Today I wanted to talk a little more about groups and giving…. and friendship and support. The Sisterhood Stories blog circle is one such small group… every week we endeavour to support each other by writing a post and linking to the next lady in the circle. This has two outstanding features; the first is it really forces me to be good and and try and keep up to date with my blog writing. And secondly, we are all gaining new readers and comments by introducing our own readers to new writers and photographers.

A second group I belong to is a local one. You might think that having a group of people from one area all doing the same thing (running a photography business), would lead to everyone fighting one another for business – but that doesn;t happen – not in any nasty way. Last weekend one member put out a help message – they had been afflicted with infection and had an immoveable family shoot – rather than let the client down, they were doing the best they could to find another photographer for them… Currently the group are arranging an off camera flash workshop – so those with more experience can practice with and teach those with less…. One of the ‘groups’ really close to my heart is my Aspire group, formed from the small group who started together on the Bespoke course – a year on from meeting in person, we are in daily or weekly contact still, helping and guiding and supporting each other in our businesses.

I don’t just belong to ‘professional’ groups either – albeit most of them turn into ‘friend groups’. There’s my local knitting and crochet group where I can tap into the expertise of The Mercerie and Norfolk Yarn, there’s the support for creatives group and lately, the hugely supportive 5/2 group, started by the author Kate Harrison. I count the day I came across Susannah Conway and joined her Unravelling course and subsequent group, one of the best days of my life in terms of internet groups and relationships.

Of course, life is not always a perfect dream – and (as in ‘real’ life) some groups and friendships fall apart. It is so easy now to click ‘ctl+v’ and take the written word out of context and put it into a completely different one for an audience who are only privy to ‘copy and paste’ environment. It’s also very easy to mask the real you and present a different ego to your virtual world. The only problem with that, is the longer the virtual relationship continues, the more chance there is that the ‘real’ you, the masked ‘you’ will slowly emerge, and so a dishonesty is exposed.

For me therefore, the groups which have the most genuine and lasting sense of friendship, support and giving, are the ones which formed from a common recognition that we all need support and help; that none of us individually are perfect, and none of us individually are the best at what we do. The Sisterhood Stories circle is just that – Isabelle recognised that giving and receiving support when posting our blogs, will make each of us stronger.

Next week I am spending a little time with two of the most delightful photographers it has been my fortune to become friends with. National Wedding Photographer of the Year , Ross Harvey and the equally talented and supportive James Rouse. As if a meal with two of the most dashing men in Norwich isn’t enough, I’m also having the technical minds of both giving me tips on using my exquisite new purchase, the X100. Thank God for groups and giving; for friendship and support.

Would love you to leave a comment and hear your thoughts on this, before you go on to the next in the circle, Isabelle