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Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Final Word on PhotoPlus Expo

Last week was the photo circus that is PhotoPlus Expo here in New York with high points (the Sony party) and low points (the naked women at the PDN party) and lots in between. I went to the Lucie Awards for the first time to support my friend Jason Florio who was chosen People Photographer of the Year and up for the International Photographer of the Year award. He wuz robbed.

Maybe it's a California thing that I can't relate to, but for me it was a ridiculous exercise in fluff, and not a part of the photo community here at all.

Then it was three days straight at the Javits Center and I'm sure everyone has read our blog posts from there. I want to thank Andrea Fischman, Sari Goodfriend, Helen Jones and Jason Florio for all their work. But honestly people, PhotoPlus Expo has really become an event for the amateur photographer--the Prosumer photographer. There were definitely some great seminars, and things to learn, but those seminars offering ways to be successful seemed to fall far from the mark. The panelists were without energy and offered no information except that old standby of working for free. I think we're all tired of that by now.

Just because someone is an expert doesn't mean they're a good speaker. There was a real lack of excitement and energy wherever I went. And why weren't there more up and coming stars talking and holding seminars? There is a real need for fresh, new blood--not the same old same old.

It was really telling to me that I didn't see very many people I know at the Javits. I'm sure it's because of money, and that's another reason I would suggest big changes to this annual event. It needs to be rethought and revamped for the way things are NOW. Or else, there will be something for the prosumer, and nothing for the professional photographer.

Will I blog again next year? I don't know. I came away a bit disheartened, glad to get back into what's going on here--going to openings, being on a panel, etc. I'm interested in contributing to the photography community and I'm always interested in finding ways that I can help. It's time again to get back to the problems of making a living. Last week didn't really help anyone with that.

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Anonymous Julie said...

As a pal said, it's a white-guys-in-vests fest.

November 04, 2010  
Anonymous Tim said...

Well said, Stella. I spent a total of about 2 hours on the expo floor, over a period of 2 days. At least one of those hours was spent at the Sony booth, listening to Brian Smith's presentation while talking with friends.

On the other hand, I spent most of Thursday at the Broncolor/Hasselblad expo a couple of blocks over at la Vue. It was great. They offered FREE seminars, 2 of which were just what I needed; 'Blogging for Photographers' and 'How to Get More Business.'

Sorry I missed you at the Sony party.

November 05, 2010  
Blogger matthew pace said...

I thought the show at Hasselblad/Broncolor was better..more down to earth photographers giving seminars that relate to now...
as for the PDN party.. $25-35 and you paid for drinks to eat chips???? Come on...incluse a drink or two with a ticket...
the models were dumb idea...I hat to say this but even as a man I was insulted. Women languishing on weapons of war?? ..not to mention that if you are showing models to pro photographers they better be models!

Did catch Albert Watson and his exhibit.. my hero.

November 11, 2010  
Blogger Smogranch said...


Interesting to read your comments on Photo Plus. I was one of the seminar speakers, but hopefully not one of the lethargic ones....
As for the show, I agree, it has become a advanced amateur show, BUT, it makes sense to me. First, there are a lot more PRO-sumer folks out there than actual pros, and they have proven a willingness to buy multiple new cameras per year, which in essence is what is driving this entire industry, at least from the technology side. I can remember PPE, years ago, walking those halls and seeing the heavy hitters walking around. Sadly, many of those folks aren't really working at all anymore, most are teaching as much as possible.
But perhaps the most interesting angle on this is that those advanced amateurs, in my experience, are working as much or more than the actual pros. I live in Southern California, and the bulk of work floating around is for cheap, generic digital content and those pro-sumers folks are more than willing to do it for free or next to nothing. They are filling a huge void in an industry that is simply going away.
But, in the end, I see this as a positive. Photography needed change, so when I look out I see opportunities, perhaps different than before, but if approached with a different perspective, COULD lead to good things.

November 12, 2010  

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