Every year photographers converge on the Jacob Javits Center in New York City for the annual Photo Plus Expo. I have attended the expo on and off for years and every year I always seem to leave there a little bit overwhelmed and wanting to up the credit lines on all of my credit cards. I'm telling you, there is gear for your gear that you never knew you needed. This year, however, I set forth on a different path. I decided that I was going to attempt to cut through all of the commercial goodness of the show and focus on some of the fantastic speakers they have at the event. Just about everyone that's anyone in the photography industry can be found at the expo, but one in particular stood out, Joe McNally.
There are many reasons I relate to Joe, but the biggest is we are the same type of photographer. He came up in the editorial world and so did I. Albeit, he has shot for some of the best publications on Earth (my resume is a work in progress and I have some really great publications to boast as well), but who we have shot for isn't really the point. It's the style of our work that matters. There's not necessarily one thing we specialize in, we sort of can get anything you need, done and done very well. And in this brave new world of "lifestyle wedding photographers" and "photo moms" it was really refreshing to hear war stories from Joe. He has embraced the latest lighting techniques and digital camera technology to really hone his craft and his speaking ability is fantastic.
It's really hard today to attend a photo convention and find speakers that you can relate to. The photo market has been watered down with folks that are really just pimping a lifestyle instead of the technical way things get done. So instead of learning new techniques, you have people teaching seminars that just started shooting a certain genre of photography 2 or 3 years ago and the meaning of F-stop to them is the A or P setting on their camera. Listen, I don't take issue with these photographers at all, I am a capitalist. If you're into photography and ever have the ability to see Joe teach a seminar, I highly recommend you don't pass it up.
I will do a post in the near future about how I feel about the state of photography, my beloved profession. I will also include a few tidbits of some really awesome new gear.