I think the whole internet is in agreement that 2016 has a lot to answer for. Personally, last year was a real mixed bag - I have some amazing memories of the year but equally hit some of the lowest points I have ever had to face. Instagram is an excellent tool for making your life look totally perfect and most of the people who read this blog know me from my polished photographs of adventure, love and manicured details. I certainly wouldn't say thats a bad representation of me or my life but it certainly shows the best bits. Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly happy and thoroughly blessed in so many ways but if I am going to sit down and write down a recap of last year, I would be lying if I said it was perfect. I don't think my blog is the right place to delve into the details but there were some seriously dark points in the last year that I really had to work hard to move on and pull through. Looking back on the brighter moments shows me why it was all so worth it and looking to the future helps me to focus on the best that is yet to come.
2016 was definitely the year of discovering new places and experiences. My sense of adventure seems to have peaked over the last year as I have faced my fear of heights in order to see beauty from a whole new perspective, endured the toughest imaginable climbs through snow, high altitude and over narrow mountain peaks and have explored corners of Europe that I would never have imagined I would see.
Jamie is always a highlight of any year and he has shown his strength and love in a way I have never seen, showing me that the trials can sometimes bring forth the best in us and ultimately make us stronger. He has been my support system and held my hand, pulling me through the dark time and enhanced every joyful experience by his presence. He will always be the light balancing out bad memories and I am forever grateful for that.
My family have been everything I have needed in the last year. Whilst facing hardships we pulled together and showed what it really means to be connected. I moved away from my home when I married and found happiness and home in Shropshire but my support system still remains as strong as ever and having my parents and sisters as my friends has meant everything to me in both the good and bad times.
I always like to give my friends an honourable mention, even though the majority of them likely never read my blog! Me and Jamie are great believers that the best things in life should be experienced with the ones we love and we have had some of the best times on record in the past year. Focusing on those that surround me really helps me to remember how lucky I really am, knowing that whenever I need a hand, whether that is with moving house or being physically guided along a mountain ridge, there are people I know will always have my back.
2016 has definitely been a year of growth for my little business. I have had the most wonderful opportunities to work alongside some truly incredible creatives and vendors, had (in my humble opinion) the best clients there are and also launched my brand new project: Print Shop by Bethany Stanley. It has been a year of discovery when it came to finding my true style, lots of learning when it came to shooting my first few rolls of film and a really rewarding year when I look back at not only my progress as a photographer but also as an entrepreneur. I definitely feel that I have created some of my best work in the last year but I know I will continue to improve and better myself as I fall even more in love with my art over the coming months and years. This year, I aim to shoot a whole lot more film, as well as focusing on some personal projects and working alongside lots more beautiful vendors in the fine art wedding industry.
Here's a slideshow of a few of my favourite shots from 2016.
Looking forward, 2017 is already shaping up to be something really special. I aim to create and work like never before, but I also aim to maintain a better work life balance and spend more quality time with the ones that hold my heart. I can't wait to see where this year takes me.