I have struggled to write this, words are not my strong point. I edited the photos the day I got home, on the sofa in my pj's, but it's taken this long in between all my other work to try and put this experience into words!
To say the workshop was life changing may seem a bit dramatic, but for me it's true. It made me realise how far I've come in 3 years... and how far I still have to go. It confirmed to some extent what I already knew - that there are incredible wedding photographers out there who are doing what they love because they love it, not just to make money. Photographers who are incredibly humble, open, honest and very happy to share their knowledge and passion to inspire others. And it showed me yet again what an incredible industry this is to be a part of if you are with like minded people.
There were shoots, portfolio reviews, business and technical advice which was all fantastic but for me the highlight was hearing the personal stories... how people got into wedding photography and why, what motivates them, what influences their work. It was fascinating. Something Sean said about how he'd felt growing up that he wasn't very good at anything/any job, until he found (music first, then) photography - that really resonated with me. And Thierry's story and the emotion is his images moved me to tears.
I have not cried or laughed (sometimes both at the same time) so much in months... I am so thankful to have spent a week in the company of such inspiring people - both 'teachers' and students alike - in such a beautiful part of the world.
For me this wasn't about getting photos for my portfolio but about learning, being inspired and having a much deserved break just for me. A trip where I got to indulge a few my favourite pastimes: talking about photography/shooting, visiting beautiful places and eating & drinking with good company. A lot of the time my camera was down and I was watching, listening, chatting, drinking or eating! But I did take a FEW photos... camera, iPhone and Polaroid are all here, mixed in together.
As for our 'home'... I will return to Masseria Montenapoleone at the first chance I get. If only to sample the amazing food, homemade Crema di Limoncello and rose wine again! This place is quite simply paradise as you will see - almost half of this post is dedicated to it! And that's just the tip of the iceberg. A huge thank you Giuliano, Doriana and the rest of the wonderful team for looking after us all like royalty.
Gianluca & Mary, the people who put this whole thing together - thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are both wonderful and I cannot wait to see you again in London soon and give you both a big hug.
Gianluca, Pablo, Sean, Thierry and Alejandro - inspirational and brilliant teachers all of you. Thank you for sharing so unselfishly. Hundreds of things are still going through my head! I will continue to try to forge my own path, strive to be different, get off THAT road (Thierry) and get out of THAT dance (Alejandro)!
Antonella & Andrea - the incredible models who went well above and beyond the call of duty to get the shots! Thank you!
Lucy, my most excellent travelling partner, what a giggle we had... even when we got delirious trying to get back from the airport at 3am! I loved sharing this trip with you and miss your face. <3
And last but not least.... everyone else! The Ostuni class of 2014. I have made so many new friends and we had so many laughs. I miss everyone and hope we will get to meet again one day. Particularly the Wine Club! So I only have one final thing to say.... CHEERS.