This past week I attended PhotoShelter‘s Luminance conference in New York City, which was billed as The Intersection of Business, Technology, Culture & Photography. If that sounds impressive, it was. PhotoShelter Founder & Chairman Allen Murabayashi and CEO Andrew Fingerman pulled out all the stops, snagging a who’s who of speakers including CEOs from Behance, 20×200, Tineye, Hipstamatic, Fourandsix and Blurb. Add to that photographers like David Burnett, Pulitzer Prize winner Barbara Davidson, Michael Muller, Peter Yang and WMers Joe McNally, Zack Arias and Robert Seale. Top it off with Nasa Astronaut Donald Pettit, and it’s enough to make your head explode.
I was thrilled when Andrew asked me to speak at the workshop portion of the conference, which was held on Tuesday at Root DriveIn Studios in Chelsea, where I gave a talk on Branding & Marketing. Also there that day were Joe McNally and Robert Seale, who held mini workshops on lighting, and Zack Arias talked about inspiration and personal projects. Though I’ve admired those three guys for years (McNally since I was in diapers), it was great meeting them all for the first time.
That night PhotoShelter held a dinner at Landmarc restaurant for all the conference speakers. I learned about the term product/market fit from Imagebrief founder Simon Moss who has developed an innovative approach to selling stock photography. I got to see Eric Cheng demonstrate Lytro‘s amazing camera that allows you to adjust focus after you’ve shot a picture. Also at our table was photographer Peter Yang, who is a terrific portrait photographer and very funny guy. I heard about what some celebrities really look like from retoucher Amy Dresser. And I had a nice chat with PhotoShelter marketing director Amy Fitzgibbons.
There were some poignant moments too. Allen, Andrew and David Burnett all made heartfelt toasts. That night, being 9/11, Allen, who lives blocks from Ground Zero and witnessed the attacks first-hand, honored the people we lost that day and all the rescuers who fought to save them. He acknowledged the photographers who documented the disaster and its aftermath and talked about how that event seemed to usher in the age of digital photography. And he noted that as a life-long fan of photography, hosting a conference was a great way to meet all of his favorite photographers!
Wednesday and Thursday’s presentations were held at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center on the campus of the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Barbara Davidson showed her heart-wrenching photos of gun violence in Los Angeles. David Burnett showed us his surreal pictures taken with a Speed Graphic, covering sports and politics. And he demonstrated a level of energy and enthusiasm that at age 66, would make it hard for someone half his age to keep up with. Christie’s Sara Friedlander talked about the recent ascent of photography prices in the fine art market. And Michael Muller showed his amazing range of interests that included photographing celebrities, mountain climbing, the Third World cultures and sharks.
I headed back to Pennsylvania Station feeling inspired by the photography and with a better sense of where technology and culture is headed.
A copy of my Branding & Marketing PowerPoint presentation.
Allen Murabayashi, Matt Slaby of Luceo Images and photographer Brian Smith hanging out at Tribeca Tavern
Joe McNally during his lighting workshop at Root Drive In Studios
Robert Seale showing how to direct models
Me giving my Branding & Marketing talk (photo by Rachel Reiss)
Zack Arias discussing social media
Lytro’s Eric Cheng demonstrates a new camera to Peter Yang and Joe McNally
Ground Zero on 9/11/12 and the new Freedom Tower going up
Construction workers on their lunch break at Ground Zero
Can you give me a lift back to Philly?
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