Summer Vacation Trip by Ron Cowie

Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Lynchburg, Nashville!

I went on a road trip with my wife Eden Casteel and her father, Ron Casteel. We visited some historic recording studios (Sun Studio, Stax, Muscle Shoals, Fame Recording Studios), the Civil Rights Museum, the Jack Daniel's Distillery, The Country Music Hall of Fame, The Musicians Hall of Fame and The Grand Ole Opry. Here are some selected pictures from the trip.

Filter Photo Festival Portfolio Reviews by Ron Cowie

Travel Is so broadening

I attended Filter Photo Festival for the portfolio reviews. I missed a lot of things that were planned, much to my regret, so this not a comprehensive fawning review of the event. I'll leave that to other people. My experience was a good one though. Filter Festival is great organization and event and I'll be back next year.

I brought my most current work more as an introduction device than anything else. I wasn't creatively stuck or looking for "the next level" in my "career". My motivation was to see if I was out of my mind. I'm happy to report that I'm not. 

Whenever I look back on events like this, I like to ask myself "Who was I supposed to meet?" The portfolio reviews provided a great sample of people across the spectrum of photography. The most important thinker of the bunch was Jonathan Blaustein. His take on the photo world and how to survive in it today is very close to mine only he says it better.  He lives in a small town, he's got two kids, he's trying to make the bell ring and, he's having to step beyond what is considered a normal life for photography. He's on to something and I'm not just saying that because I agree with him.

 He reminded me that Ansel Adams didn't make a lot of money and he also started some pretty amazing organizations dedicated to photography. So meeting with Jonathan was key.

It also was great to reconnect with Lisa Janes, the owner of Alibi Fine Art. She represents my work and is one of the more thoughtful people involved in photography around. Having a strong advocate for your work is a real blessing. 

I left with an idea to start one of these festivals myself. How crazy is that? It's the most helpful. Since I live in Rhode Island, and there isn't one of these kicking around, it makes sense to do it. If nothing else, it will save on plane fare. One of the gifts of my life is a desire to build communities among friends.

The primary purpose of these festivals and gatherings: to inspire participants to reach a little further in their creative lives and to help each other in the journey. Photography can be a very lonesome patrol but it's more fun to see the wizard with friends. In that spirit, here are some folks I was glad to reconnect with and/or meet. It is not comprehensive.

So, I need to stop writing and finish a website, process some images, write my thank you notes, and pick up my kid from school. Today is a lovely day and I am most grateful for it. Filter Festival reminds me that it is a wonderful time to get to do what I do