FW13 (Texas 2015)
Maybe it was just my soul healing. Maybe it was my new friends. Maybe it was me finally being able to set aside the fear of facing who I had become over the last 32 years. But the barrier was broken. The barrier that I had built for myself. Something happened with my photography. I barely recognize my work from these two days of my life. But the thing is, is that it’s mine. It’s dark, it’s inclusive, it’s real and raw. And it’s mine. I’ve seen so many images that make me feel emotion. But I never really thought that I had it in me to create these kinds of images. I figured that I just wasn’t the type of person who could ever see the world in that kind of un-jaded light. But I did. And it is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
Foundation challenges us to effectively tell a story through evocative images no matter how challenging the situation may be – without filters, without fancy lighting, and without fancy post-processing. No crutches allowed….
I felt that my biggest success was not so much in the photos that I was able to capture but how much I learned about myself as a photographer. Foundation Workshops was a humbling experience that revealed a lot of things that I need to work on personally but it also reaffirmed the things that I’m doing right. Although the benefits have been more intangible than tangible, I’ve already seen a stark improvement in my recent work post the workshop. Foundation not only changed the way I approach photography but also how I approach my personal and business relationships; it certainly made me a better listener and observer at the very least. I can’t wait to do it all over again in two years!
The one thing I will tell you is that it doesn’t matter how new or experienced you are as a photographer, the Foundation Workshop is simply amazing. My incredible mentors taught me so much, including how to slow down, to “STFU” and be patient. To look for good light, good compositions, wait for the moment and shoot from the heart. To go for the gold and avoid “good enough” by making images that people feel and don’t expect. From the head to the heart, somehow, in just a matter of days, they dissected me, rewired my brain and sent me off with a completely revised way of thinking and seeing the world. And I’ve never been more excited to pick up my camera.
Foundation was hard, as I mentioned after my the slideshow, but it wasn’t hard in the ways I imagined it would be. I thought I would be critiqued ruthlessly and that the difficulty would come from that aspect of the workshop, but everything Erin and Craig said, no matter how critical, came from such a genuine place of caring I never felt that portion of the day was hard to bear. The hardest part of Foundation, no doubt, came from having to face the parts of myself that were holding my photography back, and having to acknowledge that these places would need to be tended to before I could expect significant change.
FW13 taught me the most important lesson that I have ever learned photographically and in my personal life. The fact that I am a terrible listener. Sergio and Erwin caught this early on and pushed me hard. They challenged me to a level that I will be forever thankful. I am still working on my listening skills, as the Foundation experience never ends…its simply the building blocks to becoming a better person which ultimately turns you into an even better photographer. How so you may be asking? Well it works this way. Your right index finger can press the shutter a thousand times, but if its not connected to your heart how can you every feel something when trying to make an image? The point here is if you listen, and I mean really listen, you will be surprised as to what you have been missing for so long.
I’m going to work my butt off to serve my purpose in this world. I learned that I am in charge of my own life, that I am in charge of my own change and growth. For me, Foundation gave me the invaluable lesson to trust myself completely. To stop fluttering around expecting to do everything, to stick with my vision and execute it to my best ability. Wether it was from my incredible mentors, Kirsten Lewis and David Murray, or my amazing fellow students, or simply being surrounded by so many supportive artists, I learned to shoot from my heart in a new way. Through trial and error, laughter and crying, I realized even more how much I love what I do and how trusting myself is crucial to producing my best work. After Foundation, I am inspired and encouraged to take the best photos of my life.