Taking a Look Back at 2017

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Did everyone have a great Christmas? I hope you did. As we are entering into 2018, I want to take a look of 2017 and highlighted some of the milestones this year.

If there is one theme that connects everything in this whole year, that would be photography.

Last year in December I started working at a photography startup. Back then I didn’t know any photographers. I also did my first portrait session in December 2016 by taking my friend Malika out to China town for a photoshoot. Prior to that, I have done two years of street photography, but I haven’t done a photo shoot with a model. That is going to change in 2017. I have done so many shoots with models this second half the year, I feel very confident about that now.

From January to July, I have put my heart and soul into the startup. Before I joined the company, there was just a website and a developer, there is no user on the website. After I joined, I created all the social media channels for the startup and created a photography meetup for it as well. A big part of my job was to recruit photographers to use the website. Because of that, I was in touch with many photographers. I was taking photographers out for training too. But really a lot of them are better photographers than me, so they ended up showing me some techniques, which were awesome!

Despite my efforts, the startup didn’t do very well, we were not able to generate the profits we needed to be sustainable. I was also experiencing burn out. Being the only full time employee at the startup and commuting to San Francisco six days a week have taken a toll on me physically and psychologically. Needless to say it was a very stressful job.

I really needed a break from my job at the end of July. I went to Nepal in the month of August for three weeks. I went trekking in the mountains for ten days and met some amazing people. I documented this trip pretty well in my blog. You can see detailed stories under Travel.

After I came back from my trip, my boss decided to let me go. To be honest I didn’t want to stay there either. The second part of the year, I focused more on my blog. I redesigned my blog completely, which took a good one month. I was not in a hurry to get back to another job. I really wanted something meaningful and fulfilling. That’s how I get involved with Nubko. If you haven’t heard of Nubko, it is a platform where you can post projects and collaborate with other artists.

I think there is huge potential in this creative space because there are in general more creators like Youtubers, bloggers, filmmakers, etc. These people are going to need other creatives’ help with their projects and visions. Nubko is a perfect solution to their problem.

After meeting the founders of Nubko and learning their stories, I decided to help them with content marketing. You can check out some of my work on their blog. We also hosted a meetup combining the power of Nubko and my own meetup on Dec 16th, which has a really big turn out.

Another twist in the second half of the year is that I am in front of the camera more. Before I went to Nepal, I went out to shoot twice with two photographers. It was a very nerve wracking but liberating experience. Now after a few more shoots, I feel much more comfortable in front of the camera. So you would see my face more in 2018, not a bad thing, right?

As I look into 2018, a lot of things seem to be up in the air. If you read my previous article, I talked about my doubts of living in the U.S and wanting to move back to China or possibly another country. I’m not sure if I want to stay in the bay area.

But one thing that keeps me here is the creative community that I’m involved in. This past year, I have made so many creative friends, who have become a big part of what I do and who I am. When I see them, I see my own struggle as well. We are a creative type of people who don’t know how to fit everything in, the artistic side of us and the practical side of us.

So here is what I think I would do in 2018.

1) I will continue to hone my craft in photography. That doesn’t seem to change. Going into 2018, I would like to be able to stage my shot more and really work on some concepts behind the shoot rather than shooting just pretty photos. Another area within photography I would like to improve on is editing.

2) I would ideally work in digital marketing field. (I really want to start my own business, but I just don’t see the business idea at the moment. )

3) I would like to move out of Grandma’s house in the Bay Area.

These three are general directions I would like to follow. Other minor things include learning how to swim, which is a multi-year project now. Maybe I will be able to do it soon. I did sign up for a swimming class in January.

I’m also going back to China in February for Chinese New Year.

I look forward to the next year and what it has to offer. I will be staying committed to sharing my journey with you. Give me a follow to receive updates on my blog posts. I will also make an effort to produce more videos. (Did I mention I get a Gopro camera for Christmas? ^^)

There is a big network event I’m organizing in January as well. But I’ll share that at another time.

Peace and Love,


Photographer: Hannah Anisa




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