Photography

A Year of Developing

flytographer paris olga photoshoot

I began the year 2018 not knowing what to do. I had just closed my old photography business, having felt burnt out and ready to take a stab at something new.

I had signed up for a few herbalism classes, but beyond that I truly had no idea what this year would hold for me.

In Ukraine they say that how you spend your New Year’s Eve, how you celebrate that transition time from one year to the next will determine how you will spend the whole year ahead. As daunting as that can sound, it can also be a motivator to find what makes you happiest and plan to do just that. Not a bad thing to spend a whole year happy, right?

I was ringing in the New Year in Colorado with my family, with the last of the wooden logs crackling away in the fireplace in our mountain-side cabin, up there at 8000 feet above sea level. Harry Potter was on TV and we all sat happily in our respective silences, content to be quiet, pondering. Enjoying the beauty of these small moments.

That lull of contentment, the simply pleasures of living, would follow me through the year 2018.

First with my 2.5 weeks trip to Japan. To attempt to describe it in one sentence would feel like scaling a mountain, so all I can say that it was all I ever wished it would be and so much more. I still find myself daydreaming about Japan on a regular basis, be it for the mouth-watering mochi I bought one morning at the Tsukiji market in Tokyo or for the sound of the chanting monks at dawn in a temple I had the honor of spending the night in.

In 2018 I followed my instincts, something that was as foreign of a concept to me as not eating sour cream. As a Ukrainian, sour cream is my bread and butter, my mashed potatoes and gravy, and yes, I would put sour cream on all of that.

I started a job working at an ice cream shop and spent two months scooping ice cream, the amount seemingly equal in proportion to my consumption of it during my 15 minute breaks.

I had fun. So much fun.

I went camping in a new place. I wrote about all my travels and photoshoots. I gathered mementos and started caring for plants.

I took an anniversary trip to Paris with my husband and got to hear him speak French like I speak Russian and Ukrainian – compulsively, with a smile on his face, effortlessly.

Yuliya Rae travel photographer Paris France

I photographed someone at dawn in front of the Eiffel Tower, someone else at the Louvre. These photos are some of the best I have ever taken.

I got to work with local creatives that ignited the spark of joy in me that I thought had gone out at the end of 2017. These people, these beautifully talented individuals helped me excavate everything I loved about photography and bring myself back to photographing what I loved most.

I went to the mountains, lakes and meadows to photograph wild boudoir – a genre I dubbed in hope of helping myself and other women release some of our wild back into our lives. I found this is my favorite genre to photograph.

I got to shoot with owls, I woke up at ungodly hours to hike to a waterfall in order to capture that perfect light, I was chasing light simply because I wanted to.

I have grown into the belief that I am an artist. I have started loving the work I was creating.

2018 was a year of so much growth, both personal and professional. I have started shedding layers I’ve grown to please others, to be what others wanted me to be and finally start coming into my own sense of self.

It’s been a year of cracks, of breaking, and of shining light on the darkness. A year of movement, discovery and appreciation.

Yuliya Rae travel photographer Paris France

In 2018 I have taken 9 trips, 2 of them international, I have written 29 blog posts, read 45 books and done 42 photoshoots.

I would say this has been a pretty marvelous year to be alive. I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.


As a celebration of 2018, I am sharing our beautiful photos from our Flytographer photoshoot with Olga in Paris.


flytographer paris olga photoshoot
flytographer paris olga photoshoot
flytographer paris olga photoshoot

2 thoughts on “A Year of Developing”

  1. Lori says:

    Yuliya – this blog post is everything. I am so glad that you were able to shed the layers, as you put it, that you built over the years and truly started listening to your soul.
    It’s inspiring and beautiful to see others find their true happiness and you are well on your way.
    Can’t wait to see how 2019 evolves for you.
    Sending much love.

    P.s. These photos are beautiful (yours and the ones of you and Tyler)

    1. Yuliya says:

      Thank you so much for your warm and kind words, Lori <3 I am so excited for 2019 too! And hope another trip up to Victoria is in the works 😉

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