If you type in a URL like www.alex-farris.com/blog/2011, you'll see every blog post I put up in that year. The same principle works if you type in www.alex-farris.com/blog/2011.06, which would show you every post from June 2011. And for those of you snarky enough to try this for dates before the blog started (like, say, 2010), there's something there for you, too. (There's also snark for those of you want to travel back to the future.)
I began the year with a photo walk with Chicago Tribune photographer Scott Strazzante. We tried one the previous October, but you know how newspaper work is, and the morning of our walk, he got two assignments in the west suburbs. We ran into each other after he got back, though, and on the 15th, we had a proper hip-shooting walk. He's a good guy, and the walk with him and a college student up and down Michigan Avenue was the coolest part of my weekend.
It was also an example of a trend of mine during the first half of 2012. I really wanted to take pictures, but the assignments from The Indianapolis Star had yet to be more than a once-a-month occurrence, and the orthopedic research job, although it's produced two published papers (one in May, the other next month), is a full-time in-front-of-a-computer gig. So, I made my own assignments.
I played with light, and the Lens blog retweeted it.
I reveled in my city's time in the Super Bowl spotlight.
I geeked out over Lincoln stuff on his birthday at the Lilly Library in Bloomington, Ind.
I rediscovered my love for the wonders of the night sky.
I wormed my way into a Professional Bull Riders rodeo.
I spun my affinity for the Little 500 into an assignment for the Star.
I joined the hordes of people in Chicago for the NATO summit.
And, while I took no photos, I did catch up with people I met in the most important story I've worked on so far: the search for Lauren Spierer.
After those first six months, I didn't have to make my own assignments as often. It began in June and July, when I took wedding photos and did some summer concert work for the Star. Then came September. The presidential campaign began heating up, and Demotix, for whom I had shot the Super Bowl Village events, wanted a Midwest shooter to cover Ohio. I jumped at the chance, and I found my way into the race.
After the race died down, work for the Star picked up. I turned from a concert photographer into a party crasher, taking seven assignments for them in December.
The year ended not at all where it began. On the 21st, three days after taking photos of the Heffner family for the Star, I saw them on the website with Alex Campbell's story. While at work, my dad texted me a photo of the day's front page, and two of my photos were there! A staffer in my office's clinic gladly gave me a copy he found, and I smiled at my first front-page photos since my IDS days.
Within the year, you sometimes wonder if you're doing enough, if you're making yourself and other people proud of your work. To me, 2012 felt more like that than most years. At the end, though, I look back at a fully self-coded blog with over 100 entries, two photo galleries with over 80,000 hits, and, of course, good people and good times along the way. In the eternal words of an Internet meme:
Happy 2013, everybody!