At the end of January I boarded a plane from Portland to Los Angeles in order to meet with a collection of photographers in one of my favorite places on the West Coast. This was my first photographer gathering since the Film Show in 2013 and it was everything I had hoped for.
There were about 150 of us gathered in Joshua Tree for Heck Yeah Photo Camp, a 4 day workshopping adventure brought to life by Ben Sasso at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. We learned from some amazing photographers and speakers including Jonas Peterson, Sara Byrne, Dylan Howell, Lara Jade, Benj Haisch, Ben Sasso, and Parker Fitzgerald. The gathering was kicked off by renowned poet, Anis Mojgani, his words inspiring us to reach for more, get out of our shells, and create amazing art. If you haven’t yet been inspired by his words, do yourself a favor and listen to his performance of Shake The Dust.
Despite the desert’s alien beauty, most days I traded my cameras for a pen and a notebook. I was surprised by my desire to sit and observe but went with it without hesitation. The speakers brought so much knowledge, so many ideas that challenged each of us to approach our jobs differently. When the time came to gather and photograph the models Ben and his team had assembled for us, I found myself wanting to steal away with one of them for some solo time away from the masses. Though this wasn’t possible at the time, I brought that desire home with me and am eager to go exploring and shooting in the Pacific Northwest.
Heck Yeah Photo Camp filled me with inspiration. I came away with a notebook full of knowledge to reference as needed and I was able to get out of my shell enough to make some amazing friendships. I would do it all over again in an instant.