This time last week, I was leaving Paris.
I was leaving behind the city I’d dreamed about visiting for years.
I’d set the intention to visit Paris, and I made it happen. I still can’t quite believe it.
Another intention I’d set a while back was to meet Sue Bryce. A photographic artist who creates mesmerizing women’s portraits. I ended off one dream, with another. At the end of my visit to Paris, I attended a 2 day workshop with Sue Bryce in a beautiful suburb 20 minutes outside of Paris.
It was amazing!!
The Prelude to the Workshop
I’m still processing everything from those two days, and have much I need to do as a result of the inspiration, motivation and determination I walked away with on that Saturday afternoon.
Getting here has felt like a really long process. You can read more about how I managed to get myself onto this course.
Once my spot on the course was confirmed, I was added to a private group on Facebook along with the other 20 or so attendees from across the world. Initially there wasn’t too much interaction in the group aside from the odd introduction. As the time drew near, I made the suggestion to group that the attendees all meet up the night before the start of the workshop. Everyone agreed and thankfully, Genevieve, a French-Canadian offered to contact the local restaurants and secure us a booking.
After nearly two weeks being a tourist in Paris (that blog post is still coming!) the big day had arrived! It was a Thursday night and I convinced my hubby to join me for drinks as the group got together. I’m an avid networker back home, but somehow meeting people from different parts of the world had me a bit nervous. Of course I had nothing to be nervous about, because it took about 30 minutes for the room to fill, the conversations to flow and the excitement to grow! By the end of the evening we were all BFF’s!
Day 1 of the Workshop
After a much later evening and a few more wines than I had anticipated, we made our way back to our AirBnB and I got ready for an early start the next day – the first day of the workshop.
My husband had arranged a meeting back in Paris that day, so I walked with him to the train station but this meant I was an hour early for the expected time of arrival.
I took a walk around the neighbourhood, took the odd selfie and slowly made my way to the address we’d been given.
I was the first to arrive and was told to wait outside until everyone was there. One by one the rest of the attendees appeared and we greeted each other like old friends.
Eventually we were all invited into the Chateau and formed an orderly line greeting Sue’s team while she stood at the end of the procession greeting us each in turn. It was a weird sensation. Seeing this person you’ve watched online for year smile directly at you in person. As Sue said during her introduction, we all feel like we know her, and yet she’s got no idea who we are, so the greeting process was a rather lop-sided one.
After a brief talk, we were split into teams of 3, told to grab our cameras and instructed to present ourselves at one of the 8 stations that had been set up throughout the beautifully stately home. At each station there was a model ready to be photographed as well as a member of Sues’ team ready to guide and instruct us. I felt quite nervous having to ‘perform’ in front of everyone, but I had nothing to be nervous about. All the stations were natural light setups and the everyone involved was so friendly and helpful.
I could hardly believe it when we’d all rotated through all 8 stations and the day was nearly at an end. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.
These are some of the images I created:
We ended off day 1 with Sue doing a shoot demonstration before sending us on our way to prepare for day two.
By now our group had bonded and we were veritable BFF’s, so we arranged to go out to dinner together. This time I left the Hubby at the AirBnB and met up with my new friends. Thank goodness there was at least one of us that spoke French! I don’t think I would have eaten that night, otherwise – the French don’t seem to understand the concept of vegetarianism.
Day 2 of the Workshop
I’d made arrangements to share a lift with my new BFF from Chicago, Sonce, as we had a new venue for this day. My new BFF overslept, so like school kids, we scurried into the class just before the bell rang!!
This was the Sue we knew from her online fame. She spoke to us sternly about pricing our work, valuing ourselves and setting our intentions with certainty and conviction. I took feverish notes, but could barely keep up.
We broke for lunch and carried on for another few hours afterwards.
The things Sue said was not really anything I hadn’t heard her say before, but there were a few chords that really hit home during the course of that day. So much so that I was in tears a number of times and Sue even asked me on one oCafinnate Academysion “Now why are you crying?”. How embarrassing.
It was just such an emotional day, hearing the tough love, acknowledging the things about myself that I’d perhaps been ignoring and also realising the importance of being present.
By the end of the day I was an emotional wreck, sad that the workshop had come to an end and that we’d no longer be in the physical presence of the person we’ve admired for so long. So the gang agreed we’d meet up again and drink to an awesome couple of days.
My Big Ah-Ha’s
I had a couple of Ah-Ha moments that, I hope, will change me into the person I’m meant to be.
I’ve been thinking too small. I’ve diminished myself in my own mind. Believing there’s a limit to who I am and what I can achieve. A self-imposed limiter. Well limit no more dammit!! I’m snapping off the lid and opening myself up to the limitLESS opportunities out there!
Ah-Ha No. 2.
I’ve been seeking external validation. For as long as I can remember I’ve looked for acknowledgment and approval externally to my self. I know that part of me was looking for that from Sue as well. My Ah-Ha is realising that I don’t need anyone else’s approval. What they think is their business. When it comes to me and my work, my own approval and acknowledgement is all I need.
If I want something I have to believe in it and take action to make it happen. I learned this lesson at the beginning of this journey and I’m being reminded of it over and over again. We’re back to the LimitLESS point – anything IS possible, as long as I believe I can make it happen and as long as I take steps to make it happen.
There’s no other way to describe this trip and this workshop, other than life changing. I knew it would be profound, I just didn’t realise how profound. So it’s with certainty, conviction and consistency that I’m choosing to make this a turning point in my career and my life.
Dreams do come true.
What I’m Most Grateful For
One of the things I’m most grateful for is meeting the new friends I now have dotted across the globe. All linked by a common experience and a common goal – to be the best portrait photographers we can be. We really have forged some strong friendships in a very short period of time, and I’m grateful that we will get to stay in touch and watch each other grow in our little group. Go Sue’s Army!