Way up North ~ Stockholm

I haven't written in a long time; I don't feel comfortable writing in English nor expressing myself in words. But I need to write this down so that I remember. 

I feel exhausted. September was the busiest month since I have been in business but before I had time to rest it was time to go to the Way Up North workshop that I had signed up for. To be honest I didn’t really want to leave, I had so much work and shit to sort out before I leave for Italy, but I packed my bags and got on a 2.40am bus to the airport. 

This was the first photography workshop I had ever attended. Not having the time to put together any expectations, I attended with an open mind. So it turned out this wasn't an average photography workshop. It wasn't about technical intricacies; I loved the fact that no one mentioned what camera or lenses they used because it really doesn't matter. It is so much more than just that. 

500 photographers sat in a theatre, learning, laughing and crying with each other; it was quite a humbling experience. The first thing worth mentioning is that all the speakers are passionate. So frigging passionate about what they do, and I loved that. They all spoke with so much energy, whether they are extroverts or introverts all their characters just shone on stage. The talks were spread across two days and there were 10 sets of speakers so it's difficult to sum up everyone's message but the amount of people who commented on how difficult it was to go to sleep after the first day's talk is quite enough to describe how impactful these talks were.

I never thought I’d cry at travel or wedding photographs. To date the only time I've been reduced to tears by photographs is by a set by Philip Toledano called ‘Days with my Father’.  But when Ed Peers & Jonas Peterson told their stories and put on their slideshow I started welling up. I relate to Ed's images; having left home for 10 years there is nowhere I call home, I don't feel that I belong but at the same time I feel home everywhere. The borders are blurred and the possibilities are infinite. As for Jonas, it was the stories behind his images. The very simple but profound photographs. Nothing fancy, nothing more and nothing less. Each photo carries a little piece and together the set narrates a beautiful story. 

There is a thing that I didn't like about myself: I find it difficult to handle emotions. I seem to feel things a little more than I should. When I'm happy I get real happy, when I'm angry I get really fucking angry. The same with all other things that I feel; I love hard and I fall harder. Now I'm challenged by this workshop and I realised how much of a gift this is. Although it does mean when I get upset it may take me a while to recover, but I can magnify everything that I see and feel. I just need to find a better way of translating these emotions into photographs, into a universe language that everyone understands. 

Things I have taken with me from the workshop? To remember what's important. To express. To compose & wait. To curate. To explore light. To blog & share my story. To be vulnerable. To impact. To slow down. And so much more! I have gone home feeling contented, refreshed & encouraged. There are many things I want to improve not just for my clients but also myself, and I can't wait to continue this crazy journey with all these new challenges!


* I didn't take many photos of the event, because I was too busy listening/making notes/crying. But I did have a day to explore Stockholm with Nichola and a few days on my own, and I have fallen completely in love with this city. I made new friends, went cycling, got lost, visited an awesome photography museum, witnessed a fog storm, and was reminded of how brave I can be and how much I enjoy my own company.