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

upcoming workshops

i'm super excited to have THREE future workshop opportunities available: 1.  ADVANCED ONLINE WORKSHOP | may 20th - june 3rd details and registration information below.

2. ONTARIO, CANADA WORKSHOP | june 22nd - 24th details and registration information HERE. only a few seats still open.

3. BALI WORKSHOP | tentatively august 12th - 15th details and registration information coming soon. seats will be very limited. if interested in being on the workshop notification list, please EMAIL ME.


ADVANCED ONLING WORKSHOP | continuing the journey  a two-week online workshop april 29th - may 13th space is very limited registration details below

TOPICS: purpose of photography passion & vision advancement of style fine art photography inspiration meaningful shooting previsualization & storytelling developing your portfolio showing and promoting your work

EXERCISES / CHALLENGES: accompanying exercise with almost every topic a minimum of three photo challenges

details for early registration:

1. this workshop is held via the bloom form & therefore, all participants MUST BE bloom forum members. if interested in registering for this two-week online workshop but are not a yet a member of bloom, you can join the forum (for 3, 6 or 12 months), by clicking the bloom logo below... The Bloom Forum 2. once a bloom member, you can register for the workshop in the bloom forum, here:  Bloom News section under Mini Workshop Information 3. the workshop will run from monday, may 20th - june 3rd, with daily posts, exercises and interaction 4. price:  $325.00. 5. the private workshop information will be available for one month after the workshop ends. 6. there is also a private facebook group for all past continuing the journey participants, to continue  interacting and sharing with one another.

and here's what a few former continuing the journey participants had to say when the advanced workshop was done:

CTJ is exactly that--a journey.  Deb expertly builds on the BTM foundation with immeasurable dedication, deft guidance, and a whole heart.  She meets each and every student where they are, providing both deliberate, thoughtful lessons and spontaneous, profound discussions that allow you to search yourself in ways you've never explored.  By far, it's the most personal, in-depth class experience I've ever had, and I truly believe it's because of the talent, perspective, and care Deb not only provides, but also cultivates among her students.  While Deb's content is spectacularly rich and thought-provoking, students are also openly encouraged to generate & share materials, ideas, links, books that elicit both intelligent conversations and emotional relationships about work, self, life.  Just like in BTM, the class lives on in me, brewing & bubbling little nuggets long after the forum closes.  CTJ is a true gem.

It's hard to write down what CTJ does for you. It is full of thought-provoking content; each lesson has you delving deeper into yourself. It's not about the technicals of photography, like exposure, lighting, etc. It's about inspiration- asking yourself why, answering your questions, creating more questions. It has you searching for answers; it has you stopping to take time for serious thoughts. It takes you on a journey through so many different levels, not only in photography, but also life. These journeys that are a part of us, that contribute to the images we are creating. I honestly am sitting here trying to put into words what the workshop did for me, & I'm not sure I can adequately do so. It is an incredible class, & one I would certainly take if you're looking to get to know yourself better, as a person & as a photographer. Thank you Deb for all of your amazing insight, inspiration, help & knowledge; you so willingly shared so much with all of us!

First of all, I am so very thankful for this workshop, for Deb's spirit and her openness. This workshop is for anyone who wants to be challenged and move forward in their journey as an artist. The topics and exercises were just awesome. Each one really served to take me outside my norm and forced me to think a little differently, to dig a little deeper. I feel that both of the workshops I've taken with Deb have helped me to find more clarity and confidence within myself.

As with Breaking the Mold, I found this workshop to be thought provoking, moving, and so productive for me. I have never participated in a workshop in which the instructor invested as much of herself in the daily conversations as Deb does. Thank you so much for that.

I loved both these workshops over the last month and feel sad that they have come to an end. I've felt inspired and empowered by Deb's honesty, clarity and positivity. Deb's message of focusing in on ourselves seems so simple yet, before BTM and CTJ it was the furthest thing from my mind. I feel like I had lost the point of what it was that photography meant to me. And Deb reminded me that ultimately it all came down to me. CTJ seems very much the bigger sister to BTM. I feel very much like my head is buzzing with everything Deb has shared and I can't wait to revisit all the material and digest it all again.

i hope you'll join me!!