Creating stuff is a collaborative effort.
Something really incredible happens when people start sharing ideas.
I wholeheartedly cling to the notion that man is not an island, and I believe we create our most beautiful masterpieces in collaboration with the minds of others.
I have spent the last week surrounded by artists with talents ranging from writing music, mixing sound and creating visual art. As a photographer, I draw inspiration from the people around me. Being around a community constantly working together to produce something is like going to a buffet edition of Cracker Barrel for my creative pallet.
When I arrived in Nashville, I did not know what to expect. I did not know what exactly I would be doing while there. I did not know exactly how long I would be there. I was playing everything by ear. Friday evening, I arrived at a strangers house to begin a studio documentary of a friend's band recording their latest album.
Even after I had all the shots I needed for the first night, I couldn't help but want to keep watching as these guys turned a rough song idea into a complex combination of rhythms and sounds. Watching these guys collaborate and share ideas throughout the week as they tracked each song was one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen.
Watching as one idea would transform and evolve through the collaborative efforts of Marshall and Justin was beautiful. Watching good ideas become great works of art through the process of creating in a community setting are moments I will treasure. Seeing the behind the scenes work of making a record allowed me to gain a whole new perspective on the notion of teamwork.
Simply being around people with a passion for what they are doing, ignites my creativity.
While in Nashville, I met a wide variety of people who let me tell a piece of their story through my lens and for that I am incredibly grateful. Letting me take a picture is the kindest gift anyone can give me. (and being down for whatever off the wall ideas I have to bring a vision to life - thanks Megan Miller :) for running through a cold river in a sleeveless dress in 35 degree weather)
As a photographer, I thrive off the energy of others. I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on the cycle of creativity and what fuels it. To me, it's people. People are what drive me to keep picking up my camera each and every day. Without people, I don't have a story to tell.
My camera is just a tool that allows me to engage fully with the world around me and communicate.
One of my favorite photographers, Rog Walker, says it best, "Photography is the way I speak."
But if what he says is true, and I believe it is, then I must need someone to speak to. And I must need someone to speak about. People and their stories are what drive me to keep creating. There is nothing more exciting to me than preserving a moment and then having the opportunity to share that moment with others in hopes that it inspires them too.
As a photographer, my story is a collection of other people's stories. Without a community, I have no story to tell. Knowing that, I am honored to know people who allow me to document their lives. I am very blessed to be surrounded by people who understand that my voice is spoken best through the lens of my camera.
Whatever your voice is, share it with others. Tell your ideas to other people and hear their ideas in return. Then go make stuff together.
Thank you Marshall, Justin, Allison, Megan, Tara, Gabby and Igor for making this week one I will never forget, and thank you for sharing your passions with the world around you.
You never know what can spark from one shared idea. Awesome stuff comes about when people create together.