One of our retouchers Oscar visited the inaugural Photography and Retouching Show last weekend, and this is what he had to say…
Going to bed early on a Saturday isn’t your usual choice to take on a weekend, but the first Photography and Retouching Show of the UK might just be that one chance to think it through.
My voyage begins at around 5:30 AM, I’ll give you the short version to make it less tedious, home, bus, bus train, train station not working, cab, run, run, train, sleep, breakfast, tea all over my trousers, 10:22 am Birmingham International – I made it!
The trip actually felt pretty short; a train stuffed to the brim of photographers and retouchers blasting each other with tweets, all making way to the Photography Show, is what we were made for, the most similar thing you can get to a geek Disneyland.
Having made my complete Schedule the night before, my two main goals were to meet Joe McNally (For whom I saved the ticket for the super-show) and say hello to Glyn Dewis, a retoucher and photographer (yes, retoucher and photographer in that order) whom if you don’t know his youtube channel you might be barking up the wrong tree career-wise (Just joking! Kinda…) whose seminary begins at 10:30 sharp.
Running from the entrance to the other end of the complex, jumping over an ocean of photographers heavily armed with a plethora of cameras and lenses (I still can’t quite figure why I saw more than one equipped with a 300mm) I make it to the seminar just two minutes before they close the doors.
I manage to find a seat without provoking much bloodshed, the lecture begins and I can breathe and catch my breath. Glyn, as usual, both splendid and a genius.
Making time before the Super Show, I strolled around the Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Sigma and Wacom stands, between many others, trying to catch a glimpse of their new releases and I was able to try out the new Wacom Cintiq, which was quite as a I expected, a tablet for illustrators, as it is very easy to make half a document with your own hand. Awesome indeed, but from there to being useful to retouchers… that I doubt.
I visited the exhibition of the 30 best under 30 photographers (only 3 years left for me mates) where I saw really impactful photography, take a tour through this link to get a good look at the full gallery, it’s worth every second:
Between stands I crossed paths with Tigz Rice, an impressive Boudoir and Fashion photographer from London, besides being an incredible retoucher herself, imparting a practical lesson on fashion photography. It’s awe inspiring to say the least how very easy it may seem when it’s a professional that does it.
My next seminar (45 minutes before Joe McNally!) is with the DataColor boys (whom you’ll probably now from the Spyder Monitor calibrators) and it treated the topic of how to accelerate your workflow when it’s time to colour match your photos. I was left astounded by the new product they have developed, SpyderChekr, that in less than one minute matches the color of the physical product with the photo. Sadly I had to leave mid-lecture, it’s SuperShow time!
The moment I had been waiting for so long was finally there, I was able to see Joe McNally, a photographic reporter shaped by the good old times of “The photography must come out perfect from the camera”, many times featured on the front page of the National Geographic, The Times, and many other world wide magazines, excellent orator and an even better person.
I got to the SuperStage fifteen minutes beforehand and it’s very nearly full. Thank goodness I’m a bit of a skinny runt and manage to squirm in between two… let’s just say -robust- individuals, but who gives, I’m gonna seed Joe McNally!
Five minutes before start, Joe appears and cool as you please, has a walk in between the audience, greeting nearly everyone and thanking us our presence whilst joking with his acquaintances.
The lights come off and everyone is in silence, then the show begins. During one and a half hours he told us his life as a photographer from when he began to just very recently, when he climbed the tallest building in the world, in Dubai (and this man is sixty-one years old?). I can swear I haven’t ever laughed half as much, for this man, truths are to be as clear as a cup of water.
I leave here for all of you, what I think was the best quote of him; “No matter how much crap you gotta plough through to stay alive as a photographer, no matter how many bad assignments, bad days, bad clients, snotty subjects, obnoxious handlers, wigged-out art directors, technical disasters, failures of the mind, body, and will, all the shouldas, couldas, and wouldas that befuddle our brains and creep into our dreams, always remember to make room to shoot what you love. It’s the only way to keep your heart beating as a photographer.”
Once my parting with Mr Joe was done, I just had to visit the hundreds of stands left on digital printing, photographic equipment, futuristic technology, photography schools, new software… Things enough to probably write a thesis about, but I’d rather save it and invite all of you to go see for yourself, it’s worth it.
In conclusion, I’m usually quite demanding in these type of events, and more so if I have to pay for them (albeit £10 pounds being a more then reasonable price) and this has a 10 out of 10 score. It’s been the first year, and I doubt it’s going to be the last.