Retreat Leaders:

Natasha Kelly – Natasha Kelly is an Australian photographer, writer and mentor. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, three children, dog and possessive cat. A co-founder of the documentary family photography project and community, Sham of the Perfect, Natasha follows the philosophy that reality is enough. Her work has been shown in exhibitions in Australia and the US and can also be found both in print and online. Her ongoing projects focus on the themes of family, identity and relationships. A teenager trapped in an adults body, Natasha loves her music loud, her cider cold and has a compulsion to avoiding domestic chores.

Erika Roa – Erika is the owner/operator of Little Fish Photo in Poulsbo, Washington and an artist listed with both Offset and Cavan images. She is a co-founder of Sham of the Perfect as well as a co-editor for Red Thread Sessions. Her images have been seen on various websites including the Huffington Post, Lemonade and Lenses, and Fearless & Framed. Her images have also been published in Holl & Lane magazine and Click’s 2016 Voice Collection. She has two kids, 3 pets, and a husband that travels for work frequently. She likes her drinks strong and her coffee even stronger. 


Shoot Leaders: 

Jennifer Tonetti Spellman – Jennifer is a street photographer/family photo journalist living in New York.  Since 2009 she has been shooting in-home documentary work for families, but the pull towards street in recent years has her shifting gears to focus more on elevating her street game.  She is the co-founder of the online teaching platform Illuminate Classes  where she is also a teacher of her street class Street Smart and in-home photography business class, Coming Home. Jennifer is also a contributor to the blog Women in Street/Her Side of the Street, which is focused solely on highlighting women street photographers.  

Bonnie Carrender – Bonnie (Chaos Composed) is a documentary photographer from Tampa, Florida. She lives with her husband, two vivacious daughters, two dogs (one crazy JRT and one chubby Beagle), one Bearded Dragon, and one Peach Cheeked Conure. Though she occasionally shoots clients in their rawest, most real moments, the vast majority of her photography is of her own family, in its rawest, most awesome, sometimes laughable and at times, cry-able (that’s a word) moments. In the end, her photography is a mother’s desperate attempt to create order out of chaos and perhaps, more importantly, capture life’s most fleeting moments—no matter how mundane or exciting, sad or joyous, anxiety-inducing or peaceful, and exhausting or exhilarating


Maddie McGarvey – Maddie is a freelance photographer based in Columbus, OH. She graduated from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication in 2012 with a degree in Photojournalism. She interned at the San Francisco Chronicle in 2011 and worked as a staff photographer at the Burlington Free Press in Vermont before returning to the Midwest. In 2014 she was named an Emerging Talent for Getty Reportage and in 2015 was selected as one of Magnum’s 30 Photographers under 30.  In 2016 she was chosen as one of TIME’s 51 Instagram Photographers to follow in the USA and was recognized by Picture of the Year International for her campaign work. She frequently works for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AARP, NPR, ESPN and her work has appeared in Mother Jones Magazine, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, FiveThirtyEight among others.

Star Rush – Star is a Vietnamese American, born in Saigon in the late sixties. She grew up in a working class home, in south King County, within a mixed race, bicultural family, with parents who intentionally removed anything but English in their home as a means to protect against linguistic bias. She is an immigrant who has become American, one curious about what that character or that identity may mean. She has been enculturated to America’s languages: English, pop culture, images, music. She’s at home in middles, the betweens of living, exploring a sense of liminality. 

Star is inspired by simplicity and contrasts, moved by the rhythms of American Delta Blues, soul and bebop music and the foods of the American south. They evoke where she is from, another South–Saigon, Vietnam–the spices, swaying rhythms and slow drawls that are sewn into her DNA. She’s also curious about the social landscapes documented by American photographers and others who observe America–its stories–with a lyrical, outsider’s eye. She writes poetry and essays, is an admirer of the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and the prose of Zora Neale Hurston. She never tires of listening to Nina Simone or Tift Merritt.