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Wildflowers – A Weekend in Nashville

Wilflowers – A photography weekend in Nashville, Tennessee

A few years ago, Joy Prouty, (THE Wildflowers!) was coming to Maui and I knew that I had to have her photograph my family. We were at a strange season in life making adjustments, growing, having hiccups in our marriage. I wasn’t at a weight I was happy with, couldn’t figure out what in the world to wear and then right before she arrived thought, “F*ck it, I’m just wearing whatever.”

We didn’t go to the beach or any scenic area for our session. We stayed at home – in our plantation house – being REAL. All the mess. All the normal things.

It was beautiful to see our family through her eyes. I knew that I needed to get to the mainland at some point to attend a workshop. Images below by The Prouty’s

When the gallery was delivered, I cried. I knew that I loved the emotion that photography conveys, but I didn’t realize how DEEP it could go. I loved seeing my presence with my family when so many times I feel so rushed and honestly, so absent.

When Joy moved to Washington, I tried to attend a workshop, but it didn’t align with dates I had open. Then she moved to Texas and again I stalked her page for workshop dates and each and every time I didn’t have consecutive dates that I could go. Then she moved to Nashville and I found dates that I could go… over three years after this session.

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t attend many workshops. I really like learning one-on-one and don’t’ like busy/group settings – conventions are scary for me – and the last time I tried traveling alone there was a missile threat and I thought my whole family was going to die. I was definitely apprehensive about leaving my ohana in Hawaii and going to this workshop, but I felt a tug that I HAD to go. I didn’t even know what to expect or what I was going to learn.

It’s completely indescribable what this workshop was. The only way I can really define it is that I walked in knowing that I wanted to be a photographer that can delve deeper than the surface and walked out feeling luminary. It became a sisterhood of tender hearts, of storytellers, of artists. Each of these women, including myself, face fears that we mostly place on ourselves. We put limitations on what we’re capable of when we shouldn’t. It was soul opening and gentle. It was positive and beautiful. It pushed me to see light in new ways, even in moments when the light seemed non-existent. There is ALWAYS some light – and that was also a metaphor that I really, really needed in this season of my life.

I wish I had taken more images. I realize that I didn’t pick up my camera much over that weekend. I think I was trying so hard to be present – to have a Snow Leopard moment. Snow Leopard moment you ask? What is that? If you haven’t seen Ben Stiller’s version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, go watch it right now. When you do, you’ll realize that we’re surrounded by Snow Leopard moments daily – and it just might change your life the way it has mine.

Thank you to the beautiful women who attended this workshop – you are a welcome addition to my heart. And mahalo to Joy and Don Prouty for opening their home and their love to all of us. I am forever grateful.

xoxo, Mariah

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