What happens when you go to a photography workshop in Montana?

When you go to a workshop for something you are passionate about, magic happens. I was lucky enough to be one of the 45 selected to attend the Collective Quarterly Photography and Illustration workshop at Chico Hot Springs Resort in Montana. This trip taught me so much about photography, the industry, and about myself. The truth is, we go to these workshops to connect with other people. To show up and say, I have this dream and I want to share it with you. And by sharing with each other, our world, which felt so isolated before, opens up. We are social beings and we need those interactions to prove to ourselves that we are all worth it. That this fight is worth it. Finding that community and that support. There's no greater feeling. 

I felt empowered and inspired and scared and thankful and overwhelmed. I felt ALL THE FEELS people!! And it's hard. But it's real. And I don't ever want to stop being real. I've been told that my honesty is both my best attribute and my greatest flaw. But it's a part of me that I don't even register exists until I do something that scares me. There's a lot I gained from this workshop that I didn't see coming. And a lot that I'm sure will unfold in time. But I wouldn't uncover this life without being who I am. 

I didn't take that many pictures of Chico Hot Springs during the workshop. I needed a breather and I needed the time to collect my thoughts. Oh those thoughts. And this beautiful place. So peaceful and calm. I didn't want to leave. I'm lucky I can at least come back to the Santa Monica Mountains-tucked away from the craziness of the city. I still sometimes can't believe I'm not the city girl I thought I'd grow up to be. There's so much other out there. Other towns, other lifestyles, other people that call to me more than the hustle and bustle of a city. I want to breathe in that fresh air and be a part of that slower culture. And I am. I will. I will make my way back to the places that bring that stillness in my heart. A stillness that is simultaneously ready and afraid. This is only just the beginning. 

Shani LeeadComment