Monday, February 24, 2014

For the Love of Collaboration

by Terri

If friends were flowers, I'd pick you.

Can you believe that almost two months of 2014 are already behind us? I swear, every year seems to speed by faster than the last. Since my January post was the delightful interview of Deanna Swauger, this is my first chance to congratulate all of my fellow collaborators on our two-year anniversary here at FOL. 

According to the dictionary, to collaborate is to work with another person or group to produce or create something. When we first started this collaboration, to quote Tracey Clark, someone who I credit for bringing most of us together, “we didn’t know what it was going to be but we knew it was going to be great!” And great it has been, for so many reasons.

As Holly Clark (soupatraveler) said in a recent post about collaborations on Mortal Muses, “Coming together as a collective group often results in not only great beauty, but also great friendships.” Each of the amazing collaborators here at FOL brings their own special and unique qualities, their own talents and viewpoints, to the group. As you probably know and have undoubtedly read here on several occasions, prior to the beginning of this collaboration, none of us knew each other except for online.  We were from all over the country and at many different stages in our lives. It was our love for photography that brought us together but it is the love for each other that keeps us together.

The first of my now “life sisters” that I had the pleasure of meeting was Susan. I had “met” her in a few online classes and admired her work and we struck up a friendship. We discovered that we were both going to Camp Shutter Sisters in October of 2011 in Monterey, CA and that her flight was bringing her through Phoenix. We met at the airport and by the time we landed in Monterey, we were lifelong friends. During the flight, I told her about the idea of starting a collaborative blog and wondered if she would be interested in joining us and she agreed. 

In January of 2012 Focusing on Life was born. In March, I got an email from Deanna that she would be in town visiting friends and would like to get together and go down to Tucson to meet up with a mutual online friend for a photo day together. When I picked Deanna up, the friends she was staying with came out to be sure I wasn’t an ax murderer before they let Deanna go with me!  But she and I already “knew” each other.  After our two hour drive to Tucson and back, you guessed it . . . lifelong friends.  

In April, I was heading to Dallas to visit my son and contacted Leigh and Stephanie to see if they would like to meet up at the Dallas Arboretum for the annual Dallas Blooms exhibit. They agreed to pick me up and the second they stepped out of the car, we wrapped each other in a big bear hug like long-lost friends. It was like we’d known each other for years.

Then several of us decided to attend Shutter Sisters’ Oasis in Palm Springs in October of 2012. Dotti and Deanna flew into Phoenix and drove with me. Again it was like we’d known each other for a long time, although this was the first time I had met Dotti and Linda. Being with five of my “life sisters” was such a treat!

In August of last year we decided to have our own get together in Chicago where Deanna could be our tour guide.  Unfortunately only six of us were able to be there, but I got the chance to meet three more of my “life sisters”, Carol, Kelly and Kim.

We all posted about this experience, both here and on own blogs, and if you read any of them you know what a wonderful experience this was. We were kindred spirits, bonded over our love of photography and this little blog that we contribute to. 

So we knew we had to plan another FOL get together for 2014, this time hoping to have everyone there. The rest of us have yet to meet our life sister Judy but we know it will be the same when we do meet, like we've known each other for a long time. I think all of us who were in Chicago talking about how wonderful it was persuaded those who weren’t able to be there that they didn’t want to miss another meet-up!  We’ve even added an extra day because we found out in Chicago that three days just wasn’t long enough. So in October of this year, we will be getting together in Galveston, Texas where Kim will be our tour guide.  We have rented a big house on the beach that will accommodate all of us and we’re dreaming of morning sunrises and coffee on the deck, daytime adventures in town and evening sunsets and walks on the beach, lugging our camera gear and tripods (Kim says they’re a necessity!) If you follow Kim’s blog Picking Poppies, you know that her sunrise shots on the beach are legendary!

All images above from Google Images.

But more important than all the photographs we will take is that we will be enjoying each other’s company and creating a lifelong bond of mutual love and respect for each other.

If this sounds like a “love letter” to the rest of the wonderful ladies in this group, well I guess it kind of is. And what better occasion than our two-year anniversary to tell them how much I love, admire and appreciate each of them and how grateful I am that they are here sharing themselves and their talent.  Collaborative efforts can be created out of friendships or often create them and this collaboration at FOL has created friendships beyond our wildest imagining.

I hope we have conveyed our wish to also connect with you, our readers. We love nothing more than having you comment on our posts and on our Facebook page, letting us know your thoughts and sharing your photos in the FOL Flickr groups.  We are here because we care about each other but also because we care about you. On the occasion of our second anniversary, we wanted to let you know that. It is our hope that we will all be here for many more years to come.


Karen Main said...

Happy 2nd Anniversary everyone.
I adore this blog and you inspire my photography and more importantly you have shown me the incredible joy and creative expansion that can be born form collaboration.

AFishGirl said...

Happy second anniversary! What a beautiful post, Terri, and so good to see these shots of you guys together. Ah, good stuff. Good stuff. Onward you go...

kelly said...

well my goodness terri...what a beautiful way to start a monday morning. as i've always said, it's such an honor and i am so blessed to have met all of my sisters here. so looking forward to seeing everyone in galveston. thank you terri for creating this space where we can all come together. to learn and to grow. to make friendships. a huge source of joy in my life. xo

Carol said...

I couldn't agree more with what Kelly just said. This has added to my life in so many ways - improving my writing, my photography, and inspiring my passion. Collaboration is wonderful, because we each have the time and space to write, without the daily pressure. It also makes for a more interesting blog because of the different points of view. It makes us readers as well as authors - and I too look forward to it every day, just as I look forward to my contemplative mornings writing my little piece. And the friendships all over the Americas and Europe, are priceless. Galveston will afford us the pleasure of all being in one house - one big 4-day slumber party! - with time to hang out and create - I am really looking forward to it.
Happy 2nd anniverary all! Here's to a great 3rd year!

Linda said...

So very sweet, really touched my heart! This collaboration has been so inspiring for so many different reasons! It's good to be a part of something that feels like a warm hug! Thank you Terri, for all your support and encouragement these past 2 years! Onward!

Barb Brookbank said...

A very Happy 2nd Blogversary!! I'm so glad that I found FOL! It has inspired me in so many ways, not the least of which was meeting many of you in Arizona. I hope (know) you will have an incredible time in Galveston - sounds like a dream!

Dotti said...

Oh, my! What can I add to what has already been said? Like Terri, I've met everybody except Judy and Katie {and Katie, I'm still hoping you'll pop into Galveston on a magic carpet for at least a day!} and fingers crossed that Judy does get to join us in Galveston, I know she's trying very hard! Yes, these women here on our blog and those who've 'retired' are so dear to my heart, like family, really. They inspire me in my photography and in my life. I am a better person for knowing them ... and for 'meeting' each of our readers, whom we cherish, when you take the time to stop and say hello. Words cannot tell you what that means to each of us. As we share a piece of ourselves with you, we are inspired and empowered when you share a piece of yourselves with us. Let's have a virtual {{ GROUP HUG }}! Such feel-good post, Terri. Thank you, my friend and sister.

Kim Stevens said...

Well if this isn't the most wonderful post to start a Monday!! It warms my heart to be part of this with all of you, my life sisters, and fellow followers and friends, because like Carol said, I (we) are just as much readers as everyone else. I love being a part of this community, and am beyond excited for our get together in my neck of the woods, I mean ocean. And, thank you Terri!! xo

terriporter said...

I'm just popping in here and reiterating what Dotti said -- Judy, we all are waiting with baited breath to hear if you are going to be able to join us in Galveston and Katie, we would so love it if you could come for just a day or two. ALL of us being together would be such a dream come true!

Deanna said...

What a fun, fun start to the week. Seeing all these pictures of us brings back such great memories and times spent together and so looking forward to more times when we meet in Galveston. This group has brought such a joy into my sometimes lonely life, such a wonderful supportive group of women that continue to touch my life daily. Thank you, Terri for this beautiful reminder of what this group has meant to so many of us. Big group hug!!

susan said...

what a beautiful post to wake up to! terri…this just warms my heart and soul…reading this…loving that photo of us (i need that please to keep in my little studio close by!) and how special it is to be a part of this group of like minded souls. kisses and hugs to everyone and yes…happy anniversary!

Claudia said...

Congrats to you guys for carrying on with the vision! you do such a beautiful job and some day I hope to join some of you in a photographic adventure too!.

Hugs to you all. Happy Anniversary!

Cathy H. said...

Beautiful post, beautiful story, BEAUTIFUL LADIES! Happy 2nd anniversary!

terriporter said...

Claudia, how great to see you here! For those of you who don't already know, Claudia was one of the founders of FOL and we miss her presence here so much! Thanks, Claudia, for stopping in to wish us a happy anniversary and remember, we couldn't have done it without you!

Corinna said...

what a beautiful post, Terri. I love to read about your collaboration, your dreams coming true, your wonderful project of a group meeting in October and the wonderful friendship you all share. Happy anniversary!!!

Anonymous said...

I have so much admiration for your making your dream come alive! Happy Second Anniversary!

Linda/patchwork said...

Happy Anniversary!!
I love reading all your posts and seeing all those lovely photos. It's inspiring!
You'll have a great time in Galveston.
Welcome to Texas.

Sherry said...

Happy 2nd anniversary! As others have said - you will have a great time in Galveston! Hope you get to travel the entire island, ride the ferry, and visit the bay side as well (I'm near Galveston). I've enjoyed your beautiful images on this site.

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