Right off the bat: It wasn't a very good year.
2014 turned out to be an emotional struggle time and time again. Early in the year, I set out to undergo a mental restructuring process - a sentiment I would later discard again. In April, I lost a good amount of data due to a sudden external hardrive crash. Shitloads of picture files from 2010 to 2012 fell victim to this unfortunate occurance. Then came a disappointing trip to Berlin. I came back feeling unfulfilled and deeply unsatisfied with my lack of useful output. That marked the first time this year that I contemplated cutting down on my photographic activities. I snapped out of it though. But during that time I really let myself go and turned quite lethargic. After a Sisters Of Mercy concert in late May, I realised that I had gained a good amount of weight and was on the verge of becoming overweight again. I dreaded the thought because I had some personal issues with obesity in my teens and didn't want to go back to where I came from. This lead me to follow through with a strict, self-inflicted weight-loss plan. It worked really well, I dropped a lot of pounds in no time but I think I might have been a bit too hard on myself in retrospect. As the temperatures rose I got sidetracked and felt happy for a little while. But a good old reality check was waiting around the corner.
Mid-July had me depressed and fighting with health-issues. I had several little kidney stones at that time. They all found their way out by themselves but I probably don't even have to mention that the pain they cause is just insane. After the whole thing had blown over, I kicked my habit of drinking energy drinks and I drastically cut down on my overall caffeine consumption. I haven't had a Red Bull since July and only drink Coke every once in a while. Coffee also almost completely vanished from my diet plan. Everyone who knows me well or how it used to be, knows that this is no small feat. I'm a born hedonist after all. For some time I even had vegetarian or vegan meals throughout most of the week just to be extra sure. I've mellowed out on the food-front since then though.
The rest of July was only remarkable for its astounding lack of sunshine. The same applies to most of August. Once again I found myself with a miniscule photographic output. I did expand on my endeavor to take more portraits though.
In September, I developed a deep dissatisfaction with my lack of progression as a photographer, which once again made me think of packing it in. Thinking of a line I had heard in the film 'Adaptation' is probably what got me back on track again. It was "You are what you love, not what loves you." - probably the most profound line one can possibly hear coming from Nicolas Cage talking to a twin version of himself. Hey, who said you can't incorporate some humor in an overall somber and moody retrospective? But seriously, there is a lot of truth to that line, especially if you're looking at it from the perspective of someone active in the creative field. How often do people hold back because they are riddled with insecurities? How often do people stop in their tracks because they think their work will not get enough/does not merit appreciation? It happens far too often. I told myself I do not want to become another one of those cases. After all, I love taking pictures.
October once again came with a small surprise regarding my health. I nearly blacked out during a concert. I suddenly felt my whole line of vision closing in on me, then came a general feeling of uneasiness and certain parts of my body becoming numb. It was quite scary to be honest. I somehow managed to buy something to drink and go outside before a would-be circulatory collapse but I was all at sea at that moment (I even forgot something at the counter which I was very lucky to retrieve soon after). The last time I had circulatory problems of a similar magnitude, I was maybe 14 and outdoors. Late October was really very pleasant though.
In mid-November, I caught a cold that would last until very recently, really. I also had a bit of a dental emergency lately. Only now in the last few days, I've started to get better. Things are really cooling down now, which I'm very grateful for. There have been quite some things that have taken an emotional toll on me this year, so this time of silence is highly appreciated. I really did a lot of soul-searching in 2014. It was a massively introspective year, for better or worse. Now I just wanna lay back and take things as they come.
But was it all bad? No, there've been some notable ups as well! I've decided to end the journal on a positive note. I can't list all of the positive impressions I had this year but here are some of them:
Like I said, I followed through with my endeavor to do more portraits. And I picked up something new with every try. Despite my dissatisfaction with the overall trip, I still loved the city of Berlin and its fascinating places. It certainly wasn't the fault of the city that the weather sucked and the planning/schedule was subpar. I was especially fond of the former radar station called "Teufelsberg". It marked my first Urbex-session in three years. I was also glad to finally be in the process of creating music again. Since founding Velvet Doomsday in late August, a good friend of mine and me have released 4 demo-tracks. I'm proud that we have made it that far to be honest. And we're eager to continue. And last but not least I'm grateful for all the great people that support me and are able to put a smile on my face. You can't imagine how much that means to me! Thank you for being there.
I'm currently thinking of taking another trip to NYC in 2015 but as of now I don't have a specific date in mind. But I'm still fairly certain that it is going to happen.
PS.: I want to mention a certain person that passed away this year out of appreciation. An experimental/surrealist musician and director by the name of Adam Cooley died at the age of 27 on February 4, this year. I didn't know him personally but we were both members of an online board for Sonic Youth fans. In 2010 he baffled me by asking me whether he could use an ancient drawing of mine, which I had posted in a thread just for shits and giggles as the cover artwork of his next album. I agreed but didn't take the offer seriously to be honest. At that time Adam was also some sort of a go-to movie buff within the forum. It was probably thanks to his passionate review that I watched Takeshi Kitano's 'Hana-Bi', it would go on to become one of my favorite movies. Fast forward to 2013 - Out of curiosity I decided to take a look at the last.fm page of his music project called 'Scissor Shock' and what did I see? 'Psychic Existentialism', one of his featured albums did in fact have the crude sketch of a clown I had drawn at the age of 10 as its cover artwork. Once again I found myself baffled.
I then took some time to listen to his music. His bizarre style of was certainly an acquired taste but I appreciated it a lot. There was something to its sheer originality that just made it stick out, whether one actually likes it or not. And from what I gather, Adam knew well that his style was bound to raise a few eyebrows. But he didn't seem to care. From everything I read about him, he was just very confident in the process of creating things. And there was something very admirable about that confidence. To me it seems like he never was another one of those cases. He was an original, he pushed forward and did his thing. R.I.P. Adam! I didn't know him well but the way he approached things was very inspiring.