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Back from Camp Shutter Sisters

It’s been a week and I have to admit, I’m still decompressing from my journey to Pacific Grove, California for the inaugural year of Camp Shutter Sisters. This experience, hosted by the lovely ladies of the collaborative blog, Shutter Sisters, sold out in a record 15 minutes. I felt so honored to be part of it. And I can honestly say that my life has not been the same since.

On their blog, the sisters share their philosophy — “honoring and celebrating the beauty that women behind cameras can capture. We embrace the belief that we are all creative equals, eager to share with one another our work; our art.”

Camp was the real life embodiment of this belief. And it was truly magical. I was the only one of the 70 women without a fancy camera (all I had was my iPhone. For real) and yet I was welcomed with open arms for who I was and whatever spirit I wanted to share. The openness and true beauty of my fellow campers was unlike any other. Perhaps it was because the event was intentionally kept small and intimate. Maybe it’s because the conference grounds (on the Monterey Peninsula) were so beautiful and picturesque. Perhaps it was because our camp hosts: Tracey Clark, Myriam Loeschen, and Jen Lemen spent their energy infusing just the ethos into every detail: the placement of each vase, book, and candy jar… all sweet vignettes that nurtured the souls of women who drink up beauty in everyday moments.

But even though the hosts themselves ran the event like a well-oiled machine, us attendees had the permission and freedom of a “camp” experience — to let your hair down, take naps, skip the blow dryer, or the next session for that matter, and embrace exactly what you need, whenever you need it. There were mess hall meals, frolicking on the beach, and of course, a bedtime story from Jen by a roaring fire that had everyone on the edge of their blankets.

One of the highlights for me was witnessing the sharing. Courtesy of event sponsor HP, the sisters set up a lab in one of the lodges so we could “get our pics off our cameras and on paper.” Most conferences end with a closing party! Camp Shutter Sisters was no different — except instead of wild dancing there was documenting! Everyone hung up images on the line to share and the evening was spent with mod podge and scissors, filling the gorgeous camp journals (provided by Paper Coterie) with mementos of camp.

Now I get why kids get weepy when camp is over.

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