What a difference a year makes. I’ve been going to Photo Expo since it started, whenever that was some 20 or 30 years ago. It used to be held at the Coliseum, New York’s old convention center, when it was much smaller. Over the years Photo Expo got bigger and bigger, with huge sections of the floor devoted to lab equipment and hundreds of other booths displaying everything from cameras to computer software.
The last few years the Expo has gotten smaller. Gone is all the lab equipment of course, but also not present are some of the big vendors like Adobe and Apple. This year was the first year there was another photographic event happening simultaneously, called “Shoot NYC….an advanced photography forum”. This event was hosted by Hasselblad and Broncolor, and just few blocks away from Javits. I didn’t get a chance to get down there but I heard rave reviews from those who went saying it felt like it was geared more for the “professional”.
One difference I have noticed over the years of attending Photo Expo is the shift in the attendees, more toward retail photographers and prosumers. That was reflected both on the floor and in the seminar selections. There was an entire seminar track this year devoted to weddings and portraits. Another sign of the times was seeing an entire seminar track devoted to video and multimedia, as opposed to one or two seminar choices in previous years. I could only find one seminar this year about stock photography; actually it was about microstock in particular. That’s a big change from when there were a dozen seminars relating to stock photography to choose from.
I presented a seminar with Paula Lerner called “Multimedia and Video” and was part of a panel for a seminar called “Ethics and Photography” which was streamed live globally, but I did find time to sit in on a couple of very interesting sessions. One of my favorites was “Affordably Simple Marketing”, given by Juliette Wolf Robin. She provided a lot of terrific tangible information. I also enjoyed seeing and hearing Lauren Greenfield talking about her documentary work. And even though I’m not a teacher, I found “Teaching in the 21st Century” quite interesting. As always Blake Discher’s seminar on “Sales and Negotiating for Photographers” was fantastic and fresh. I also attended ASMP‘s annual member meeting where Tom Kennedy spoke about the new media landscape which was right on target.
The floor was smaller and as mentioned before, Adobe and Apple not present. Canon and Nikon had a lot of action and interest with their hybrid DSLR cameras as expected and I saw a lot more third party gear for the hybrids displayed – Zacuto rigs, Redrock Micro rigs, and Glidecams, along with fluid head video tripods. This trend is not going away and in fact isn’t a trend at all, as we move more and more toward electronic publishing with magazines scrambling to produce versions for the iPad and get their app designed.
The annual “bash” was more of a bust, leaving people hungry and thirsty due to no food being offered (except bags of potato chips) and a cash bar. It was held at the Intrepid, which sounded like it was going to be interesting, but not a great venue for a party. But it was nice to see my friends and colleagues and catch up with them.
It will be interesting to see what this event will look like next year – I can only guess that there will be plenty more changes.