It has been going on for some time now - every year in my photographic career has been better than the previous one. And not just slightly better in a way I'd expect my skills to develop (I work hard on it), but better in some unimaginable way. I'm not talking about winning a jackpot, but still well over the expectations.
2015 has been the wildest one so far - I had no less than 5 exhibitions including Photoville in New York and I won a major award in Estonian context (Kalju Suur Grant). In november 2014 this sounded impossible.
In 2014 I had an exhibitions in Tallinn Photo Museum, in Viljandi Sakala Centre and one of my photographs was exhibited as part of Environmental Photographer of the Year show in London. And I won Artproof Young Photographic Artist's Grant - probably the biggest single price you can win in Estonia. That's way, way more than I could have imagined in 2013.
In 2013 I had my first serious solo exhibition - Dark Matter plus my photo essay "Blues of the Oil Shale Land" was published in major daily newspaper of Estonia.
In 2012 I won second price at Estonian Nature Photography Competition.
The list goes on, although the high points of 2012 and before seem really marginal by now. Yet every year has moved the high point of my career significantly higher.
Whether I like it or not, this progress leads inevitably in one direction - at some point there'll be a year when I can't top my previous year's achievements. Right now all signs point that 2016 will be the year when the high point will be nowhere near 2015.
It's not that I'm overly pessimistic, I consider myself a realist. So why I'm saying this is because realistically it's impossible for me to do better than 2015. I have no new work to show - all of my energy (and more) this year went to organizing the exhibitions in Estonia and getting my work and myself to New York. The ideas for projects I had didn't work out as expected and I really didn't have time or enthusiasm to bring them into any tangible form. I don't see a point to send Blood Unquiet to more competitions and expect miracles to happen, I've wasted enough money on competitions already with no results.
I was about to say I at least hope to sell more prints than in 2015, but then I remembered that I actually sold more than a hundred during my crowdfunding campaign this year. Unlikely to beat that too.
It's not like I was pessimistic, it's just I've raised the bar to a point from where it's going to take a while to raise it further. And that's unlikely for 2016. So I plan to hold rather low profile and concentrate on getting new and better work done. Set some actual photographic goals for a change (instead of organizational ones). Topic for another post.