Sunday, August 28, 2011

Have you ever watched a movie....

Have you ever watched a movie, listened to a song, had a conversation with someone you admire and been so inspired you have thought to yourself “I'm inspired to make some changes“ ?

This last week I had the awesome opportunity to attend August Exposure 2011 on the Gold Coast. What did I expect to gain from this event? Mmm, to be honest I wasn’t exactly sure. Whilst I knew I would be there with some 80 other photographers from all over Australia to listen to key speakers (Photographers mainly), the exact agenda and plan for the week wasn’t received until registration on Monday morning. Seeing as I was an AE “virgin” I was learning how things worked as I went.
So my journey started last Saturday with a 7.30am flight out of Perth and I had upgraded myself using Frequent Flyer points to the pointy bit of the aircraft. Was it worth it? Hell yes! The difference in attentiveness was amazing…..being addressed as Mrs Manning every time I was offered the morning newspaper; glass of juice, blanket and pillow was really a nice touch. The extra room for my size 16 behind was also welcomed and I could bend down to get something out of my handbag with being face planted with the seat in front. The other bonus was having your luggage come off the carousel first….that was pretty exciting….never happened to me before….I know small things but pretty special small things don’t you think?
On arrival I had booked the Airtrain (really just the regular train that every Tom, Dick and Harry uses to commute between Brisbane and the Gold Coast). Luckily the service starts at the domestic airport as in my wisdom (stupidness really) I decided at the last minute to take our largest suitcase we had just so I had some extra room and my clothes didn’t get so crushed. Are you painting a picture? A suitcase the size of Mt Everest, laptop bag and large handbag so as to carry my Canon 5D Mark II camera with me at all times! I parked my oversized luggage at my side, taking up a whole seat, but what else could I do; there were no designated luggage racks. Thank goodness it was Saturday and not peak hour, so the train was really only half full of Ekka Show visitors complete with showbags and furry hats and high on sugar….fun!
The train prior to filling up with people!
So I disembark at Nerang airport to be transferred by car to my hotel. Total travel time from home to hotel = 10.25 hrs.

The view from my hotel room through a dirty window.
August Exposure commenced for me on Sunday afternoon when I was very excited to listen to Lawrence Chan – Tofurious speak about Social Media and marketing specialised for Photographers. Excellent presentation which really set the mind working. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be able to quieten my mind by the end of the week.

I’m not going to bore you with all the details of the speakers and photographers I listened to over the period of 5 days, but needless to say, I have come away with bucket loads of inspiration and a to do list as long as my arm. There was a little journey of self-realisation too of where I am on the ability spectrum of my photography with great feedback on two of my images submitted for the critiquing session. Now just let me touch on this for a minute…..I was terrified at submitting these 2 photographs, what if they ripped them apart and tore them down with the honesty of what this session was to be about? (Believe me they did not hold back on some of the work presented) What if they hated my work? What was I going to do? Would they make me cry? I thought about this long and hard and you know what? At the end of the day if they did berate my work then I would take it on as constructive criticism and start from the beginning again. Hey, photography is supposed to be subjective, not everyone is going to like my style, but I’m pretty sure someone will too.

So as I patiently waited for my images to appear on the big screen in front of all the delegates I relaxed and waited to hear what the experts had to say. The comments made by the judging group as a whole were very positive and I’m sure I had a little smile on my face as they clicked over to the next delegate’s images. I know I couldn’t wait to get on the phone that evening and tell my husband what had transpired. I guess it’s an acceptance thing, not only by my clients (who are the most important ones to impress at the end of the day), my peers, the judges and of course those closest to me who have always believed in my ability even if I haven’t at times.
One unfortunate thing to happen on the Monday was I felt a sore throat and familiar “face ache” coming on and all of a sudden my taste buds were missing in action. So the next few days were like trying to concentrate while swimming through a germ infested swamp. Not nice and each afternoon I was heading up to my room to pass out in bed instead of joining in on the social evening activities that were planned. Oh well, I guess it had been my turn to get sick as I had come down off a pretty busy and stressful couple of weeks prior to my departure.

Room service dessert....sssshhh don't tell my personal trainer.
Those of you that know me know that I don’t rave on about myself (I can hear my husband’s laugh from here….and see the roll of his eyes) and probably consider myself to be a little shy until you get to know me and once you are a friend then and only then will I open up. During the last session presented by the ever moving Mercury Megaloudis, who by the way confesses to having ADHD, but gosh my eyes got tired of following him around the room for almost 4 hours, I was approached to share something I had learned during the week with everyone. As I had mentioned there were over 80 delegates in the room and I had to get up and speak in front of all of them. I hesitated at first, but you know what? I thought to myself about how the week had affected me and what I had learned about myself and knew that if I didn’t stand and speak then nothing was going to change. I stood, I spoke with a blocked nose and husky voice and shared what I had learned and when I sat down I realised a shift had taken place. I can and will do this!  I love what I do too much not to make a go of it.

I don’t mean to come across all evangelistic like, but it was a personal experience of listening to other photographer’s stories and there were lots of laughs and even a few tears along the way. So I’m inspired to make some changes for the better and set some achievable goals and see where I end up. No promises other than to myself.  They are in writing now so they are law.

I met some wonderfully talented fellow photogs this week too and made some friendships that I'm hoping will continue to evolve.  Thanks to a couple of them who continuously checked on me too.

Flying home was a little painful and I nearly murdered the lady behind me who innocently bumped my seat every time her newly acquainted male friend made her laugh….trying to impress her with his sickening charm. Oh did I mention I flew home in economy? :-) Damn airline didn’t have any upgradable seats available on the way home, just when I really needed that extra TLC too. “Mrs Manning would you like a tissue? The whole box perhaps?” echoed all the way home.

Glad to be home with my family, nothing worse than being sick whilst you are away from home.

P.S. If you have read this to then end - thank you! xxx
NOTE:  All images taken with my iPhone as I was too darn lazy to get out my DSLR.

I hope to take the next few days to recover properly and be back on deck towards the end of the week.


Tracey said...

I did read this whole post and thankful that I did. It was inspiring and heartwarming. There is something very amazing when you can be in a place and really be in the moment. Good things will come of this and I can't wait to see how you grow.

Love me :-)

Nadene said...

Lovely post - sounds like you had some chicken soup for your soul while you were away and now it sounds like you actually need it for your lurgy.
Thanks for sharing part of your journey.

suzitee said...

To be inspired is a wonderful thing! I'm so glad that you soaked it all in (despite not feeling 100%) and have come home with renewed passion for what you do...sounds like some changes are coming in your part of the world :)