of people, even some heroes of mine, many of whom have become part of my life. It led me to from Elizabethan homes in England to the home of a porn star north of LA, and everywhere in between.  And when I finished I wondered how I was going to take the next step and really make this my life's work.

Since the beginning of this year I've gone from almost nothing to having shot for TIME and BusinessWeek and UBS advertising campaigns and having my images seen by millions of people and on the cover of magazines.  It's just been unbelievable.

This is all to say that tonight is a real milestone for me, as it is for our country. Four years ago tonight I decided to change my life. And today, here I am. And for the first time in my adult life, I really am hopeful for the future of this world. So while it's bittersweet that I feel like a chapter of my life is complete, I'm hopeful and excited to see what the next one brings.  Thank you so much to everyone who takes the time to look at my work and read my words. This sense of community and family that I feel with all of you is what keeps me going day after day.