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That Was The Year That Was 2013
Zach Hing
Zach Hing, Oakland, October 2013

And so 2013 passes into memory. Funny thing, memory. It’s what makes us who we are, yet it’s as ephemeral as the other two hundred and forty-nine 1/250ths of a second that happen around the moment that we chose to actually hit the shutter release. It’s gone, it’s nothing but a bunch of engrams somewhere in everybody’s grey matter. And of course, no two people have exactly the same memory of a year.

2013’s been a funny year for me. It’s had many ups and downs, the majority of which are very personal and have no place on this blog (because, though it’s a personal blog, it’s not that kind of personal blog). I’ve travelled to new places, and I hope to do more of the same next year.

Photographically it’s been a bit of a dry year, as I’ve tried to balance life, art, work and found that by-and-large I’ve done more work than either of the other two. The majority of images I’ve shot this year have been corporate portraits. Whilst not being the worst thing in the world, that’s not really grist for my mill. That’s going to change next year; I’ve already taken a couple of interesting bookings for January / February, and I’ve got some personal projects planned that are going to be very interesting to work on.

I’m going to to take some time away from social media — Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Tumblr, the lot; they’re absorbing and connective, but they add noise to my day and it makes it harder to find the signal. I don’t know how long my self-imposed exile will last; I’d hope it to be at least a month or two, but you never know. Either way, I’ll be back when I’m back. I may blog from time to time, but blogging is much more of a broadcast medium (even though it’s a dead medium these days) so I can happily do that without it costing me too much brain time.

One of the hardest things I’ve found this year is seeing my friends succeed whilst I’ve stood still. I know that sounds bitter, but it’s not meant that way. I love my friends, and they’ve done wonderful work, and I’m incredibly happy for them. The trouble is that at the moment  I’m wired to compare myself to others and find myself wanting. I can’t get out of that spiral without taking some time away from seeing what the world’s been doing. During that time, I’m going to make my own art, ignorant of what’s going on in the wider world. After that, we’ll see what happens.

That’s my artist’s manifesto for 2014, I think: make my own art, regardless of what’s going on elsewhere, and stop worrying about how I compare to others.

So by and large I can call 2013 a success, in that I didn’t come out of it not being a photographer any more. I’ve taken my knocks, I’ve had my lows, and I’m building back up to the place I want to be in.

I intend for 2014 to be a good year. I hope your 2014 is a good year too.

Zach Hing
Zach Hing, Oakland, October 2013