Wow, what a weekend. My head is a-jumble with thoughts and ideas after The Vancouver Gathering workshop with David duChemin. I’ve been jotting notes and journaling the last couple of days to sort things out. A few things are becoming more clear but I think it’s going to take a while for all of the ideas to settle.
A few first impressions…
First off, David is as personable and fun in real life as he is in his books. His teaching style is casual and engaging, leaving room for discussion of other points of view. I loved that. I would much rather be challenged to think for myself than to be told, “This is the only way.” While I started the weekend nervous to be in the same room with him, seeing him as this person I’ve looked up to for so long, by the end of the weekend I felt like I could sit down and converse with him on any topic that might come up. David offered portfolio reviews the day before and after the workshop. I didn’t elect to do it this time, but if I ever do another workshop and go for the portfolio review, I would definitely do it on the day after the workshop instead of the day before. I would get so much more out of the focused time after letting my nervousness subside.
The group interaction and dynamic was fabulous. I met so many interesting people with a passion for photography. And surprisingly, not one of the people I talked to were practicing photography as their full time job. Most of them were like me… people with other jobs that pay the bills. Some of us do have photography-related businesses, but we primarily practice photography because we love it. And because we all resonate with David’s writing, we start with something in common in terms of looking at photography beyond the technical details. We all want to get better at what we do, creating images that express ourselves and resonate with others. Through the workshop we learned together and discuss how to do that. I hope to stay in contact with many of these folks on into the future, learning through their work too.
Finally, the most surprising thing I realized this morning is that I probably learned more about myself from the workshop than any of the specific topics David covered. He talked a lot about inspiration and creativity. He covered vision. He talked through the visual language and how we can use it, using the material from his most recent book, Photographically Speaking, as the basis for discussion. But what surprised me the most was how incredibly validating it was to have him teaching us things in this workshop about vision and inspiration that I already have incorporated in my Find Your Eye courses. Things I have learned for myself and shared on the blog. Um, wow. There might be something to these things I share, if someone else, someone with much more experience and knowledge, is sharing them too. I was also surprised about the passion I felt in some of the discussions that came up throughout the two days. There is more for me to learn through exploring my personal reactions to certain topics that sparked a strong response in me.
There is much, much more about this workshop that will come out over time. Until then, I’ll just say it was a wonderful weekend and I’m so very happy I went. If you ever have the opportunity to do a workshop or a trip with David, snap it up. It’s time well spent.