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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

EchucaPalooza '09


While much of what I do on a day to day basis is not particularly 'blogworthy', I must tell you about the Creative Photo Workshops Weekend that my friend and business partner, Glynn Lavender and I ran in Echuca recently. We were assisted by Richard Annable and my son, Nathan, whose teaching skills and devotion to assisting others made me very proud. Our models were Creative Photo Workshops veterans - Caroline Tra and the inimitable Natasha Humble.

While I could go on for many pages about the good times we had, I will spare you the details and allow you to watch the Youtube video I will post here later. It contains some images and behind the scenes snapshots of the craziness that the Creative Photo Workshops crew brings to each event. We don't want to do it unless we are laughing and enjoying the process. Laughter is the best way to teach, and photography should never be anything but fun. So, suffice it to say that each day brought with it many great photographic opportunities, some chances to teach interesting and helpful photographic techniques along with great laughs and wonderful new friends.

The weekend was exhilarating, but exhausting for those of us who were looking after our customers. Each day began with a 5am start and continued in a fun photographic frenzy for the rest of the day. We made sure to the best of our ability that each person had some 'one on one' time with each of us while also catering for the group as a whole, creating photographs and photographic opportunities for all. The weekend's workshop consisted of everything from landscapes at sunrise and available light portraiture to off camera flash and strobist techniques with models. We photographed sunrises over the Murray river, models in alleys, brides in old woolsheds, Paddlesteamer captains, vintage American Trucks and even bearded fellows with parrots. Yes, there were no prevailing themes, only a weekend filled with fun and photographic variety.

This was the first time my son Nathan has worked in an official capacity for Glynn and I and I must admit to being very proud of him and his abilities. No doubt he too will become an integral part of Creative Photo Workshops in the not too distant future. The skills needed to run a workshop are far more than just photographic prowess. To run a photography workshop you require patience, understanding of photography and the difficulties that people deal with, insightful teaching skills and above all a good sense of humour. All of these were exemplified in Nathan over the weekend.

He also realised the rewards of teaching something as passionate and personal as photography. They are the sense of achievement and the positive effects of changing someone's life to a degree. When someone struggles with their photography, or indeed any art form they are passionate about, it can become quite an emotional roadkblock sometimes. The ability and privilege of being able to assist someone in their creative endeavours and open their eyes is indeed an honour and immensely satisfying at a very deep personal level. Yes, the money is there as an income, but the rewards go far deeper than your back pocket ever could.

There were a lot of hugs forthcoming at the end of the weekend and in the cases of some who attended there were even tears of gratitude. You can't put a dollar value on that feeling. Photography has brought many blessings, adventures and creative fulfillments to my life, but this is yet another advantage to being the kind of photographer it seems I have become. For those photographers who are apprehensive in 'paying it forward' I can only say that you are missing out on one of the most wonderful aspects of our craft - helping others to see the world and capture it as their hearts yearn to. But that's ok. If you don't want to do it, Glynn and I are happy to take those rewards for ourselves.

Thank you to all who attended our 'EchucaPalooza' weekend. You made it very special for all of us and we are grateful. Thank you also to Natasha, Caroline and Graham, who was our male model in the old woolshed. Graham, I will be looking for the same Akubra you have for myself mate!
The EchucaPalooza Crew
The Whole Crazy Bunch

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The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller