A couple of months ago, I saw on twitter that Emma Case was coming over to do one of her Welcome Home Photography Workshops in Belfast. I'm not a photographer (unless you count VSCO filters and instagram) but I have loved Emma's work for years now and was so chuffed she was going to come to NI. A little while later she posted a call out for couples that might be up for being involved in the workshop as a tool for Em to show the workshop attendees how she interacts with her couples etc. I thought, 'SURE (we are tools)'. We could totes do that. So, I stuck my hand in the air and sent her an email. There was a slight air of cringe that came with volunteering to have your picture taken as a couple for no good reason at all, but I really wanted to meet the gal behind the beautiful images I had been drooling over for years.
Emma and I emailed back and forth and she invited Dave and I to come along to the workshop as the 'couple' for the day.
I have to admit I felt a liiiitle sick to my stomach about rocking up to a room full of photographers and people we had never met (minus Fraser. Fraser was there). But, I needn't have been. We arrived at the venue (super-trendy-inside Life Church Belfast) and were instantly put at ease by big friendly hugs from Pete (Emma's husband & Dave's new hair hero) and Emma.
(photo c/o Fraser Stewart Photography)
We had a bite to eat, chatted to some of the local photographers that had booked in for the workshop and got to know Pete and Emma a bit more. I'm sure they get sick of hearing this, but these Welcome Home Workshops really are something special for those who go. You could sense that in the air. The generosity of time, honesty, and friendship that Pete and Emma naturally exude is not missed as the person being photographed. Sitting in on some of the more practical stuff during the workshop also confirmed that their professionalism matches their down-to-earthness.
It was a drizzly day, but eventually Emma led us and the rest of the group outside to take some shots (argh!), all the while giving tips to the rest of the group, helping us relax and explaining some of her methods for getting the best out of the couples she's shooting. There was a lot of laughing and a few tears as Emma gave us some tasks to do and things to talk about together to loosen us up.
I'll tell you this. Dave and I are pretty flat out in life. We work hard (lots of evenings and weekends), we are crazy precious about nurturing our family life with Levi so it often means that we really don't get a lot of time together - just us - outside of the house. So that afternoon mucking about with my best mate, getting our pictures taken, talking about significant things - it felt like the good old days where connection was easy, unintentional and electric. I'm grateful for that.
As if the day wasn't enough of a wonderful time itself, yesterday I came home to find this package of delights in the post....
Pete's 'Be The Artist' Manifesto print that they have recently been selling to support the hospital that looked after their friends child when he had severe bacterial meningitis. Ah, this pair - always giving.
We also got a bunch of images on this beauty of a USB. Here are some of my favs. I know there's a lot. I'm not sorry. The girl takes great photographs.
So, this is a thank you to Emma & Pete for being badass and geniune and for wanting to create a community where people feel really inspired and are their truest creative selves.