I wrote this post almost 7 months ago, and I never posted it, it's sat here as a draft, and now I read it back i'm not sure why I was afraid. A Bit More Soul was in November 2015, it was the start of the wedding season and I had my biggest summer yet in front of me. The wedding season is now well wrapped up, so it's nice to be reflecting on ABMS and have its lessons encase the whole summer.
Here's what I wrote back in November;
When friends asked me why I was going to A Bit More Soul I'd mutter something vague along the lines of continuing education and networking. Lame business wank words, I know. The truth is I just really wanted to go, all the gushing from people who had been previous years was quite convincing. I just wanted to meet these people and hope for some type of osmosis effect.
There was some secrecy surrounding the location of ABMS, but we'd been dropped a few clues and I strongly suspected d'Urville island. My boss then told me the story of the french explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville and how he navigated his ship through the treacherous waters of the French Pass. I was intrigued by this body of water with it's fast tidal flows and whirlpools. On the way there the hills were carpeted in a thick fog and I couldn't see down into the sounds, but on the way out we had a sunny sky. I craned my neck as we twisted around the hills to look down into the pass, it didn't disappoint.
When I got back 'from the Island' and friends asked me what it had been about, I would get really stuck, how do you sum up ABMS in a sound bite? Once I'd start trying to explain it I couldn't shut up about it.
We were all somehow instantly in this really safe place, where these amazing folks were giving talks about their creative journeys, and completely baring their souls to a room full of people, a lot of whom hadn't meet each other before. It was immensely confrontational, emotional, and empowering. There's something quite shocking about being given permission to be just exactly who you are, with your flaws, and baggage, and hangups, and to just talk, skipping straight past the bullshit. Creative people can be awfully shit at small talk. It's such a weight off to come to terms with the idea that you are not for everyone, just as not everyone is for you.
Trust and vulnerability were, for me, the most powerful messages of ABMS. It can be so confrontational being photographed, I know it makes me very uncomfortable. Photography is this contract we make with each other, you trust me to tell your story in an honest and beautiful way, but for me to do that well you have to be vulnerable, authentic, and wear your heart on your sleeve. You trust in my interpretation of you. A portrait can say as much about the photographer as it can the subject. And so the onus is on me, to be vulnerable, to trust you. Is this how collaborative creativity thrives?
I've come away from this very determined to do the most I can with what I have, no more excuses or waiting for the perfect conditions. I just have to get shit done and go about the task of achieving my dreams. I'm going to push myself to get uncomfortable more.
There was a lot of photo taking. As usual I can never pick what camera to take away with me, so below is a mix of digital from my Fuji X100s & Canon 5DIII, and some 35mm Film.