This past week has been a whirlwind. I spent four days in NYC for a conference, had to escape the city by rented car and ride all night back home (11 hour trip) then said goodbye to a former flame and close friend as he moves to another state, found out my dad had a heart attack (he’s fine, but has to have a few procedures done), and went out Wednesday to celebrate Halloween, and still managed to get up and go to work. I’ve been trying to digest all that’s happened, but I think I need some tums.
First thing I want to say is that there was this little storm that hit the East coast, knocking out power, destroying homes, and even killed a few people. Thousands of Americans have been living in shelters, and millions have been affected in some form or another. I was nearly trapped in NYC in an area that was flooded and lost power (yeah, Greenwich Village, how crazy is that?), and I feel for everyone from the airports staying in homeless shelters and wishing they could be home. Please donate $10 to the Hurricane Sandy fund at the Red Cross. Or donate your time and resources in some other way.
That said, I attended the PDN PhotoPlus convention in NYC last weekend. I had a blast, my liver can attest to that, and I’d like to take this entry to talk a little about the convention. I feel conventions can be broken up into 5 parts: Vender Expo, Seminars, Meetings, Portfolio Reviews, and Parties. I’ll cover the first two here, and the last one in a second entry of its own. The other two are pretty boring.
The first priority for any attendee at a vender expo is to get ALL THE FREE SHIT THAT YOU CAN!
This does not include the sick lens cloth I got on a keychain. It’s so baller I’ve already attached it to a camera bag. and yes, you see some FREE FILM (who doesn’t love that?) from Kodak. It’s Portra 400, from the Kodak stand at the expo and desperately needs to be shot.. Great for shooting in a studio situation, and I’m going to try to do a few portraits in the next couple weeks, so it’ll be perfect. Don’t be too jealous of my metal water bottle and chocolate covered espresso beans and paperclip keeper. I don’t know why i need the paperclip keeper, but I thank Drive Savers Data Recovery for giving it to me.
The next step is, if the Print File guys are present, go buy something from them. I have tons of storage boxes from expos that cost me $5 a pop. This year I spend a whopping $2 on negative holders for 35mm film that hold 36 negative, INSTEAD OF 35, WHICH MAKES NO SENSE. I really hate having one image leftover. stupid. But yes, shopping is a must. Venders have all kinds of great deals on gadgets you never knew you needed. You also need to test all the fancy cameras you can’t afford and play with gear you have no need for. What I hated about this expo, is that all the venders thought they’d use pretty, young women as models to test cameras. They tap danced, and sat on motorcycles, and walked around wearing bikinis, and, most disgustingly, they were painted with G-strings and pasties. What the fuck, PDN? I didn’t want to spend so much money to go to what was essentially, a strip club. I’m probably going to write a letter of complaint. Unique Photo provided those girls, so don’t give them your business, if you respect women.
My favorite seminar may have been Cristina Mittermeier’s on “Giving Purpose to your Work.” She founded iLCP and continues to be a photographer for the organization. I was blown away by the work, and the sense of mission behind everything that the organization does. She talked about finding a couse you feel deeply about, and how to use photography to fight for it. She inspired me. I know her deal is environmentally driven, but I kept thinking about what we’ve been wanting to do as KodakKerouacs, and how to really give meaning to the presentation of our work. Please check her out.
Lauren Greenfield does excellent work. Thin changed the way I thought about eating disorders and my body in a life-changing way. I will see The Queen of Versailles . But her seminar of photography and filmmaking was more of a plug for her films than anything useful for the attendees. It was all over the place, and the longest two hours of the whole trip. waste. I’ve heard her speak before, and I recall it being much better and less tedious, but this was hugely dissimilar.
Another good seminar of note was done by Andrew Hetherington and Monte Isom. They are extremely personable, and both have blogs. Andrew was hilarious, and gave very smart advice on networking and photo contests, and Monte displayed how eloquently FOCUSED he is. Andrew inspired me to work on my style and portfolio, Monte inspired me to make a hundred spreadsheets and start calling every good photographer and publisher and magazine and….. Moral of the story: be focused and postion yourself to get lucky.
Stay tuned for my entry on Art and partying in the big city. You might learn something of value!