This past weekend was the Discovery Workshop held at the amazing location of Cavallo Point. The workshop was put together by Me Ra and Brian of Me Ra Koh Photography, Garrett Burdick and Rick Chapman. This was not your typical photography workshop but a weekend of discovery. Discovering the Artist Within. It pushed the exploration of the artist behind the camera. Expanding on the concept that “you” as the photographer are in each of your photographs. Understanding more of who you are, only helps to define your images and unique vision.
Matt and I were able to be a part of this wonderful experience in a few different ways. Matt helped out with the production of the workshop over the course of the weekend and we were both asked to teach break-out sessions that happened on Sunday. These were sessions on exploring lighting techniques, the world as your backdrop, post-production organization, branding and the creation of vision/mood boards. Then, later in the day on Sunday, we were one of the “couples” that were photographed by some of the women attending the workshop.
Each participant was asked to create a self portrait to bring as an introduction to themselves to be shared Friday morning. Photography was encouraged but it could have been anything that depicted who you are right at this moment in time. In Rick’s words, ” There are no parameters, no rules, not even a particular form or medium (though photographic is certainly a strong contender). As long as you can give us some background on why your self portrait represents who you were and where you were at when you made the self portrait, then you’ve done the assignment. To be specific about the “now” part is the most important detail. This is not a self portrait collage/overview of your life. Its supposed to be a representation of how you feel/see yourself right now, at this specific point in your life timeline, April 2009.”
I felt that even though I wasn’t attending the workshop I was still a participant and because of that, wanted to complete the assignment myself. Matt and I spent some time Saturday night in our backyard making our self portraits. I’ll let mine speak for itself.
The vision/mood board session was the one that I led, and I had such an amazing time working with the women that attended. We had the chance to speak openly about our lives, to share with each other our visions or express the lack of vision for some, while gathering images and words from the magazines that I brought.
I was able to speak about how you can create a board specifically geared toward your business and your brand. How if you’re planning on working with a designer, there is pre-work you can do that will help move the process along. By gathering colors you’re drawn to, words that describe you and or your business and illustrations that you love, you’re providing a road map for a designer to follow. As a designer it can be so difficult to create a logo from nothing so any help you as a client can provide is extremely appreciated. Although there wasn’t quite enough time for anyone to complete their boards, the women gathered their images, their words and now just have to go home and put it all together. (I’m hoping that the women will email me photographs of their completed boards!) Here’s the one I created. I love the energy that showed up. You can tell how I was feeling being a part of this workshop!
After the break-out sessions and lunch, it was time for some practical workshop time. Time for the women to once again pick up their cameras and photograph. Garrett arranged for a bunch of families and couples to come and be photographed. Matt and I were one of the lucky couples. It was such an incredible couple of hours for the two of us. We were alone, a couple, without the kids. We held hands, we snuggled, we laughed. We walked around allowing the women to do their thing while we got to do ours. It was fun to be on the other side of the camera, thinking about what it feels like to be photographed. To listen to the silence or to the direction and I hope, think, we were able to provide some good feedback to the women for future shoots. Matt and I walked away learning more about being a photographer and what would be helpful for our clients at the end of our lense. A special thanks goes out to the two women who were brave enough to ask if there was any picture we wanted taken of ourselves and didn’t flinch when I said pictures of us making out. We found a great corner in front of a doorway and I CAN’T WAIT to see those photographs. Here is one that Rick took just after we had wrapped up the photo sessions.
The rest of the day was spent wrapping up the weekend. The women were asked to write a letter to themselves. One of compassion and understanding. One of encouragement. Me Ra read her letter to share with them part of herself and to help open their hearts and minds so that their letters could be powerful, moving words that they would read in the near future. Me Ra is so open and willing to share herself with the world. It is so inspirational. This is why I think this workshop was so powerful and different. All of the 9 instructors and or helpers put themselves out there on the line. Me Ra, Brian, Rick and Garrett shared themselves completely, from their self portraits to their closing comments. Matt and I, Genie and Jason all helped with the workshop and were photographed alone or as a couple, letting our guards down and letting others in to see more of who we are as people. Lesley, Rick’s wife, taught for half on Friday. She transformed her statements from her introduction into an expressive dance, communicating who she is through movement. How amazing to have all of the instructors/helpers of the workshop put themselves so fully out there for everyone to see. It was moving to say the least.
I can’t fail to mention how great it was to reconnect with the women that I met at Me Ra’s workshop last year in Sonoma. I had been asked to speak a little bit on album design and how to photograph for an album and later that afternoon Matt and I and the boys were photographed by the women so they could practice shooting a family. That was so much fun and I’ve stayed in touch with a handful of the women that attended. All beautiful, all talented and all have huge hearts. Four of those women there this time and it was great to see them in person!
I have a hope from this weekend. A hope that I do more of this. That I continue to share myself in a way that is authentic and true. That more workshops are organized that I can not only help create but learn from as well.
I’m looking forward to what is in store and for the possibilities that lie ahead. Thank you again to Me Ra, Brian, Garrett and Rick!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!