Wow. These past twelve months have not only flown by but they’ve also been filled to the brim with so many amazing opportunities and people and it’s honestly a little difficult to even try to summarize everything! 2012 was a big year for me, do you ever have those stand-out years in your life where you feel your own part of the world move just a bit? This year was that for me.

If this time last year you had told me that I would have travelled to the places I’ve been to, met the amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to meet or have even half of the experiences I’ve had, I wouldn’t have believed you but through hard word and good luck I’m so happy to say that this year was filled with all of those things.

At the beginning of the year I was offered an amazing opportunity with Coca-Cola to be a part of their new social media directed campaign, creating images based around a set of positive “drivers for change” that were created to be a new way to reach out to the people who enjoy both the product and art. Needless to say being able to add one of the world’s largest brands and one that has always placed a high emphasis on their graphics and art design was truly an amazing opportunity and I have enjoyed the last year working with them. It’s allowed me the opportunity to see commercial or product art in a new light and create work that I feel fits both their market and my style, I’m very excited to see what the next path is with them.

Seek and Ye Shall Find


One of my photography related goals for the year was to be able to see my work be published either in a magazine or book and I never would have expected both of those and more to happen! I was so lucky to have been able to be included in about 15 different magazines and have my photos included in 4 books and even a greeting card! It was such a surreal experience to hold a book in my hand and see my own work printed on the front. I never would have imagined that I would be answering interviews for  magazines based out of France, Russia and Korea but I’m so thankful that my work is being accepted and shared in countries  all around the world. I would like to thank magazines like fourx5, 5×5 magazine, Grae Magazine, Golden Age Magazine, Coffee Today, Phototech and many more for supporting my work and allowing me to be included in their publications.

I was also very fortunate to have the online portion of my photography continue to grow and reach new audiences.  I was able to have interviews and see my work promoted from websites all over the world and I am always so humbled when someone wants to share my work and my views with others. I had my photos reposted by people like George Takei, Apolo Anton Ono, Leona Lewis, Harry Shrum Jr, Random House Books, Oprah and more!  You can see a few of the posts here:
Canadian photographers Network
My Modern Met
The New Yorker Online
Brain Pickings
Oprah Winfrey’s Blog

Also this year I participated in a few photography festivals, something that I’m looking forward to continuing in the new year. I was invited to show my work at the Ulsan International Photography Festival in Korea in the fall and was declared one of the “Best New Photographers” by their panel. That same month I submitted photos to a local festival and won best overall  photo which was quite a surprise and honor for me.

408322_428020660567945_1535605356_n 295110_428308483872496_836332588_n 556606_10152057497265618_1510495176_n


In non-photography related  events, I trained for and completed my fourth marathon this spring. Running has always been something that I enjoy and that gives me the chance to relax (oddly enough!) and my not-so-secret competitive side really enjoys the racing aspect of it! I ran in about 7 races this year and I was very happy with my placings in all of them. For my marathon in Idaho, I ran my fastest ever, finishing in 15th place overall with a time of 3:12 and winning a bronze medal in my age category. It’s getting close to start-up season again and I can’t wait to lace up my running  shoes and start training again for the next big race! This year I was also selected as runner for the canada-wide Rick Hansen Relay tour, an amazing relay in celebration and recognition of Rick Hansen’s world tour to raise awareness of accessibility for those with disabilities and mobility issues. It was an honor to be able to be a part of a national relay.

537568_10151729808275618_2142789272_n Rick Hansen

One the biggest highlights for me this year was the amount of travelling I was able to do. At the beginning of the year my partner and I took a quick weekend trip to Vancouver to see Betty White perform at the Vancouver Comedy Fest, it was the perfect chance to get out of the snow and explore another city, even if only for a few days. I travelled to Calgary a few times as well, to see Coldplay perform and in the summer with my partner to see Mary Poppins, both highlights of my year for sure! Earlier this year I never would have guessed that I would have flown to a small town in Indiana to attend  a gathering of 30 friends and photographers. Those few days spent together pretty much changed my photography journey completely. Before the trip I felt like I wasn’t really going  anywhere with this part of my life, that I liked photography but I didn’t have a course set out for it. But after spending that time exploring abandoned buildings, taking photos throughout the day, laughing and teaching each other, my path in photography became much clearer and I gained a huge boost of confidence in my own work and felt like I knew where I wanted to go. The following month I was lucky to be included in another meetup in Vancouver and was reunited with some friends and made new ones. Again, I felt that surge of passion for photography and it fueled the fire that I have inside for it. In October I took my turn hosting a meetup in the beautiful Kootenay Lake region of B.C., welcoming friends from all over the place. It was beautiful to be able to share a little corner of my world with other photographers. And to finish off the year, I’m travelling to another meetup in California with about 50 other talented and inspiring photographers and friends and I can’t wait to see the magic that results from being around the hub of positive and creative energy. I hope that I’m able to continue to travel and explore the world in 2013.

MidWestby Whitney Justesengroup


So in conclusion, 2012 was an incredible year. Last year I set out with a short list of goals and I’m so happy to say that I accomplished those goals. I was able to continue to share my work and feel an amazing amount of support and appreciation for it, I was able to travel and meet with friends who continue to support me and I was able to find my path and develop the road that I want to continue travelling on.

For the next year I hope this momentum continues. I already have a few trips planned, a few exciting opportunities in the works and I hope that it unfolds and plays out in unexpected and exciting ways like it did this year. My goals for 2013 are to be more organized and continue to work on the business side of my photography, to expand my vision and to start to post more on my blog and to post more tutorials, to start hosting workshops and to continue to share my views with the world.

I’d like to thank you for supporting me and what I do, I pinch myself when I think of how blessed I am to be able to receive such positive feedback and to see so many people enjoying what I do, it helps me to keep going and to keep developing (photography pun!). Thank you to those that I was able to meet this year, to the families that hired me, to the Good Ol’ Goats for the opportunity to work with you, to Coca-Cola, Coffee Today, and Cohere magazine for liking my work enough to ‘hire’ me, and to all of you who like my work. Thank you. All the best for 2013!

Thank You