Non-Places

“The world of supermodernity does not exactly match the one in which we believe we live, for we live in a world that we have not yet learned to look at.  We have to relearn to think about space.” –Marc Auge

Describing Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Douglas Coupland asserts, “O’Hare is the acme of metaphysical nonplaces dreamed up: the realization of technology’s secret goal of placing Plexiglass sheeting between ourselves and the world. Jets and turboprop commuter planes may well be the vessels in which drama occurs, but the hub is the stopping of time; human biology divorced from narrative and nature.”

While working on an assignment called NonPlaces I discovered there are nonplaces all around us. Places where it is hard to determine the actual use or meaning. Places that are ambiguous in nature, perhaps unsettling, or ironic. Places like a dead end, a vacant lot, public space with a surveillance camera. Places that no one really inhabits, but simply passes through. I found quite a few. A trail through the forest, a residential street that dead ends at a diary farm, mailboxes for an undeveloped housing complex, and a lonely bridge that seems to go nowhere.

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Photography Conferences: An Important Part of Professional Training

Doctors and scientists do it. Executives do it. A lot of professionals invest time and money to attend conferences. And you should too. There are lots of professional conventions for photographers {local and national}. My initial research proved it’s difficult to find an all-inclusive list.  I’ve compiled a list of the big ones that are being held over the next 12 months.

October 28-30, 2010
PDN Photo Plus Expo
http://www.photoplusexpo.com
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001-1188

November 9-11, 2010
PartnerCon New Orleans
http://pro.pictage.com/community/ppc/neworleans/
Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel, French Quarter
739 Canal Street at Bourbon
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

January 16-18, 2011
Imaging USA
http://www.imagingusa.org
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
200 East Market Street, San Antonio, TX 78205

January 16-19, 2011
DWF Convention 2011
http://www.digitalweddingforum.com/convention/
The Hotel Contessa
306 W. Market Street
San Antonio, TX 78205

February 17-24, 2011
WPPI Las Vegas (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International)
http://www.wppionline.com/storage/2011/home.html
MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

March 30 – April 1, 2011
Photoshop World
http://photoshopworld.com/
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL

2011 Schedule TBA
Skip’s Summer School
http://www.mei500.com
MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Why should you go? This is a great question…

  1. to up your game
  2. to get inspired
  3. be around other professionals including industry leaders / world renowned photographers
  4. to learn something new
  5. hands on training from industry leaders
  6. mentoring and portfolio review {at certain conferences}
  7. see and try new gear / technology {and possibly receive a conference discount}
  8. lots of other reasons {obviously!}

Still not sure how a photography conference can benefit you? Take a look at one pro photographer’s experience at PartnerCon last year and what it did for his business.

Once you’ve decided to attend, how do you prepare? {Other than the obvious logistical planning.} What can you do to actually get the most out of the conference once you get there? One astute attendee outlines his method for making the most of his education / investment.