2011-- Get Ready.

Last year I did a large blog post that was a year of top adventures in 2009.  It was lengthy, but it was fun and I enjoyed doing it.  I've been debating about doing the same thing this new year and realized that I post a lot, and so if you're just getting into the blog, it will be a quick update of where I am.  Also, it's an update of where I have been... because each time I get a phone call from an extended family remember that is the first question: "Where are you?" or sometimes it varies with "What country/state/city/continent are you on?"  They made it sound like I travel a lot more than I do... but I'm here probably to make it sound just as crazy.  So 2010, in retrospect, here we go: January: started off with a bang in San Antonio in which I spent the night downtown with a group of close friends... whom I'm just realizing are all married now.  Story of my life, but I guess I'd have to learn how to stay in one place first...  I eventually made my way back to Provo, Utah in which I started the new semester and learned how to use the studio and now use it for everything despite my first thoughts on it.  My show "Working Identities" was also in full swing at the time and showed at Saan's Photo Gallery in Salt Lake City for their gallery stroll where it stayed up until mid-February.  I also took up winter camping (and by that I mean I went once and said I survived and moved on) and went to Great Basin National Park, where I haven't been since I was 10.  I also found out sometime this month where my summer travels would be: Sarajevo, Bosnia.

February: seems quite uneventful.  Living in the studio, learned how to develop color positive film myself in a darkroom (which is very difficult) and prepared for the storm.

March: started off my inability to stay in Provo, or Utah for that matter, for an entire month at a time.  I started a project in which I photographed towns in Utah with a population of about 800 people or less while interviewing people, asking them about their story of settlement.  This became known as "Population 800".  I still don't think I'm done with it, nor done posting the work I have done on that.  Perhaps I should get on that.  Once upon a time, BYU decided Spring Break was unnecessary and so the photography program retaliated and takes their own Spring Break each year.  About 20 kids go in addition to two professors and they pick a city and we go play and talk to local photographers and galleries.  It's really fascinating and helps so much when trying to start a business and figure out what the "real world" is like.  This year, we went to Miami.  We ended up in Miami for a few days then headed out to the Everglades and eventually down to Key West.  It was such a great time full of ridiculous nights and interesting people.

April: Started with my birthday and ended with the end of another semester.  In the second week I was to photograph a wedding in Portland, Oregon.  I had a small/large freakout when I could not find my driver's license on my way to the airport.  No big deal, except the rental car company wouldn't give me a car without one.  So, I canceled all my tickets, threw a sleeping bag and tent in my car along with a few other camping supplies and drove there, which of course lead to more interesting photographs anyways.  The wedding was beautiful and I photographed most of it on film (new development for me) and used my new Bronica medium format camera for it which I had recently purchased for my upcoming trip to Sarajevo in which I would only shoot film for a month.  During April, I also started photographing for Blendtec Blenders, a company who has a knack for seeing if things will blend and then making crazy things in a blender.  I also took up rock climbing in the first few months of 2010, and went outside for my first time in April down to Moab.  Conveniently getting completely addicted right before leaving.

May: was another wedding.  This time of a good friend from growing up in San Antonio, Roxanne and her husband Sam (who later designed my new website).  Yet another chunk of friends graduating and getting married, so I then took off for Sarajevo just a few days later, making a pit stop in London first to see my aunt..  I got there with the intention of shooting film, with some occasional digital shots so I could update.  I then got there and realized the converter I bought was pointless, because it only converted the plugs and not the energy, so I had no choice but to only shoot film because I had no way of charging my camera or computer.  And there I was.  I lived with a fantastic woman and her two children (they were in the process of moving to Mauritania and her husband was already there so I actually never met him).  We lived just outside of town in a park area full of gypsies and a path of pedestrians.  It was beautiful.  If I could live there again, I would in a heartbeat.  I had met a Polish girl, Marysia, the second week in Bosnia at a protest and she connected me to all of her international friends.  I then had friends to go out with every night and it felt like home.

June: had me wanting to stay longer.  I went to a concert Marysia and took my digital camera out for the first time since I had gotten there and decided to extend my tickets out to stay longer.  I waited a few days and got all the details sorted, then while standing in the river beneath the burnt down library with a dear friend Joshua, I decided that I needed to go.   One of the hardest decisions of my year.  I felt so strongly about both going and staying.  And so I left at the end of the month.  However, I naturally didn't leave without a disaster/adventure.  I had decided to go to Mostar, said to be beautiful and amazing, I found it to be the worst place on earth.  I went with a bag for a week, and four hours later I was on a bus to Međugorje, a catholic pilgrimage site.  While there I wandered around ended up sleeping in a pension and doing the pilgrimage the next day.  Well, most of it.  Because I got half way up this hike and realized two things: #1 the buses only run in the mornings...and it was nearly noon, and #2 I am not Catholic, and my feet hurt and I'm thirsty, I don't have to do this.  So I went down to the bus stop and waited for two hours for any bus to come by.  One finally pulled up and I boarded only later to ask the boy, Alex, in front of me reading an English issue of the Economist from over 2 months ago where we were going.  He laughed, thought I was joking, only to realize I really just got on the bus not knowing or caring where I was going.  We were on our way to Split, Croatia.  We ended up staying together for two days there and he was great and nice, coming from studying in Turkey to internship in Berlin for a company I got an internship with two years ago and turned down and was traveling by way of the Balkins.  I have so many photographs to post from this... perhaps I will get on that in the next week or so.

July: I got back to having over 1,000 negatives to scan in although I did find a place that did a somewhat decent job in Sarajevo.  I mellowed out a lot after coming back.  I was going through withdraws and also had been surrounded by such a relaxed and garden culture that it made the rest of my summer just that.  I planted a garden and started cooking from it as I put together my darkroom in my new house.  I also started sleeping outside a lot more, going camping in Southern Utah to get outside.  There's something about sleeping outside that heals you.  I needed those two months before school started to sleep on the ground as much as possible.  While scanning in my million negatives, I also got art back up on walls of shops and I worked on putting together my story from Bosnia for it's own show.

August: was a continuation of the summer.  Another good friend got married in Las Vegas and so  I went to her wedding and met up with some friends on the way back in Cedar City.  I had gotten lost and did not get into the camp site until 6am... but luckily, they had been up late the night before and didn't mind me sleeping in.  We climbed and relaxed as life moved on around us and took us with it.

September: came too soon.  I put up my "Working Identities" exhibit for it's last show in Chapman Public Library in Salt Lake City as school started up again.  I continued to climb and continued to travel.  I went to Sacramento to see my grandparents and ended up in Reno/Lake Tahoe and the Bay Area to see old friends and photograph a 50th wedding anniversary.  I hope we're all so lucky.  I ended up in Cedar City again for work and to camp for yet another fantastic weekend in Cedar City.  School settled in late this semester, not becoming overwhelming or even necessarily busy until the last month or two.  I also started working again for the Daily Universe, BYU's newspaper until I quit it recently to strictly become a freelance photographer.  Horray for real life!

October: got me back in the studio for a product photography class and a new website!  I ended the old blog and started the transition to this one.  I might have been in town all of October too.... which would be a miracle.  Perhaps school did settle in during October and I just didn't realize it.  I started my pin-up girl series during October which I only did one or two and decided mid-November to finish off the calendar (still for sale if you want one) which was ill planning on my part, but I guess that's life!

November: I had back to back exhibits with my Sarajevo work going up on BYU campus as well as some personal work in a local shop.  The Sarajevo project, "Mortar Shells and Cigarettes" got some recognition and is currently showing at the BYU library until 4 February 2011 where it will then hopefully go somewhere else for a little while.  I went to Colorado for my first time and I then took off for 10 days to go back down to Texas for Thanksgiving, my first one home since I came out to college four years ago.  For Thanksgiving we went on the Armbruster family tradition of going windsurfing at the gulf.  I got into town and was here for a few hours until going to Nevada to go into a gold mine to work on a documentary film and photography project.

December: finished off the year with equal parts insanity to traveling.  School finished up half way through in which I went off to the Bay Area of California to photograph a wedding, down to Galveston/Houston for another, spent a few days with the family in San Antonio then back up here to Provo for some more work.  School starts in a few more days and I am not ready at all, wanting to just sit here and breathe for just another week.  Next year will be interesting because I'm graduating, so I'll be needing suggestions of where to live when I grow up, but before that happens I have another big adventure that I'm going to be doing all summer, but I'm not going to announce it just yet...  I'm waiting on my visa to get sorted and a few other papers to be finalized first...  Cliff hanger!