For the past four and a half months I have spent time in Missoula, Montana at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography summer and digital intensive programs. This was an experience which I will never forget and has given me a different outlook with not only my photography but also life. During the summer I met some incredible people in my group and as well as in others.Â Since today is the final day of the program, I thought I would share with you a blog posting I made on our group website earlier this week regarding the summer and the people I met in my group.
A little over four months ago on an early June morning we were thirty unique individuals in a large room from across the United States and Canada. Some were students, recent graduates, and teachers. Others were fed up with their job, retired, or just taking some time off. While we may have had different backgrounds we had one common thread bringing us together, a passion for photography. On the first day, we quickly learned about our classmates in the introduction sessions as the reality of the time we would spend together during the summer quickly became apparent.
As the temperatures rose during the course of SI, so did the level of respect for each other. Whether it was a cityscape, night scene, landscape, macro flower, portrait, or a creative studio image we became to appreciate each others work and more importantly each others favorite photographer . As this respect grew, we also began to offer suggestions inside and outside of class to help each other grow.
We sought the refuge of the record warm summer in air conditioned places around town, the mountains or deep in the basement of RMSP with the smell of a fresh batch of fixer on Saturday mornings. While battling the heat and smoke of the summer we were able to refine our craft and create images others may not have been able to do if placed in a similar situation. We also watched as some members of the group fell in love with the darkroom, the studio, Glacier National Park, looking for moose or one of the many other items available in western Montana.
In the span of a summer we changed from thirty unique individuals to a family. In eleven weeks we learned so much about each other not only by being around our family but also by looking at the images we created. Each of these images told a story, which many of us will not forget.
But then the end of summer happened and part of the family returned home. School was waiting, trips to the southern hemisphere and of course photography to pursue. In the less than two months since summer intensive has ended members of Group E and F created businesses with incoming revenue, exhibitions in their hometown, had assisting gigs, and other opportunities within photography.
Those of us which spent the fall in Missoula attending digital intensive are experiencing the same feelings those now at home did two months ago as reality nears. A thought which comes to my mind lately is Quo Vadimus. You may be thinking right now, huh what’s that? Quo Vadimus simply stated is “Where are we going”. Yes, home could be the answer or even the Union Club on Friday night but let’s get past the immediate answers. Each of us is set to take a journey through our photographic visions, interests and goals. We will bring our sense of place to others using our viewfinders and film (or memory card) to record a moment in time we thought was special enough to press the shutter. By using the knowledge obtained here in Missoula, we are not only much better photographers, but better story tellers and visionaries. I know we will have those bad shooting days, the light is just not right, why wasn’t I 20 meters down the road, or how did that stick grow out of their head moments and other problems but those we can work through. By having those goals or milestones of where are we going will get us there. Of course on those bad days you know there is the Group E/F family which knows what you are dealing with and why you may be frustrated, in addition to probably experiencing a similar roadblock as well. So as we all head home and figure out where we are going just remember 29 other individuals are here as well and wanting to know what that may be and how you got to that point.