I’m so grateful for the days I came across Joanna, Debs and Emma. When I stumbled upon each of them, I felt really excited – their pictures and the way they wrote about them really spoke to me, and without having met them I knew that I liked and understood how they saw the world. When we then started to chat via email and twitter, I had that odd feeling of recognition you get when you know you’ve come across a kindred spirit. Then it wasn’t just their pictures I liked them for, but also their sense of humour, daftness, adventurousness, mischief, honesty, openness, warmth and zest for life. When we finally met for the first time it was really weird – again, that strange feeling of recognition and that instant bond, the feeling that you’ve already known each other for a long time. There was none of that really-polite-getting-to-know-you stuff, it was straight into laughing hysterically with (and at) each other and baring our souls, warts and all. I think we all knew straight away that we would very quickly become great friends. Since then, we’ve supported and encouraged each other constantly and they are the first people I turn to when I want honest and inspiring advice for my photography business. We’re all so new to this and none of us can boast much experience or expertise in the big wide business world, but we all know we can count on each other to cut through all the bulls**t and steer each other towards what’s right, honest and true to each of us as individuals and photographers. When they asked me to join them this winter I didn’t even have to think about it and counted the days to our trip to Cornwall …or Nerd Camp as my husband likes to call it.
We had such a brilliant time. Due to the good old Cornish fog and rain, we lazed around for large proportions of the week without any guilt whatsoever in our pyjamas, stuffing our faces, drinking tea, relaxing and chatting. Debs was my lovely roommate and I loved lying in our big comfy bed, chatting and giggling like little kids first thing in the morning and last thing at night, hearing Joanna and Emma doing the same thing in the next room, then us all ending up talking to each other through the wall. But we did venture out, planning and buying ingredients for the meals, having afternoon tea in Camelot Castle (we’re so genteel..), bargain hunting in antique fairs and cute little shops in Lostwithiel, taking the taxi boat over to Polruan, drinking ale and cider in quaint and cosy pubs, paddling in the sea (yes it was bloody cold), frolicking like idiots in a thatch reed field, running barefoot on the beach, drinking Extreme Hot Chocolate in Watergate Bay (we’re so hardcore), clambering up a slate mine, standing on blustery cliffsides and eating enough food to sink a ship.
As well as just relaxing, we spent much of our time chatting about photography, partly the business side of things, but also the fun side of things, experimenting, playing, exploring the artistic side of it that led us all to fall in love with photography in the first place. We had a couple of impromptu photoshoots while we were there, when we came across places that were just too beautiful not to photograph, like the thatch field. It was really interesting, if a little uncomfortable, to be on the other side of the lens for a change, and it was really helpful to learn what it feels like to be the subject, and also to see how the other girls approach shooting. We learned so much from doing this with each other. Debs the wily, camera-shy little minx successfully eluded my camera for most of the holiday, and we didn’t get round to doing a proper shoot with each other, so she’s top of my hit list next time!
The trip was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. Primarily time to have fun with friends, rest, eat, laugh, explore and unwind. But it was also incredibly energising and inspiring, and I was taken aback by just how powerfully we all bounce off each other, push each other forward and bolster each other up. The week was utterly effortless. With these girls I really have found soulmates – people with whom I don’t have to explain myself, people who share the same passions, people who see the world in a similar enough way for us to understand each other, but in a different enough way to inspire and intrigue each other. We all seem to know instinctively when to support and reassure each other, but also when to push each other out of our comfort zones. The week was spent in our own daft little bubble, laughing till our cheeks hurt, eating until our stomachs hurt and talking until our throats hurt. I came home feeling really at peace with myself, brimming with ideas for my photography and business, and with a little knot of excitement in the pit of my stomach at the start of our adventures together.
This trip away cemented not only our friendships, but also our photography collective From Our Hearts to our Hands which, after months of embryonic ideas, we finally and properly launched this week. Through this, I’ve got the fire in my belly again, can’t put my camera down and can’t wait to get stuck in and meet loads more like-minded people who, like us, want to make sure we don’t lose touch with shooting just for the love, art and fun of it, and there’s so much fun to be had…. good times…