It seems quite serendipitous that I’m sitting down to write this today, as a year to the date I made a decision that drastically changed the course of my life and as a dog photographer, the last 2 years have been difficult enough anyway! This last year has made me question a lot, given me times when I wasn’t sure if I could cope, but I have also came with some incredible memories.
So lets start at the beginning!
A year ago I decided to leave my husband, we had been together nearly 22 years. It came as a shock to a lot of people, but I think I’d known for a while and it was incredibly tough, but also the right thing to do. It’ll come as no surprise that due to intermittent lockdowns and this, I didn’t really get out to photograph much as usual. In January, I did however have the pleasure of meeting someone who I had followed on Instagram without realising he lived just a few minutes down the road! That ‘person’ was Jasper (and his lovely human of course).
Looking through the limited photo’s from the first couple of months, it’s funny to see that the only shots I took were of Jasper, and then Jasper’s new sibling Sunday! All the days were merging into one at this point, I’d had vague ideas of getting away for a while to either France or South Africa but of course travel was out of the question!
I was finally able to get out and start shooting again and had the it was so much fun shooting for two brands, Reg & Bob who create hard wearing but beautifully colourful collars for dogs who love to get mucky! The other one was my good friend the Slumbering Hound who makes a heap of gorgeous things for dogs and who I’ve worked with for a few years now.
The pandemic made me realise just how fragile my dog photography business could be, so in March I launched a separate business for pet brands – mostly helping with content creation and social media engagement but I have also been doing website updates and proof reading. A couple of decades as a PA in the city has come in use for this! The website is www.kerryjordan.co.uk if you want to check it out.
The year had already been pretty tough, I had moved out of my home, had moved in with one friend, and then my circumstances changed again so moved in with a second. I’m always going to be supremely grateful for the kindness I was shown in this period.
And then, the one thing you dread as a dog owner happened, and I had to say goodbye to my dear sweet Jasper. (As I’m writing this, that bloody Adele song ‘go easy on me’ is playing and not helping with the tears.) Jasper was 16 and had gone from a scared, barky, nervous dog to a happy little wiggle monster who was adored by everyone who met him. I had the honour of him being in my life for 10 years, but it didn’t seem long enough. I miss him, and I don’t think that will change, but sometimes I think he’s still around, I just can’t see him.
April was a busy one and it’s the start of one of my favourite times, bluebell season! So lots of fabulous client shoots as well as brand shoots for my friend Debbie at Redhound for Dogs Whippet Attire, K9 Connectables interactive toys & The Lounging Hound and their beautiful beds.
Well, May, what I can I say? Well, I think I said most things in the post Solo Van Tour but very briefly, as I wasn’t able to travel abroad, so I did something that was scary, but also amazing, and hired a van for a month to travel round the UK. I learned how to drive a massive van, I learned how to live in a tiny space, I had tantrums, I explored, and I found out a lot about myself and had the.best.time. I knew that it was unlikely that I’d get this kind of opportunity again for a while, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
With more of the restrictions lifted, I was super excited to go and see my dear friend Debbie at Redhound for another little shoot. I also had some beautiful new headshots done by Joanna Cleeve which I adore; to me they show a new person emerging, someone who is gaining confidence, who is yet to go through more hardships but knows her internal strength will carry her through (sounds a bit woo woo, but that’s how I feel when I look at them now!).
But the biggest thing was returning to a place which stole my heart, the Lake District, to look at properties! I found one that needed a lot of renovating, but was a good location in west Cumbria, close to the Lakes and the coast, and put in an offer. Little did I know just what I had let myself in for! 😂
I don’t think I realised just how many brand shoots I had in 2021! I did my second shoot for the fantastic Nash Dog who make bamboo drying coats, which I’m reliably informed, even dry spaniel ears! As well as wading into a lake to get some cracking action shots for a client shoot and yet another visit to my friend and rock, Debbie.
On the 26th of July I celebrated another year of the day I created – National Dog Photography Day, which I started as a way to celebrate our love of photographing dogs back in 2018. This year it trended #2 on Twitter despite stiff competition from the Olympics! It’s talked about in national and worldwide press, and celebrities join in too so it’s pretty incredible to me to watch the day unfold.
With the offer on the house being accepted, August was a bit of a whirlwind sorting out the logistics of moving over 350 miles away, as well as getting in some of my favourite walks and trying to see as many friends as I could. I managed to get some shoots in though thankfully as it was another of my favourite times to shoot, heather season!
September saw me packing up a massive van and driving half way across the country on my birthday, what a way to celebrate! I moved into a house which needed completely stripping, was filthy and had some fairly big issues to deal with. But it was mine. September was also about taking a bit of time to breathe. The emotions of the year had been intense and sometimes overwhelming so I took time to walk in nature, and wonder where the heck I was going to start on the house. I hardly took my camera out in September, but just appreciated the moment….also, it rained a lot!
This month there was a mini shoot for the lovely ladies at Country & Twee, a foraging day and a walk with someone who I can call a friend even though until October, we had only met briefly, the fabulous Rachel Spencer and Patch! Rachel (who helps pet businesses with PR) and I met at a conference, became business accountability buddies and the rest is history. I love the fact that I’m still meeting amazing people in my 40’s!
I travelled back to Sussex for a couple of shoots and caught up with friends which was fantastic but I felt drained for days afterwards! I think the toll of the year was starting to get to me a little.
My trip down south was at the end of October, so at the start November I popped in to see Debbie again and photographed some of her gorgeous new products in beautiful light. The rest of November was buckling down doing things on the house and exploring.
It was also the month that my divorce was finalised, a very strange feeling.
December saw a mini “Petrepeneur” Christmas party with the lovely Rachel which consisted of much hilarity as we turned up to a ‘pod’ with no bedding, cutlery or plates! We hadn’t thought to check! So after a quick stop at B&M, we drank too much champagne from £1 mugs while we ate our microwave meals and sandwiches with a £3 cuttlery set. It was an absolutely brilliant night!
It also saw me back in Surrey for shoots and catching up with friends, revelling in the practically balmy southern weather – the hounds were even coatless at one point! Unfortunately, it also saw me having to self isolate over Christmas, a pretty sorry affair and I saw the old year out with one of my best friends over Zoom.
There are things I wish hadn’t happened last year, and situations I would have liked to avoid, but mostly I tried to do what I thought was best knowing I don’t want to look back with regret. The positives are, I have still managed to make some incredible memories, I unexpectedly met someone who I really rather like, I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness and not holding on to negativity, and that you can’t always do what’s right for everyone.
I’m starting 2022 happy, healthy, healing and motivated. I’ve got some pawesome plans for the business which I can’t wait to share with you. If you have got this far, congratulations, and THANK YOU!
I sincerely hope that you are starting 2022 happy and healthy too!