'Round the Table.

Community. What exactly does that word mean? And is it the same for everyone? Merriam-Webster defines it as "a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood)." Sure that may be a community in its most basic form. It doesn't really encompass everything though. The group of people that I ride SoulCycle with - that is a community. My church - that is a community. The bloggers that I go to media events with - that is a community. At the end of the day, community is simply a group of people that you do life with.

Last month, during my vacation to the Pacific Northwest, my brother and I were welcomed into a community of strangers (with the exception of my cousin and his family). We did not know the people that we were suddenly spending time with, but that didn't make a difference. Each and every one of my cousins' friends welcomed us with open arms. Literally, I think we received a huge from every person that we met. 

Before the trip I scoured the Internet for inspiration. What did I want to cook? What sites did I need to visit? What images from Kinfolk and other blogs did I live and want to find a way to recreate in my own way. On our first night in Mount Vernon, Washington we set up dinner in the barn and opened the doors for people the come break bread with. This was exactly what I was hoping for - a community of people to photograph and make look good for Smak. In my mind I wasn't thinking about actually getting to know the people. I was so preoccupied by the final product. The final image.

So what happened? Sure, I got some incredible photographs with you all. But more than that, I met people who took the time to learn about my brother and me, who asked us questions, who laughed with us, who ate with us, who drank wine with us.

It truly is an incredible feeling to be accepted into a new community and share in life together. So to everyone I met during my time in the Pacific Northwest, thank you.

Tommy.