Our Merry Band of Misfits

There is this retreat, called Inspire.

A couple hundred photographers bivouac inside a hotel for three days and do a lot of hugging. Learning too. And laughing, sharing, teaching.

But the hugs are prevalent.



Inspire Photographer Retreat 2015


Photos by J Sandifer

I first started writing another post about my latest experience at this year’s conference in Portland, Maine, from my perspective as someone who went into the whole shebang unprepared and therefore having left it, well, uninspired.

But that was on me.

The retreat itself was brilliant, put together beautifully, full of teachin’ and learnin’ and cryin’ and sharin’ and laughin’. I did my thing and taught my stuff and that all went terrific also. I met new people, wonderful people, with whom I will make the most genuine efforts to remain friends (shout out to my PJ Supper Club Crew!)


When you go somewhere and are surrounded by inspiration and loads of moments filled with takeaways, but you don’t have the mindset to soak any of it up, you end up leaving empty-handed.

The entire gist of that post was to always be armed with a battle plan. Stuff doesn’t ‘just happen’. You need to make it happen, you need to seek out your take-away from anything you ‘attend’ in life. Not just conferences, but friendships, jobs, personal projects. If you don’t go into something with a least the tiniest of agendas, you might get lost, and therefore, feel lost.

Like, duh.

Instead, I would like to share with y’all some words I wrote about the embracing nature of Inspire, which is the foundation the conference is built upon. It truly is a retreat meant to show creatives they are part of a tribe of like-minded souls.

We are a merry band of misfits.
We do not judge
We do not denigrate
We do not belittle
Or demoralize
But we tell the truth
Which might be difficult to hear
But gets wrapped up in a hug
And chased down with a shot of vodka
We instill and acquire
Brass tacks
We cultivate growth
And overshare
Because we all crave that connection
To really, innately connect
With kindred spirits who “get it”
Give us your weirdos and introverts
The loud and the colorful
The shy and quiet storms
The firestarters
Dark horses
Story tellers
Lovers of light
Those underestimated and overlooked
By everyone else
Except us
They all completely and utterly belong
Because we each have a story
A history
And a future we want to fill with some serious kickassery
So we seek out those who crave something similar
Whose minds wander along the same paths
In different directions
At different times
But, somehow, at their core, still the same
Though Inspire starts with “I”
In actuality it starts with “we”
We are Inspired.
We are Inspire.

If you are a photographer, a creative, an artist, a painter of light, and you’d like to be among ‘your people’ this time next year, I couldn’t recommend this retreat more.

Just make sure you have a mission statement before you walk in. 😉



WE are Inspire 2015

Laura DeCarlo

Dude. Ninjas are awesome. So are unicorns. I photograph people getting married, by the way. And cool people. And cool people getting married. Cheers from a tattooed fancier of great music, enjoyer of The Big Bang Theory, consumer of Doritos Locos chicken tacos and moscato, friend, mom and wife of some pretty cool people ♪♥

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