I have written and erased so many clumsy attempts to explain/process/recap/sum up what happened this week. It's hard to think about it all at once, so I'm just going to start from the beginning and go one step at a time.

On the 5th of November 2012, the Parsons wrote a blog post announcing that they would be holding a Don't Give Up workshop in Brisbane, and that it would be hosted by Jonas Peterson. I had just gotten back to Australia after a month trip to the US, and was feeling myself tear between the desire to be there, and the nagging feeling that Brisbane is where I was to stay, and not as reluctantly as I thought. I immediately emailed them, pretending the unattainable costs didn't matter, expressing my interest in attending.

I also called my Dad and talked to him about it, but both of us agreed that it was a lot of money to spend so impulsively, and he suggested I wait a month or so to see if there was still a space available, and then decide. There were only 20 spots offered, and so I felt the dream slip a little further away as I told the Parsons my decision to wait.

On the 13th of December 2012, they emailed me to let me know there were a few spots still open, and did I want one? (((YES!!!)))

But I said no. I couldn't part with the money.

The next morning, over breakfast I told my Mum about it, realising I hadn't actually mentioned it to her. As I talked, she watched my face and listened, and when I was done, asked if she could say something to me.

"Do it."

I had the money, what was stopping me? The only thing in my way was me. Long story short, her persistence and contribution to the cost led me to, once again, email the Parsons and ask if I could please come.

Long story short again, on the 7th of January 2013, I drove up to Jonas's house, was welcomed with open arms, so many different faces and stories, good food, a Double Dream Hands dance party, and the promise of adventure over the following two days.

With 20 or so people squished into cinema seats and beanbags in Jonas's studio, we began the process of unravelling our hearts, breaking and healing, crying and laughing as we waded through the meaning of existence and the importance of what we do as photographers. A fire that was dying inside me, smothered by fear and excuses was rekindled by a love not limited by rules of focus, lighting, or composition. A love that doesn't care if your teeth are crooked or you have a double chin.

A love that recognises that people are just people, everyone has a story, and that story matters. There is a greater purpose in photography than to take a nice picture. The photographs we make will outlive the people in them.The weight of what a photo I make could mean to someone ten, twenty, one hundred years in the future now gives me a greater responsibility to the voice in my heart telling to me get closer, risk it all, look stupid, get out of the way. Stop missing the chance to tell a story because I am scared of what people will think, scared of getting it wrong.

I still held back a lot with my camera at the workshop. Yes, there was fear and uncertainty, and now some regrets because of that. But I didn't hold back with my pen, with my heart, with my tears. I soaked up all I could of the experience and know that I am at the beginning of my next step, still making mistakes, but learning from them, and getting a little bit braver every time because of them. Things are going to start changing for me and my photography.

I can never, ever express my gratitude to Ashley and Jeremy for opening their hearts to us. I am literally lost for words. Just... thank you. To Jonas - again, what can I say? What an honour to be invited into your home, served by your beautiful wife (thank you Jacqui!), and to sit and listen to your heart.

And to all my new, dear friends - how can we ever go back to the way we were before we held each other's hands and jumped fully clothed into Jonas' pool? We now share a bond that is authentic, raw, and forever.

I love you all, and I know I will see you again!

Whew! If you've made it this far with me - thank you! That was a lot of words, but I still feel I've barely scratched the surface of what's going on inside! I'll leave it at that for now anyway, and share some of the few photos I do have of the experience. Enjoy!


  1. Praise the Lord for discerning moms. Sorry I missed you when you were in the U.S. Glad to see your photography just keeps improving. Every time I think it is gets deeper.

    1. Tanya! Sorry I missed you too, but I wasn't in Kentucky this time :) Thank you for your encouragement for my work! It means so much to me!

  2. Wow! What a beautiful story, and what an amazing journey!

    The photos are incredible too! : )

    1. Thank you :) It really was an amazing journey, even though the workshop was only two days, it felt like forever!