If we haven’t had the chance to meet, we’re Co and Sarah, founders of Unraveled Academy. We started UA after feeling like the photography community was increasingly becoming a popularity contest and not everyone had a seat at the table.
As a new mothers who had found a creative calling in documenting our children, we were hungry to grow and improve our craft. We watched endless YouTube tutorials, read every technical blog post we could find and joined every group that would let us in. There was one online group where we spent most of our time. We “met” each other there. The artists in there were unbelievably talented and we hoped that just being “near” them would somehow give us more creative juices.
At first, it was wonderful. We met new friends and made connections. Until on day, Co shared an image of her sweet baby girl which was ripped to shreds for being “technically unsound” “confusing” and “over-edited.” Co stood strong until she saw the comment surface… “You’re a joke. This group is for real photographers.” She instantly deleted her image and removed herself from that group, never to return.
So, what did we learn from that experience? It’s easy to be mean behind a keyboard. Not everyone in the broader photography community was warm, welcoming and willing to help. It would probably take some digging to find a group where entry-level and intermediate photographers could feel safe to simply exist, let alone be nurtured. And, eventually, we learned that the community we were searching for didn’t actually exist and we’d have to create it. So we did.