One Year, One Million Dreams And Counting (Anniversary Special)

My oh my. We have finally done it, dear readers. We have reached an amazingly special day, the one year anniversary of my McClish Photography Studios blog. Honestly, I never thought I would actually keep up with blogging for this long (and it’s not like one year is really all that long in comparison to other things. I mean, Facebook has been around for 8 years. The Titanic sank 100 years ago…which explains why they feel the need to re-release the 1997 film in 3D…I think you see where I’m going with this). I first created this blog for kicks, but then I started building a loyal following, and I grew to truly enjoy posting every week (or as close to every week as possible). Now here we are, a couple of thousand views and a dozen comments and likes later, and this blog has reached its first birthday. I am beyond thrilled. So in celebration of such a feat, I have a HUGE post for you all filled with some photographic memories, some thank you shout outs, and even a surprise. So please enjoy this day with me. You all, my readers, are what keep this blog going. So this is for you:

The Best of McClish Photography Studios: Fan Favorite Blog Posts

In deciding what to post in celebration of the one year anniversary, I thought about things that have been popular in the past on this blog. Best Of posts seem to be pretty fun to read, and you all definitely enjoyed the one I did for my birthday. So I came to the conclusion that I needed to include some Best Of things starting with some fan favorite blog posts:

  1. Monochrome Monday #22
  2. Modern Winter Fairy Tales [Part 1]
  3. Monochrome Monday #18 [50th Blog Post Special]
  4. Winter Break Challenge Result #1
  5. Monochrome Monday #19 [Craft Day Edition]
  6. Pumped Up Kicks Look #7: Rachel
  7. 21 Favorites: Post Birthday Special

I must say, it always gives me such a warm and fuzzy feeling when I post and almost immediately, my iPod starts buzzing with new emails all from my blog informing me that someone has liked my post or commented or is now following the blog. You all are absolutely amazing readers, and I am so honored to post for you all!

The Best of McClish Photography Studios: 2011 Photography

I’ve been doing this whole amateur photography thing for nearly 4 years now, since my senior year of high school. And every year, I get better and better. I enjoy this hobby, and I enjoy writing about it and my experience in this artistic journey. I’m 100% aware that I am not the best photographer, but that has hardly ever mattered to me. In fact, that point alone makes me want to strive harder to become even better. In the past year, I’ve gotten some new equipment that has helped me to soar to new heights, worked with new models, continued working with familiar models, taught myself how to do some awesome effects in Photoshop, and most importantly, improved in my photographic abilities. Below are 11 of the best photos I have taken over the course of this blog’s (short) history (in order of when I took them):

Victoria as Gretal from the Modern Winter Fairy Tale Photo Shoot in January 2011

Crystal from her Winter Portrait Session in January 2011

Erica from her Spring Break Portrait Session in March 2011

Julie from the Spring Break Photo Shoot in March 2011

Felicita from her Fall Portrait Session in October 2011

Erin from her Fall Portrait Session in October 2011

Mariah from her Fall Portrait Session in October 2011

Felicita from my Religion Aesthetic Research Project in November 2011

Kylie from the Pumped Up Kicks Photo Shoot in January 2012

Briggs and Emma from the Pumped Up Kicks Photo Shoot in January 2012

Technically, those last two weren’t taken in 2011, but I figured that since they’ve fallen within the time span of this blog, they should count in my list of favorites. In the past year, my photography has improved so much. True, some of my all time favorite photos that I’ve taken are the happy accidents from when I first started photography, but even I am aware of how much more I rely on my creative eye and a certain level of technique rather than accidents. But it’s those very accidents that remind me of why I even got involved in this whole photography thing in the first place.

Not every photo is a keeper. Some photos are significantly better received by my viewers, but I still love taking pictures – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I typically consider it practice so that one day I can actually take that perfect image. But I’m not too worried about it. I just like taking pictures.

Artistic Inspiration

I can’t take credit for all of my artistic genius (conceited much? haha). I would assume that some of it is genetic since everyone on my dad’s side of the family has expressed some sort of artistic ability through music, writing, painting, drawing, teaching, etc. But then there’s the inspiration I draw from the world around me. Part of this inspiration is compiled from other artists like myself, people who are striving to create art and build a loyal following with their own sites. If you haven’t visited the links in my Blogroll on the sidebar of this site, you definitely should. Some are art related, some are more social commentary. Some of my particular favorites in terms of art are:

  • Creating Me – My friend Sarah documents her journey in college, particularly through some really awesome arts and crafts projects (one of which she did with me). She’s a very wonderful girl with high hopes for humanity and a very quirky sense of style.
  • Think Designs – I met Sammy my freshman year of college through another friend. And like me, Sammy never goes anywhere without her camera. She’s studying photography and graphic design, and her work is absolutely amazing (better than anything I could ever dream of doing).
  • Dare to be Foolish – Angie is young and full of so many aspirations. Not only is she a rapper (an Asian rapper at that), she’s also an entrepreneur. She’s breaking into the fashion industry and, though her site is still under construction, Angie has a lot of potential. I’m looking forward to working with her when she joins me here at school in the fall.

A Big Thank You Shout Out

I couldn’t possibly do photography or keep up with this blog without the help of a lot of different people. So it is only fitting to thank them:

  • My readers: First and for most, you all are the ones who keep me going. This blog would be pointless without you, and I wouldn’t have anyone to take pictures for to show off without every reader. Whether you’re the kind of reader who sits and refreshes the page multiple times a day just to see if I’ve posted (and yes, that kind of reader does exist) or the kind who simply stumbles across the page from random searches, I am absolutely thankful for the visits to my page. I appreciate the likes and comments and shares. It’s really encouraging to know that I have started building a fan base, and I couldn’t be more blessed than to get to share this experience with such amazing readers from different backgrounds. Thanks for being so cool!
  • My surrogate mother: I know this sounds very cliché, but my surrogate mother has been very supportive of my photography, especially after I took that one picture of her jeans…and that other one of her son… Over the course of the past 4 years, my faux madre has, as usual, been rather observant of my behavior. And what she has noticed is that no matter how confused I may be about what to major in or what in the world I’m going to do with my life, I love photography. It is something that makes me happy. So for her, and her immense concern for my happiness and wellbeing, photography is something that she supports for me so that I can be happy. This is great for me because every supporter just encourages me to keep doing what I love. I think my surrogate mother does that pretty well. So thank you, mother dearest. I appreciate it.
  • My brothers: My brother Christopher is responsible for my even starting this blog. He has this thing about my being able to write and how I should write a book or something. He asked me to contribute to his blog, and I enjoyed the (short-lived) experience so much so that I decided to start one of my own. Now look at where I am. My brother Marc has been extremely encouraging, too, even enough to purchase the Nikon that I now use for my photography. He’s constantly telling me that I’m amazing and asking me how I get the inspiration for my random rantings. Honestly, I just write. I say what’s on my mind. That’s how I’ve always gone about writing. It’s nice to have family who supports me in my endeavors. And I’m thankful for them, even if we do pick on each other all the time.
  • My models: Of course, I couldn’t possibly dream of not thanking my models for all they have done. They give in to my every whim. They bring high levels of energy to every photo shoot. They make my photography what it is. Half of the fun of photography is having amazing subjects. I love portraits, and I couldn’t imagine not getting to work with such amazing people. I don’t even know what else to say to them aside from thank you.

Aren’t they just amazing? I certainly think so.

New Photo Shoot Theme

And finally, I present to you a surprise – my new photo shoot theme set for sometime this summer (this is going to be big, so it’s going to take some major planning). After much thought, some voting, and sheer excitement, I finally settled on a theme that I think all of my models will enjoy:

Presenting Through the Eyes of a Child, a photo session in which the model gets to reinvent his/herself as a child. This entire shoot is about using one’s imagination and really looking at the world as a child would. A couple of my models are already starting to plan for this, and in doing so, they’ve needed a little push in the right direction. I want them to think big. Sure, hula hooping and jump roping are things kids do, but here is a chance to truly embrace one’s childhood. I guess I have these expectations for my models to think outside of their comfort zone in order to achieve their childhood dreams of being a superhero or a ballerina or a samurai or anything they can think of. It’s about letting go and living life to the fullest, just as children do. Recapturing innocence, laughing at everything, and enjoying being a kid (something I strive to do everyday). I’m quite excited to see how this shoot turns out, and I can’t wait to share the results with you when the time comes.

So there you have it. This has been a wonderful ride thus far, and I look forward to continuing this blog for years to come. I’m still an amateur, but my skills have vastly improved. I may never go pro with this, but I love doing photography as a hobby. I couldn’t imagine my life without it now. Thanks again to everyone who has been on this journey with me whether from the very beginning or if you’re just now hopping on board. So get ready for more photo sessions, more posts, more models, and more wild writings! McClish Photography Studios is here to stay, and I can’t wait to do this all again next year. Happy birthday!!!

One year, one million dreams and counting…

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