A Year in Review: 2017
Usually I make this post the last week of December, but this year I will be away, and up until then I will be busy, so this year it comes a bit early. Typically, I share my ten favorite images I have taken over the year, paired with photo tips, stories and/or accomplishments, but this year will be a bit different. I will be sharing 10 photos, but from a wildlife photographer that has greatly impacted my life.
2017, Where to Start?
2017 has probably been one of the best years, accomplishment wise for myself. I had one of my images grace a magazine front and back cover for the first time, along with a handful of images recognized by National Geographic, as well as Canadian Geographic. I also have my first photography workshops in place for 2018, one of which is already sold out, that I am really looking forward to teaching. With all that aside, hands down, what has made 2017 an extraordinary year is the amazing, supportive, creative, and inspiring people both young and old(er) I have met along the way. They have encouraged me to push forward, and to keep going despite how challenging, and frustrating wildlife photography can be. For that, I cannot thank them enough. They have provided great company for a passion that can sometimes feel lonely (though my introverted self does enjoy alone time). We’ve shared a few laughs, helped each other grow, exchanged numbers, supported one another, and formed friendships that will last for years to come.
One of these people however, has played a major role in my life this year. Earlier in 2017, I was asked if I was interested joining a non-profit called The Canid Project. The Canid Project's purpose is to present educational information through photography, non-fiction narrative, conservation photography workshops, community outreach programs, with the goal to inspire and shape current views on wild canid species. Being an avid wild canid lover, frequent fox photographer, I excitedly took up the offer without hesitation, and this is how I met Amy Shutt. Now, Amy isn't your average person (though her modesty would try to tell you otherwise). She is the most fearless, intelligent, talented, creative, hard working person that I have ever met in my life. She co-leads workshops in Africa, teaches photography in Baton Rouge, runs a red and gray fox wildlife rehab (rescue), director of The Canid Project, a mother, photographer, writer, the list goes on. In other words, she's incredible. Being involved with something as competitive, and sometimes cutthroat, as photography, it can be tough to make loyal, trustworthy friends. I definitely feel very fortunate to have met someone as genuine, sweet, and caring as Amy. She has been my support system, go to person, photo partner, teacher, friend, fan of my work, mentor, greatest inspiration, and so much more throughout 2017. I wouldn’t even know where to start to say thanks to this amazing woman. When she flew to the east coast of Canada from Louisiana this past summer to go out tracking foxes with me, I had a good feeling. When she arrived, and we stayed up until 4am discussing how much we love coyotes, and Dan Flores' book Coyote America, I knew I had met my match (ha!). She’s always been there to talk to, whether it be about the weather, relationships, red fox’s natural history, and everything in between. She has helped boost my confidence to a level I never thought possible, provided me with countless opportunities, great connections, always putting others before herself. Meeting someone with my best interest has been one of the greatest parts of my current photographic journey; its simply rare. I look forward to what is to come with The Canid Project, our workshops, trips, and other adventures in-between. I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done for me this year and I am forever grateful.
Amy Shutt is an extremely gifted wildlife photographer. Her photo "Brothers" depicting two male lions photographed in Africa, was highly honored in this years Windland Smith Rice Awards, and exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. For those of you not familiar with Amy Shutt’s work, please be sure to check out her jaw dropping photos on her website http://www.amyshutt.com & follow her on Instagram and/or Facebook @amyshuttphoto
Here are ten photos of Amy's that I absolutely adore, and I am sure you will too.