The meaning of life-long learning is different for everyone, but whatever it means to you don't ever let it go. I just returned home from the most amazing photography retreat hosted by Elena S. Blair & Bre Thurston in Bainbridge Island, Washington. Last October I had attended Click Away in San Antonio, Texas with our family photographer. I went on a whim and didn't know what to expect. Photography had been a long time passion but last October Click Away started a fire in me, rekindled my love for art and allowed me to become part of a huge photography community across the world. As I sat in the huge conference room along the San Antonio Riverwalk I heard Elena speak and present her approach to photography. She was down to earth, real and above all inspiring. I felt an instant connection to her work and returned home a few days later with big dreams to pursue my own career in photography, realizing that I had not been taking pictures the way I wanted to take pictures. I was taking them how I THOUGHT they should be taken, like super posed Pinterest people. True story.
Fast forward ten months later and I was on my way to meet Elena and Bre as they hosted this photography retreat, along with six other complete strangers from across the US. I'd never been to that corner of our country and the land is absolutely breathtaking. Mountains, hills, forests and ocean blanketed the earth. It really does have everything, from the bustling City Market in Seattle to the quiet and laid back Bainbridge Island just a ferry ride away, where we were nestled into a 7,000 square foot house facing downtown Seattle. Okay, maybe not nestled...really comfortably accommodated! The nine of us ended up spending every waking moment together talking about our dreams, successes, failures and upcoming goals as photographers and independent business owners. Elena and Bre are both crazy talented photographers, successful and independent bosses and very kind hearted people. We photographed a couple of sessions, critiqued our portfolios and discussed marketing and business goals. We also spent an afternoon with Sandra Coan, an incredibly accomplished newborn film photographer based out of Seattle, who spoke to us about her journey with the profession. Sandra came from the kindergarten classroom, just as I did, and was encouraging and inspiring about changing careers from a paid salary to being a small business owner.
It was truly meant to be that the nine of us met this summer and I can't wait to see what the future holds for each of us as we aspire to grow in to our life paths.