Thursday, March 18, 2010

WPPI Recap

WPPI was a fantastic week of inspiration and growth. The conference was a mind blowing experience, and it truly opened my eyes to everything that is happening in the photography industry. I enjoyed being surrounded by thousands of photographers and the opportunity to listen to presentations from stars in the photography world (including Joe Buissink above). If you ever have the opportunity to hear Joe speak, I would highly recommend it. The man is immensely talented and humble, two qualities than generally do not pair up.

The passion of the presenters was amazing. It visibly oozed out of their pores. While I didn't agree with every lecturer's approach, I still respected their respective stories and fervor. It really charged me up to continue working on my fundamentals and get started on finding my own style as a photographer. The motto "inspiration not imitation" is certainly an adage to hold close.

So after a week of sitting in seminars from 8 AM to 8PM, I came to the following conclusion. There are two breeds of successful photographer: there are great photographers, and there are great marketers. Loads of creativity can go a long way in covering a lack of formal training, but I have my suspicions as to how long trendy photographers can sustain their businesses. One thing is for sure, if you are successful, you have essentially earned the right to tell people whatever you want to tell them.

Interestingly enough, my week at WPPI is drawing me in two seemingly different directions. In addition to digital photography, I want to shoot film and HD video. Preparing for the future while respecting the past is a running theme in my life, and I would have it no other way. Whatever the medium, I am going to work on visualizing things before I shoot and pouring my emotions into my photos. While I may have been doing this subconsciously before, I want my photography to take on more of a deliberate and sensitive approach.

So eager to get out there and shoot the next gig. Even more anxious to see if an improvement/difference in my work will be readily apparent.

As for the rest of my time in Vegas, I played poker and slept very little. Finished 19th out of 100 in the WPPI Poker Tournament, but I think I actually played much worse than that number would indicate. In my defense, I was extremely tired the first night and due to unwise loose play out of the gate, I was playing catch-up most of the night. As for poker tournaments, I strongly feel if you don't place in the money, you might as well be the first one out. Next year...

One morning, I got up early and took a few photos. That is how I know I love photography. After a week of sleeping an average of 3 hours a night, I happily climbed out of bed at 6 AM to walk around and shoot.

This guy was deep in thought in front of the Bellagio.

While I recognize there is nothing truly special about this photograph, I like that it demonstrates the properties of morning light.

And if you have never had a deep fried Twinkie, you don't know what you're missing. A fabulous value for 99 cents to boot!

It is often said that, "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," but I have brought much back home with me.


  1. you should try deep fried oreos too. yum!

  2. will have to try it next time. is there anything that deep-frying doesn't make better?