Some Photography Observations

(All images iPhone photos.)

Another terrific PhotoPlus Expo in New York City is now over. Every time I attend I’m impressed by how much our art has evolved. With literally hundreds of vendors touting their wares, I have to smile recalling the days when I started in photography with the very few pieces of equipment available back then.

PhotoPlus is huge. More than 25,000 photographers come here to what is billed as the largest photo convention and educational event in the Americas. Aside from vendors, there are hundreds of lectures, demonstrations and photo walks offered throughout the four day event. If you are serious about photography, I urge you to attend next year.

Some Observations

As one who has witnessed nearly five decades of photography, here are some observations I gleaned from this year’s PhotoPlus.

Photography is taking off… literally! From two years ago to this year, I was amazed by the profusion of drone photography. Granted that drones are way above my head (ouch! that was a bad pun), as I already have too much gear to carry. But I am so excited for this young generation of photographers who are embracing this nifty tool. We are already seeing them push the boundaries of photography. I can’t wait to see where they take our art in the near future.

It’s all about the print. With the advent of monitors that practically define reality, we all need to keep in mind that since the birth of photography our images have been judged by one yardstick above all, and that is The Print. I say that with reverence, because to me there is nothing more gorgeous, more luscious, more appealing to the eye or more demanding to produce than a photographic print.

What constantly amazes me is how far large format digital printing has come. Canon and Epson, in particular, have made mind-blowing advances in print technology (a disclaimer: Canon is one of my sponsors). I spent lots of time at PhotoPlus speaking with my Canon reps and all I can say is that their newest machines are works of art themselves. They are quieter, faster, and smarter than I could ever have imagined even three years ago. My print workshop students and I already love the prints from my current Canon workhorse machines, but I’m in awe of what the newer machines, like the Canon Image Prograf Pro-1000, can produce. I plan to get one soon and I will have a review of it shortly after.

Don’t stop the presses. As good as printers and inks have become, the evolution of digital papers has kept pace. I spent much of my time checking out paper vendors. Some of my fine art prints were on exhibit at Museo Fine Art papers (disclaimer: I am sponsored by Museo Fine Art papers). Yes, Museo offers some of the finest papers on the market, but it was a tactile and visual treat to feel some of the papers from Hahnemuhle, Moab and Canson, too. We also use their papers for certain projects.

The art of photography. Maybe it’s my age, but I will admit to getting a bit choked up when I saw the stunning images my fellow artists are producing nowadays. Works by the well known like Joe McNally, Tony Sweet, Elizabeth Carmel, Joe Sartoro and others were on display as jaw-dropping large format prints. But I also had to admire the work of artists like Robert Rodriguez whose beautiful prints reflect his passion and commitment to advancing our craft. Seeing the work of all these artists is incredibly inspiring. They motivate me to grow as an artist.

The people. One of my favorite things to do at PhotoPlus is to talk with photographers; old-timers, novices, film shooters, even view camera enthusiasts. One man I spoke with has been photographing for 60 years and, amazingly enough, knew my father who was a pioneering New York City SLR photographer (his work is held by the Museum of the City of New York).

You also meet quirky folks here, as we artists often are. Here are a couple:

For “Best Tie” I nominate this dapper gent:

For “Best Hat” I nominate this cowpoke:

Have fun shooting. And don’t forget, if you want to up your photo game, get to PhotoPlus next year.

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