A Year in Review

I have a quote that resides on my desk which reads: “Life is Lived in Moments.” An appropriate quote for a photographer, don’t you think?


As 2015 comes in for a landing, I’ve decided to put some time in some personal and professional end-of-year type stuffs; some cleaning up before 2016 arrives. Making room for the new year things.

For instance, organizing that box of business receipts.

HA!!!!!! That’s a total lie. I thought about it though. A LOT. Which is, if you didn’t know, practically like doing it.

On the photography-business end of things I did go about compiling a little Year in Review of photos. I went through all the work from my Photo Moxie Studio business with weddings, portraits and events as well as the freelance photojournalism work I do for the #NorthwestHerald and #NorthernIllinoisUniversity.

And then I reflected.

Mulled, pondered, reflected. Drank a lot of coffee. (I LOVE COFFEE!!)

Reviewing your work is SO so important for learning and evolving. But what started as a check-in-and-review work type of exercise also lent itself into a fun trip down memory lane.

Looking back at a year as a business owner is already a helpful task in itself. And looking back as a photographer there is that extra bonus that the photographs provide. You learn. You grow. And the photographs also are great diaries all on their own.

They are moment memory markers.

So some of the photos I stuck in my preferred Photo Moxie Year in Review pile included not just the photos where I profusely thanked the photo gods for smiling on me with great light, a desirable background and a moment that lends itself to being a stellar image. But also many other types of photos.

The outtakes and the behind the scenes…

Motherhood. One happy child and one foot in shirt.
That moment when you realize that one of the bangles you were getting on your wrist just broke in half…
Fun with props!



Max of the fabulous Steffan's jewelry store. A lot of energy this one. A lot of love for the 90's dance style as well.
Max, of the fabulous Steffan’s Jewelers, breaks out in a running man. I encourage any and all impromptu dance moments.
When a kiddos don't want to smile for the camera, the grandparents step in with some singing and dancing. It works to get the photographer smiling as well.
When a kiddo doesn’t want to smile for the camera the grandparents step in with some singing and dancing. It works to get the photographer smiling as well.

There are moments where I just loved the facial expressions. Looks of love from kiddos.

A kiss from Dad can result in smiles.
A kiss from Dad can result in smiles.

Or dogs.

I think this dog from the Young at Heart fundraiser is saying "Scratch. My. Ears."
I think this dog from the Young at Heart fundraiser is saying “Scratch. My. Ears.”

Or other looks…

She doesn’t like hummus apparently. Cracked me up.
Pretty flowers get EXTRA BIG sniffs.

I am a big fan of the dancing moments. When people dance, you see a whole other side to their personality. It’s a language being spoken.

Whether it was a newby encouraged to try the dance floor…

Enter a caption

Or a pair of experienced dance partners.


Attempts to try a new dance.


Dances where they are just getting DOWN



And slow dances.


People. So. Many. Interesting, cool, talented, fun people! With great stories.

People trying new things.

Bivall Rahamat Awan stands on Normal Road on the Northern Illinois Campus, minutes after being dropped off by the greyhound bus. Awan traveled from his home in Bangladesh to Toledo, Ohio to have a short visit with his brother who attends Ohio University. He then traveled to NIU where he will be attending as a graduate student in Industrial Engineering. This is his first time ever leaving Bangladesh. “I’m not afraid,” Awan said.

People accomplishing their dreams.

Gonwo Dahnweih sits with the fifth of his six children and the last of his daughters, Ceverena. Dahnweih is a doctoral student at the College of Education and majoring in Literacy Education. He currently holds masters degrees in Social Work and Intercultural Studies and has already worked extensively in jobs that support both. His education, as well as his experience with crisis assessment, social work and trauma work, will be helping him with what has been a lifelong goal; to return to his village of Monroe in Africa and help with providing education for the people who live there. It’s been 25 years since Dahnweih left his village to escape being killed during what has now been a 40 year civil war. Dahnweih said he didn’t quite plan his life out this way but his education, his job training; it’s all carrying him to his goal of helping his village. Even if it’s a little later in his life. According to Dahnweih, this is a common occurrence with the men in Africa. “We bloom late and work forever,” Dahnweih said.


I also liked the photos where there was henna involved. I really really like henna.


These images ended up reinforcing my feelings of being so fortunate. My “job” is awesome. It’s filled with making delicious memories of all kinds permanent for other people through photos. And while I’m doing this, these photographs are memory moments for me as well.

Now to go through all my personal photos of the year!

And maybe that box of receipts. Maaaaayybeeeee.

Happy New Year’s! See you in 2016!


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