In September I was lucky enough to fly to Australia to speak at Camp Common Folk.

I was involved in the first Common Folk back in 2014 (the brain child of Jenna Mason together with Lauren and Glenn from Through the woods we ran) and it resulted in amazing friendships, LIKE AMAZING! So to be asked back to speak at the second camp was such an honour and one I didn’t take lightly.

The camp was incredible. I came away feeling so much more positive about life and considering the place my head was at before I left, it was a good thing. It’s weird, you think your going to learn all this photography stuff and you do, but I think these workshops are just as much about personal development and meeting new friends as anything else.

Sadly I only came away with a few images. Although I had spent weeks on my talk I was still adding final touches during camp which meant less time to play. So I thought instead of sharing my images of camp I thought I'd share a little about my talk.

I spoke about the fears we feel as creatives and practical tips around those fears, in particular thinking that your work totally sucks and how personal work can help overcome that fear.

For the last 7 months I’ve been working on a 365 day project called The Sun Makes the Ivy Grow (my sun is Sonny and daughter is Ivy). The project was born after finishing the last wedding season feeling exhausted and realizing raising a small family and shooting weddings is a tough gig. I was left asking myself, is this really worth it? So with my move to New Zealand I thought, if I had all the time in the world what would I shoot, and the answer was, my children. 

From the start, I've never really thought about the kind of response I would get from this project, it was really just for me, so I was blown away when I got the reaction I did. The attendees loved it, some even cried and alot were inspired to start taking images of their own children. I couldn’t understand how images of my kids had an affect on anyone else except me (and my husband). But really that’s stupid, images of strangers move me all the time, that’s the power of images I guess.

Reactions aside one of the points I was trying to make is that by finding what you can’t help but shoot the fear will be replaced by passion and creativity because instead of thinking what you should do, you just do it. Sure I had fear about failing to not take images everyday for 365 days, which has happened, but I don’t care because for the most part, I’ve held up the bargain with myself to ‘turn up to work everyday’ and as result I've ended up with a great body of work. Sure it might not be award wining but it’s a body of work that I can build on and more importantly, it continually inspires me.

So if you're interested you can hit that little play button below and check out my little video.

A heartfelt thanks to all the Common Folk attendees, I made this because you inspired me to do so.



The Sun Makes The Ivy Grow from Melissa Mills on Vimeo.

PersonalMelissa Mills