“…small sequential acts amount to a transaction between two lives- the external life of encountered experience and the imaginative inner life of the individual photographer. It is at this intersection of the inner and outer worlds that the life of a photograph begins.” –Sam Abell
My mind and heart are still reeling from my weeklong photographic experience in Glen Rose, Texas. I attended a very intense, photojournalism focused workshop called Foundation Workshop. This is something my heart has been set on for years and I was thrilled (and scared) to see it finally come to pass.
I went into the workshop with an open mind and a heart focused on humility. Every ounce of this rich experience was mine for the taking. I was all in. There were so many things separating me from where I was and where I wanted to be in becoming a great storyteller. I was not able to pinpoint what it was exactly about loving photojournalism, but I could see how the photos make me feel. I wanted to experience that same feeling when creating my own work. But, I felt that I lacked the skill set to make this happen; I had no hammer, no nails, no tools to work with. I feel like I’ve been artistically floundering for awhile. I’ve been totally in tuned to what my clients’ basic needs were and delivering solid wedding photos. I’ve loved my job, loved my clients, but had been feeling like my photography experiences have been entirely external. There was something deeper that I wasn’t quite grasping. There was something more to be had.
We were given two assignment days and I was worried that my particular assignment may not be challenging enough. Four adorable children in rural Texas seemed to me, the best assignment of my group. Perhaps too easy. Day one was long, grueling, but fantastic. My critiques were hard, honest and absolutely what I needed. I tried to memorize every key point and take it into the next day. Wonderful advice such as: fill the frame, don’t overshoot, commit to the shot, shoot with purpose, commit to composition and most importantly, wait. Day two started on two and a half hours of sleep, hot weather that I wasn’t used to, as well as forgetting to rest and eat. I let my guard down and became emotionally attached to one of the kids that had an injury. My exhaustion, mother’s heart, and lack of self care entirely threw my day. Again, my critiques were spot on and every one exactly what I have been craving to hear to make my work better. I had overshot the entire day, seemingly forgetting all prior critiques and I felt like I completely blew my entire experience in one afternoon. I was sinking deeper and deeper into disappointment as one of the longest hours of my life came to an end. The minute the projector screen flipped off, the door of our team room was closing behind me. Buried by my emotions, I threw my bed covers over my head and wept. And wept. I was completely undone. I have never worked so hard and so long or wanted something so bad, only to experience the sheer and utter depths of disappointment. Somehow, I got up the next day and with the strength and encouragement of my team mates & leaders, decided it was all going to be ok. It wasn’t in fact, the end of the world.
This is the beginning of my intersection. The external, repetitive, safe, comfortable patterns of being just good enough are behind me. I stand with the new creative tools in my hand, hope in my heart, and the dream of being a great story teller ahead of me. I’m at my intersection and I am excited and determined to move forward.
I want to thank my leaders: Brett for your patience, honesty and your willingness to wear red lipstick. Jenny, for your practical tools, wisdom and fly dance moves. Ed, for your technical abilities, teaching me to back button focus and your knack for the perfect text emoji. Each one of you were exactly what I needed for this experience. I couldn’t have had a better team of leaders for me.
And I thank my teammates: Jennifer, thank you for being there for me when I was at the end of myself. I couldn’t have made it without you. Dawn, Kristiaan, & Nicole, I was continually blown away by your perseverance, artistry, and work ethic. I was so in awe and inspired by each of you. Thank you for laughing, crying, and dancing with me. You are my family. I love all y’all. Team HV forever.
We are allowed to post our two favorite photos. Here are mine of the family I fell in love with over two days:
Thank you Jenny Jimenez for this photo of me, photographing the boys!