I’ve just returned from The Photography Show which is running from 1st – 4th March at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham. The Photography Show is the replacement to Focus on Imaging which ran for nearly 25 years before being unexpectedly closed after the 2013 show.
This year I took a camera with me. I must admit I was in two minds about this as previous years I have always been slightly bemused at those gents (and they nearly are always men) who wander around the show with a brace of Nikon’s or Canon’s (and they nearly are always Nikon’s and Canon’s) around their necks showing off their telephoto lenses. Focus, after all, didn’t exactly have a huge number of opportunities to actually photograph anything unless you were reporting on the show! Anyway, this year I joined them on the basis I’d get a few pictures for this blog but ended up being rewarded with something I was not expecting on the way home (see later).
The Photography Show seems to have more of interest to the amateur and enthusiast photographer than Focus did, with a number of seminars running throughout the day on specially created stages. My day started with a session by the one and only Steve McCurry who gave us an hour and a half talk covering his life and travels. Included in his talk were Steve’s four maxims for photography, which he had written in one of his notebooks whilst travelling one day and are reproduced in his Monsoon book. They being:
- Keep your cool with taxi drivers.
- Quality time for pix – don’t just zip around.
- Keep your travel times down.
- If its good, stay with it.
Good advice for any photographer I think.
Next was a trip to the Olympus stand to watch the inimitable Damian McGillicuddy doing his stuff on stage with the new OM-D E-M1. It was at last years Focus on Imaging that I was persuaded by Damian that the Olympus micro four-thirds system was the way to go, resulting in me selling off all my DSLR gear and investing in an OM-D E-M5. A decision I’ve never looked back on I must say and one that has increased my photographic output ten fold simply because the OM-D is such a pleasure to use and far, far lighter to carry which means I actually do carry it with me more.
After Damian’s session there was time for a wander around the show floor to take a look at the exhibitors. The Photography Show seemed to have done a great job of pulling in a vast range of companies. All the big names were there: Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Manfrotto et al as well as a great assortment of smaller exhibitors.
My final seminar of the day was on the Catwalk (why do they call it that) to see a presentation by the model and conceptual artist Jen Brook.
I’ve been a fan of Jen for quite a while; ever since her now famous blog post Dear Photographer Kindest Regards, Model XXX, a post that has been greatly re-blogged and imitated (including by me). Jen was on stage to tell us about her ongoing Dreamcatcher project. Jen was joined on stage by the photographer Lauri Laukkanen and together they created one of Jen’s Dreamcatcher concepts. This was an inspiring talk by Jen though sadly cut a bit short, the organisers should have given her more time!
All in all I would say The Photography Show is a definite improvement to its predecessor having a bit more variety and some great seminars. I’m already looking forward to the 2015 show!
I live quite close to the National Exhibition Centre and on my drive home, thanks to a diversion on the way out, came back via a route I would not normally have taken. Driving down a narrow road with flooded fields on either side I was treated to this most amazing sunset and happily, had a camera with me to actually capture it!
A nice end to a great day!