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  • Betty Girardeau

Time To Find My Real self Again


I am finally back doing what I really love and what makes me feel alive. I am in Missoula Montana finally for a photo workshop that was supposed to have happened last August. But we all know what happened to last year's plans. Right? For all of us, in one way or another, life got postponed and we learned to figure out other ways to learn and find meaning. I became impassioned by photography and how it could bring growth and meaning to my life in 2012 when, as Vice President of the Rarity Bay Women's Club I was tasked with finding monthly speakers for our group. Our President that year expressed an interest in photography and I found a local Knoxvillian who was more than qualified to come and speak to us about his photography exploits...Paul Hassell. What followed for me was, first, a personal relationship with Paul that included four photography workshops: two in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one in the Tetons, and another in the west that included Zion Park, the Grand Canyon, and the awesome areas that included the Antelope Canyons. Since then I have gone with others on photo workshops to Hawaii, New York City, Chicago, Charleston S.C., Old Car City, Georgia, and Costa Rica. From each I have learned so much about how best to use my camera to share feelings and ideas. And from each I have come away with new friends and colleagues. But the year plus of Covid took what had been my yearly learning and growing experiences from me. I did find other avenues to grow and continue to become...being a census taker, and now a Mobile Notary. But they were/are not the same as being with a group of like minded photography enthusiasts. These, at least to me, are very special people. I always learn so much from their perspective of the same things that I am seeing. Some of them have become my forever friends. So this week I am in a happy place, though this workshop entitled "The Art of the Story" I am right now, finding a bit daunting. I am being encouraged and pushed to find new ways to take my camera and use it in ways I had not considered too much previously. Today we started with what, to me, seemed overwhelming since I have always taken my camera to scenic locations or plants more often than not. I am not comfortable creating the kinds of images that have actually always captivated me, like those from Life magazine or the National Geographic. But I have high hopes for the week. I know I will become a better photographer regardless. I know that I will make new and long-lasting friends. And I know that I love being challenged. Today's picture is from our shoot this afternoon at the skate park in Missoula. I have never seen people actually doing this sort of scary stuff live. Tomorrow we are off to environment that seems more usual to me, fairs. Should be both fun and challenging.

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