by Matthew Kern



   Life is constantly changing for all of us, but some seasons come along and hit us hard, changing us in so many ways at once and to degrees we didn't know possible. I both love and hate this process. I almost always love the outcome, but getting there can really hurt. Growing pains are real, and they apply to more than just the body.

I've been in one of those heavy 'shaping' seasons. Here's are some of the things that are getting me through the growing pains and helping me find my voice in the noise of the world around me.




Bombay Bicycle Club is just a band, yes. But the album they released early 2014 was straight up divine. I hop around a lot and often times don't listen to an album intensely for more than a few weeks at most, but 'so long see you tomorrow' haunted the better part of my year in the best kind of way.

I love the wacky ways that they incorporate samples and the obvious growth I can see in this English groups sound when looking back at their previous work. Their almost meditative repetitious lyrics forced me to do a lot of self reflecting, which for me was much needed.

I started 2014 off with some really sad news and this literally carried me in a lot of ways.

Seeing them perform this fall was a perfect way to round out my experience with them and this album.



WHAT I'M LOOKING AT has simply been a great resource of visual inspiration for me. I learned when I was in film school that it was supremely important to absorb art and creative energy from diverse places and to do it often. Every time I'm on this site, I find creative content that challenges me to think in new ways and feeds me with ideas that are sometimes game-changing.

   In my role as Creative director with Forefront and leader of Guilds, it's been hugely helpful for me to have a well of content for me to dip into to keep my mind fresh and to push me to try new things.




A good friend and fellow Guild leader confronted me earlier this year about personal creativity. She asked me where my personal creativity was happening. It rocked me pretty hard, because the truth was I was only creating when it was a requirement for work. Somehow I got stuck in a rut and I wanted to quickly get out and reclaim this space which I knew was so important for me.

I decided to focus on photography, and start by removing a few obstacles that I knew were things that got in the way of me carrying my camera with me regularly and shooting more often. Size was the biggest issue.

The Canon mkiii is lovely. It's what I shoot photo and video content on for Forefront. But I'll tell you what - it is not humble in size. This nearly doubled the weight of my bag when I'd add it to the load. I also believe in the power of association. If the goal was to create outside of a space that was work related and much more personal, then I had to consider the strong association this camera has with work.

The X E1 by fujifilm is less than half the size and weight of my canon rig and it's become purely associated for me with capturing out of a delight in the life happening around me in different moments. This is one of many new compact DSLR cams that cut down on size without doing the same to quality. A wonder of modern design, if you will.

It's been really fun and rewarding to reclaim photography as a personal creative space and it's helped me lead better in the community of the Photo Guild. It's great to feel like I'm not faking it, but actually getting out and shooting like the rest of the group.