Mild/Wild Life Photography
The Nikon tag is obvious - they are major naming sponsors for this event and have made a massive effort to present products and items to help the attendees. They fed and watered the stock last night at a Hollywood-themed party and did so on a grand scale. I left early when the water cannons and riot police arrived but apparently there was a lot of celebration after that, if the hangover stories from the trade tent are any indication.
Nikon and Epson are also involved, as are the Kayell people in a rather fun little feature - a photo booth. They rigged up a cubicle with two softboxes and a camera - I think it is a D 800 - controlled by one of the little ioShutter devices and a mobile phone. The whole lot is tethered over to the Epson stand and one of the big roll printers - you write a funny slogan on a Nikon ' I AM" board, pop the self timer app and the thing captures a glorious picture of you looking silly. This is sent to the printer and comes out as a 9 x 11 promotional print on Epson paper. My image was very good - it nearly made me look as handsome as I am in the mirror...but the kicker was it was also gold coin donation for breast cancer research which is great.
Lowepro? They are offering AIPP members attending the stand a chance to win any of the bags on display if they correctly guess the content's of three photographer's bags. I am glad that they did not ask me to submit mine for scrutiny as I would have been hard pressed to explain the dagger or the flask of gin.
Well today's keynote speaker was a photographer whose work is somewhere in your house right now. If you have kids look for the wildlife books, if you eat biscuits look on the tin, if you use a calendar look on the front of it for the name Steve Parrish. Now that is market penetration.
It hasn't been a new thing - he started underwater photography some four decades ago as a navy clearance diver and continued for years gathering images on film that are of such a quality that they can stand up to publication right now. Then came dry land creatures, and botanic subjects, and rock textures, and landscapes, and all feeding into a very prolific and popular body of published and sold work. He's had numerous deals with numerous producers of books, cards, and calendars and has a very keen appreciation of the sort of thing that is needed. Australia's children and Australia's flora and fauna have a mutual friend in Steve and he has performed the office of a friend - he has introduced them to each other in the most charming of ways.
He has also had adversity - not the least of which has been the destruction of a proportion of his archival material in last year's Queensland floods. His photos of the aftermath of the flood on the slide collection is nothing short of harrowing, as is his candid recounting of the ravages of the failures of book selling firms and the merciless conduct of the taxation authorities. A real measure of his courage and character is the way he has determined to rebuild his library and continue to supply top-quality wildlife images to Australia and the world. And he has finally convinced me to start digitally archiving my slides and negatives against the unforeseen.
The second speaker of the day....I seemed to know the name when I signed up but I couldn't think why. When I walked into the lecture theater I got it - Peter Adams is the chap who produced two of the books that we sell in the shop! We have "Street Wise" and "Who Shot That" on our shelves and they are a cracker example of real artistic talent in both writing and photography. I am going to see if i can get a copy of "Ore What" - his book on Hill End people as they exist now, and despite his self deprecation, I want mine signed. I have a book of historic photos taken at Hill End in its heyday and I think this would make a great duo.
Peter is not just books - he is wood craft and writing and a whole raft of commercial and artistic photography. He has photographed greats of photography - see the book - and is candid about the goodness or badness perceived in them as they interacted with him. If you want a different view of the visual clan, look at the book.
I have a very bad memory - as evinced by the fact that I also forgot who the third speaker was until I stepped into the lecture theater. Vicky Bell gave a very moving talk to us in Perth at one of the Nikon workshops and here she was again with a new batch of her fine art photography and a very good story about how and why she creates it. And this time on a big triptych screen with a professional slide show and a good sound system.
I think Vicky gets paid good money for her images and from the looks of the thinking that has gone into them, it is money well invested. She brings frank influence from old master's technique as well into what otherwise could be a very technical and dry business. She has looked at and seen and noted some of the greatest works of art and this guides her in her planning. Of course the other real influence and strength of her work is emotion. She experiences it, recognises it, and knows what place it can have in her art. It is her secret ingredient that quite frankly she makes no secret of.
I was particularly impressed by her use of small scale frames from old cabinet prints to construct what almost looked like ikons. Very classy, and as one of her subjects is a gentleman who has been a client of our shop, the sort of image that calls forth an emotional response from us.
See, Vicky? It works. It really does.
So, what happens next? If you are a professional photographer who is a member of the AIPP or someone who would like to benefit from contact with an absolute beehive of creative professionals, consider the fact that next June they are going to hold another of these shivarees in Hobart. The venue is a very good hotel and conference center and they are already scouting out at least 50 possibles as speakers and presenters. Of course they wont get all of them but the ones that do make the final team are sure to be the best that you can hear. This is a conference that is worth while on a lot of levels, so put it in the back of your mind and save up a little cash for it now.