Twenty Nineteen has been a year.
It’s been a year full of ups, downs, challenges and successes.
Would I say that it’s been a particularly good year? In some ways, yes, but in most ways it’s been the most challenging year I have ever had, both business wise, and health wise.
The Photographic Chronicles
In the photographic side of my life, there have been more successes than I thought would have been possible with the health challenges I’ve been going through this year.
Over the course of this year, I have held two major solo exhibitions, with my photographic self-portrait series “The Chronic Diaries”, being exhibited at both the Brunswick Street Gallery and St Albans Community Center and Bowery Theatre.
My aim with The Chronic Diaries is to raise awareness for chronic illnesses, specifically invisible illnesses, and in that respect, they were a huge success, and and I am super proud of that!
I also debuted the special video format of The Chronic Diaries at White Night Ballarat.
I was commissioned to put the images into a video format with a spoken audio compenent, which I had never thought of doing until it was mentioned to me by the organisers of White Night!
All in all, it was a great experience, and working with the White Night crew to put it all together was so worth the effort!
The group exhibitions that I took part on were mostly international exhibitions, with my images being shown in the USA, Paris and Greece!
My biggest achievements though came from photographic and art competitions.
In March, I was selected as the winner of the Art category in Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer Award, and also won third place overall in the same competition!
I was not expecting to even be a finalist, let alone a winner, so it was quite a big surprise!
I was also a finalist in the IRIS Award run by the Perth Center For Photography.
The exhibition for that show was held between October and November, and although I didn’t win anything, it was great to be a part of it!
Finally, my image “Down In The Mud” was Highly Commended and In the top of the Open/Illustrative category in the Australian Photography Awards, which was an awesome experience!
I have entered the APA’s almost every year since it’s inception, and have got closer to receiving a prize every time!
Although I still didn’t technically win this year, having my image published in their physical annual publication for being in the Top 20 of the Open/Illustrative category this year was a prize enough for me!
I have been a finalist and participant in a few other competitions, but the few that I have mentioned here are the main ones.
In terms of publications, apart from the APA Annual, I was also published in The Land newspaper here in Australia this year with an article I wrote about The Chronic Diaries for IDEAS.
I didn’t manage to pick a copy up, but hopefully one day I will magically receive a copy of my own to add into my portfolio!
Aside from exhibitions and competitions, I have also been working hard at the admin side of my business.
The biggest task in the admin/marketing side of my business was definitely updating my website.
The opening of my print store on my website was a huge task. I worked on it for over 70 hours, and officially launched it in October.
I then made a huge mistake and lost everything, so I had to completely reset and rebuild the store, which took about another 30-40 hours, but I got there in the end, and now it looks a thousands times better than it originally did due to some major tweaks I did to the visuals of the store, which is a huge bonus!
If you are interested in purchaing any prints, please visit the print store at http://store.tylergracephotography.com
Only a few people know this, but one of my New Years Resolutions this year was to do 3 photography related tasks a day on every weekday throughout the year, no matter how big or small they were.
At the start of March, I started to think that it might be too much for my body to handle, so I thought of cutting it down to two tasks a day.
Little did I know that by the end of the year, I would not only have smashed the original goal of 3 tasks per weekday, but I’m also on my way to completing an average of 3 tasks for every so for day of the year, including weekends!
I’ve only got 5 tasks to go until that goal is reached, which means I will only have to do an average of one task every second day to reach that stretch goal, which is definitely achievable!
I have mentioned a lot of my achievements, but there were also a lot of challenges.
I took time off doing paid work to focus on my health, so I lost out on quite a bit of work because of that.
I was also completely rejected from over 60 exhibitions/competitons
Rejection is getting easier to deal with, but it still pulls at my heart strings every time I get a rejection email.
The biggest challenge was taking time off creating in
I did a total of 4 shoots between last December and this past June, and then did 4 more shoots between July and now.
If I were to compare how many images that I created this year compared to previous years, between June of 2017 and June of 2018, I created and released a total of 66 conceptual/storytelling images, whereas between August of last year and now, I have only created and released 8 images, which is over 8 times less.
Although, at the same time, I did finally start working on creating my Fine Art Nude portfolio, which has been a great experience so far!
I now offer Fine Art Nude photo shoots to clients, so if you live in or around Albury/Wodonga or Melbourne and are interested in booking a Fine Art Nude photo shoot, please contact me for more information!
As photography is my biggest passion, and is also a bit of a coping mechanism for me, it has been difficult to take a step back, but the break has been needed.
Ever since August 2018, my health has been at an all time low.
I mentioned this in my previous blog called “The Crash”, but in August last year, my health ended up crashing down severely, and very quickly.
I ended up in Box Hill Hospital for 5 days, and I am still in the process of recovering from that crash which begun 14 months ago.
There hasn’t been much progress in terms of my health improving since then.
The only major strides forward have been when I began to walk without a walking frame again in December of last year, and getting rid of a massively invasive ear infection that I have had for the last 15 years.
This year has been hectic to say the least.
Every week has been filled with between 2 and five medical appointments with doctors, many different specialists, dentists and more.
With all of these appointments, there have been answers as to why certain things are happening and new diagnosis’, but nothing we have tried has helped yet in terms of my main, and most impactful health conditions.
Hopefully we can find something that helps soon!
I have also ended up in the hospital multiple times with an as of yet unknown condition that has the same symptoms as kidney stones, but without actually having kidney stones.
Thankfully that hasn’t happened in a few months.
It’s honestly been an exhausting year on the health front, and I’m enjoying having a few weeks off medical appointments over the Christmas period!
Life In General
Through all of my successes and challenges in both my photography and health, I have had the most beautiful young woman I have ever met by my side every step of the way.
I met Eleni in June of last year, and she has been my rock ever since. I am incredibly lucky to have her in my life, and couldn’t have got through everything without her, especially all of my health challenges.
I have spent most of my time in Melbourne this year while getting medical treatment, so I have barely seen my family, which has been difficult, but I will get to spend a bit of time with them over the Christmas break before coming back to Melbourne for more treatment, and some other things which you will find out about soon!
I have only seen my friends a couple of times this year due to being in Melbourne so often. I miss them more than they will ever know.
I’m a person who is bad at keeping in contact with people.
Putting my focus on my health over the last 14 months has made this situation more difficult, as I am now too exhausted, and my health is too low every day due to all of my appointments and my health just being generally terrible to even think about messaging people.
I am about to start pushing my limits more than ever in the new year, and pushing through my health to keep in contact with those that mean the most to me will be a huge part of that.
I’m hoping that I can reach a point with my health where I can have the physical energy to keep up with all of my friends and family without it being a massive struggle sooner rather than later.
But to end on a positive note, I am currently the happiest I
have ever been, and that is mostly thanks to my love, Eleni.
Thank you for sticking by my side through everything and loving me.
I love you so much!
That was my year this year.
How was your year?
Good? Bad? Slightly alright?
Please tell me about it in the comments!
Next weeks blog, which will be the final blog for this year, will be all about my goals for 2020.
It’s going to be the most important blog that I’ve written since 2014, and will show you just how much I will be trying to push through my health limits, so keep an eye out for it!
I hope you all enjoyed this slightly rambly blog, and have a great week ahead!