Looking Back – A delayed reflection

When the clock turned to midnight, I stepped into a chilly January 1, 2018 with high expectations. And like most, I was humbled. Not even a month graduated from university, I fantasized about diving into a photojournalism internship, in a distant town, telling important stories and cultivating new relationships.

It was picture perfect (no pun intended). And yet, after I finished my final responsibilities at my student newspaper, I found myself with a growing pile of rejection emails and a booked room at La Réserve Parents.

I was home. I had that option. I was lucky. And yet, I was blind to my fortune. I resented my circumstances. “I’m supposed to be out documenting life, not watching it from my childhood window,” I would think to myself.

Looking back now, I feel disappointed in that person. I abandoned so quickly all the truths I preached before… Life is happening everywhere. Stories can be told anywhere.

In 2019 I hope to leave behind the privilege that blinded me before and hold on tighter to what is true.

NOTE: Not all of 2018 was spent feeling sorry for myself (here’s looking at you reality check 7352). Thanks to some exceptional friends and mentors I picked up my camera again and made a few images. Here are some of my favorites.

Camden Kendrick, 4, of Warner Robins pauses while crossing the gym at a Life League Basketball Camp in Ramsey Student Center on Friday, Jul. 13, 2018. Kendrick was one of 40 kids participating in Life League, a nonprofit that works to help young people develop life skills through athletics. According to his mother, Kendrick is reluctant to call the Lakers his favorite basketball team, but hopes to be Lebron James when he grows up.

Camden Kendrick, 4, of Warner Robins pauses while crossing the gym at a Life League Basketball Camp in Ramsey Student Center on Friday, Jul. 13, 2018. Kendrick was one of 40 kids participating in Life League, a nonprofit that works to help young people develop life skills through athletics. According to his mother, Kendrick is reluctant to call the Lakers his favorite basketball team, but hopes to be Lebron James when he grows up.

Rebecca Wright, 21, a journalism student at the University of Georgia fixes her eyes on a grasshopper she found in Sanford Stadium on Saturday, September 15, 2018.

Rebecca Wright, 21, a journalism student at the University of Georgia fixes her eyes on a grasshopper she found in Sanford Stadium on Saturday, September 15, 2018.

A junior Air Force ROTC member carries the American flag off the field following the singing of the National Anthem at a college football game between the University of Georgia and the University of South Carolina in Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, September, 8, 2018.

A junior Air Force ROTC member carries the American flag off the field following the singing of the National Anthem at a college football game between the University of Georgia and the University of South Carolina in Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, September, 8, 2018.

George, a University of Georgia equestrian horse, peers out the window of his stable in Bishop, Georgia, on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

George, a University of Georgia equestrian horse, peers out the window of his stable in Bishop, Georgia, on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

The shadow of a Flowery Branch Lady Falcon on deck is cast on the dugout of the Flowery Branch softball team during game one of a second round class 4A playoff series between the Madison County Red Raiders and the Flowery Branch Lady Falcons softball teams in Danielsville, Georgia, on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Flowery Branch fell 2-0 to the Raiders.

The shadow of a Flowery Branch Lady Falcon on deck is cast on the dugout of the Flowery Branch softball team during game one of a second round class 4A playoff series between the Madison County Red Raiders and the Flowery Branch Lady Falcons softball teams in Danielsville, Georgia, on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Flowery Branch fell 2-0 to the Raiders.

Gold light flickers on the Foley Field batter’s eye screen as a UNC Asheville runner looks to take second during a baseball exhibition game between the University of Georgia and the University of North Carolina Asheville at Foley Field on Sunday, October, 14, 2018. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)

Gold light flickers on the Foley Field batter’s eye screen as a UNC Asheville runner looks to take second during a baseball exhibition game between the University of Georgia and the University of North Carolina Asheville at Foley Field on Sunday, October, 14, 2018. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)

Rain droplets slide down Georgia distance runner Nicholas Yanek’s face as he stands in a downpour to cheer on the women’s distance team at the SEC Cross Country Championships in Auburn, Alabama, on Friday, October 26, 2018.

Rain droplets slide down Georgia distance runner Nicholas Yanek’s face as he stands in a downpour to cheer on the women’s distance team at the SEC Cross Country Championships in Auburn, Alabama, on Friday, October 26, 2018.

Georgia basketball head coach Tom Crean’s silhouette is cast on a matrix board as he addresses fans for the first time at Stegemania in Stegeman Coliseum on Friday, October 5, 2018. Stegemania allowed both teams the opportunity to showcase their talents before the start of their seasons.

Georgia basketball head coach Tom Crean’s silhouette is cast on a matrix board as he addresses fans for the first time at Stegemania in Stegeman Coliseum on Friday, October 5, 2018. Stegemania allowed both teams the opportunity to showcase their talents before the start of their seasons.

Two children enjoy a sled ride while another carefully pulls them across the frozen water at St. Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs, Colorado, on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

Two children enjoy a sled ride while another carefully pulls them across the frozen water at St. Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs, Colorado, on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

A young fan waits behind the barricade for the University of Georgia football team to arrive for their first Dawg Walk of the 2018 season in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, September 1, 2018.

A young fan waits behind the barricade for the University of Georgia football team to arrive for their first Dawg Walk of the 2018 season in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, September 1, 2018.

Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin high fives Barrow Elementary School students as the Georgia Baseball Halloween Practice comes to an end at Foley Field on Wednesday, October 31, 2018.

Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin high fives Barrow Elementary School students as the Georgia Baseball Halloween Practice comes to an end at Foley Field on Wednesday, October 31, 2018.

A member of the Georgia equestrian team attempts to calm George the horse while braiding his hair before their competition against Auburn on Friday, November 9, 2018

A member of the Georgia equestrian team attempts to calm George the horse while braiding his hair before their competition against Auburn on Friday, November 9, 2018

A referee double takes as smoke fills the tunnel, before the Georgia Bulldogs take the field for an NCAA football game between the University of Georgia and Auburn University in Sanford Stadium on Saturday, November 11, 2018.

A referee double takes as smoke fills the tunnel, before the Georgia Bulldogs take the field for an NCAA football game between the University of Georgia and Auburn University in Sanford Stadium on Saturday, November 11, 2018.

Ashby Booth, 9, looks to ask Lieutenant Al Radford, 40, how to turn the sirens on during a ride along in Athens, Ga., on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. Ever since he can remember, Ashby has dreamed of becoming a police officer and was invited to celebrate his birthday at the station.

Ashby Booth, 9, looks to ask Lieutenant Al Radford, 40, how to turn the sirens on during a ride along in Athens, Ga., on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. Ever since he can remember, Ashby has dreamed of becoming a police officer and was invited to celebrate his birthday at the station.

A runner jogs the outside curve of the Specs Towns Track in Athens, Georgia on Thursday, August 9, 2018.

A runner jogs the outside curve of the Specs Towns Track in Athens, Georgia on Thursday, August 9, 2018.

Georgia forward Nicolas Claxton (33) draws a foul during a men's basketball game between the University of Georgia and Oakland University in Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday, December 18, 2018.

Georgia forward Nicolas Claxton (33) draws a foul during a men's basketball game between the University of Georgia and Oakland University in Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday, December 18, 2018.

Cousins of the bride wander down to meet others by the row boat during the reception of Jessica Schmidt and Christopher Lynch’s wedding in Townsend, Tennessee on Friday, August 10, 2018.

Cousins of the bride wander down to meet others by the row boat during the reception of Jessica Schmidt and Christopher Lynch’s wedding in Townsend, Tennessee on Friday, August 10, 2018.