We often talk about how the sum of all things we are – is the community of people that surround us in our life. Without community, without others – we are all less. Less successful. Less inspired. Less engaged. And well…things are just less meaningful. Joy is so much more when it is shared.
And as a photographer…while I can go it alone…I am better for the many people in my life that have greatly enriched my life as a photographer because they have shown up for me and our community of photographers here in Colorado. And I have shown up for them…in good business years – and the more challenging times…and time has proven to me – that going it alone is just that…lonely.
When we started our photography business over 5 years ago…I was alone. I certainly didn’t consider myself to be a professional – and the idea of engaging with other photographers, quite frankly, scared me. I imagined all of these “photographers” to be a tightly knit group of industry insiders. I imagined that they’d all sit in a corner talking about how little the new girl knew…In 2006 – I finally was brave enough to emerge from the shadows and actively participate in our photography community. Katie VanBuren and Pictage stepped forward to create the PUG (Pictage User Group) and I, reluctantly, signed up to show my face as a…gasp…“professional photographer”. I remember being sooooooo nervous. What if they asked me if I went to school for photography? What if they asked a technical question I couldn’t answer? What if they knew I was new to this business?
But – on that day I decided to SHOW UP. And that made all of the difference. And I am forever grateful to Katie Van Buren for changing my life -changing my community and changing the course of my photography career…all for a single meeting I decided to show up for.
You see…I believe our photography community is only as strong as the number of us that are willing to show up and be present in it. Really present. Not present for yourself and what you can gain…but for how you can best be a member in a community by sharing your inspiration, excitement and energy…and really SHOW UP. Every single person has something to offer in any community…and the more of us that are present – the more we are capable of doing.
This year, I’ve been asked to serve on the board of Mile High Photographers. It is a local organization that was spearheaded by 3 amazing local photographers over 3 years ago and has grown to over 600 participants in the online forum. This Wednesday, January 19th is the first meeting of a new exciting year. If you think you want to get to know people in our industry…now is the time to get involved and show up. If you’ve been reading this blog and are hiding…make this your time to show up. If you are veteran that has gone it alone for too long…show up. Become a member and commit to showing up in 2011.
(To join as a member prior to Wednesday…complete a membership form here – it’s $65 for a year of meetings and events: http://www.mhphotographers.ning.com)
And so, in 2011…I have chosen to show up. This year I am prioritizing taking time to be available to my photography community. And I’m excited to see what the year will bring…
I hope you show up too.
(PS – about that photo up above…that was a group photo from the very first workshop I had ever attended – Mike Colon taught it…and if you can figure out which one I am (hint: two arms waving in air and I look far too enthusiastic…) you will definitely see that I.WAS.NOT.COOL. Oh…good lord!)