Our first shootapalooza was held in February, 2014 in Port Aransas, Texas, a fishing town on Mustang Island, off the coast of Corpus Christi. We refer to it as “shootapalooza, the experiment,” because that’s exactly what it was.
The goal was to figure out if people would come to the beach in February to show their photographic art work, share knowledge, and shoot together. I hoped for ten people, no more than twenty, and we had sixteen:
Vicki Reed from Cedarburg, Wisconsin
Stacy L. Gardner from Loveland, Colorado
Diane Boddy from Dallas, Texas
Karine Aigner from Washington, D.C.
Claire Cartwright Vaughan from San Antonio, Texas
Heather Perera from Seattle, Washington
Amanda Smith from Johnson City, Texas
Kevin James Tully from Johnson City, Texas, who was crowned
Anne Jarrell Berry from Newnan, Georgia
Christa Blackwood from Austin, Texas
Becky Ramotowski from Albuquerque, New Mexico
Carol S. Dass from Colorado Springs, Colorado
Heather Oelklaus from Colorado Springs, Colorado
Heather’s companion, Video Barbie
Jennifer Shaw from New Orleans, Louisiana
Judy Sherrod from Wichita Falls, Texas
My constant companion, B
We began each day with “Show and Tell.” Everyone participated. Everyone showed the things they were working on. Several days, we followed that with “Photo Labs.” Becky taught one on caffenol developing. Vicki taught lumen printing. She and I taught alcohol transfers.
Afternoons were reserved for photography around Port Aransas and Mustang Island.
We had an afternoon excursion that included the museum, a tiny little chapel no one knows about that is adorned with drug-induced religious frescoes, and the Farley Boat Works, a recently resurrected hand-boatbuilding work center.
Thursday morning we drove to Goliad, where the first Declaration of Independence for the Republic of Texas was signed. We went first to the restored Presidio on one side of the highway and then to the Mission on the other side. We also had a picnic on the mission grounds.
Here is what I believe makes shootapalooza special:
We didn’t have a high-power, expensive “key note” speaker. Instead, everyone was our keynote speaker. We didn’t have big-name, expensive workshop leaders. Instead, we taught each other. Our meeting room was there at the Holiday Inn Express, and we used it almost 24/7. We spent a lot of time in that meeting room sharing ideas, studying things together, trying new things.
And shootapalooza was free. There was no fee. There is no fee. We used a sand bucket as our “kitty” to collect money for the meeting room and also for donations to the museum after our visit there.
I believe people are hungry to be together in a creative environment that’s encouraging, validating, supportive and non-threatening. Each person who came, came ready and prepared to give, and open to receive. They came with different gifts and they came with different needs. Gifts were shared. Needs were met.
shootapalooza honestly and truly created itself. So I am really looking forward to seeing how it develops as it moves forward. We are all always learning new things and we will continue to teach each other. It has been a labor of love, and I’m honored and privileged, as are my creative colleagues, to produce and present this wonderful spirited beach-fest. We are all excited. All the time.