For The Love – A Christian Photographer’s retreat
“For The Love!” A week-long photography workshop up in the smokey mountains of Knoxville Tennessee! What I didn’t realize until after signing up for it, was that there were only 4 guys in a group of 25 photographers. One of which was my good friend Chris Luk, another one of them was half of the featured photographers, Erik Clausen of POSER fame who was going to be teaching alongside Lauren Clark, and the only person who was really a stranger to me (at least initially) was Jason Mize. Little did I know that God knew exactly who was supposed to be on this trip.
The guys and girls had their own cabins, and when I say cabins, I actually meant log mansions. I don’t think I’ve ever lived in such luxury… I mean.. I’m not the biggest guy around, and I had a king size bed that fit 3 comfortably. There was a home theater, pool table, air hockey table, and internet to boot! Can I mention a hot tub outside on the balcony and tv’s in every room. I’ll borrow a paragraph from Erik’s blog-entry about the week (which I’d encourage you to read as well), because I couldn’t have put it better myself as he describes that first night:
After leaving The women’s cabin at 1:30 am, very tired after a day of travel, meeting new people, and of hours of prayer and worship, I entered my cabin exhausted and ready for bed. Not so much. I cleaned up (see: bathed) and as I was getting ready for bed, there was the sound of an elephant stampede. That was merely the sound of our very loud cabin though, as I went out of my room to see how many people had fallen down the stairs and what amount of luggage was laying on top of them at the bottom, I saw P Tang. I asked him what he was doing, and he said that he and Stick were upstairs talking. So I went upstairs, as I really hadn’t had much opportunity yet to get to know either of them. That was 1:50 or so. We talked for a while, but I just loved them instantly. These were my peeps. I got to bed around 3:30 that morning. ~Poser
In case you missed it… P Tang refers to me, Stick would be Chris… hahah both nicknames that were given by the end of the week. That’s how the week started. THE Erik Clausen, sitting on the floor around 2am, upstairs with Chris and I just chilling, putting dvds into metal cases, talking about where we were at in life and on the flipside, we were getting to know the person that is so much more than just a photographer. I’ll borrow again from his blog just because I think what he wrote describes the impression that I was left with at the end of the week:
When you are designed to do something, you can’t help but succeed. Because of the One who designed you. ”He don’t make junk” ladies and gentleman, and He doesn’t waste passions. He gave you the desires of your heart for a reason. You are designed to succeed in that which you are passionate about. You may not make the most money. You may not have the most fame. But you will have JOY. That elusive quality that separates those people who live from the people who are ALIVE. ~Poser
It is this concept that has given me such joy, and Erik’s passion for photography and life that has allowed me to embrace who God has created me to be, (which appears to include a calling that may not require a camera) and that itself has changed my life. As far as photography goes, this was a week where the teaching just kept coming, and whatever question I asked about photography was fair game to be answered, (for those wondering if there was any actual photography teaching going on, we were doing additional off camera lighting training at 3:30am in the guys cabin on Thursday evening at Jason’s request!!). This was an awe-inspiring week, with the return going way beyond whatever photography tips or business advice I was able to gleam throughout this time. It allowed me to let go, and let God take charge. It’s an exciting time as 2010 seems to be a pretty big year for me, and I’m not even sure just how many changes will come along. I do know that God’s peace goes before me, and as I continue to look to Him to make my paths straight, I’m all the more excited. The relationships that were formed, the stretching of my own picture of worship and of God, and being more certain of my calling are things that have left an indelible mark on my life and were probably not on the list of things to bring home from this retreat.
But you know what?
I wouldn’t have it any other way
Give me a shout if you want the complete story, and I’ll be glad to give it to you, perhaps over a coffee!
Poser in front of the camera, showing us how it’s done
Thank you to all of the FTL attendees, and for your part in my story of life. Y’all are gonna hafta head up to Canada for weddings in the future (who knows… maybe even mine one day. )
Ginny, Thank you for taking that leap of faith in order to get everything put together, from leading worship in your and Walt’s own special way, to giving Chris and I a chance to lead worship in our own way as well. Keep being you
Lauren, although the week seemed to fly by without me getting much of a chance to chat with you, it was great being able to have that last meal before we flew out. I trust that the Lord has done something amazing in your life that week, and I know it’ll be awesome. Keep neighing like a horse, it never grows old whenever I remember it.
Poser, I came into that workshop as a fan, and somehow we managed to leave as brothers. Keep living out your calling and passion dude. Whether it’s for marriage, for your family, or photography… you’re an inspiration time and time again. Thanks for your joyful heart of worship. COME ON! and HAHA now forever sound like your voice in my head.
Life & Light!