I distinctly remember when Instagram Meet-ups were a thing. The birds eye view of a chosen space being overshadowed by a flood of people eager to mingle and photograph as onlookers surveyed the area wandering what this whole turnout was about has certainly now been a thing of the pass. At least the way they use to be.
I attended so many and met wonderful people along the way. I befriended and kept in contact with a handful long after these meets began subsiding. We would text to meet up for coffee or even organize small explorations to enjoy each others company while sharing our adventures on Instagram. In 2017 there was very little participation on my part in any of this. Not by choice but just randomly where life begins to take over and you're no longer able to commit to opportunities you would have yelled emphatically "yes" to.
Did I miss these meets? Of course! Among the top advice you often hear as to what you should be doing to push yourself creatively is to surround yourself with likeminded people in your field. Sounds straightforward but what I discovered was that by having that limited time in some weird way allowed me to recognize my photographer voice even more. I thought less about which other creative I wanted to meet-up with and paid more attention to little curiosities I had about individuals in completely different fields.
It took a tweet from Tyler Phenes to give me the push to write about any of these. He said, "I get why it’s important to be a part of communities in your field of work, but you can learn so much more from people outside of those worlds." The old me had developed an obsession for the need to be around other photographers. I assumed it was standard and necessary but little did I know that swimming on your own is often the solitude you need to learn who you want to be as a creative as oppose to comparing yourself with the rest of the spool.