2017 Year in Review

by Ian Maclellan

I started this blog back in December, 2007, more than 10 years ago now. I was still a high schooler and had transitioned from a more homemade website to a real WordPress site and kicked things off with a moody photo of Sandy Pond on a snowy winter day.  It’s funny to think that I still try and take moody photos of snowy days in Lincoln. Some things never really change. Over the last 10 years, my focus has shifted from only taking pictures for myself to spending most of my time working on photos and videos for others and this blog has fallen into disrepair as I try to curate a more “professional” web presence. I’ve also been running my daily photo blog for more than four years and posting on Instagram, both of which take up too much time. I love this blog though and miss all the silly stories and overabundance of photos I used to post so I’m going to try and re-energize it. So here goes my 2017 Year in Review. I missed my 2016 Year in Review so I guess nothing much happened that year.


I worked hard this year to keep traditions alive and stay close with family and friends. This starts with the basic day to day things like trying to respond to every text message (not one of my strong skills) and continues with planning trips and hang outs far in advance. We kept our annual Pawtuckaway trip going though the cast of characters has changed every year. We also went back to our old neighborhood in Menemsha staying with our friend Aidan and her family who showed us new ways to zip through backyards and old paths on bikes and on foot. My mom instigated a new Sunday night dinner tradition this year which was a great way to stay close with everyone and gave us lots of time to read and play with our niece Ingrid and nephew Calum. We also had to say good bye to our beloved family dog Acadia and welcomed Maisy into the family. Things keep shifting as well with new traditions like a classy passover dinner at our house, New Year’s Eve at the Earle Family Farm, and an LA and Piers camping trip.


This was a huge work year as well and I’ve never had to pay quite so much money to the federal and state governments. I need to give a big special thanks to Harlem, Charlie, Erin, Paul, Hadley, and Dylan for all their amazing help on video and photo shoots this year. Thanks also to all the awesome clients and agencies I was lucky enough to work with from giant crews to just me and a subject. I froze on top of mountains and sweated on the beach in Florida. I also had to deal with my first client declaring bankruptcy. A production company that used to represent me folded and still owes me five figures as well as tons more money to other creatives. Oy.

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My most frequent client was MIT and I’m happy to keep finding new spaces and creative dreamers all over their campus. My biggest client was Steward Healthcare with a huge project by Boathouse Group to photograph eight new hospitals in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I also had opportunities to partner with nonprofits I care about like the DOVE Project run by the NH Bar Association, The Trust For Public Land, and Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm.

Emma and I kept collaborating on wedding photography this year. We photographed so many weddings in so many wonderful places. Thanks to all our lovely couples for trusting us and welcoming us into their families.


It’s a special treat to photograph and film runners as an avid runner myself. Kim Nedeau and her husband wowed me with their home gym and their obstacle course put my upper body to shame. Martinus Evans showed me that you can start running at any point in your life and still be deeply affected by its power. Although we were almost attacked by a rogue dog, Evans kept his energy and excitement level so high during our shoot. I partnered with the young ultrarunning phenom Patrick Caron for two projects, a cold winter sunrise photo shoot on my home trails in Lincoln, MA and a short trail running documentary running up Mount Chocorua (thanks to Alex Earle for the idea!).


Emma and I kept up our crazy routine of over the top long weekend adventures all over the North East. We returned to our favorite Nordic Spa in Quebec after watching Alex Earle crush a 125km race in Charlevoix. We had a wacky long weekend camping at Lake Willoughby with Emily Nink and Henry Blanchette. I met them on my bike after a three day bike trip with John Work where we stayed up at Camp Ladue (thanks Arlin for the ride) and we had a goofy time trying to find the best camping spot and learned a new way to play Bananagrams. Mimi and Nate’s wedding brought us to Hawaii for two weeks where we watched big wave surfing and Emma returned to the infamous Koke’e Lodge for the world’s best cornbread. We also stayed in some Yurts, filled our car with way too much stuff way too many times, picked up hitchhikers, and did some pre and post work shenanigans around Lincoln and Concord.


We also made the most out of our time in Somerville, with many walks, runs, and bikes, game nights, music nights, and baking extravaganzas. After my Mom was injured on a Backroads trip in Sweden and wasn’t able to try the cardamom buns, we smashed the cardamom pods Meghan Bodo had brought back from Uganda and tried our best to replicate them. We also popped many gallons of popcorn and made far too many cookies for any guests.


Before 2017 started, I applied to my first couple of artist residencies and also started submitting work to gallery shows. I was really happy to focus in on pinhole photography work for the art side of things and had work included in the Krappy Kamera show at SoHo Photo Gallery and the Somerville Toy Camera Show. I applied to the Manoog Family Residency in Watertown, MA and was accepted in their first group of artist applications. This was my first time having a dedicated studio space and I developed more film than any time since my freshman year at Tufts. The residency was run in cooperation with Cannistraro, an HVAC, plumbing, and fire safety company, and the Plumbing Museum. I brought my pinhole cameras to construction sites and factory floors and had so much fun playing with photography again. I also worked on a bunch of side projects during the residency, including my first little zine, “After the Flood”, a series of pinhole photographs of flooded trees on the Concord River. The residency culminated in my first large gallery show, which I built a pair of wearable camera obscuras for and framed my work with help from Stanhope Framers. I stayed involved with the residency by producing a short documentary on the resident artists that followed me.

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I worked especially hard on a short documentary on artist Kit Collins and her Grandmother, Renee, that looked at what we want in life and how/if that changes as we grow older. I love filming and photographing artists and was so thankful that they welcomed me in.


This was a roller coaster year for rock climbing. I never really settled into a training groove and whenever I did have time to climb outside, I hadn’t climbed at all in weeks or it was crazy hot out so my goals eluded me. I hurt my right arm from too much tennis and bouldering at the end of August and had to take off the next three months so never really got it all together. I still was lucky enough to get outside a handful of days and climb with tons of new people. I’m hoping that 2018 brings some more training consistency and a few more focused climbing trips so I can finally knock off some of my life climbing goals… I still have never learned to trad climb!


This was kind of a mellow year for biking too. I biked so many miles around the city for commuting to shoots, running errands, and meeting up with friends but only pulled off one three day bike trip up in Vermont. I flew to a more assignments than ever before this year which kind of cut into my training and longer trip time. I think this next year will bring lots of long days biking around New England.


Emma and I continued to jump into as many ponds, rivers, and oceans as we could.


I did finally figure out how to surf right though! I’m now way more confident and ready to catch waves whenever they exist.


This was the most epic Saco River canoe trip ever. We had a record setting flood!


I made a big effort to run up Mount Monadnock in as many sketchy winter weather situations as possible. These snowy and icy efforts have turned into a small black and white photo series that I hope to continue for the next couple of years.

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Running! I did get to run a lot this year. I never got badly hurt which is cool but I also never strung together a proper training cycle. I didn’t adequately prepare for my first ever trail marathon and slip-slided my way to a much slower than expected pace. It was a fun weekend though, enjoying DC and catching up with old friends. I made a very bold move and signed up for my first track race since middle school field days. It was a mile race put on by the Heart Break Hill Running Company and although I guessed my time really accurately, I ended up in the fastest race of the night and have never felt so slow. To train, Emma biked next to me while I ran a very hilly road mile up in Georgetown, ME. We also celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday with a team marathon including: Thomas, Emma, Maria, Myself, Stephen, and my Dad. My most successful run was a 14+ mile mountain run up Mount Marcy in the Adirondack’s. It’s the highest point in NY and I showed up late in the afternoon, racing up and down in under 3 hours right as the sun set. I think 2018 will be full of many more bold runs!