Recap: A Look Back At 2018

2018 recap –

Looking back on an amazing year…holy cow, I’ve been taking photos for TEN YEARS.

The Early Days

I started taking photos in 2018 when my band, Boulder Acoustic Society, headed out on tour in Charleston, SC. I had a wee point and shoot camera and I fell instantly in love. I dragged the poor band all over town, up and down side streets, to a wild cemetery, in front of random buildings, etc. I immediately hopped in the tour van and downloaded a free version of Photoshop. All you needed was an email to download a trial version back then – I think I went through 25 new emails to keep downloading the free version of the program on my computer. I dumped all the photos off the card and started playing around trying to figure out Photoshop. My, oh, my what a wonderful time it was. I remember being somewhat interested in design at that time and was super excited to start thinking of fun ways to incorporate photos into the flyers I was already creating for the band.

I was doing a little bit of (bad) design for Swallow Hill at the time, and I remember getting a photo from them of a hand playing a guitar with the backdrop all blurred…and being the naive and arrogant person I was (am), I thought “maaaan, I could do that! All I need is a good camera.” So, I got a beginner level Canon Rebel and started going NUTS taking photos of everything I could. If you’re ever bored/interested, you can see all of those early images on my Flickr (I used Flickr forever to just store every image I was working on).

A Look Back: Album Art

It always seemed to make sense to go into the realm of album art. Mostly because of my experience playing music and touring, but also, just because I’ve always been so blown away by interesting and cool album design. It feels like a cool traveling art gallery that gets to go all over the world being cherished by some and scoffed at by others. It gets to gain life every time some one sees it for the first time, and hopefully it prompts folks to pick it up and give the band a shot just because the art looks cool. This is probably overshare, but I don’t care: Ever since I’ve started designing albums, I’ve always thought of each one as having to pass the “toilet test.” By this I mean, whenever someone walks by on their way to the toilet and realizes they have nothing to read in there, perhaps they’ll pick up the album to give it a thorough look and read-through. Over these years, I’ve gotten to work with some of the most talented and kind people I’ve ever known throughout my life. I feel lucky and blessed to get to do what I do and I can only hope 2019 brings on more of it.

The Nerdery – What Has Changed

I think the biggest shift that I’ve seen in my career taking photographs is when I first started out, I relied on effects and filters and Photoshop to try to get my image to a place I felt comfortable…now, after practicing for ten years, I almost feel that the Photoshop element kind of ruins the image that comes out of the camera. In 2019, there are some albums coming out that have defined a brand new style for what I’ve been doing and I’m in LOVE with it. Once again, I’m so excited to continue down this path and I hope I can keep creating stuff people like. The learning has definitely been one of my favorite parts of embarking down this path, but as has meeting all the other talented photographers, designers, artists, and creatives. One of my luckiest stumblings-on, was when I met Merne Judson III. He started out as an assistant on some of my shoots and has now grown into one of my best friends and he and I own a business together now. I feel so blessed to have him in my life as well.

With all of that blathering, if you’d like to read more about how I was homeless and broke and trying to learn photography, check out this awesome article in the Westword written by one of the most amazing people I know, Andy Thomas.

Y’all have a WONDERFUL New Years. Here’s to all of us finding more beauty in the world every day and cherishing the moments that bring us there. Love and warmth, +S


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