One of my favorites for this year was the Sunday night wrap-up program, which was a panel discussion about trends in photography. David Ziser, who’s been in the role as convention manager for a whole lot of years, asked me to moderate the panel.
David and I talked a few days earlier and decided on the panel members, pretty much at random, having no idea what a collection of all-stars it would be. RC Concepcion, Rosemary Cundiff-Brown, Roberto Valenzuela and Sandy Puc contributed one gem after another in the ninety-minute program.
When you think about trends in this business, think about how things have changed from the marketing perspective. Twenty-five years ago Dean Collins used to jokingly suggest all you needed to be a professional photographer was a yellow pages ad and a roll of duct tape. Ten years ago people said you couldn’t be in business without a website. In the last year or two, having a blog and social media has become a necessity. The point is, the trends in how we communicate and share information are constantly changing.
Each member on the panel had something terrific to contribute, especially when it came to discussing consumer trends in photography from the professional side of the business. For me though, the gem of the night came from RC Concepcion.
An audience member expressed concern over the growing number of photographers jumping into the industry, because of the easy availability of picture-taking gear. While his logic and concern over everybody being able to take pictures these days was a little flawed, RC made a statement that simply put everything in perspective.
“Craftsmanship will always trump technology”
He went on to compare a Nissan Altima to a Porsche, which feature for feature, if the Altima is fully loaded, would be comparable. “But it’s not the features but the craftsmanship, the stitched leather and the quality in manufacturing.”
I know I’m paraphrasing and not dead-on with RC’s comment, but think about it for a second. The next time you’re worried about competition, take a look at the quality of your work. Are you a craftsman or just a picture-taker? Have you developed a skill set to make your images stand out and look different? Are your images the best they can be?
Obviously RC added more to expand the concept, but it’s so accurate in describing what makes the work of the professional photographers we admire the most so exciting. It’s what makes their work iconic.
PhotoPro Expo will never be the largest convention in the country, but it’s got a level of passion from the attendees to put it right up there with the very best. It’s got all the ingredients, including an opportunity to network with some of the most creative people in photography today.
RC is a great example. I’ve known who he is for years. We share a lot of the same friends, but never picked up any time together. His insight into so many of the challenges the industry faces was terrific to listen to and he’s definitely somebody who should be on your radar.
You’ll find him regularly on The Grid with Scott Kelby and well worth following. Check out his blog and website. Even better for me is that he’s only an hour away…now it’s time to see if I can catch him for lunch!