my inspire photo retreat 2013 experience

This February was crazy. For so many reasons! That Blizzard. Man oh man was I bitter about this, but really only for the shoveling part, otherwise it was kinda pretty.

Aside from 36” of snow the next craziest part of my month was the shake up I got while attending the Inspire photography conference in Sturbridge. I am on the planning team, so nothing about this conference should have been much of a surprise, right. Like, I totally knew what we had planned! Because I helped planned much of it!

And yet.

The internal shake up that followed- and that is honestly still going on inside of me- is downright ridiculous. I’m not in a ‘finding myself’ phase, or a total newbie who is really still figuring it all out. I am a 10 year veteran to the wedding industry. I have a BFA in Photojournalism. I have a lot of camera gear in a closet in my studio. I have a logo. I have employees. I have taught photography workshops every month for the past five or six years. I am looked at in my industry as someone who generally has her shit together!

But there was something at Inspire this year. Something palpable. Something that this person on the planning team couldn’t plan for. And man, was it awesome. After hearing Amy Deputy’s keynote at the opening dinner? I feel like it was game over for a lot of people. Game over in the sense that all bets were off, the tone was set and try if you may you were going to just open up and connect with people whether you liked it or not! At one point Amy asked us to all stand up and hug one another! Now I am a cuddle bug willy so I absolutely was thrilled out of my socks when we had to do this! But many others? I am sure there was some discomfort there! I wanted to hug everyone there, I swear. It’s such an intimate and personal thing to do to press your hearts together and wrap your arms around another person!

There were other experiences I had, less tangible, more just having an intimate conversation with someone, or just learning something fun and new and random about my table-mates (Smita! Dirty Ziplock!) or how short Sara Wight’s torso is! Or that Sean20 was our youngest attendee or that Drew from Buffalo’s wife surprised him with a ticket last minute for his birthday or that David Murray isn’t fooling anyone with those scarves and crossed arms he is a big teddy bear with a Mainer accent or that we love Mia Clapp as much as we love our Kenny Clapp!! I could go on and on about how Jessica Pegg whooped karaoke’s ASS with some crazy country song or that Tom Flint made, like, EVERYONE cry.

That Michael Donnor, who came out of like, nowhere, just rocked so many people’s worlds with his ties and his genteel ways and his ethereal other worldly off beat work. In his class- of which I was in about half of it- I learned that I can do things differently. I could break free from what I thought I had to do. I could shake up how I saw things. I could wait for when it actually felt wrong, and that’s when I would shoot. (the thought of that still gives me a knot in my stomach, said the control freak) I was frozen, listening to this Michael Donnor. Like, rooted to my seat with stress and anxiety that slowly melted into excitement. My face started to flush as ideas of how to do it the wrong way flooded my brain! Said the control freak! All I needed was permission from this Michael Donnor guy in his awesome ties!

THIS is the stuff guys. These seemingly little things all strung together make for one giant and life changing experience.

I have projects lined up that are feeding my soul in ways that I think I was losing touch in. Connecting face to face in real life; really seeing people and in the process truly seeing who I am.

To everyone that came to Inspire this year: thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming with open minds and hearts and really truly putting yourselves out there!

I can’t wait for next year!!


interested in submitting a proposal to present / speak at Inspire 2014? Check out

want to attend? But your tickets here at

  1. jue says:

    what a beautiful thing inspire was this year. thank you to all of the planners, and attendees for making it so special. and thank you carla, for sharing your lovely thoughts on it. it’s been quite a ride sorting out all of these thoughts and ideas together! xoxo

leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *