Some time ago, as I was driving back from Sydney with the He-Pobke, I had an epiphany. It wasn’t another crazy new invention (I frequently think up what I deem “amazing” new inventions, only to be ridiculed later by Clinton)… It was an epiphany of words: inspiration, winter, coziness, rejuvenation, women, stories, connection, support, joy, laughter, relaxation.
Well, my friends…this epiphany turned out to be Winter Wonderland, which took place this past weekend at a beautiful farmhouse in the Kangaroo Valley. It was my first ever workshop, and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I did, however, know there would be a couple of certainties: firstly, Winter Wonderland would be filled with 15 amazing women; and secondly, it would have to be a three day retreat to truly be the experience I sought it to be.
Everything about Winter Wonderland was all of that and more. And my insecurities leading up to the event (Would people enjoy themselves? Would they get a lot out of it? Would they leave feeling inspired?) all disappeared after the first day. It was inspirational, wintery, cozy, rejuvenating, full of women and their stories, connected, supportive, joyful and relaxing. Women came to participate from all over Australia + New Zealand, and were from so many differing photographic journeys and backgrounds. And in spite of these differences, we shared a fundamental common ground: we were there together for the same reasons, driven by the need to feel inspired.
It was three days of bliss. The weather was perfect, the farm was perfect, the family and couple who came in to model for us were perfect, our stylists (Scout and Charm) were perfect, the food was perfect. Everything was perfect.
Most perfectly, though, were the ladies who came. Firstly I have to just take a moment to thank the beautiful and talented twosome who came to guest speak at Winter Wonderland: Sheye Rosemeyer + Samm Blake. I can’t say enough about my soul sisters. I’ll just say that without these two, it just would not have been the same in any way, shape or form. Samm and Sheye constantly reassured me when I got nervous, participated in such an invaluable way during our discussions with the whole group, and offered such insight to everyone with their journeys and experiences. For that I will be eternally grateful.
Thirdly my thanks goes to the people who helped make Winter Wonderland so lovely with their contributions and skillz (yes, with a “z”): Inklab (the designers who made the website so beauuuuutiful and happy!); the talented girls from Scout and Charm, Yolanda and Renee, who tirelessly put together and made the stylised shoots this weekend so wonderfully unique and playful and perfect; our models (Tangie + Gavin; Veronica + Ben) for being such fabulous subjects to photograph; Take Magazine, for giving us some art in magazine form to look at and feel in awe of; Chris from Coffee Culture in Bowral for the tastiest sandwiches and most beautiful customer service I’ve ever received; and Eye Candy Actions for helping us make our pictures even prettier and lovelier. :)
And finally, to the ladies who made Winter Wonderland what it was: I miss you all so much and wish we could have made it a week long adventure rather than three short days. Thank you for inspiring me with your joy, wit and talent. You’ll never know how much this has meant to me, and to have you experience my first workshop with me is something that is so incredibly special. I’ll never forget that. :) So thank you from the bottom my heart Michelle, Jo, Janine, Amanda, Tracey, Anya, Ky, Anni, Ally, Tammy, Amy, Kylie, Kate, Lea, Natalie, Tracy. Love you ladies. :)
[All photos courtesy of workshop attendees]
And a wonderful video by Kylie Clark! :)