I signed up for the photographers conference PhotoLush 2017 in a very spontaneous moment. I signed up because it was local. I signed up because it appeared to be an intimate conference, which appeals to me. Small = Better. I signed up because it showed up in my feed on FB, just as an art show I had planned to submit to had cancelled and a patron let me keep the funds. I signed up because I recognized Clinton James from a FB group I had lurked in. I signed up because it was out of my league. I signed up because I wanted to be uncomfortable. I wanted to be uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. As a person who struggles a bit with social phobia, being in crowds of strangers is like death. I am putting myself in these circumstances even if I struggle with it.
The conference was mostly designed for the professional photographer. Things like weddings or journalists, or senior portrait photographers. I don't do ANY of those things. I also don't intend to do that type of photography. Why would I surround myself with these types of professionals?
I did it to affirm what I am.
This past year I became more familiar with my introvert self. I have been an introvert my entire life, I just never had a name for it. In a workshop I was teaching, all the participants spoke to being introverts and it was like a light bulb went on in my head. Wait a minute, is that what this is? Are the quirky ways of being me and surviving publicly now defined? Is being introverted what this is called? It's rather embarrassing that it took me until my mid 50's to GET my true self, but there it is. AND it's very real for me. Anyone with challenges socially, and or even certain learning disorders ( I have those too) we all know that we creatively cope with being who we are. For me, if I can control my circumstance somehow by having a role to play, like volunteering at the check in of a conference, or teaching my own workshop -- then I can be the one in charge of something. I can shine in my own way.
For this conference I had none of those safety nets. Sometimes being new can actually help. Hi - I am new to Washington state and ...but after a year plus now, I am not sure I can still say that. Nor can I say that about my photography. My self taught journey began in 2012. Clearly the conference was rich with friendships and connections from it's past years, and having been part of environments like that before. I mostly took the stance of being an uncomfortable observer or a wall flower - yes, that was me in the back of the room. watching. I was completely out of my element in the lighting shoot session , but I tried, and I found my creative way in spite of being uncomfortable.
Here is what I saw:
I was very impressed by the mom/child lifestyle photography expressions I saw represented. Large percentage of women in the crowd. Leah Shepard I was very moved by your sharing
Folks sure go all out with regards to their camera's and equipment. big camera's, big lenses, fancy flashes. Being in a room full of that, to me, felt like tech overload.
That said, one speaker - the very young and impressive Kjell Redal spoke to the "use what you have" model. I particularly loved that because guess what....my rock star of a point and shoot camera ?? It's all I've got. I've got a long way to go to feel one with my Lumix.
The example of using your lap top in an oven as a light source? A total gem of an idea. Thank you Jennifer Bogle -- way more my speed.
It takes a certain kind of person to do wedding photography. I state this affectionately. I am in awe of you Sarah Postma - you make it look effortless. I am definitely not that sortof person. And while I didn't understand a single thing you said Saturday - I tried and it was fun to try.
( the very last three of this set were with my Lumix - which is very low performing in low light. )
I would like to do portraiture. I have an idea as to what kind. I need mentorship to acquire this skill.
What I do best and what I wish to do and be proficient and sustainable in ...is project work. narrative. not journalistic, but story telling for another -- specifically - my images move their story forward. Not sure what that is called. I knew this about myself before the conference. After the conference I feel more clarity about it.
The give back in photography or what a photograph provides that isn't measurable or tangible is priceless. The photographer who uses photography to give back are people I really enjoy being around. Rob Atkinson - what a beautiful story you shared. Tiffany Burke you are such a power house.
A LOT of heart in this crowd.
MOSTLY, the hat I chose to wear when I moved to Washington a year and a half ago, was one of AN ARTIST. It's a hat I wear with risk, because if I want my work to be income producing. It needs to be something that is sustaining. Boy - did Anna bring that pricing for profit reality home.
My personal shining moment, and it didn't have an official conference lushie award attached to it, was seeing these stickers on my salon image.
This informal photo salon contest had several categories: Kid and Baby Portraits, Landscape, Wedding/Events, Art/Fashion, Adult Portraits, and Editorial/Photojournalism. When I decided on this piece...I thought of it as a portrait in the adult category. but not of an adult adult...but more of my mooing neighbor and a cow adult.
strangest thing happened ...my conference peers experienced my photograph as art!!
Thank you to those who gave me my little blue stickers!!
You have no idea how defining that is for me.
Shout out to Quick Silver Labs in Bellingham - my print was very well done!!
I live in the country. I had a bit of a trek to attend. When I went to get my print it was completely hailing outside. full hail pour! I had a chance to pause and enjoy the sunset before the conference began.
me thinks there are stars in this shot of the manor, they had to be pretty darn bright for my little camera to pick up. The Lairmont Manor was a lovely venue! I was very taken with this fridge in the kitchen - it had stuff stacked in front of it by the time i got back to snap a few shots of it.
My blooper for the day/event was this ridiculous capture of a fire extinguisher!! HA!!
To the founders of PhotoLush Clinton and Aaron - kudos to you for continuing to gather this special blend of creatives. I am sure I am not alone is saying the difference you make for others is real and tremendous. Thank you!
My conference set of images is here.
bride and groom. ( ashley kristoff and conor james bryan )
engaged couple ( elyssa zorres and curtis carter )
dress and tux from belle bridal
make up - elizabeth marie makeup
Photography = a never ending opportunity to capture visual celebrations.