My Fickle Friend: Inspired Creativity

11 10 2010

At least for me, I love being around other creative folks. It just feels good to me to support and participate in the creative process. Currently, being “between” jobs provides me three days a week to focus on my campaign for my next position in the public relations field as well as invest time in my passion for photography. The other two days I have our 18 month old son at home with me which offers its own rewards.  But, as one can imagine I have a fair amount of “alone” time.  This has its pros and cons.

To help tip the balance toward the “pro” side of things, I’ve started to carefully pick a few workshops to attend which helps further build out the network of folks I know in photography industry and continues my education around my craft. In Galen Rowell’s words from Inner Game of Outdoor Photography (see Reading List), “The key catalyst for all forms of creativity is to visualize oneself as an active participant rather than a passive observer.”

In September I spent an amazing few days with Dane Sanders at his Fast Track Photographer seminar. I am still learning from the insights and distinctions Dane shared during class time and plan on writing up my learnings in a future post.  But one thing I heard loud and clear is Dane’s encouragement to “GET AFTER IT!” In a follow-up 1:1 conversation he made the clear point that it’s better to be in action than to continue reading technically oriented blogs, continually tweaking images and content, and generally keeping one foot in the pool – it’s time to jump in and start swimming.

Which brings me to Matthew Jordan Smith whom I first met through my work on behalf of the Microsoft Professional Photography team.  After initially meeting him up here in Seattle, and then spending more time with him at WPPI 2009, we’ve stayed in touch on and off.  There are few people who I’ve met who are consistently, and authentically, interested in encouraging folks to “always dream big,” whatever their passion. Matthew is a creative force with a catalog of inspired and beautifully executed images to back up his reputation as a top fashion and celebrity photographer.

His example inspired me to just ask him whether he’d be interested in having me come to his upcoming Dallas workshop to help and assist in whatever small way I could. And lo and behold he agreed.  I was gob smacked, honored, excited and nervous all at the same time.

Kind of reminded me of when I got an assignment from my communications professor at college to interview a speech writer and decided to go straight to the big leagues and called the White House to see if someone on the communications team would take a meeting. The agreed and the following week I was on a train from Kingston, Rhode Island to Washington, D.C. – definitely a memorable experience and got an A.  

So, this Sunday I fly out to Dallas to attend Matthew’s Creative Experience workshop and have the same anticipation as my trip to D.C.  Having witnessed him present at WPPI in front of hundreds fellow photographers I know it’s going to be great and I wholly believe it will be an amazing experience for the twenty or so folks who choose to attend the workshop.

I look forward to meeting the other attendees and diving into the participatory process of creativity and learning.  When I return I will post images from the seminar and a summary; also watch my Twitter feed for up to the moment impressions.

In closing, I’m interested in hearing about your experiences too.

  • Do you have a favorite workshop experience?
  • What key lesson/insight have you learned this year from attending a workshop or seminar? 
  • Do you have any “must do” recommendations on workshops?

All the best,


Dallas Workshop Page:

Facebook page:

Follow on Twitter: @Matthew_JordanS


 Note: All images used are Copyrighted by Matthew Jordan Smith