Field Trip. In its most basic description, is a summit for photographers and image creators. But it is so much more than that. It's a summer camp, huge dose of motivation, educational, soul building, no excuses, giant hug from the universe.
I attended Field Trip last year, and to be honest, I wasn't sure I wanted to go back. I found myself constantly struggling. Struggling to break through being completely overwhelmed by 300 creatives constantly surrounding me and the brain cramps from too much information coming from too many different directions. Between the rain and constantly having to encourage myself to get out there and talk to people in this swarm of artistic individuals it was exhausting. I wasn't even sure what I gained from the experience for weeks and months after. I did meet some wonderful people from all over the country who I still consider dear friends. But damn, it was rough on my spirit.
Then in the early weeks of registration Posy Quarterman won me over. She would be teaching this time - a person who I believed in and knew had so so much to offer to this industry. This provided me the hope that this next year would be different. Different teachers, different attendees, different possibilities. And I was different, too.
The moment we stepped out onto the grounds, I knew. I knew I had made the right decision. I could feel the energy in the air and in the people around me. This would truly be like no other experience I had ever had.
The days were long, but so wonderfully blended with learning how to harness my craft and talking with other hearts that sang the same song as my own. We chased the golden light and had wine picnics overlooking the ocean. There were bike rides and climbing trees. We circled around campfires and took terribly awesome photos in the smile booth. We laughed as loud and often as we could and cried with consuming empathy with a complete stranger. We ate Cereal From a Van at midnight and danced in a fog of dust like no one was watching.
And we connected.
I connected on a level with people I have only known through a screen, or for only 5 minutes. Connections that touched me so deeply that the memory of that moment will always be held dearly. I did not carry my fear into these days, and it was so liberating. I felt like I was floating through this dream land that brought me in touch with a part of my soul that I had not experienced in so long that I hardly recognized myself.
My one regret: that I didn't photograph this experience in more detail or push to take more photos of people I didn't know. I found myself so caught up in most of the experience that I didn't take as many photos of the whole story as I wish I had. But isn't that why so many of us photographers do what we do? We allow people to submerge themselves in a moment or experience knowing that the documenting has been taken care of for them. Regrets aside, I can't say that I wish I'd done it differently because sometimes that moment you are capturing from behind the camera is the one you are missing out on being fully a part of.
To say that I feel recharged and inspired in an understatement. I BELIEVE in myself! I really, really do! Sure the nights will creep in and I will question everything but I know I have felt it and that is something I can't deny to myself.
So now, after everything said and done, all there is for me to say is Thank you Yeah Field Trip, for everything. I am a believer.