Friday, October 24, 2014

Another Coastline

By Cathy 

As you probably know, I am the newest member of this incredible group of women. Their grand trip to Galveston, the one they all have been talking about all week, was planned by the time I arrived on the scene. Oh I was invited, yearning to go, but also had this major hip surgery already in the works; something I was so eager to get done. I was a bit hesitant to hop on a plane, just weeks after surgery, and fly more than half way across the US, so I regretfully decided I best not go. 

Last week I watched their photos start flowing on Instagram and Flickr and Facebook. I saw the amazing house they were calling home for a few days and the gulf photos they were posting. I saw them laughing and hugging as they started to arrive one by one. And I looked forward to their Skype call. And I was more than a bit jealous. But luckily for me I had my own small gathering to attend. 

Two short years ago I took a class online. A self portrait class called Now You. I figured I would learn to get myself in the photos I took. I had no idea how this class would change me, how it would help me grow and heal and learn so much about myself. I went on to take the second class, called Digging Deeper and then I took the year long class called 52 of You; one self portrait each week for a year. Woman from all over the world, over 150 of us, all ages took the year long class. Some were professional photographers, some were moment catchers, like myself, and some were iPhone users. We grew close and shared among ourselves things that were dear to our hearts, things we were struggling with, our heartaches and our celebrations. To call it a self portrait class now seems silly, because it really was so much more. When the class ended last December, we could not stand to let it go. So we started our own private Flickr group where we still gather, sharing our lives by turning the lens around on ourselves. 

Last winter the Europe ladies met in Berlin for a gathering and we Pacific Northwest gals wondered if we could pull off a meet-up of our own. And so we started planning and last weekend nine of us gathered for two nights on our own coastline to meet for the first time. For me it was glorious that it happened on the same weekend, for many reasons. And I felt I could go, it was just a few short hours in the car and one of the woman offered to pick me up! 

It was amazing. Just like everyone here has talked about all week long, amazing. To hear their voices, to know it is okay to have your camera out all the time. To cook meals together, to wake up in the morning and drink tea or coffee in your pajamas and talk and talk. To take walks on the beach and take jump shots in the sunset! It IS amazing. 

To say that this path I am on with photography is astounding and life changing would be an understatement. So, I encourage you to put yourself out there. Be open to where it might take you and who you might meet along the way. Don’t be afraid to reach out, do something outside your comfort zone, connect with people in the online classes you take, people you admire or feel a connection with, because you just never know where it might take you.

I sat with this sweet pup along the streets of Manzanita, Oregon while waiting for some of my new friends to wander down the street and I told him all about them. He was a good listener. I think all of us here at FOL came home recharged and energized, calm and peaceful from our gatherings. And next year… I will be there with them, just try and stop me! 

Isn’t life amazing? 

Love, Cathy


Dotti said...

Oh, Cathy! I'm glad you had your own little gathering but I love that you're so committed to joining us next year! We don't know yet where it will be but my heart beats with happiness knowing you'll be with us. I love that phrase: moment catchers. I think that's what I am, too. And as we catch those moments, we tell stories. Your lovely photos tell a story ... and I love the sand heart and feet. 'wink, wink'.

terriporter said...

So happy that even though you couldn't join us, you had the experience of being with other like-minded women and sharing your thoughts, dreams and hobby with each other. There's nothing like it! Yes, definitely energizing as well as peaceful. Can't wait to do it again!

kelly said...

when i took my first photography class, i figured i'd learn about how to take pictures. but i never could have imagined the connections i have made. it's so wonderful to be able to share our love and passion for photography in person with those who really get it. i'm glad you had your own beautiful experience....totally hoping that i get to see you next year. xo

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