Despite the fact that I love working with people through my work, I’m actually something of an introvert. Especially in a setting like, 300 people workshop on photography where I would have to showcase myself and potentially put myself in the spotlight. So, I really surprised (and scared myself!) when I booked a place on exactly that at The Rural Workshop. Not to mention that, whilst my Spanish is good, it’s by no means great, so the prospect of doing all this in another language only served to heighten my trepidation!
So, I arrived at the Bon Repos campsite in Santa Susanna, about 60 km north of Barcelona. The sun was shining and I’m greeted by a sea of smiling faces as I joined the queue to collect my welcome pack and find out which cabin I’m in. All my room mates are lovely and we are soon chatting, sharing beers and telling stories about what brought us to The Rural (all in Spanish i’m proud to say!).
Things officially kicked off on Monday evening with a welcome talk by organisers Roberto Ramos Hidalgo and Cristina Ruiz. They talked about forgetting all your expectations, being open minded, friendly and getting the best out of the workshop and yourself. This is such a fantastic philosophy and really key to the whole mindset behind the event.
That night at dinner I was sat next to one of the speakers, Steve Glashier who chatted to me about the importance of doing your own thing and not comparing yourself to others, especially photographers! All the inspiration for his photography comes from films. I love his unapologetic and no-bullshit approach to life and his work. He got me thinking about where my inspiration comes from, such as my attraction to lines, structures and patterns which definitely comes from my previous career in urban planning and design.
From a choice of 14 speakers, we could choose 4 and mine were Oli Sansom, Brett Butterstein, Kirsten Lewis and Hafenliebe. All amazing!! Their talks were very different and yet they had a similar thread… To have less fear. Play, create, have fun. Experiment. Let your photos tell a story.
Inspiration + Desire + Freedom + An open mind = Perfect Photos!!
Thursday started with a hangover and a workshop with the Impossible Project Barcelona. We got to pick a camera, then pick a film and go create!! I’d actually never used an instant camera before and I loved it! So different to digital photography. The instant joy of holding the photo in your hand and watching it develop.
The Rural ended on an energetic high with everyone heading to the beach for a Holi powder party and a jump in the sea.
It’s taken me a few days to reflect on what I learnt and what it all meant to me. But I’m so glad I went. It was crazy, challenging, chaotic, creative, cool and so much more. It was so helpful to leave my comfort zone. Now I am filled with new ideas and inspiration for they year ahead.
Thank you to The Rural and all the amazing people I met. Until next year – Abrazo Collectiva!!!