Things I Loved, 2017


My new monthly column of highlighting things that I loved from the month before fizzled out in May, along with many other plans, as the year became busier and more complicated (as they tend to do). In a year that was depressing in so many ways at a macro-level I wanted to share some actual positive experiences.

We’ll see if my plan to revive this article each month in 2018 comes to fruition, but I’d like to at least share some of the things that were my favorite aspects of 2017 here. So without further ado:

  1. Favorite photograph by me…the photograph above of my daughter at age 10 this last winter using the wet plate collodion process. Not necessarily in the art category (those are coming soon), but I love her gaze.
  2. Favorite work I wish I had thought of: Brittany Nelson’s Mordancage.
  3. Books, non-photographic category. Reading in 2017 for me was actually highly successful in volume and in quality. Each year I try to read more books than the year before, and I accomplished that with 106 for the year. My top books for the year are (in the order I read them, roughly, as I find it impossible to rank these disparate books):
    1. Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (the best of 2017 for me)
    2. Underground Airlines, Ben Winters
    3. The Sellout, Paul Beatty
    4. The Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dilliard
    5. Born a Crime, Trevor Noah
    6. Borne, Jeff Vandermeer
    7. American War, Omar El Akka
    8. The Age of Wonder, Richard Holmes
    9. The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert
    10. The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben
    11. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
    12. The Changeling, Victor Lavalle
    13. Reality is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity, Carlo Rovelli
  4. Books, photographic category. My favorite monograph I actually read this year was Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals by Mandy Barker. I love the concept, the images, and the book.
  5. Books, the category of “written by me”. I’m glad you asked! Fine Art Digital Printing from Rocky Nook Press, published Spring 2017, and you can find out more here.
  6. Movies & TV. I finally was able to spend more time watching long-form television and movies this year and loved quite a bit of it, especially Stranger Things and all of the stand-up available on Netflix. But above everything for me was the movie Blade Runner 2049. I had very high expectations for it, and while it certainly had its flaws, it actually met them. Beautiful visuals and cinematography as well.
  7. Music. I became more interested in music than ever before this year, ranging a bit wider in interest than in previously years while also going deeper with much of it. I’m sure playing piano more and my musically-inspired Harmony of the Spheres project have also played a role in this. I was going to do a list of favorite albums and artists, but instead I’ll just mention one musician that I had never heard of previously that blew me away: Cecile McLorin Salvant with her album Dreams and Daggers. Wow. One of the best jazz/vocalist records I’ve heard in ages.
  8. Photographic Process. This is the year that I finally started working in alternative process…I love everything, but my initial love affair is with the cyanotype process. Don’t worry, platinum-palladium and gum – I’m starting up again in January.

I’m going to stop here as the year is running out, but here’s hoping that all of us find, discover, or experience many wonderful things in 2018!

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