On March 22-25, 2012, 19 women living in ten states came together for the first ever Sisterhood of the Traveling Lenses Meetup in Dallas, TX. The event featured workshops, keynote speaker Letitia Huckaby, a photo walk through Deep Ellum, networking, and bonding that was out of this world.
In the summer of 2011, an idea was hatched to organize a meetup for women of color photographers who were part of a group on Facebook. As time elapsed, eight women living in four states emerged as the planning group. None of them met before planning the event. Their only familiarity with each another was through social media, but that did not stop them from putting together an event that they hoped would change lives. And by seeing the reactions of attendees, it looks like it did just that.
“I cannot find the words to express the feeling that I felt in the presence of such phenomenal women. I have never been with a group of women that open up and shared things about their personal life and business that would help me grow. You could just feel the love in the room.”
– Carolyn Callahan, Precision Photography by CC, Texas
“Complete strangers meeting online. My husband thought were were nuts! From Facebook to Google+ we used social networking to learn, “meet” and plan an event even though most of us never saw each other physically for the first time until 19 women from 10 states got off planes, out of cars, and walked in a hotel full of smiling faces. Just like the strangers that saw our army that weekend in Dallas and showed us so much love, listening to our stories and inviting us into their shops and worlds. I cried like a colic ridden baby the whole weekend! Purging the photographer’s soul. Learning, laughing, and snapping. Now a group of complete strangers are no longer strangers. Now, we’re sisters.”
– TaKiyah Wallace, Some Sweet Photography, Texas
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited. …I remain overwhelemed by the love and embrace I received from the 19 women who accompanied me on this journey to become a stronger photographer. Aside from a face in a box on a video chat and a Facebook profile, they didn’t know me, and yet they encouraged me, lifted me up …and guided me as a photographer. I walked away from this experience with …[the] confidence to say ‘I am a photographer.”
– LaShonda Anthony, LRenee Vision Photography, Maryland
Reaction to the video recap and event by others has been equally as positive.
“…heck I cried…just beautiful to see black women come together and unite in mind, body, soul and spirit…ahh the beauty of success…Lord, Thank ya!! And yep, I’m going next round!”
– Shannel Gray
“I love it ladies! It was my honor to be part of an amazing experience. The video is fantastic!”
– Letitia Huckaby
– Angelica Johnson
“So inspirational! Makes me wish I had a time machine.”
– Yolanda Rowe
“Chills went all over me as I watched this. I wasn’t even there or part of the game yet when this happened, yet I felt the bond that so often eludes us as black women. I’m choked u…Wow! Amazing! Beautiful video and beautiful sister photogs! I feel blessed…”
– Sabrena We
Plans for another meetup are currently in the works. Stay tuned to this site along with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Lenses Meetup Facebook page for updates!