17 Photos of Love

08_Children play in a drainage culvert by Stacie Ann Smith_Adventurer_Colorado
Adventurer- Stacie Ann Smith, Colorado

Group projects create a wonderful space for artists to come together. Today, we have a beautiful project called “Wish you were Here.” Get ready to be inspired.

In January 2014 I came up with an idea for a personal photography project that would enable me to document the international life my family is living. I had just completed Deb Schwedhelm’s incredible, emotional and inspiring Continuing the Journey Workshop. At the end of the class, she challenged us all to come up with a personal project and I dreamed up the idea of ‘Wish You Were Here’. I actually remember lying in bed, gazing out the window when the light bulb moment that pulled all my thoughts together went off! I decided I would take, and post on my blog, one photograph a week, which would show some aspect of our family life. It would include portraits of my four children, documentary images of our day to day and scenes from our frequent travels. A record of our expat life, that is at one and the same time, ordinary and extraordinary.

At that time my British/American family of six was based in Paris, but I knew we would relocate to Hong Kong before the end of the year. I had only been shooting seriously for a year, but in a moment of bravery I posted an open invitation to the group of far more experienced and well-known photographers who were then part of the Continuing the Journey Facebook alumni group. It was the first week of the New Year, I outlined my idea, shared my first photograph for the project and asked if anyone would like to join me. Maybe if there was enough interest we could start a blog? Within a day, I had 24 photographers signed up and the most amazing collaboration was born.

The contributors to Wish You Were Here are from all over the world. Hailing from Alaska to Maine, across the oceans to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. One person’s back yard is another’s dream travel destination. We started the project with just one creative rule; interpret the project title any way you want through photography. My experience as an expat, raising my family outside my birth country, is that sometimes the sentiment, “wish you were here” can be one of wanting to share the excitement of discovering a new place or adventure, but often it is a wistful “wish you were here”. Wishing grandparents could be present for a birthday or missing a friend that we have had to leave behind. This open-ended approach has proven to be incredibly freeing for us all and our submissions range from being beautiful scenes of our particular locations to intimate expressions of how we feel.

From the very first week an amazing connection has emerged between our individual works, even though we never know what anyone else is going to submit. We each make images with our own personal narrative in mind, but when they are curated together for the blog post they combine to create a fascinating and very personal representation of our world. Documenting the ebb and flow of the seasons, showing how different the world can be, but more often how similar the small moments in life are, wherever you live.

We decided to go with the theme of Love – the love we have for this project, the places we live and the people we know. Once we had decided on the theme, we didn’t discuss amongst ourselves further, but as always I think our images come together beautifully. One of my favorite things about this project is how so often it shows how we do such similar things in such different parts of the world and this ‘conversation’ really reflects that. Bedtime cuddles in Wisconsin and Iran and a whole lot of beach love from around the world. Every week, there seems to be one of us who has visited the beach and this time there are five beach images! These images are all previously unshared, but typify a typical Wish You Were Here post with a mix of grand landscapes and intimate scenes. It is exactly why we love this project and never tire of shooting for it. (Group Founder: Nicola Berry)

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01_Small boy asleep in bed by Jen lucas_Inhale the Moment_Wisconsin

Inhale the Moment- Jen Lucas, Wisconsin

02_ Young boy with dog by Jennifer Capozzola_Creature Comfort_Pennsylvania

Creature Comfort- Jennifer Capozzola, Pennyslvania

03_Family reads a book on the floor by Kirsty Larmour_Afternoon Stories_Garmeh_Iran

Afternoon Stories- Kirsty Larmour, Garmeh Iran

04_Person holds a book with girl walking through flowers on the cover by Kay Pickens_The Book of Love_Missouri

The Book of Love- Kay Pickens, Missouri

05_A boy walks a long a foggy dirt road by Becky Venteicher_The Bend_Virginia

The Bend- Becky Venteicher, Virginia

06_Small children play amongst water and steam by Pamela Joye_Siblings_France

Siblings- Pamela Joye, France

07_A girl plays with a hula hoop amidst chalk drawings on pavement by Karen Porter_Little Dancer_New York

Little Dancer- Karen Porter, New York

08_Children play in a drainage culvert by Stacie Ann Smith_Adventurer_Colorado

Adventurer- Stacie Ann Smith, Colorado

09_A child wades in a natural pool in front of a waterfall by Stephanie Jackson_The Deep End_Ohio

The Deep End- Stephanie Jackson, Ohio

10_A family hikes amidst rocks by Breanna Peterson_Adventure Awaits_Alaska

Adventure Awaits- Breanna Peterson, Alaska

11_2 children play in the sand by Nicola Berry_Beach Love_St. Brelade's Bay_Jersey_Channel Islands

Beach Love- Nicola Berry, St. Brelades Bay Jersey Channel Islands

12_Footprints lead to a girl admiring the ocean by Megan Gardner_For the love of the ocean_Gunnamatta_Australia

For the love of the ocean- Megan Gardner, Gunnamatta Australia

13 2 girls walk amidst grass on sand dunes by Meghan Hof_ Sisters_Oregon

Sisters- Meghan Hof, Oregon

14_A boy runs along a path amidst tall grass at golden hour by Cate Wnek_Into the Wild_Maine

Into the Wild- Cate Wnek, Maine

15_A girl takes a picture of apples shaped into a heart by Phyllis Meredith_Love Apples on Film_Connecticut

Love: Apples on Film- Phyllis Meredith, Connecticut

16_A dad with 2 young children in B&W by Amanda ODonoughue_Heart's on Fire_Florida

Hearts on Fire- Amanda O’Donoughue, Florida

17_A dog lounges on a couch in B&W by Lili Love_Look of Love_England

Look of Love- Lili Love, England

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