My first class at WPPI was by Jesh de Rox. And all I can say is “Woah.” He has realized a whole new way to photograph. And I was blessed enough to hear it.
He looks at photography as an EXPERIENCE. A good experience. A great experience. A LIFE CHANGING experience. (Even for the poor, unsuspecting man.) It’s not a series of posing and mimicking. His photography sessions are seen as a way to increase love, to protect love, and to cherish love. Even a form of therapy! (I know I sound crazy. But please trust me. I’m not.) I left there off balance when I went in thinking I was balanced. He said that for clients to share their most precious moments with us, as the photographer, we must first share with them. Not lies. Not fake smiles. But the truth.
And that’s when I realized. What I am currently sharing with my clients is at arm’s length. Full of small little lies and fake smiles. If you were to read my blog you would see a person who is pretty much perfect. Always happy, always organized, and on top of everything. Very professional, sure. But I am not in any regular business. Photography isn’t a series of signed contracts and 8 X10’s. It is people’s lives. It is memories. That I am lucky enough to capture. And what I really want to capture is THEM. YOU! And how do I expect you, a stranger to me, to open up your soul and show me what is most precious to you? The love you have for your family? It’s not when I show you my best, cheesy smile, and then a quick glance at my watch to see what time it is. (Not that I ever do that.) I want to be real with you, so in turn, you can be real with me. I understand that I may have to take the first step.
So here is my first step.
WPPI was an adventure. I thought it would be, but I didn’t realize what an impact it would have on me. My world has been turned upside down. Not just my photography world, or my business world, but my WORLD.
I traveled there alone. Nate was in Florida on business, the kids were at my mom’s house. I figured out the airports by myself. (Not like I’ve never been to them before, but I still got turned around.) And if anyone has been to Vegas, it is VERY easy to get disoriented. These casinos are HUGE. And go in every direction. And every direction looks strikingly similar. I woke up at 3:30 Monday morning. I didn’t need to wake up until 4:00, but I was too excited to leave, and I was too distracted by staring at my beautiful daughter who was sharing a bed with me. My flight got in at 7:00am, and my first class started at 8:00am. I grabbed my bags, found a taxi, and told him where I needed to go. I wasn’t going to be able to check in until after my first class, so I had to drag my bags around for a couple hours. Oh, by the way, the MGM Grand is huge, and I was dropped off at the wrong end. I was speed walking in the direction of the conference center. And after walking for about a mile (I wouldn’t doubt it), I got registered and was off to find my class. I asked someone for directions, he quickly gave them to me, I had no idea what he said, and I was off on my way. I followed a huge crowd. And after going up three stories, I found out it was the wrong crowd. So I turned around, and went back down. I had the idea that I wanted to call my husband. Have him tell me where to go. But it wasn’t an option. How the heck would he know? I found someone else that was headed in the direction that I was going in, so we stuck together. (“We“, really meaning I desperately tagged along.) After my class with Jesh, I was off to check in to my hotel. Up an escalator, down an escalator. *Walk, walk, walk.* Up an escalator, down an escalator. *Walk, walk, walk.* Up an escalator, down an escalator. (Not kidding.) *Walk, walk, walk.* I was starving. I was tired. And I was in some serious pain from lugging around all my junk. I was TRYING to follow the signs to registration, but still seemed to get lost. I so desperately wanted my husband. I lean on him. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s a bad thing. Probably both. Normally I just hold his hand and we go. I like that. But today I was on my own. Forced independence.
After my two hour class with Jesh de Rox, I was in tears, as were many others. But before I left, I thought, “I want to be like him.” I wanted to be quiet, confident, pensive. I wanted to have a dry sense of humor like he had.
My last class of the day was with Jasmine Star. She was spunky. A definite California girl. The daughter of a preacher, and she acted like it! Before the class was over, she had everyone shouting out “Amen”, “Word”, and “Truff” (for “truth”). And I thought, “Maybe I should be like that.” Loud, outgoing, hilarious, and confident.
And then I realized. I need to have confidence. In myself. Not confidence in Jesh or Jasmine, or even my husband Nate. I don’t have to be quiet and pensive like Jesh. Or loud and spunky like Jasmine. I CAN‘T. I need--NEED--to be me. But…what does that mean?
So one thing that I have learned from CRAZY WPPI is that I need to find out who I am. More than just holding a hand, walking around blindly. For my BUSINESS. For my ART. For ME. I need to figure out Kalli.
So there you have it. The truth. I don’t always have it all together. I don’t have it all figured out. I don’t even get dressed some days. (Pajamas are soo comfortable, though!) The truth is so stunning! The truth, Jesh said, was not that he has discovered beauty through his photographs, but that he is able to capture what is already there. So my goal is to be more real with myself, and more real with you. And in the process, I dare to say, I think we will get some pretty awesome pictures. Because when I can be me, you can be you. And what a blessing, and an art, that will be to capture. What a crazy correlation, huh?