A few weeks ago, I ran into a past student who has become a friend of mine (Hi Diane!) at a local coffee shop and after catching up for awhile, she shared a few recent photos she had taken.
And as I looked at each one, I felt increasing grateful for the job I've had for the last seven years, teaching The Photographers' Workshop.
I didn't feel at all responsible for the great images she was shooting.
Nope, that was all her doing. (I can supply students with information, but it's just useless information unless they're willing to put in the hard work.)
I just felt thankful.
Really, really thankful.
Thankful that a few of you convinced me I needed to teach photography. Thankful for the people I've met because of it. Thankful for the friendships that have developed. Thankful for all the excited and motivated students I've been able to work with over the years. Thankful for the learning that comes along with the teaching. Thankful for the images I've seen. Thankful that so many of you cared about me, believed in me, and encouraged me along the way. Thankful that photography is about so much more than photography. Thankful for conversations in the forum that humored me, moved me, and grew me. Thankful for the opportunity to play even the smallest role in the hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of 4x6 inch memories that have been made since the first workshop I taught back in May of 2008.
Images like Diane's...
My most recent workshop ended last night at midnight.
I won't be teaching the workshop again for at least a year and a half because I'm taking time off to design and teach a totally different, year-long workshop to a group of past students.
And though I plan to go back to teaching The Photographers' Workshop again, I've learned enough in these 42 years to know that plans are written in pencil and are often erased and written over in pen as plans fade and life unfolds.
And I'm totally ok with that.
In fact, I'm better than ok with it because the truth is that my penciled plans have always been about physical goals that never took into account the riches that come from a life penned with people and all the smiles, connections, words, wisdom, loss, laughter, hugs, hurt, change and growth that come about through that penmanship.
Those kinds of things make penciled-plans look laughably second-rate.
So I really don't know whether or not I'll be teaching The Photographers' Workshop again.
But I do know how thankful I am that so many of you were penned into my life over these last seven years because of it.