An online photography salon for
creatives seeking community, clarity & artistic momentum.
 


GATHERING LIGHT

 

  • Do you think deeply about the creative process, and find yourself craving a circle of photography friends who are just as heartfelt and introspective?
  • Have you promised yourself over and over that you’re going to make more time for your photography - but then it just doesn’t happen?

  • How would your creative output change if you didn’t have to figure out each step entirely on your own?

  • Do you sense that people in your immediate community think your photography is frivolous, so your work doesn’t feel very supported?

  • What would be different if you had easy access to a community of photographers who are genuinely interested in the nuances of art-making, sharing images, offering feedback, and growing as artists?

 

 

Say yes! to the creative practice
your heart is asking for.


 


Led by photographer, curator, and arts educator Laura Valenti, Gathering Light is the rare photography salon that leaves the typical critique format behind - and instead focuses on generous support, inspiring creative prompts, and meaningful conversations about the heart and soul of photography.

No more creative isolation.

No more wondering when (or if!) you’ll make another good image.

Gathering Light is about opening up space in your everyday life for creativity - and finding strength in a community of artists on a similar path.

 

 

In this salon, I have “found my people”: photographers interested in a variety
of genres, sharing their work, generously and empathetically supporting the work of others.
— Patricia Hogan
 

How does Gathering Light work?

Gathering Light is a monthly membership community, which means that every month you’ll receive:

 

1st week of every month:
Reflections on The Creative Path

On the first week of each month, I’ll share a very personal talk about my current projects - including my latest images and process notes. It’s an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the creative process of a working artist with over 20 years experience.

These monthly reflections will also cover topics like:

  • My best suggestions for moving through creative blocks

  • Rich ideas about seeing deeply and making images that truly matter

  • What's inspiring me most - and how we can apply new inspiration to our creative work

  • Thoughtful discussions on making art with intention and authenticity

  • How to make images that are personal and self-aware, without feeling repetitive or navel-gazey

  • And so much more


 

2nd week of every month:
Your Creative Experiment

On the second week of each month, you’ll receive a brand new creative experiment. Whether you want to step beyond your creative comfort zone or you’ve got a million ideas and need some focus, these experiments will be your creative guide.

Some experiments are thematic and some are aesthetic, but they’re all 100% creative, rather than technical or mechanical. 


 

3rd Week of Every Month:
INSPIRATION Interview

On the third week of the month, you’ll receive a heartfelt interview with a brilliant contemporary photographer. We’ll dive into each artist’s personal process and unique working method, and hear their perspective on what it means to live the creative life.

It’s so helpful to hear established artists talk about things the general photography community doesn’t discuss openly. These conversations are rich explorations of vital creative topics that are often overlooked.

(Personally, I would join Gathering Light for these interviews alone.)


 

4th Week of Every Month:
Creative Practice Notes

At the end of each month, we do a group check-in with some reflection questions to guide your creative exploration. What do you want to let go? Where were you inspired? Where do you see possibilities for additional discovery? Where did you succeed this month and where did you run into challenges? 

Over my 20+ years as a working artist, I’ve found that without these intentional check-ins, our practice can stall or become haphazard and confusing. It's easy to become overwhelmed by creative chaos. Each month, our check-in gives you a framework so your practice is beautifully aligned with your goals.


 

And of course! The Community!

Immediately after joining, you’ll get access to our one-of-a-kind Gathering Light community space where you can post images, share ideas, and connect with fellow photographers. Expect to find lively discussions, honest (always kind) feedback, and lots of meaningful encouragement. There really is no other community quite like this - it’s beautifully supportive and motivating.

Plus, our community space is truly private (it's not hosted on Facebook), so you can feel entirely secure as you share and grow as an artist.

 

 

There are two ways to experience Gathering Light...

The first option is detailed above. The second option includes everything mentioned above and adds a mentoring component. Here’s what that looks like:

Step One: I will review your past photographic work, website (if you have one), and any portfolios or social media sites you’d like to share. (Yes, I will look at ALL of it.)

Step Two: Then, we'll schedule a 60-minute mentoring call. Ask me anything - it's your time to use however you like. I’ll offer detailed feedback and personalized advice on your images and we’ll chat about your photography goals and any creative challenges you’re experiencing.

Mentoring comes with a six-month Gathering Light membership, so we'll have time to really go deep with your work.
 

Mentoring is a good fit if you are:

  • Ready to brainstorm that dream project you can’t stop thinking about

  • Wondering if your "mistakes" are actually pointing to your unique aesthetic

  • Looking for support and feedback through a long-term project

  • Struggling with editing a portfolio

  • Working towards exhibition goals

  • Curious about the best way to get your work "out there" in the public sphere

  • Writing your artist’s statement and in need of an experienced eye 

  • Wanting to know once and for all whether your images are good or not
     

If you have a vision of the kind of artist you could be, and you’d love helpful insights (and a clear roadmap) to make your dream a reality, the mentoring option is here for you.

 

 

As a fine art photographer, I work in isolation, but know the importance of interacting with a community of peers. Laura’s online photo salon is the perfect place, and I could not ask for a more sensitive and wonderful fearless leader.
— Jacqueline Walters
 

 

Monthly MembershiP: $24/month

 

six-Month Membership + ONE MENTORING SESSION: $367

 
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Why did I create Gathering Light?

When was I first making my way in the world as an artist, I was SO excited about the creative journey unfolding in front of me - but no one could relate to what I was doing. Working in a vacuum got lonely fast, so I put up fliers around town inviting other photographers to join me in a salon.

That was my first taste of creating a community of artists - we met every month for a few years. We shared images, offered feedback, collaborated, supported each other through periods of doubt, and happily celebrated each other's successes. Sweet friendships emerged and I grew so much as an artist.

My favorite thing about that photo group? I didn't feel alone anymore. This is why Gathering Light exists.

It’s a space for photographers to connect, uplift, and teach each other - in a convenient online format that fits your schedule. 3am in your pajamas, maybe? 

In a nutshell, Gathering Light is everything I wanted at the start of my artist’s journey - and it’s a true privilege to be able to offer it to you.

 

 

Is Gathering Light right for you?

  • Are you in a creative slump? Do you find yourself wishing you could bounce ideas off someone who understands the deep emotional heart of your photography practice?
  • Do you have hardly any photographer friends? Or, do your photographer friends seem to be mostly interested in the technical and mechanical parts of the process - and you’re interested in going deeper?

  • Does committing to meeting at an exact time and place every week or month simply not work with your schedule and responsibilities?

  • Have you been saying that you want to spend more time making images, but there’s no intentional space for it in your life, so it’s just not happening?

  • Instead of getting feedback from well-intentioned friends and family members with no photography experience, would you prefer to receive ongoing, thoughtful, supportive feedback and expert guidance from fellow artists?



 

If you said yes to any of those questions,
Gathering Light welcomes you.

 

Monthly MembershiP: $24/month

 

six-Month Membership + ONE MENTORING SESSION: $367

Frequently Asked Questions
 

What kind of camera do I need?

All cameras are welcome! You don’t need anything fancy to be a part of Gathering Light. DSLRs, point-and-shoots, camera phones, view cameras, pinhole cameras made from oatmeal boxes – I have a strict equipment nondiscrimination policy. If you're a film photographer, you must be able to scan your images to share in the online community space.

 

How good do I need to be?

Thoughtful photographers at any level may join. You should be comfortable with basic camera operations and must know how to upload images from your camera to your computer. Tech help is just an email away, though - we'll get you sorted out in a jiffy if you run into trouble.

 

Is there a live element? Do I need to schedule specific time for this?

There is no live element - you can participate in Gathering Light entirely on your own schedule. The community sharing space is open all the time. The monthly reflection is published on the 1st of each month, the creative experiment is published on the 8th, and the interview is published on the 15th. On the fourth week of the month we do a group check in where I share additional ideas and resources. No commuting in traffic, no sitting in uncomfortable classroom chairs. Cozy up and participate when it's truly best for you. 

 

How do the monthly payments work?

Monthly payments are debited from your card on the same day each month. If you sign up for the six-month membership with mentorship, you'll receive a renewal reminder when your membership ends. 

 

What’s the cancellation policy?

If you cancel your Gathering Light membership, you'll retain all the interviews, monthly reflections, and creative experiments you've already received, but you'll lose access to the community forum. If you sign up for a six-month membership and need to end your participation early, your remaining, pro-rated registration is transferrable to an e-course or additional private mentoring, but it is not refundable. Monthly members may cancel at any time and may always rejoin in the future.