Jose Villa Workshops | Karina Puente


I am writing a blog post today to share a short story on Karina Puente and how this wonderful and amazing lady has impacted me during the Jose Villa Workshop in Mexico 2016.

Karina if you are reading this, From the bottom of my heart I wanted to thank you for the wonderful session we had together. You made me think, dig a little deeper into my own heart and allowing me to visit the past, venturing to the root of  WHY AM I DOING WHAT I’M DOING???


Karina is an Artist and in our session she drew on a white cardboard (illustrated on the images below) everything we spoke about. I am so framing this cardboard Karina and I will treasure this forever!!!


Karina started our session by asking Why am I here and what led me to the Jose Villa Workshops? I started of by sharing, how meeting Jose Villa was a life long goal and how i’ve dreamed for years of meeting him. I explained to Karina that Meeting a person like Jose Villa only happens once in a lifetime, With this journey of going to Mexico and meeting my Mentor, I started the “Follow your dreams campaign”. I mentioned to Karina the incredible difficulty and challenges that arrised a couple of days, months prior my departure and luckily none of these challenges stopped me from following my dreams and meeting Jose Villa.


A typical challenge was, A week before my departure, i did not have a Mexican Visa, The Lord came through and delivered on a prayer. Thank you Lord. I also still needed to pay for my accommodation, I ran out of saving funds and had to sell one of my Prime camera lenses to gather the last bit of funds. My credit card expired exactly two days before i departed and had to run the risk of traveling with $2000, which was scary in itself. Basically, i had to think of creative ways to follow my dreams and it was so hard at the time, I remembered praying to the Lord and said, Lord i’m stuck, i don’t know how to go further from this point. I also had a nightmare with my plane ticket, but that is another amazing story to be told in due time.

What i’m basically getting to is, following your dreams is never easy and there will be days that you are in the trenches and smitten down, the key is to always stand up, keep your dream in your heart and do the best you can do. I remember a couple of days before my departure, I was emotionally drained, because I realised that my dream of meeting Jose Villa might not come true. I kept on praying and Trusting The Lord. One of my prayers at the time was. Lord I did all i could do, everything lies in your hands. Come what may.


Back to my session with Karina. WHY AM I DOING WHAT I’M DOING???


I told Karina about a couple of family members that we as a family lost in 2012, my father was among the family members, He past away from Cancer. At the time of loosing my family members, I realised how short life was and how precious time and each moment is. Knowing this, I realised that life is to short to do what you don’t love. I was an Interior designer at the time and I didn’t feel like I was living my life. I have been taking weddings for 12 years, mostly over weekends, but I was never full time. In 2013 I made a jump from full time Interior design to full time photographer. This all was due to the fact hat I did internal self discovery through journals and asking myself some hard questions, where am I going with my life, what do I want to do, etc. Through loss I found self actualisation and meaning (This is portrayed on the card)

At the time of writing my journal, I heard an amazing teaching about ecclesiastes. Its a book in the Bible and it is all about wisdom literature, Soloman is an old man looking back on his life, trying to make sense of life and what it all means. it was only recently that I discovered a very deep meaning of the book and it was through the Bible Project. It talks about life as being like a vapour, smoke, that you can see and if you hold your hand in the smoke you can see the smoke going through your fingers and around your hand. But as soon as you try to hold on to it, you realise you can’t, This is the same with life. We can see life all around us happening, but we can’t hold on to it. the moment we try to hold on to it , it passes by. that is why it’s so important to enjoy what you are doing right at this moment. If you are eating a meal, enjoy it fully for this moment is all you have.


Karina, sensed that my story was very special and she encouraged me to write about my experiences and life stories (illustrated on the images below). What took my breath away was when Karina said she saw a staff!!! for some reason. This was truly breathtaking and profound. About a year after my father pasted away, i came across a teaching and short story of Rick Warren, the purpose driven life. On a ted talk he talked about Moses and His staff. The staff of moses represented His Identity, he was a shepherd, his occupation, he traded with sheep, it was a symbol of Gods power. Each time Moses had to perform an act of God, Moses had to use the staff. The staff was a form of salvation. For example. once Isreal got smitten with snakes and God said to Moses, place the staff on a hill and let those who look upon the staff, may they be healed. the staff is a Christ like symbol for salvation. Here is the link to Rick warrens ted talk


So when I explained how profound this was it meant that my Fine Art Wedding photography is my Identity, my trade, my occupation, my power, influence and salvation. Salvation meaning, i can use photography as a medium to share and tell about what The Lord has done in my life.


The most important part of this blogpost is that of my father, Wessel. He loved writing, he used to collect pens and write on small papers for hours (illustrated on the image with the frame below). At the workshop I realised how important it was for me to incorporate the things I loved about my father. His hand writing was so special and unique to me, after the workshop I decided to start incorporating His handwriting in all my Instagram and social media blogposts. It will be so personal and special for me to do so in 2017. I have already started with this process and i’m so happy. I’ll be starting with my re-branding in 2017 and i’ll be incorporating my fathers handwriting. in 2017 i’ll be writing so much more blogposts, thank you for the encouragement Karina!!!


Karina, thank you for letting me search what was deeply hidden in my heart, it was a treasure to be discovered, you are so amazing. below is me and Karina!!!


Please have a look at the wonderful work of Karina, Her details are listed below.


INSTAGRAM: @karinapuentearts




jose villa workshops | riaan west




Riaan West