2017 in the rearview photo by nora lorek

{words first, photos following}

I'm no procrastinator, but I certainly put off creating a "photos of the year" post. It was a daunting task because 2017 was highly eventful-- which arguably could be said about any passing year-- but this one was particularly formative in regards to both my personal and professional growth.

I won't pretend to know the grips of unrelenting suffering, but I hurt harder than I ever have in 2017. For a period, I lost the joy by which my friends and family recognize me. I endured heartache. I fought for months on end against a monster, a bully and a manipulator whose transgressions have harmed many more women than just me.

But I was triumphant.

On that same note, but at a very different time, I felt a deeper and truer joy than I had previously experienced. I learned to harness my bravery, to gather my energy from the supportive communities I have found. I made so many dear friends and connections. I interned doing my dream job. I found the parts of myself I had lost, and then some. I mended. I learned how to love myself again and to use that same love to project empathy and understanding.

I got a tattoo. Love me anyway, mama.

My family has played an integral role in reminding me of my worth. My friends, whose lives span this nation and this world, have inspired me. My mentors, who are women, have encouraged me and nurtured me. And my guy, who showed me love can be calm and without constant turbulence. I never want to stop reminding you all of the indelible impacts you've made on my trajectory. I don't take you for granted.

So these are my words, and now I will share with you my pictures. I want to thank the people who invited me into their lives, sharing with me their rawness. I appreciate your realities and please know it means so much to me when I leave as your friend instead of a transient voyeur with a lens.

[TL/DR] Cheers to a new revolution (around the sun and otherwise) in 2018.

I began my year covering the Women's March, where I was overcome with pride and emotion at power and anger of this womanly wrath. I was also reminded of the many obstacles we have yet to face. Looking back, it seems as though 2017 was the year of the woman indeed. The year of the woman no longer taking shit from the man. Foreshadowing, if you will. And you will.

This was the start of the spring semester of my junior year in Lincoln. During this time, I wanted to connect with people who were affected by Trump's travel ban. I was fortunate to be connected to these individuals.

And I spent many of my wintry days shooting high school state tournaments. Wahoooo!

All while never neglecting my love for Beyonce, carrying on my personal project based on "LEMONADE."

April showers brought May flowers...on hats and suits at the Kentucky Derby.

And then June came along and I was lucky to compete in the Hearst Photojournalism Championship and meet the wonderful McMillan-Maxwell family, whose Christmas card is hanging on my fridge and features one of my photos. I was equally thrilled to share the awards night with my mother in San Francisco.

This summer introduced me to the amazing folks at The Washington Post, especially the formidable MaryAnne Golon who allowed me this opportunity. I made lifelong friends, fell in love with my temporary neighborhood and covered national news events.

Park View, Washington D.C.
Newton Avenue

On the national stage...

One of the hardest and most hateful events I have ever covered: the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Another highlight assignment was riding along with a firefighter on his first day on the job...a firefighter whose father and cousin both died in the line of duty.

I surprised my family in Nebraska for my cousin's wedding in July, which is when I took this photo below. Just a shoutout to my parents who are so deeply in love. Thank you for your guidance and unconditional support.

Closing the chapter on D.C. was difficult, as I drove south on I-95 with tears in my eyes. Florida-bound!

I started my internship at The Palm Beach Post right after Hurricane Irma blew through. My first night at the beach, I was greeted by this scene. A good omen.

This land-locked Nebraska girl got reaaaal accustomed to the beach.

The PBPost also trusted me with their annual photo project that helps raise money for people in need of financial help throughout the county. I spent time with 11 families, and below I share some favorite images. If you want to donate and read their stories, I attached the link.

I took my favorite photo of the year in Florida. Her name is Josnika, and she is fighting kidney cancer. Here, she is the center of a hands-on prayer at her church.

...and naturally I covered a few Floridian protests and sports games

may the lord open.

I have a lot to thank Florida for-- the new friendships, the important work, the fiery sunsets and my guy whose hair matches the red clouds.


Thanks for reading. Really impressive you stuck around this long. <3

Created By
Calla Kessler


Calla Kessler

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