The Artists Voice Photography Retreat

WHAT HECK IS A PHOTO RETREAT?

Ahhhh… and well might you ask. I think of it kind of like the hybrid baby of a photography workshop and a spiritual retreat.

In the former, you’re focusing ONLY on photography. You’re given direction and ushered around as a large or small group to see and photograph the sights of wherever you are.

In the latter, you’re moving more slowly, mindfully, focusing upon your inner workings, while being lead through various practices that relate to whatever discipline you're studying. That could be yoga, meditation, writing... or photography!

Find YOUR Artistic Voice

The “Finding Your Artistic Voice” retreat weaves together elements from both spiritual retreats and traditional photographic workshops. It was born from years of being asked how I do what I do and really having no one simple answer. There are so many layers to it!

So I decided to create a rich, unique experience born from the best and most defining tools I know. They include photography and health, along with a mighty dose of mindfulness and focus every artist seems to need more of. Especially in this crazy world! They are all woven into 5 days of growth, art and health.

An invitation was extended: come join me in France for 5 days on a unique photographic journey. The mission: discover your artistic voice as a photographer. Deepen - and stretch yourself into new visual possibilities. Immerse yourself in the aromatic and visual pleasures that resonate in Cannes and the surrounding areas of The French Riviera (or Côte d'Azur) Mediterranean coast of southeastern France. A tall and difficult order, I know. ;)

The result: some fabulous participants have come and conquered. Together we have laughed, eaten fantastic and healing foods, experienced the surprisingly powerful presence of grounded inspiration, strengthened both mind and body; built upon strengths and shifted possibilities into reality.

At the end of each day, this gorgeous space, nestled in the heart of Cannes, welcomed us home...

La Verrière

La Verrière is a beautiful, light, loft-style property located in a quiet, yet central, area of Cannes on the French Riviera. It seems everyone who spends time here uses the same set of words to describe the experience of being here: nurturing, warm, relaxing, restorative.

It was once an old cork factory, now tastefully transformed into a retreat centre. Lieke Kay is completely responsible for creating this exquisite space. It is both serene and warmly welcoming. For over 40 years she has helped people all over the world with her nutritional guidance and now offers the same insights for clients within her complete cleansing programs in France.

Read more about La Verrière and The Mighty Lieke Kay

ARTISTRY TAKES STRENGTH

Now, I’m not saying you have to be a physical beast… but being healthy enough to focus and carry through with your inspirations is a must! Most people don’t think about this aspect: what it takes physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually to work with single minded focus from the inside out. And yet… we all want our beautiful artistic expressions to take wing!

So in addition to the grounding, focusing, breathing and mindfulness practice we did every day… Lieke was there too, inspiring everyone with her energy, joyfulness, home-cooked healthy meals, health consultations and wizardy ability to know exactly what each person needed to be their absolute best.

The group's first photography exercise was to wander quietly throughout the calming, peaceful and rejuvenating space of La Verrière. Discover new ways of seeing details and stories within them.. Stretching one’s vision can be easeful and fun… but you have to listen carefully, undistracted by the world outside. This exercise set the stage for things to come!
I LOVE SMALL GROUPS

I long for small groups of dedicated explorers to join me. Folks for whom photography is an important part of their expression. They don't have to be any particular ability level – they just had to be willing to dive in & experience a new way of looking at the world. That’s exactly who showed up on both past retreats! Sharon Willson, Debra Tufts and Elle Bruce were there to take the virgin voyage with me at La Pitchoune, and Barb Cochran, Lauri Novak and Tanya Wallis joined me on the second retreat La Verrière in Cannes.

Sharon Willson, Elle Bruce and Deb Tufts in Antibes.
Tanya Wallis, Karen Hutton, Barb Cochran and Lauri Novak in Grasse.
IT STARTS ON THE INSIDE

Everything begins with a desire. One of the most basic: to be heard and seen. It’s a fundamental human need. It’s also why “finding your voice” lights up for so many people. It’s like a unicorn. Everyone wants to have their own - and for it to be seen, felt and heard in all of its unicorn-like glory.

After MANY years of coaching physical voice and using my own professionally, I know this for sure: in order to produce a personal work under pressure, you need two things first.

1. A simple, portable, works-every-time technique to become body-aware, focused & grounded quickly and

2. The ability to tap into the powerful (and very unicorn-like) subtle body energies that align you with your own creative force - and voice.

Do those things & magic happens.

This time-tested technique has been part of my life (and my clients!) for 40+ years.

It clears the way for your deepest self to speak through whatever you’re creating, without the stress, anxiety and mind chatter that throw the even staunchest person for a loop. It’s how I personally bring myself back to center if I get de-railed.

PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE INSIDE OUT

After showing the ladies this mysterious method to align body awareness, grounding, focusing and breathing, I sent the ladies out to explore our immediate space.

The goal: to sense from deep inside what drew their attention; what kind of patterns, textures, colors, what subjects and stories caught their eye. The aim was to begin noticing what happens on the inside and physically when it’s right.

There’s usually a definite “Aha!” in the form of a body sensation, a breath, something identifiable. To catch it though, you have to start gently and pay close attention.

And thus... the first day was a mellow and lovely one, topped off with a delicious dinner prepared by Lieke. It was a wonderful evening of food, conversation, wine and delight!

Welcome to France!
GROWING NEW SKILLS IN NEW PLACES

Each day of the retreat, I took the group to slightly more complex areas. La Verrière is a great start… lots to look at and photograph, without distractions or disruption. It gave me a chance to begin seeing how each person SEES. It was their chance to pick up a camera with this new feeling and see what happens.

In the course of the October, 2016 event, we visited Cannes, Grasse, Îsl Sainte-Marguerite and Ventimiglia, Italy.

Each day the drill was the same: photographer prepare thyself! Ground, focus, breathe, center - then shoot. You can relax into photographing in a new place sooner. You can begin to trust that the most amazing things will happen as if someone brought them purposely to you. Kind of like magic!

#Magic became something to look and account for every day. The more we did that, the more it happened!

Ventimiglia
Fort Royal on Îsl Sainte-Marguerite was home to the real "Man In The Iron Mask"for 10 of his 34 years imprisonment. Went there. Saw that.
My lens loves Grasse...
I love France
GRASSE

Grasse is known as "the perfume capital of the world". I was so excited to share this lovely town that had woven itself into my heart!

We photographed, shopped, bought gorgeous locally created perfumes – then photographed some more!

And, as happened every single day that we ventured out, something completely unexpected and magical occurred. It made us giggle with glee and realize that #Magic is close to us every day, just waiting to be noticed, welcomed and experienced.

All we have to do is go inside and ask for it to be revealed…

This is life-changing.

The change in each person's work from the beginning to end in the course of 5 short days was, in a word, astounding. I watched with awe as each person's images shifted from general and generic to deeply personal and poignant; a revelation of soul. I could hear each of their unique voices singing through the photos they showed in their final presentations. I could at last feel what they were feeling, understand what their hearts and souls were trying to say. Their work became clear, specific and more beautiful. I had goosebumps each time as I watched these final slideshows, experiencing the differences from Day 1. It was truly jaw dropping.

And to think, it was only the beginning!

...and I'm excited to be doing it again!

Watch the video below for a day spent in Grasse!

"I'm in! Where do I sign up?"

I’ll be in touch to answer questions, explain the juicy details & handle payments.

Find your voice... free your soul!
Created By
Karen Hutton
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Photo by: Karen Hutton

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