workshop scholarship winners

all the entries were so beautiful and heartfelt, making it extremely difficult to select the scholarship winners, but here they are --  the two winning entires (along with announcing a couple  awesome adjustments with the bali workshop)... CANADA -- amber lowe

so i'm up at 5am on a wednesday, to steal an hour of quiet & coffee before the kids wake… and i stumble upon your post. at first, it felt a little like when you read about someone else's lottery winnings or other dream-come-true. i almost didn't click on the link for details. i mean, what are the chances? i bet your inbox is flooded with applicants! then i realized... it's been a long, long time since i let myself dream big.

i've only attended 2 workshops, ever. both taught by friend & mentor, cheryl jacobs-nicolai. both in 2005, which seems like a lifetime ago.

for a few years, i poured myself into my work as a portrait photographer. then my oldest son fell seriously ill and everything work related came to a screeching halt.  several dark months/doctors/hospitalizations later, my then 11 year old was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder (+aspergers). fortunately, we were able to find him the proper care and treatment he needed, and today he's well. not unicorns-and-rainbows-well. but stable-well. and for that, i am grateful.

but as i was trying to hold it together in the wake of my personal tsunami... something else happened. i stopped shooting. the mere thought of picking up my camera sent a flash of sheer panic through my veins. it felt as though if i took my eye off my kids, for even 1/250 sec. their world might come crashing down. and i couldn't risk that happening again.

since then, it's been an ugly, slow, painful, gut-wrenching, terrifying, soul- awakening, beautiful journey back to photography. i'm finally pursuing once more what i know i'm meant to. recently, i started shooting clients again. partly because i ache to photograph faces, connect, and share my work. (because what is art if it's not shared?) partly to take care of my 4 kids. and partly because the cost of loving a craft like photography is almost as much as a 5th child would be. ;)

now, here i am rebuilding my business… crunching numbers, working on a website, branding/marketing, trying to keep it simple, planning everything in a way that will both spare and fuel my passion for the art. all while simultaneously depleting our savings to invest in start up. what i really need is a reprieve. a chance to catch my breath. to refocus. time devoted solely to connecting. to inspiring and nurturing the thing that drives me. so then i'm up at 5am on a wednesday, to steal an hour of quiet & coffee before the kids wake... and i stumble upon your post.

my reason for wanting to attend a workshop is simply because i'm inspired to dream big again.

and i absolutely deserve this scholarship... because i've fought a thousand battles to be inspired to dream big again.

i would be humbled, honored, and absolutely over-the-moon-thrilled to receive a scholarship to either workshop. bali sure looks especially incredible though... and i'm dreaming big. so if i got to pick, that's where i'd go.

BALI -- liz perryman

In the past, I have given into the voices of self-doubt and fear that paralyze me from trying and reaching beyond my comfort zone. It is so much easier to stay stagnant, protected within the walls of familiarity, but that is not what life is meant for. I do not wish for the whisperings of self-deprecation in my mind to silence the voices of desire and passion, of faith and the insatiable longing to improve, to attempt even with the possibility of failure. I have an inner voice that screams to be heard and to make a difference in the lives of others.

I feel that I see the world in a unique way. Amid all the struggles that we face, I found a way to notice the beauty that surrounds me even when darkness threatens to overcome. I see it in subtle touches, raw emotion, imperfect reality, the grand, as well as the simple and mundane of everyday life. I have an overwhelming desire to capture life and freeze time - not through sugar-coating reality, but by seeing the beauty interlaced with the grit that we as humans get covered in, yet continue to push through and survive . . . not just survive, but live as fully and joyously as we know how.

With my experiences in life, I have come to realize how fragile and precarious life is - through the death of my sister, years of infertility, and a deep depression that left me feeling as though I might drown and never break the surface again. Yet through these experiences, I have grown in love, appreciation, perspective, and compassion. I have learned that life is about more than me. It is about sharing myself with others, cultivating love for them and doing what I can to show compassion and reach beyond my comfort to bless their lives.

I have an unyielding need to continue to learn and develop my photography skills, so that I can more fully express myself and capture the beauty in this world for the benefit of others. It would be a dream to attend a workshop in Bali, surrounded by other artists who share my driving passion for life and photography. To experience a different culture and part of the world away from my own, to see the humanity and beauty that extend beyond anything I have experienced would be an undeniable blessing. And to do this with one who has influenced my passion for this art would be an honor.

There is so much to be learned and treasured in life. I want to hone my skills and set myself on a course of self-expression, capturing the beauty of real life, and extending service & my talent to others. This would be a wonderful opportunity on the path to realize my dreams.


i have decided to modify the bali workshop a bit -- now a 4-night / 5-day retreat (august 11th - 15th), with the first day (august 11th) open for arrivals, adjusting to the time difference, relaxing by the pool, seeing sites of bali, etc.  workshop discussion will begin the morning of august 12th and conclude at approximately 12 PM on august 15th.  i've also added a morning of private yoga at the villa and am in the process of exploring a couple other amazing bali experiences for the group.

to allow for the additional day, i have had to change the villa location and am in negotiations with two absolutely incredible, breathtaking, luxury villas.  you can view all the workshop details HERE.

there will be assistance in finding one- or two-bedroom villas, for those who would like to stay additional days in bali.

TUITION  for bali retreat: $2400 RETAINER: $800 deposit to reserve your seat. remaining balance can be paid in installments. payment due in full by july 21st. please note that all rooms are shared king beds.

TO REGISTER: email for payment information.

*ALL PAYMENTS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE; however, if cancellation is necessary, you may sell your seat to another photographer.

closing with a little beauty and inspiration from the majestic land of bali...

filmed by andrew melikov