Musea Gathering, an inspirational photography workshop in NYC
Michael Howard, Musea CEO, wants to see a shift in photography education and the wedding photography industry in general. Embracing a deeper understanding of the importance and history of photography and less time on the quick track to success is his dream for photographers in the industry today. His vision completely resonates with me, and I'm eternally thankful to him for sharing his ideas and doing something to inspire that change. One piece of his message is shared through Musea workshops, and I was honored to attend one in NYC a few months ago. Following the gathering, Michael shared his passion for a new ideal in his own words through a blog post that you can read HERE. As teachers for his gatherings, Michael stays true to his mission and chooses photographers whose portfolio speaks louder than their marketing. Photographers Samm Blake, Spencer Lum, John Dolan and Holgar Thoss, presenters at the gathering I attended, are great examples of those kinds of photographers. Through their talks, I was reminded of the importance of personal projects and how they feed my creativity. Samm showed her personal projects, including this wonderful story about Harold Martin, POW, illustrating that when she decided to shift her focus from creating images for her clients to creating images for herself, it changed the whole landscape of her images and brought her to a new level of seeing. Spencer showed us a new way of looking at our "brands" that included seeing other photographers whose unique vision and cultivated personal style is what we now call "branding." He encouraged us to find that style and see that as our marketing. John Dolan and Holgar Thoss talked about staying true to your vision, communicating your views clearly to your clients, and how to survive (or completely avoid) burnout. These photographers touched me as they spoke from their hearts, with raw honesty about their journeys - no fancy presentations, no sponsorships, no big post-workshop sell. They were simply photographers sharing their experiences. Because I'm in this for the long haul, their thoughts and struggles and advice struck a cord with me. Photography is not my side job - something to bring in beer money on the weekends. I have a long-term commitment to being a photographer, to being a mentor to photographers and to being in awe of other's great photography. It has not been easy - I could have done anything I wanted, but when you are as passionate about photography as I am, there really is no other choice.
Musea helped remind me of how I got here, what I'm doing now, and where I want to go. It may take me a little longer than others - I am busy right now raising three boys - but I'm passionate, determined and inspired. For any young photographer who would like to be inspired, the next gathering is in Seattle and if you choose to attend, I’m sure you will walk away with a new perspective on your art. I can't say enough good things about what Michael is doing to elevate the industry and provide great learning opportunities. Thank you to everyone involved. Here are a few images from my trip:
Of course, a trip to NYC is never complete without a visit with my brother Chris and his girlfriend Emily. He always takes me to the most interesting places to eat and this place was covered in string lights.
And one from home: