Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Because a New Year's Post Feels Kind of Mandatory

Have we always had such an urge to review the year that's just been? To summarise everything, picking our highlights and low points? It seems like every newspaper and website is looking backwards - folding down 2014 into a few key grim world events - and they have been REALLY grim this year - or viral articles or outfits or celebrity weddings (or depending on what you're reading, sometimes a mish-mash of all of them, which feels unsettling). And if they’re not looking backwards, they’re reaching forwards, discussing what's on the horizon in 2015.

That's not to disparage these kinds of features - for they often give over space to stories that have spent more time in the shadows than deserved, or allow celebration of what’s yet to come.

Yet I’m particularly fascinated by the compulsion to chart and document and capture all that's happened in the preceding twelve months. It's partly an easy way to generate content - and makes commercial sense. Fashion websites can stuff their homepage with galleries; blogs can round up favourites; newspapers get the chance to return to pivotal events. It’s also a point to dwell on personal achievements and experiences, or to flag up the best writing/ photos/ other forms of creative output you sent into the world in 2014.

Perhaps we've always had this kind of obsession with time though, the desire to quantify and condense life events. It seems natural. A kind of drawing of breath, giving space to process what's been happening. We like to slice our experiences up into these increments, marking the passing of each year with simultaneous retrospection and promises to be better, do more, improve this, and cut back on that in the months ahead.

I don't make New Year's resolutions, as a general rule. I respect people who manage to stick to them, or use the transition from December to January to galvanise change, but it doesn't work for me. Instead, I make my resolutions throughout each year - as and when they feel appropriate. Whether it's making alterations to what I eat, committing to a particular project or altering my outlook on something - when it feels right I'll try to apply as much self-will as can be mustered. Doesn't always work, but part of the process is not deeming yourself a failure if the plan goes awry. It’s the trying that’s important.

Do I have goals for 2015 though? Yes, absolutely. Big ones. Really big ones. But they’re not all going to kick into action the minute the clock hits midnight later today. Instead they’ll be incremental, hopefully the culmination of some bloody hard work - and a sprinkling of opportunity.

It's really easy to trot out trite things about New Year, new opportunities, new challenges. I hope that for all us those things and more are waiting out there - but it’s bloody tough right now for so many people. So instead, let 2015 be what it is – and maybe we can hope for courage and serenity (and effective campaigning!), rather than happiness. 

And if not quite that, then at least let's take a note from Kate Tempest’s instruction to the crowd at her dizzyingly great performance in Oxford: to all “cultivate some radical fucking empathy.”

These photos are actually from one marvellous highlight of 2014 that I failed to post about at the time. I worked on an incredibly fun shoot for Emily and Fin’s AW14 lookbook, indulging my love of vintage-style dresses and pretty patterns to my heart's content. It was a bit of a dream team collaboration, with brilliant Laura Alice Hart taking photos, Ashlyn Gibson doing the styling and Nadine Wilkie on hair and make-up. What better than to lounge around with battered books, old cameras and bunches of flowers? I thought that the glittery details made it all the more perfect for an NYE-themed post. 


Hannah McManus said...

Wonderful photos and a very interesting read - it is quite funny how everyone begins to reflect at this time of year! I hope you have a very happy New Year!
Hannah x

Closet Fashionista said...

This is such a fun shoot! Glad you finally shared them, you look amazing!
And I'm the same, I don't really make resolutions because I know I won't be able to keep them. Ha ha. I like to focus on the big picture instead
Wishing you an amazing 2015! :D

Emma Corbin-Mckenzie said...

funny! think you're right about this. I've just finished putting a post together about my 2014 and then reading yours made my chuckle. its true, ha! maybe we get caught up with it all and feel like we need to add our story alongside others. funny indeed. have a fab new year !!!!

Helen Le Caplain said...

Stunning photos (as always!)

I love the bloggy round-ups because you get to see in one space just how much people have got up to (it's clearly my inner nosey neighbour!)

Have a fab 2015!

Ivana Split said...

absolutely amazing photographs...yes, everyone is summing up...and this year I have done so too- not in my blog post but in my head. I guess that is how my mind works, as NY approaches it starts to analyze, but the kind of analysis that I would like to keep to myself because it is too private.

I think I know what you mean to say- I think we sometimes get lost in the news and forget that time is not as linear as we would like it to be...happiness and sadness exist sometimes simultaneously...and the world is often not what it seems.

Vix said...

Happy New Year, you gorgeous creature. There's some fabulous shots along with a proper good read, you've got in just right.

vintagevixenarts said...

Beautiful shoot and stunningly beautiful girl! And as usual Miss Roz beautifully written post.:)

Lally said...

Oh you are spot on! I think far too many people make long lists of resolutions that put them under enormous pressure as soon as the clock strikes midnight! Then they spend the entirety of January feeling miserable because they haven't achieved them yet- noway to start a brand new year at all! It's definitely much more sensible to spread them throughout the year, making them as and when you a need a little push in the right direction.

The photographs are wonderful and totally fitting for a New Year's Eve post!

Happy New Year, I hope 2015 is a great year for you (I'm more than sure it shall be). Lally X


Happy New Year to you, and what a smashing photo shoot. I agree, goals don't happen overnight .. mine will definitely take the usual hard work, and pacing myself. I also don't make general resolutions for the new year. Great post! Brilliant dresses as well. :) /Madison

Carlota Antolin Vallespin said...

“cultivate some radical fucking empathy.” - I love that, starting to work on myself.

I don't have anything to say because any word would sound empty to describe the impression you made on me in this wonderful photo shooting. You are so you in here, so british, so romantic, so fucking beautiful!!!
I guess you were kind of secretly happy to have this photos still in the shadow so that you could perfectly use them for this New Year's post. It is round.