It’s over. Yesterday I woke up in the dark of my bedroom, no one else’s snores audible across the way, no tent zippers being pulled, no birds calling or waves rolling in. I slept away the bags under my eyes, and washed the dirt from under my finger nails and the oils from my skin and hair. Months of work for a tremendous, explosive, daunting, stressful, inspiring, fulfilling week, that was over in an instant.
Six months ago, Lizzy and I committed to hosting our very own photography meet-up so that we could share the wonder in our corner of the globe with our friends from across the continent and even further. To ponder over my privileged life and the small twists and turns it has taken to bring me to a place where I have wept for friendships that began on the internet is an inconceivable reality that I experience daily.
To know that the threads stitching this meet-up experience together are drawn from a decision I made at fifteen-years-old to join Yearbook with Michael Enns, where I used my first DSLR ever, is as unnerving as it is unbelievable. I learned the basics of photography in those next few years and was encouraged to be creative, innovative, and look for inspiration in all places. This led me to opening a Flickr account - and fast forward 7 years - I am partnering up with a girl I met online to transport, feed, and camp with 50 other creatives on an island and then bring them back to a backyard bonfire at the home of the person who helped start my journey.
I’ve always aspired to live a large life, but this is something I could never have imagined. This week could not have been possible without the army of friends who lined up willingly alongside Lizzy and I to ensure this week was one to remember. It would not have been the same without the generosity of the Gadd family (thank you Rose, Bob, Esther, Shanel), the Linekers, and my crew of locals (much love Farhad, Tasha, Sandy, Noah, Fred, Monica, Mary ♥). And to every member of this beautiful flickr family for lending a hand, setting up a tent for me, prepping or cleaning up meals, constantly checking in with me to ensure I had eaten, slept, had the help I needed and was enjoying myself, endless thank-you’s.
I may be walking away from this week without a single photograph of my own but that is not where the value of this experience lies with me. I lived in the quiet moments between my shopping trips, hearing the laughter at lunch, the music after dinner, seeing the beachside naps, the golden hour photo-shoots, the hiking troupes departing and returning. In the early mornings, exchanging nonchalant waves and smiles with friends you know will soon be hundreds of kilometres away. The late-nights watching satellites and meteors pass overhead, the warmth of a bottle of wine passed back and forth on the porch, the sting of tears and the hum of 50 voices. That was #flickrisland for me.