an inspiring trip to seattle

Well well, I've just returned from one of the most inspiring experiences of my life so far. To kick off this very long post with a little overview here's a tiny, visual summary of my time in Seattle, via Instagram.

The image at the bottom left was taken by Andria Lindquist, a regram from her Instagram feed.

If you're up for the long version, here goes! As I mentioned a few weeks back, I had submitted an application to attend a workshop at creativeLIVE and was lucky enough to be selected as one of the in-studio students. This whole experience began when Brian told me a few months ago that one of the annual conferences he attends would be taking place in Seattle. I jumped at the chance to tag along, since I'd been waiting for a chance to visit the city for years. Before we'd even booked our flights, I checked the creativeLIVE schedule to see who would be teaching there that week. When I saw it was Miss Aniela, one of the most incredible fashion and fine art photographers in the world who I've always found deeply inspiring, I was thrilled by the serendipity. I'll tell you more about the workshop shortly, but first, Seattle.

We arrived expecting to be met by sheets of rain, but the forecast shifted and the Emerald City actually treated us to five beautiful spring days. After leaving behind the icy chill of Madison, you can imagine my joy upon arriving when Seattle was in its full bloom of spring. Blossom trees waved softly in the fresh, west coast breeze and green grass and hyacinths brightened the ground wherever you walked. To me, Seattle upon first glance felt like a mix of Vancouver and San Francisco, two of my other favourite places. Already I was smitten.

Our first night in town, we stayed at Ace Hotel Seattle in Belltown. Just like the one in Palm Springs where we spent part of our honeymoon, this hotel was a perfect balance of cozy and playful, with a pared-down look and feel. Oh, and a complimentary waffle bar.

We spent the afternoon and evening exploring Belltown, then woke up early to walk around a bit more and visit Pike Place Market before the crowds flooded in.

Then we moved on to our AirBnB rental apartment in Capitol Hill, where we stayed for the duration of our time in town.

Later that day, I met up with Andria Lindquist, whom I'd commissioned to take some new portraits for my upcoming brand refresh. We spent a few very fun hours together while she drove us around to some of her favourite shooting locations within the city. It was a lovely way to see more of Seattle and get to know her at the same time. I've been a fan of Andria's work for years, and it was wonderful to have the chance to meet her and watch her work. She's in the middle of a rebrand herself, so be sure to check out her blog and her beautiful new website once it launches.

 The view from our rental in Capitol Hill.

Now, the workshop. I didn't take my camera along for it, as I really wanted to just be there and soak up the experience. Here are just a few behind the scenes snaps from my phone to give you an idea of what the experience looked like:

Miss Aniela's course was a three-day workshop. The first day was in the creativeLIVE studio, where Natalie (Miss Aniela is her working name) shared her thoughts on the intersection of passion and business, right vs left-brain approaches to art, the process of inspiration, and how to pitch your work. I was completely impressed by how articulate and intellectual her talk was. It was clear she and her partner Matthew had put an incredible amount of thought and work into the course. As in-studio students, we were able to ask questions and it was fascinating to hear Natalie's thoughtful answers.

Day two was spent on-location at The Ruins, the curious and eclectic venue where the shoots would take place. Natalie and her team did two shoots: a Lo-Fi one that was representative of her approach at the beginning of her career, and a Hi-Fi "couture" shoot that is the style in which she works now. Being able to be right there, witnessing the way her team worked in concert together, watching the fog machine fill the room and curl around the model's gown, watching Natalie direct with confidence while welcoming input and feedback from her team, observing the lighting setup and the models' (Tory and Taylor) confidence and the designer/stylist's (Leonid Gurevich) creative genius... it was an almost overwhelming amount of creativity and talent in one room, during one day.

On the final day of the workshop, Natalie walked us through her image selection and a rough version of her editing process, which was really illuminating. She then was kind enough to share some of the student's images, including one of mine and give us her feedback on the tone and direction she saw for our work. She wrapped up the day by talking about storytelling, style, preparing for your dream job and marketing your work.

I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend Natalie's workshop in person. I have to say, of the dozens of workshops I've watched on creativeLIVE over the years, hers stands out as one of the very strongest. Her joy in her work is evident, and it was so refreshing to hear from an artist who approaches her work with both passion and practicality, and who has a keen head for business as well as a right-brain dominant way of "feeling her way" towards her goals. There's so much I will take away from this course, and will carry with me into my own practice. It's hard to describe the depth of my appreciation for this experience, but I hope I've given some sense of it.

If you have any kind of interest in fine art or fashion photography, or are simply hoping to stretch yourself and grow as an artist, I can't recommend this course enough. You can actually purchase it here!

Our final day in Seattle was spent enjoying the sunshine. While Brian and Andrew finished up their conference, I wandered around with my camera for a final few hours, loving the city and already looking forward to returning.

And lastly, here are some quick shots from instagram from the previous week, as I missed my chance to share that week in pictures. I've been working with some wonderful models from an agency here in Madison on some springtime shoots that I can't wait to share with you in the near future. 

Have a wonderful week!