so to share my story of my time at Shutter Sisters Oasis requires me to back up a little, to 2010.
there was a string of events that happened that year, almost back to back, that had me sporting the widest grin i’d sported in quite some time. here are those events, in no specific order.
i got an email from Shutter Sister Kate Inglis asking if she could use a photo of my son reading her book on her blog. i blogged about it at the time, we were so super excited.
so there was that. then one of my photos was chosen to run on the Shutter Sisters page as the “daily click” … and i was just ecstatic. i’d been following the page for a while and was a huge starstruck fan. i wanted to be a shutter sister. i wanted to shoot photos like i saw on there every single day. so when founding Shutter Sister Tracey Clark liked my photo and it was placed on the site, i thought nothing could get any better. it was that good. you would’ve thought i’d won the lottery.
then it happened. i got my favorite magazine, Coastal Living, in the mail in june 2010 and about fell over when i stumbled across one of my photos. there was my son, jumping the waves in north carolina, smack dab on the page of my favorite magazine. printed. right on the page. we had it framed.
i just didn’t know what to say or do. all of these things happened and i felt all fuzzy inside.
that was all within a few months in 2010. then last year i read about the shutter sisters camp, an amazing, fun-filled camp of all women and the shutter sisters themselves, all together to learn and shoot and laugh and love. i wanted to be there so badly. it seemed sparkly and amazing and not to be missed. but i had since separated from my husband and there just wasn’t extra money to run off to the coast of california to hang out with a bunch of women, no matter what learning and bonding would be happening. i tried hard not to pay attention to the incredible photos coming from camp. but i still looked and kept up with the sisters. it was a circle of friends and talent that was hard to ignore. and i wanted to be a sister. like really, really.
so this year, this time around, i simply couldn’t miss the fun. i signed up and for the next few months i looked through my old photos, wondering if i was making a huge mistake. could i hang with these women? would i make a fool of myself? (that’s easy to do if you’re me. seriously.) would i have to share my photos, my processes, my life story? i just wasn’t sure what to expect, and it scared the crap out of me. i asked my buddy, Amy, if she was interested in coming along. thank god she said yes. i had a partner in crime. i wasn’t going to go it alone.
so at the end of october, amy and i headed to palm springs to hang with the shutter sisters at Oasis. and guess what? all my worrying was for nothing. we not only went to oasis to hang with the shutter sisters, we were welcomed in as sisters. all the cynical feelings and worries i had went out the window almost immediately. suddenly i didn’t even care if my skills were at the same level as the others who were there. i just wanted to be. i wanted to surround myself with this beauty and talent. i wanted to soak it in, live it. and i did. we all did. it was truly a life-changing, lovely experience. and i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t going to do everything i can to join them again next year.
i may not be one of the “official” shutter sisters, but i’ve come a long way from that girl who almost fell over when the big sister, Tracey Clark, liked my photo and made it the daily click on her site. now i’ve met Tracey Clark. i even talked to her. and she’s since liked photos of mine on instagram and commented on posts of mine on facebook. it’s all surreal and … real. it’s been one of the best parts: learning that these women i adored and looked up to are REAL. and they are fun and silly and approachable and not judgmental at all.
they’re all that and … to use a word that became somewhat synonymous with oasis … AWESOME.
so here’s a glimpse into the world of oasis. and it truly was an oasis. i can’t get over it. i just can’t. and i’m happy for that. it stays. i hope it stays forever.
the ace. our awesome hotel in the desert.
me in the hotel room. we were encouraged to practice selfies.
the famous ace sign.
meredith, kristin and jen. real shutter sisters.
xanthe. another shutter sister. and she’s about to jump.
our group during meet ‘n greet time.
the scooters at the ace.
the view from atop mount san jacinto.
we were. we still are.