Shortly after this year's Summer Session ended, Mark Gunter sent me this guest post in an email. I saw it, got busy and missed posting it in a more timely manner. Even after reading it, I'm a little torn about posting it, because I'm not looking for anybody to "give back", as Mark puts it.
I started the Summer School project the summer of 2009, because it was something that was needed and continues to be needed. We set out to build a community and with so many different people supporting the SCU project, it's obvious we've done just that.
The community Mark refers to is primarily represented by the Skip's Summer School page/forum on Facebook. It's a No Troll Zone with a remarkable group of photographers all supporting each other. They coach, advise and help encourage each other through all of the challenges this business seems to throw at us. Skip Cohen
We are in the business of nostalgia. We capture those split seconds of time where memories never die. We strive to master a craft that transforms a single image into a flood of emotions. We seek to pluck at the heart strings in ways that redefine how the public views photography. In the end, we must always remember that we are not longing for that amazing photograph. We are longing for the relationships they describe.
The SCU Summer Session for 2013, fondly referred to as Skip’s Summer School, has ended. For those of us able to attend, I think we can agree it was a tremendous experience. Looking back on those few days, however, there is a looming shadow: Is this the last Summer School?
Skip made it clear that he wasn’t going away. Simply put, the weight of putting on such an event is more than most of us realize. I know it must go beyond the burden of finding a venue, finding instructors, and juggling financial aspects. It is abundantly clear how important our education is to Skip. He wants each and every one of us to succeed and he has gone to great lengths to empower us.
It is our turn to give back.
Let me step back to nostalgia for a moment. What is it that draws us back to Skip’s Summer School? Yes, the instructors and speakers are phenomenal. I submit that they are what drove us to attend in the first place, but we return for a different reason entirely. I do not believe it is a coincidence that so many of those individuals constantly refer back to one defining element of our craft: relationships. Have we really heard their message?
We stand on the cusp of something new. We can choose to look back at the “good ol’ days” of Skip’s Summer School or we can work together to find ways to carry some of the burden. On the alumni facebook page ideas started brewing almost immediately after the event wrapped up. I have more than enough things to feel nostalgic about. Join me in standing alongside those who want a future where we can plan for a few days each August with Skip, the world’s best instructors, and an extended family of supportive photographers.