If you work as a creative in any form, you know what I mean when I say that sometimes you need the artistic version of a swift kick in the pants.
Things grow stale. You lose inspiration, struggle to find new ideas, and become sluggish both mentally and physically.
You need something to ignite that spark again. Not the spark that says, “Let’s do this!” It’s more of that spark that says, “My goodness, look at the beauty there. You must capture it and then recreate it!”
I’m familiar with that physical motivation spark. It’s gotten me through almost a dozen half marathons. But that creative spark is new territory for me. I often feel it is much, much harder to ignite once it begins to fizzle.
So I went to Italy.
I’ve attended a food photography workshop as continuing education for the past three years. They have all been great. But this year, I knew I wanted to attend one outside of the U.S.
And no offense to my fellow American colleagues, but I wanted one that was hosted outside the U.S., not a group from here traveling somewhere together to photograph.
I travel a lot and have lived abroad for a reason. Other people of other cultures inspire me. It’s something you can’t fully experience when you are with your buds of the same country experiencing another. I wanted to expand my knowledge of food photography with people who were unfamiliar with my experiences, and I with theirs.
I’d followed Meeta for a while and when I saw her announcement of her workshop in Rome for May, I immediately knew it was the right fit for this year.
This was my first trip to Italy and I did a lot in the week I was there, but this post is a little recap of my two days in Torri in Sabina, about 40 minutes outside of Rome, and how my creative energy was influenced along the way.
I arrived straight from a day trip in Florence where I spent most of my time cursing the presence of tourists, knowing full well that I was nothing more than one myself. I wasn’t quite sure how to vent my frustration, but soon found all I needed to do was start taking (more) pictures.
The second I arrived and I put down my bag, I grabbed my camera. Hoping no one would mind, I started taking bowls of fresh fruits out to the patio to photograph in the late afternoon light. Peace was instantly restored.
The location of the workshop was everything you would picture in your head when someone tells you that you will be photographing at a cottage house in a hillside Italian town. Baskets, shutters, olive trees, cattle in the distance, farm dogs barking, and views of villages that, until this point in my life, I’d only seen in photos, despite my extensive travel.
Picturesque doesn’t begin to describe it.
So instead of describing it all with words. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Just know that I met many outstanding people from around the world, learned new techniques for my work, ate delicious things like buckwheat crepes with fresh cherry compote and caponata with preserved egg yolks while drinking things like homemade elderberry syrup spiked with Prosecco (my biggest compliments to the chefs – Rissa and Libby).
We learned about olive oil (the one thing this region does very, very well, as I heard many times), saw roughly 2000 year old olive trees, and then had the freedom to roam a local restaurant and photograph pizza being made for us. Other fun things included drinking some of the best wine I can ever remember having, and due to its very limited location and vintage, will like never have again.
It was special in the most extreme sense of the word.
Meeta regularly teaches photography workshops around the world in cities like Rome and Dubai. You can find a list of past and upcoming workshops as she updates them on her website.