Chris Dickinson Photography Workshop | Taking Visual Inventory

Spending a weekend at the Chris Dickinson Photography Workshop in Utah focusing on taking visual inventory with my camera finally happened in early April. It had been in the calendar for a long time, but the date kept moving forward because of the pandemic. The workshop didn’t disappoint especially with the addition of veteran writer, Jennifer Denison peppering in tidbits and tricks about writing. We were given the task of building a story around five images that pulled something from our hearts over the weekend.


As artists and craftsmen, it’s fair to say that we are always seeking validation of our work. The word validation is defined as the recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile. The word came up in an engaging discussion amongst the foursome in the cab of the pick up truck. We were driving down the winding, dusty gravel road on our way to the salt flats on the final evening of the workshop.


As I looked out into the hills of the sagebrush, I had time to reflect. Consequently, I thought about the people we had met and photographed over the past couple of days. Did they need validation to energize them? What keeps them going to continuously improve? What drives their passion? Of course, the answers were all different when we interviewed them. But, the constant was their openness to sharing their ebbs and flows of their journeys. There was mutual kindness and respect. It was invigorating. Something that my soul had been craving for a long time.


So, at the end of the day, it’s not really about seeking validation. It’s the constant reminder that loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we will ever do!


Below are the five images that I chose from the Chris Dickinson Photography Workshop.

Joe Dickinson working one of her border collie stock dogs on sheep
Andrea Sponseller gets her Clydesdale, Chip ready to pull the carriage and educates us all about how life slows down when you’re in a carriage.
Chris Dickinson Photography Workshop
In the soft, golden hour light, Shane Oliver ropes a calf in the pasture to tag it.
Chris Dickinson Photography Workshop
Farrier, Mason Mileski pounds out a piece of hot, orange steel into a new horseshoe.
Chris Dickinson Photography Workshop
Hadley Hunting runs toward the photographers swinging his rope with his working dog by his side.


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