There is nothing like the Real Life Conference for Women and Non-binary Photographers I’ve heard people say. And so I’ve promised myself to whatever it takes to attend this conference.

But hey, it’s on the other side of the planet and it’s not easy to just jump on a plane and go there. So I had to wait 2 years to see my dream come true.

While waiting I’ve collected a huge bag of “I have to go, because….” Last time I counted them there were at least 2 or 3 of those for any “ yes, but it’s so ….” And all I can say now that the conference is over, is that this was the best thing ever! Every sacrifice I’ve made it was worth it!

The sense of community and friendship and belonging was there from the first moment I set foot in the hotel. Hell, even before, because I’ve met some of the girls attending during the stopover in Vancouver.

And during the days of the conference this feeling became stronger and stronger.

Real Life Conference 2019, during Tomayia Colvin's speech

the speaker were amazingly inspiring, involved and available to everyone. And even though every speech was different they all had one thing in comune: Authenticity! And that is REAL LIFE!

Rocio Vega and Felicia Chang during the Real Life Conference 2019

Talking about this conference with my friends and acquaintances the first thing everyone would say was: “OMG a room full of women, there would be screaming and feathers flying in no time!” AND I was so hurt by this “myth” we are all raised to believe that sisterhood it’s impossible because we’re not made to get along. Well, I had the proof this myth it’s just bullshit! The patriarchal society that is raising us wants us to believe we can’t live together, help each other and  that is just a lie!

Sisterhood during the conference

The competition we feel like having to win it’s just an invention to prevent us from relying on one another and to find strength in our sisterhood!

Talking about sisterhood, I had the opportunity to experience it first-hand before and after the conference. 

As it is my sisters took me to see the North West Coast. We’ve started on the coast of Victoria Island in Canada with a full immersion into the coast’s wilderness and then fell in love completely when another sister took me to the Oregon Coast. 

When the ocean meets the coast in Oregon

The wild nature of the coast reminded me of us, women. The mountains and the ocean merging only to create a magic force called LIFE!

Surfer on the Tofino's beach in British Columbia Canada
Sunset on the Oregon's coast

I didn’t took pictures during the conference for 2 main reasons: I wanted to be totally present every second of the time I spent there and also because the RLC already had a designated photographer. And she did such an amazing job, capturing the feeling of RLC, capturing my own emotions. And for once, I’m in the pictures too!

Lavinia Nitu and Amina Mohamed during the Real Life Conference 2019

So all the photos from the conference were made by the incredibly talented Bobbi Barbarich. But ZOË GEMELLI described it better so I’ll borrow her words:

It takes a certain phenomenal soul to willingly hold space the way Real Life does for everyone in the room. As Bobbi’s photos will show you, it’s a tent revival without the religiosity, it’s an intervention without the addiction, it’s Pride Day that celebrates everyone present. It’s a gathering of joy, sorrow, legacy, camaraderie, empathy, integrity, depth, empowerment.

Click here to view Bobbi’s pictures from the conference.
Click here to view the slideshow she made for the conference.