When people ask me about Phoot Camp and what it’s like, I find it difficult to put into words sometimes. But Stephanie has summed it up so nicely and with the sentiment I’m sure all of the Phooters share:
Dear Phoot Camp,
It was so nice meeting you. I was so nervous to come and be surrounded by such INCREDIBLE talent, but you were all so humble, so kind, so genuinely interested in getting to know me and everyone else, and it just really warmed my heart. The older members took the newbies under their wings without hesitation, and I’ve never felt so instantly part of a “cool kids club” than when I showed up at Phoot.
You guys broke me down, wore me out, and made me a better artist. You made me no longer fear the night! As a natural light photographer, I dreaded having to use lights or a flash. after two days in a dark desert with you all, I have a new found confidence in night photography.
You never made me feel stupid when I said, “Hey will you get naked and stand in this bush?” You just trusted that maybe I had an idea I wanted to execute and you weren’t even gonna judge me or ask questions.
You never made me feel rushed to get a shot. Everyone was so patient and helpful and overwhelmingly supportive of everyone there and I can honestly say I’ve never been in that type of environment. When that many creative people can get together, make art, collaborate, share, and be so completely giving with their time, energy, and ideas… that is something so special.
I hate the phrase, “You had to be there,” but we all know how true it is. To wake up every day with only “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” on the schedule, yet still work and create around the clock just because we LOVE it so much, was paradise. The first night I got back to chicago, I woke up in the middle of the night, had no idea where I was, but I instantly reached for my camera and instead grabbed my cat. I was ready to shoot, explore, and hang out and that was the first real pang I felt and I’m not quite sure it’s gone away yet.
To feel like I have a strong network of likeminded photographers in various cities around the world is truly the greatest gift. You all well exceeded my expectations of Phoot camp and are all very important to me for all sorts of reasons I may never be able to put in words.
And lastly, I no longer fear getting in front of the camera! Before Phoot I genuinely hated having my picture taken, but after four minutes with Chris Butler who really didn’t care how much I hated it in the least, I got over it pretty quickly. And by the fourth day, I got naked and hugged a tree in the middle of the desert for a picture (which is super liberating and I highly recommend it,) so thanks for that.
Please stay in touch, friends. I really can’t wait to keep up with your work and see all the great photos you take forever and ever. Also, thanks to squarespace for sponsoring this and giving us all a free trip to the desert, and to Laura Brunow Miner, who invented the whole dang thing. You rule.
For a full gallery of Phoot pictures, go HERE.