2016 in Review

Finland // July, 2016

Finland // July, 2016

I think I can safely say that 2016 was a rough year for pretty much all of us. Looking back on this year, I have decided that regardless of how much (for lack of a better term) shit this year has thrown our way, I'm going to focus on the positives. 

This past year was a hectic one. I made 8 international trips over the last 12 months, plus multiple within the UK which meant having a full month of time at home was a rarity. Although it completely exhausted and shattered me - I loved every moment of it. This year, I got to stretch and test my skills by shooting multiple destination weddings, including my oldest childhood friend's wedding in Finland.

 

Anniina & Lauri // Finland // July, 2016

Anniina & Lauri // Finland // July, 2016

In fact, what was quite special about this year is that the majority of weddings I had the privilege of photographing were of good friends of mine.

Michal & Shmuel // Israel // May, 2016

Michal & Shmuel // Israel // May, 2016

Naomi & Joshua // Wales // July, 2016

Naomi & Joshua // Wales // July, 2016

Färnaz & Robin // Finland // July, 2016

Färnaz & Robin // Finland // July, 2016

Tracey & Kevin // Cornwall, UK // May, 2016

Tracey & Kevin // Cornwall, UK // May, 2016

Annika & Roberto // Israel // September, 2016

Annika & Roberto // Israel // September, 2016

In addition to shooting some phenomenal weddings, I also got to take pictures of a few of the sweetest families I know.

The Brooks Family // April, 2016

The Brooks Family // April, 2016

The Taylor Family // June, 2016

The Taylor Family // June, 2016

I got to travel to my favourite country (Malta) twice this year with some of my favourite people in the world.

Malta // April, 2016

Malta // April, 2016

Malta // April, 2016

Malta // April, 2016

Malta // August, 2016

Malta // August, 2016

Malta // August, 2016

Malta // August, 2016

I took pictures of an important event called the 'Walk For Freedom' which is held every year by the A21 campaign worldwide, raising awareness for human trafficking.

Walk For Freedom // October, 2016

Walk For Freedom // October, 2016

Walk For Freedom  // October, 2016

Walk For Freedom  // October, 2016

And I shot my first, yet certainly not last, boudoir shoot. I started wanting to take these images in order to really show the beauty of the human form. I didn't want them to be sexy or seductive. I wanted them to be soft, tasteful, raw and genuine. Not overly retouched or photoshopped. I wanted women to look at them and find themselves beautiful. To boost their confidence in themselves, if you will. I wanted others to look at them and be able to tell something about the person who they were viewing the image of. I wanted communication between the audience and the character in the image.

And I hope that this came across with these images. 

Anastasia Marie // November, 2016

Anastasia Marie // November, 2016

And last, but most certainly not least (in fact, this is probably the most important one), I got to spend time with my family. It took me a while to understand just how important family is, and I still stand by my words that family doesn't always need to mean blood relatives. However, this year, I'm incredibly grateful for my immediate family. And because of that, I'm going to say something about each one of them to close this year off right. 

Mum // Finland // July, 2016

Mum // Finland // July, 2016

My Mum is my rock. Her unconditional love towards her children is admirable. She has taught me so much over the years, the main lesson being: "Showing emotion is not a sign of weakness." 

For many years I lived under the false illusion that if I showed any feelings (good or bad) to those around me, I would be considered weak. It was strength for nobody to know what was going on. But as I grew up, it was my Mum who continually showed me just how much strength it takes to be vulnerable with others and share your emotions. To communicate even if it's the last thing that you would want to do, and to always value honesty above everything else.  

So I'm incredibly grateful for my Mum, because without her I wouldn't be who I am today. 

Dad // Finland // December, 2016

Dad // Finland // December, 2016

My Dad is an extremely loyal and devoted man. He always provided for his family and always made sure that there wasn't a day where his kids went hungry. I'm incredibly grateful to have a Father who invests so much time and energy into making sure that his children have a stable future. Multiple times, he has come to his children's rescue even when it may have caused him more harm than good for helping us. I will be eternally grateful for all he has done and continues to do for us. For being a business minded man with lots of advice to give, and for teaching me that logic is key to decision making - which sounds quite simple, but he really is the reason that my decisions are not made from an emotional viewpoint. 

Ville // Finland // December, 2016

Ville // Finland // December, 2016

Ville has always been a driving force behind me. He is an absolute inspiration to me. He is someone who I aspire to be like and hold high respect for. He is kind, clever, funny, and incredibly strong. As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be like my big brother Ville. And over the years, he has listened to me, encouraged me, given me sound advice and always believed in me. So for that, I'm thankful.

Salla // Arizona // December, 2015

Salla // Arizona // December, 2015

Salla is everything one could hope for in an older sister. Although she is far away and our communication is limited due to the craziness of life, Salla always makes time for her family. Whenever we talk, I am always taken aback by how similar yet vastly different we are. Through having fairly different experiences, we bring a balance to each other which is rare. Salla is an amazing Mum. Her three girls are the luckiest children in the world to have a Mum and Dad who love them as much as Salla and Daniel do. 

Vesa // Finland // December, 2016

Vesa // Finland // December, 2016

Vesa is someone who always seemed to understand me in a way which everyone else missed ever so slightly. He brings humour and joy into pretty much every situation and immediately knows how to make someone feel better just by exchanging a glance with them. He values pople and is one of the most trusting people I know. He has the ability to walk into a room full of strangers and be friends with them all within five minutes. He is a fighter. He keeps going even when everything seems to be stacked against him, and proves all the haters wrong.

Yasmine // Israel // May, 2016

Yasmine // Israel // May, 2016

Yasmine has been a constant in a world full of malleable and flexible people and situations. She is fiercely loyal and trustworthy. She is strong. She is so beautiful, both inside and out. She has so many characteristics which I thrive to attain for myself. She knows how to value people, and is incredibly trustworthy. She is easy to get along with and exudes a sense of acceptance and safety to pretty much everyone she meets. She is my sister, not by blood, but the bond is strong with this one.

Finland // December, 2016

Finland // December, 2016

I will end this post by thanking one more person for making this year worthwhile - Kieran.

Mount Edgcumbe // November, 2016

Mount Edgcumbe // November, 2016

Thank you for being there when I felt nobody was. Thank you for being you and for making me want to be a much better human being. For supporting me and pushing me and for being one of the greatest humans I have met to this day. For making me laugh at exactly the right times and for simply being there when I need you.

And thank you to everyone who has been supporting me this year, as well as all of my friends and not blood family who have been a massive help and push to get through 2016. 

Enough with the cheese. Let's hope 2017 is a much better year and brings with it lots of new adventures and experiences for us all. I, for one, cannot wait to see what it has in store. 

x Viivi N. Media