When I arrived at Field Trip, I dropped my bags at my cabin and began the trek up to the main area to get my bearings and to collect the popcorn and gin I’d left in a new friend’s car. Before I could get more than a few metres, a golf buggy drove past and a crew of friendly faces beamed at me, “wanna lift?”
‘Sure!’ I thought. ‘Why not?’ So I jumped on happily, turned around to say hi and before any words of greeting could leave my mouth, I realised that I knew the face just centimetres from mine - Ryan Muirhead. One of my all-time favourite photographers, sitting right next to me. I don’t fancy myself the fangirl type, but my words stopped right then & there. Nothing would come out. So I turned around and spent the rest of the ride up willing some words to appear (they didn’t).
That was just a taster of the madness to come. The first night kicked off with an impassioned talk about stardust and magic, and for me, a sleep deprived Dan O’Day making rhymes about aperture (“f22, I’m proud of you”) in a talk that changed the value I place on my own work and its impact on my life.
Each day that followed was filled with just as much – waking up to painfully slow, but incredibly friendly, lines for coffee from Nice Coffee Co, to classes that made us cry (Jonas Peterson), squirm (the Woodnotes), go “ooh” & “ahh” (Joel Fox) and set those minds a-ticking (Trevor Christensen). From a mad array of new friends, to run-ins with photographers who had seemed so far removed in the social media realm, but now were just incredibly lovely humans standing right in front of me, to alcohol fuelled bingo, hilarity and dance parties.
In amongst it all, there was barely time to think. I left feeling exhausted and in dire need of time to process, but instead launched straight into the trip of a lifetime with two amazing Canadians. And so I went from Field Trip to one hectic roadtrip to 45 hours in transit to photographing a wedding to a goodbye party to struggletown. Actually, I was a complete wreck. Would I recommend Field Trip? Would I actually do it all again?
Two months down, and I can safely say the answer is yes. I’m still working through it all – the ups & the downs, the good parts and the not-so good parts, but generally, I think Field Trip took my breath away in the best possible way.
It taught me the value of humility in Field Trip’s unwilling leader & excellent rambler, Whitney, it taught me that there is no right way to do things, it taught me the power of vulnerability, it taught me to be open & caring, it taught me that sometimes, it really is okay to feel like sh*t. It taught me that this lifestyle I’ve chosen is difficult & precarious & totally worth it, even though I’ll probably never stop feeling like a fraud.
I think the part where I’m still processing shows in this blog post – it’s a bit all over the place, and not at all clear, but I’m not sure when the clarity I’m craving will arrive, if ever. And before the memories of Field Trip fade even further, I wanted to share a teensy morsel of my experience, and to remember all the lessons I learnt.
Pentax K1000 | Kodak Ektar 100 + Fujifilm Superia 200