Retreat. Soul Search.

"Earlier this month, I was blessed to attend the highly coveted Blair + Thurston Retreat  that was being held on Bainbridge Island (swoon!).  To say I was craving this retreat is an understatement.  I needed it – I felt it in my heart, soul, and bones that THIS was what I needed.  A few days on an island with like minded women, who had the same passion for photography as I do, was such a treat.  Our industry (like all industries, truthfully) is filled with those that pull you down, rip you apart and make you want to turn the camera off.  That has the making for a great retreat, right?!

I knew this would be different.  It was from the very first ‘touch’ of contact in the planning process.  This was geared to be a retreat for photographers.  A place to feed the soul.

Bre and Elena are what the industry standards should strive to become.  Their passion is not solely for the act of taking a picture.  It’s for the process, the actual technicality of a great capture but more so about the process of voice.  Vision.  Truth.  And this process includes reaching out to other photographers and holding them close, opening up to them, pushing them in a way that is truthful but so so so good for the artistic soul.

This is their craft.  Their calling.

They are an open book.  That favorite novel that feels like home in your hands.

Once the excitement settled in – a gorgeous hundred year home with a multi-million dollar view, a personal chef that I wanted to bring home, yoga outside in the fresh Pacific Northwestern air, and two sessions that would renew my artistic soul – the reality set in.

I am spending days with strangers.

Six other women are embarking on the same journey.  How real do we have to get?  How real are we going to get?  How much of myself do I show?  How much will they share?   I am truly an extroverted introvert (it’s a real thing y’all).  How is this going to work?

I came away with a renewed passion for my work but I am happy to say, six new members of my village.  Yes, we span time zones and there is literally an ocean between us (Aloha Ann!) but we have a connection.  We walked in as strangers with the common thread of a likeminded photography approach.  We left as friends – we bonded, laughed (oh, so much laughter), we shared stories of motherhood.  Life.  Fears.  Dreams.  Goals.

There was zero judgement.

So to those who are thinking, is this right of me?  Will I grow?  Can I do this?  The answer is YES!  Loud and clear – YES!  Do it for yourself, your work, your soul.  Do it to be surrounded by people who WANT you to grow and strive for the next thing.  Allow yourself to be a bit uncomfortable – that is the only way you can grow.

My comfort is photography that centers around family & children.  That’s what I know, I am a resident in this season of life.  The couples session we had planned  – something I looked forward to doing – also got me feeling insecure.  The voice of self doubt was there.  Whispering to me “this isn’t you.”  As we waited for the ferry to arrive, the voice got a bit louder and more firm.  It shook me.  I refused to give in, I was there to grow.

Be pushed.  On a ferry.  In the Sound.  Okay.

It’s good to be moved, pushed, encouraged, and thrown into the uncomfortable.  It works."