December 2016 – my year

I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas already, etc. etc.

My year has been a mixed one, for all sorts of reasons, and so to finish it off, I thought I’d put together a short summary of things that have ‘affected’ me in some way throughout the year.

Most exciting moment
Getting my first cover shot and feature article in the September edition of Architecture Today. This was a proud moment for me. I always like seeing my work in use, whether it’s online or in print, but to see it featured on the cover and in the main article of a major industry publication was really great.  I’d like to thank Porphyrios Associates for that.

Most depressing moment
Where to start?  2016 was a cruel year that saw many talented and celebrated individuals pass away.  For me it all started with the death of Motorhead’s Lemmy on Dec 28 2015 (ok, not technically 2016 but it’s only three days out…). But as the year went on, losing the likes of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Mohamed Ali, Arnold Palmer and John Glenn really hit me. These people had all been individuals that I looked up to, admired and followed as a kid growing up and it became clear that their generation was now on running out of time. Incredibly sad, but a poignant reminder of all that they achieved and left behind.

Funniest moment
It’s only funny because if you don’t laugh you end up crying, but my funniest moment of 2016 would be England’s exit of the Euro 2016 tournament at the hands of ‘lowly’ Iceland.  We’d already had a pathetic campaign up to that point but to get knocked out of a competition, for which we qualified unbeaten, by a team like Iceland (by that I mean a team who isn’t one of the clear favourites) was both embarrassing, humbling and quite funny.

Most eye-opening moment
This has to be the election of Donald Trump as the next US President. I genuinely didn’t expect him to go all the way.

Most shocking moment
I could list a few here: the lorry attack in Nice (and more recently Berlin), the plight of civilians caught up in the battle in Aleppo, the plane crash that wiped out half of a Brazilian football team, the bombings at Brussels airport etc – all horrific. But the event that shocked me the most, probably because it directly impacts me, is Britain’s vote to leave the EU.  I’m still amazed by it. As with the Trump election, I genuinely didn’t think it would happen, so to wake up the following morning and see the big ‘Breaking News’ banner on the TV was a real surprise and quite a shock.

Proudest moment
Seeing my daughter take her first steps.  Seeing my son learning to ride a bike and, very recently, see him perform in his pre-school Christmas carol concert.

Best film I saw
‘Supersonic’ (the Oasis film) is fantastically funny. Leonardo DiCaprio’s ‘Before The Flood’ is moving and exceptionally well-shot. Sticking with Leo, I finally watched The Revenant this year too, which is amazing.

Best record I heard
I’m a huge music fan so there are many albums I could pick. But in trying to avoid sounding too pretentious by naming some random underground artist, I’m going to go with Metallica’s ‘Hardwired…to Self Destruct’.  It’s been eight years since their last studio album but they’ve clearly not lost their mojo!

Best TV show I watched
I try really hard not to watch too much TV, and I try even harder not to get drawn into a lengthy series. But this year, two series enthralled me: Planet Earth II (incredible footage and photography) and Westworld (amazing storylines and characters).

Best place I visited
Herzog and de Meuron’s Switch House at the Tate Modern.  Concrete and brick: what’s not to love?

Best holiday
I had my first full family holiday abroad with two kids this year, which was lovely. But I’m going to pick my trip to Nice and Monaco with my dad to celebrate his 60th in November. I’ve not been away with him for nearly 20 years so it was a lot of fun.

Best gadget or bit of kit
I bought a Nikon D810 this year and it has blown me away. The sharpness and punchiness of colour are both amazing.  The increase in file size startled me a bit, but it’s a welcome headache to have!

Favourite shoot
All of my shoots have been interesting and enjoyable, and each has offered up its own challenge. The one I particularly enjoyed was the mews conversion for LEEP Architects – that place almost shot itself, it was so photogenic.

Favourite sporting event

Watching Team GB in the track cycling in the Rio Olympics was great – as was watching Wiggo and Cav at 6 Day London in the velodrome. Watching my beloved Spurs go so close in the 2015/16 Premier League title was amazing. But as a huge F1 fan, I think I’ll go with a closely fought battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – and see Nico come out on top…and then retire. A season full of surprises, emotion and talent. Let’s hope Lewis wins in 2017!

I hope you enjoyed reading through that – a bit of light-hearted fun at the end of the year.

I’d like to wish everybody, but especially my clients, a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.