I was unsure about going to a trade show, partly because I wasn’t sure if there would be any real learning to be had and secondly I didn’t want to be tempted into buying expensive gear I hadn’t thought through properly, which is my wont.
However, as the Student Day was free and it gave me the opportunity to visit my family in the Midlands I decided to give it a go.
I booked my ticket and two sessions, one with Scott Kelby and one with Alex Soth, whose exhibition “Fallen Leaves” I had seen.
I was impressed by the amount of information and tutorial available. The trade show itself, was secondary although I did receive some good advice on lenses for my two cameras but I wasn’t tempted at the show. In hindsight I should have taken the opportunity to receive a fantastic discount on one of the lenses. C’est la vie!
The first session “What they don’t tell you” with Scott Kelby was entertaining. if somewhat a little flippant and maybe controversial. He has a unique style to provoke and in doing so evokes a fair amount of criticism. The review below was a compilation of an on-line discussion about Kelby’s books and style.
I think one can take Mr Kelby at face value, there is no doubt that he is a successful photographer and writer contributing to magazines as well as an expert in Adobe applications. I did have one or two “ah, hah” moments during his talk. Especially on the importance (or not) of EXIF data. Kelby reiterated that this is only relevant to the exact day, camera, lighting, position of the photographer and environmental influences. Similarly, he advised that we should trust our eyes and not always the histogram, he demonstrated this with a set of three images, showing us only the histogram at first and asking which was properly exposed (one appearing to be correct, one over and one under exposed). No prizes for guessing that they were all properly exposed. One was a shot in general daylight conditions, one was a low key shot and the other a high key shot.
Overall, I enjoyed his talk and although it cannot be said that it was of academic use it was at least a useful reminder of not to take it all too seriously!
Alex Soth, on the other hand was a much more serious talk not as entertaining as Kelby but more interesting. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has published over twenty-five books including Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004), NIAGARA (2006), Broken Manual (2010) and Songbook (2015). Soth is a member of Magnum Photos and has had numerous exhibition all over the world.
The session focused on the how he created his photographs during his road trips on The Mississippi, capturing emotions including loneliness and love and in doing so described how one of his pictures leads onto the next. Sometimes it was hard to see just how this worked. If there is one criticism of the Soth session it was that he jumped about a bit and he lacked a little enthusiasm.
One other really positive about the trip was meeting up with five other students and mulling over the pros and cons of distance learning. A great bunch of people and so good to put faces to names that appear on emails and in the student Facebook pages.