Your workshop was the first photography workshop that I’ve attended and I was apprehensive going in. I had just returned from an academic conference (I’m a professor at Xavier University) where I was engaged intellectually and inspired by the wealth of knowledge that others had. I was wondering, will Erika and Lanny be intellectually rigorous? Will this be mostly boring technical stuff? Will they care about individuals and not just content? Will I become transformed?Of course a resounding yes is the answer to all of those questions. I found the workshop relaxing, invigorating, challenging, informative, intellectually stimulating, and engaging. I knew going in that you were incredible photographers. What I didn’t expect was that you are both incredible teachers and mentors – that you cared so much about everything you do and everyone around you. I left with not just a new focus for my photography, but with a renewed vision of how to approach life. You wielded concepts of emotion, meaning, and beauty with flare, humor, and compassion. You tapped into my psyche, had a magical way of getting me to trust you, and made the entire experience buoyant and transcendent.
I have recently been doing a lot of reflection about our paths in life. The “Promised Land” is a concept that is found many times in religious scripture: Moses leading the Israelites, Lehi & Nephi (in the Book of Mormon), and other groups seeking the promise of a new life. There have been lands in my life that I believed looked promising to me, places where I wanted to settle and build. The plan was to be a famous painter one day. However, those plan didn’t always play out the way I had dreamed. There have been times where I wondered why God was making me wander in what seemed to be a wilderness. I have slowly and sometimes painfully realized that there have been other promised lands God has prepared for me. I never thought I would teach photography and especially never thought that I would be a wedding photographer. However, as I look back, I can see God in my life and the daily manna of His leading, guiding, and giving me experiences that helped prepare me for a better path, one that I could not have previously imagined or appreciated. And most of all, I am grateful that in my journey our two paths crossed, if only briefly.
I will never forget: buying lottery tickets, getting the butterflies to fly in formation, being more confident in the way I communicate with my clients, and setting standards not goals. I’d list more, but as you know from my notebook, it would take too long 🙂 I look forward to our paths crossing again where we can share book lists, podcasts, and talk about everything beautiful both inside and outside of photography.
Here’s to a future filled with many more manna-filled wildernesses and unexpected promised lands.