Wednesday, July 30, 2014

divine desires: community and creation

For those of you who have been wondering what this recent instameeting is all is a VERY long answer.

photo from #silomeet taken by the VERY talented @jasonixcamparij

It has been almost a complete year that I have been back in Houston, now as an adult and living on my own. Through my reflection on this time, this first year of true adulthood has been marked by my consistent pursuit of two things: creation and connection.

Since moving back from College Station, moving into my own apartment, moving away from my firmly established roots, I have sought many methods of expressing creativity. I dabbled in photography, calligraphy, writing, web design, and many other things. I have taken classes, attempted self-teaching, asked experts and scoured far and wide to find ways to create things, to leave behind a bit of myself for the world. While I have mastered NONE of these practices, I still strive to create and actively pursue many of them. This inner impulse urging me to create is something I cannot deny, and I know it will be the driving force for a majority, if not all, of the things I pursue in the future.

In addition to this, I have found myself seeking connections with new people... new relationships, new friends, new mentors, new adventurers. This stems not from a lack of network here in Houston; I grew up here and attended a nearby university, so I have a friends and family from childhood and college. But I want a new network, a group of people that have met me as an adult and know me from this walk of life. While the benefits of lifelong friends are boundless (I do currently live with my best friend from infancy...), I will always crave making new connections, sharing a bit of myself with someone new and receiving a bit of them, learning their stories and simply loving them. I truly love people and want to find more ways to do this.

These desires represent some of what I consider to be the godliest aspects of human design, and they help us to understand God's intentions with creating mankind. He CREATED a species that seeks to CONNECT with Him above all else. Therefore, as we are made in God's image, we too seek to create and connect consistently, and fostering those desires can only help to demonstrate God's heart to us.

All this desire to create and connect that I have experienced has led me to some pretty cool places this year. I have started the #durrettcoffeetour as a way to tour new areas of this city and see what cups of coffee it has to offer. My dad is obviously the taste tester.

But even more strongly in pursuit of connection and creativity, recently, I have been connecting with lots of photographers and other creative types over Instagram (easily my favorite social media app). The Instagram community in Houston is STRONG, and many of these 'grammers crave similar connections.

In May, for Worldwide Instameet #9, Houston IGers organized and gathered for meets all across the city. I attended a meet at the Summer Street Studios. To say I was completely terrified as I walked up to the meet is a gross understatement. I would be lying to say my hands were not shaking. I did not know a single person who would be attending this event. I contacted a friend of mine who knew another person at the meet and grilled her for information on this person, just so that I would have a somewhat familiar face there. I do not really consider myself a shy person, but entering a group of twenty strangers (who for the most part all know each other or at least a few people there) horrified me. Was I cool enough for this? Did I look the part? Can I even interact with strangers? Is my phone's battery fully charged? Should I have brought a DSLR? These were the questions racing through my brain.

Quickly though, all my fears were set aside as every person there was extremely welcoming, and we were all seeking the same things: fellow creatives who love Houston. We walked around some empty studios, talked about the burgeoning creative community in Houston, discussed plans for the future, and took lots and lots of photos. It was a blast, and soon I was ready to make even more connections in the IG community. (Check out the #wwim9_htx tag for more images from some amazing photographers at this event!)

two friends made at the first instameet: @mikahdanae and @williamgeoffrey

the coolest guy at the instameet

A little while later, @danjoyce and I met up to bop around Houston and take pictures. It ended up being the best day. Not only did I explore new areas of Houston, take some rad pictures, and learn a LOT more about photography, I made a cool new friend. (Sidenote: Dan is making moves, and you'd be foolish not to keep an eye on him.)

This is Dan (in real life). (haha lame joke I know...)

Shortly after that, Dan announced that he and some other cool guys (@will_insull and @808mph) were hosting an instameet in late July. I could not have been happier! I entered this meet with loads more confidence as I knew what to expect and who some of the attendees would be. Meeting up with some old IG friends and many new people was a great experience (even if the event required hastily getting a tetanus shot the next morning). Check out the #silomeet tag for even more amazing pictures from some of the coolest Houstonians I know.

This meet had such a unique, high-energy vibe. Every person seemed so excited to be there. Talks of the next meet sprang up as soon as people were introducing themselves to one another, and the passion this group has for Houston and connections and creativity was palpable. I walked away from this meet thrilled to see the direction of the Houston IG community.

@sarah.e.alexander just hanging out

@jasonixcamparij was a spider monkey at the silomeet, I don't think I ever saw his feet on the ground.

the cool kids club (from L to R: @dayanfdez, @blairtrusdellphoto, @wvtrmrk, @92chill@jaybun3030, @connor.mizell)

I do not know much about photography AT ALL. Growing up as my mother's daughter, I am comfortable around cameras, just enough to get myself in trouble, but I know nothing about technique or editing or theory or mechanics. I just shoot things that strike me, sometimes the pictures turn out, 98% of the time they are awful.

All of this meeting and photographing has taught me so much...about photography, about myself, about people in general, about self-expression. I do not know what the final result of all this will be, and that isn't of much importance to me yet. But I do know that meeting these people and learning all these things is preparing me for something big, and I cannot wait to see what that is.

all my love,

P.S. If you want to go explore Houston sometime, let me know! I love exploring and photoing and making new friends.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 

Hebrews 10:24-25


  1. What a beautiful post Hallie! I'm surprised to find out you aren't a professional photographer. Your photos are fantastic! I would love to meet up sometime and explore! I'm always looking for new friends and not quite ready to attend the instameets on my own.

    Can't wait to read more of your blog!

    Christine :)

    1. Wow! You are so kind, and I am excited to meet you soon! I think we'll be fast friends. And then I'll attempt to talk you into attending the next instameet of course. Can't wait to hang!