For the last week, I was tucked into a pocket of Wales with a hundred other photographers; each of us eager to keep pressing our work forward, united in our passion.
This little pocket of Wales is called Fforest. Doesn’t it make you think of tipis and fields, tall trees and secret quarries? Undiscovered paths, dappled sunlight, campfires with warming hands around it, marshmallows crisping, foraged food roasting, beers clinking, quiet dawn walks and a sunset wedding…and, most importantly, ideas being shared, words exchanged, stories, photos, life. It’s what you call “Inspired”.
Rewind to “my previous life” (one I would rarely mention to you as I can count the positive takeaways from it on one hand…), and the equivalent of last week in that world would’ve been a cold, stark hotel. A conference suite, corporate notepads adorned with that little green dot, deadlines, stress, and – worst of all – solitude. That tight grip that is ahold of you, the boa constrictor around your neck. All the things I didn’t want my life to be, and I could feel it slipping through my fingers.
Back to today, then. I say this all the time, out loud and to myself: I’m so utterly grateful for everything that I, we, now have. It’s not the “stuff”. It’s that which you can’t say, touch, hear or see. The intangible. Family, friendships, hopes, dreams, to infinity. I hope every day that I’m being more true to myself now than ever before, and the hundred or so others I spent the week with I think feel that too. There is nothing like surrounding yourself with positivity; people who will encourage, understand and lift your spirits. I know because I married one. Snap certainly brought these kind souls together for this short time. I spent much of last week looking up to the rich blue skies, thankful for my second chance at life.
So, we continue to go about our lives and businesses, but some lessons from the week that I hope remain with us:
Ian Sanders: What makes you tick? Use that energy as a compass to lead you.
Oli Sansom: Don’t fixate on creating goals; create tangents through exploration, and goals will follow.
Jaye Cole: Create an efficient workflow; shave an hour off your scheduled day and you’ll increase your productivity.
Tara Gentile: Understand your own conditions for connection, and use that in your marketing.
Anna Naphtali: You are the creative director of your life; your experiences, things you’ve seen, heard and done will influence what you see and produce in an image.
Lukas Piatek: Allow a few minutes of quiet connection through eye contact at the start of the shoot.
Jacob Loafman: Don’t be afraid to try something new – experiment with new techniques and use what’s around you.
Alex James: We tend to focus on the tiny negative vs. huge amount of awesomeness; don’t let this blind spot control your vision and your life.
Whitesmoke Studio: Keep moving, keep shooting.
Rossella Vanon: The genius is in the execution, not in the idea.
Kevin Mullins: A wedding is not about us; clients should remember their view of the wedding, not ours.
Assassynation: Don’t be a dick!!
Petar Jurica: Break the rules. Shoot the untraditional. Light. Atmosphere. Emotion.
Gabe McClintock: Be in the moment; don’t move on until the actual image that needs to be captured, is captured.
Oh and one last, yet significant, thing; congratulations and thank you to darling Xeco & Rochan, who got engaged at Snap 2015 and married at Snap 2016 – what a beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime experience to be a part of. With humble thanks and gratitude to all of the speakers and attendees at Snap, and to Laura Babb and her team for bringing this magical experience together and entwining long-lasting friendships.
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