By the Bonfire @ Camp Shutter Sisters, Monterey, CA
Storytime by the bonfire was my defining moment at Camp Shutter Sisters in October. Jen Lemen, the amazing, beautiful and soulful Jen Lemen, told us a bedtime story that night. It was a story I knew because I have been reading her writing for years on her blog. I remember being in such awe hearing about it the first time that I had to be a part of it all somehow.
The story she shared that night was about giving ourselves permission. Permission for what? Anything we wanted. What a concept that is. You mean I can do anything I want, no restrictions, no judgement? What would that look like? My own self-criticism and fear of what others think of me has held me back for so long. The family member who criticizes my photos, the friend that asks 'why are you going on a trip with strangers, aren't you done growing yet?", they are the ones who just don't get it. The truth is, they don't matter. What matters is what I think. What my supporters think. I really hope to continue developing friendships with some of the women I met at camp, who just seem to understand this need to show my life through my lens.
I attended Camp Shutter Sisters hoping to find my soulmates in photography. It was total camp. I had a roommate, ate questionable food in the cafeteria and stayed up too late with friends chatting. There were a few cliques, moments of butterflies in the stomach, and feeling fulfilled again. There was that, but also moments of distance. For me, photography really is a solitary sport. Being together with others, seeing their work, understanding their process, and sharing some of mine really did open me up for new worlds ahead. Worlds I don't even have a concept of. Giving myself permission now to just live.
Live without judgement. Live without fear. Just Live.