One year ago today I met this amazing group of people.
It’s been a whole trip around the sun since we shook hands, shared pizza, poured wine and wandered olive groves in Italy. 365 days. 8760 hours. 525,600 minutes. No matter how you slice it, I’m astounded at how much time has gone by. Why? Because I can honestly say we are all still friends. Seriously. And it seems like it was just yesterday when we were huddled up in a centuries-old villa in Tuscany together for a workshop led by Jose Villa and Gene Higa.
I know you meet people at workshops or classes and it seems like this intense experience and you think – how can I not know these people from here on out? You say goodbye and exchange empty promises to keep in touch. And then you fall back into daily life and you might see their tweets or peruse their facebook page, but you don’t really stay friends.
Not the case with this group. We were all drawn to Italy for different reasons and goals, but somehow the experience has glued us together. We formed lasting friendships that went beyond our mutual love of photography. I still talk to so many of these people regularly. I’ve flown across the country to hang out with them, shoot with them, and they’ve done the same for me. We’ve shared referrals, laughter, trials and challenges and a few white russians. There have been skype calls, message boards, conferences, mini-reunions, facebook groups, and styled shoots.
I can’t express how grateful I am to have had this experience at this workshop. It was a long contemplated decision to go to the Italy Workshop, and I have thanked my lucky stars ever since. I learned so much about who I am as an artist, a photographer, and a businessperson. The experience continues to shape me and my direction. I got what I went for and so much more. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have made friends in this industry early on – I have rarely felt alone. Coming home from this workshop with so many honest-to-goodness friends, photographers or not, was so much more than I expected.
So, Melissa, Laura, Jen, Yazy, Alicia, Kurstin, Arkadi, Lelia, Lara, Jose, Joel, Kristen, Stacy, Jyllian, Diana, Ann, Bob, Jeff, Troy, Sara, Katie, Cathy, Jen, Corrina, Mireen and Gene – it has been an honor, and I can’t be more grateful to call you friends. Happy Friend-a-versary!
See you all soon!