If you know anyone getting married in the desert in Arizona, please let me know. I was recently outside of Phoenix for the What If Conference, and was blown away by the beauty of the landscape. I want to make pictures there.
The What If Conference really deserves its own post, but since I am a shoot from the hip sort of guy and feeling short on time, I am going to do a combo post here. I do not consider myself a conference or workshop type (whatever that means). I typically like to do things my own way, have an aversion to being told what to do, and feel somewhat apprehensive about doing things just because other people are doing them. But boy am I glad that I did not let my inner voice talk me out of going to this meeting of great people. I really didn’t know what it was about before going. And, even after it was all said and done, I had a difficult time saying what it was about. I can best describe it as a gathering of creative people who encouraged one another to realize their dreams and aspirations and to help one another create actionable steps to achieving that which they hoped to achieve. If you are a creative type with unfulfilled ideas and need a little kick in the butt to bring your idea into the real world, you may want to consider checking out What If 2015. The people I met there were genuine, talented, and inspiring.
One of the first people I met when I arrived at the airport in Phoenix for the What If Conference was Ross Tanner. We teamed up to do a treasure hunt in the airport and had a grand old time taking pictures with strangers and searching out random objects. I told Ross that I had recently been enamored with the illustrations on Sean Flanigan‘s (bad ass photographer) Instagram feed and website. Ross very casually let me know that he worked closely with the illustrator and that he had designed Sean’s site. It is amazing how small and interconnected the world is and how being open to new things can lead to unexpected positive experiences. I met so many great people over the several days I spent at the conference. At What If, we ate, drank, sang, helped a local community (Yarnell, AZ), talked, inspired, created, and learned with one another.
While I was making new friends, enjoying the beauty of Arizona, and having adventures at the What If Conference, my partner Loretta was at home with our two kiddos. After a week of general snottiness and sickness, Loretta and our kids came down with a horrible stomach bug shortly after I left for Arizona. I find it really difficult leaving my family, and it was certainly not made easier knowing that they were at home suffering with this nasty sickness. Kuddos to Loretta for being an amazingly supportive partner and a hero of a parent. I am constantly learning from her. It was with some sheepishness that I informed her that upon my return home that I wanted to meet up with my new friend Ross and his buddy Fer Juaristi for a rainy day photo adventure. With only slight hesitation, Loretta encouraged me to go.
Ross, his wife Lesya, and Fer picked me up on Mission Street in the drizzling rain. I hopped in the back of the car with Fer and immediately felt like I was talking with a good friend. His passion for his craft, radiant smile, and enthusiasm for life was inspiring. Ross, who besides for doing excellent design work, is also a talented photographer. Ross was meeting up with Fer not only to see a friend and make pictures, but also to keep up on his practice of pushing boundaries and experiencing the other side of the camera. Ross wrote a little piece about this practice of role reversal – check it out here.
It was a whirlwind week of great people and new experiences. I took very few pictures (too busy talking I suppose).
San Francisco adventure with Ross, Lesya, and Fer: