Like I've mentioned before, I've always considered myself a shy person. Of course, as many of my friends know, that shyness evaporates as soon as I get comfortable with those around me. One of things I've really been working on has been meeting new people and finding my comfort level at a faster rate than usual. I'm fine once the ice is broken, it's just the initial unknown. I'm sure it's like that for a lot of people.
Last night I went to dinner with about fifty other photographers. Gene Higa and Jose Villa, two of the Top Ten Photographers in the World, held a joint workshop in San Francisco. With the launch of Private School for the [b] school, Gene invited Bay Area classmates to come out and join in on the fun.
When I received the invite, I was really excited with a tinge of apprehension. I don't have a wingman/wing woman to easily drag along with me; I would have to go it alone. But that didn't faze me, I was pumped. I went to the Free to Succeed Tour alone. I went to my first PUG meeting alone. I could do this. I want to meet people.
So I did.
And it was great. I met the two of the Top Ten Photographers in the World, shook their hands, and smiled. I met a handful of local photographers, including Orbie Pullen, Rebecca Meredith, Brook Todd of Alisha+Brook Photographers, Cate Corbitt, Danielle Stolman of Not So Still Life, Kira Stackhouse of Nuena Photography, and two photographers who I've been following via their blogs: Jennifer Skog and Augie Chang. I also met Facebooker extraordinaire, Kenny Kim! I reconnected with Gustavo Fernandez and Lilia Ahner who I first met at a PUG meeting last month. Lilia and I are both Mariners, what what!
At the end of the night, I was just in awe. It was worth my drive into the city. It was worth being a little tired today. I was so glad I went. I met so many photographers and made some connections. I expanded my network. And to think, just a month ago, I could never have imagined rubbing elbows with any of these folks.