I'm not good with words. I'm even worse when it comes to talking about feelings. Feelings sort of gross me out. But I'm full of feelings after this workshop.
When the folks at Looks Like Film asked me to be a part of their speaker line-up at the "Choo Choo Camp" workshop I literally thought they were insane. I think I may have laughed out loud because I thought it was a joke. After realizing they weren't joking, my gut instinct was to say no. But I just couldn't find it in me to do that. So...I reluctantly agreed, and for the following 6 months I internally panicked almost daily. I won't lie, I went through a bit of a dark patch where I questioned everything I did. I looked at the attendees, most of which have work that far exceeds my own, and wondered why they weren't asked instead. I mentally picked apart all of my images and even stopped posting out of fear that I wasn't good enough and that people would see my photos and wonder why the hell I was chosen to speak. Basically, I freaked out. Aside from questioning my work and my worth, I also suffer from pretty severe stage fright and a total fear of public speaking. Add in that I was due to be speaking in front of so many people that I GREATLY admire, and my stress level went through the roof. And then when the schedule came out they had me sandwiched in between Nessa K and Sam Hurd on the second day, LOL!!! I about died.
After managing to get through my talk without puking all over everyone, and spending 5 days with some of the best people I've ever met in my life, I'd say this was the most WORTH IT experience of my entire life, outside of childbirth. All of the nerves, the stress, the self-doubt....I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
It's hard for me to express just how meaningful this workshop was to me. I learned so much from listening to the other speakers, but more importantly made some personal connections with people from across the globe that left my heart really incredibly full. It's like somehow the stars aligned and all of the most amazing people either spoke at or attended this workshop. We laughed a lot, ate a shitload of pizza, drank maybe a little too much, sang our hearts out, created images together, and shared inspiration and fears. I pretty much fell head over heels in love with all of the people there.
I cannot thank Lukas Piatek and all of the people at Looks Like Film for organizing this workshop and including me in it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never, ever forget. A special shout-out to my dear friend Jacob Loafman for believing that I could do this (and sitting next to me day in and day out at the studio while I freaked out). Also to my husband, who helped me immensely and came to the workshop too. Just having him by my side makes me cooler by association, and it's not lost on me that I pretty much hit the marriage jackpot by ending up with someone as charming, silly, warm, friendly, talented, excited, driven, and hilarious as him. I am so lucky.
If you have a chance, check out the work of the other photographers I was honored to speak among. They are all wonderful people with truly inspiring work.
Here are some of my images from the week :)