by Skip Cohen
As I write "Reflections," it's anything but a typical Sunday morning. I'm at IUSA, and the convention kicks off in just a few hours. I know I've written about "anticipation" a few times over the years, but it's something much more tangible today.
I'm not sure I even used the words "hunkering down" before the pandemic; now it's just an everyday expression...but this morning, it's been put on the back burner and shut off. There's a buzz in the air, and you see the pure joy of being here in everyone's eyes, even with a mask.
When I got out of the Uber and walked into the hotel yesterday, I felt a little lost. I know it's hardly the same, but I felt like an immigrant getting off the boat at Ellis Island a hundred and fifty years ago. Being in a busy hotel lobby felt so unfamiliar. Being greeted by so many friends and associates felt unique. Even the process of simply checking into the hotel with so many people around added to my energy level.
I got out to dinner with two good buddies, Shiv Verma and Eddie Tapp. The conversation was wonderful...nothing really unique...just sitting together with friends who I've only talked to on the phone or Zoom for the last two years! Walking around the hotel, I caught up to Jed Taufer, Chuck Maring, Brad Cohn; the gang from Graphi was busy setting up their booth, and Michael Taylor was teaching a class in the hotel atrium. Over and again, there was this wonderful feeling of just catching up to friends.
After dinner, Shiv and I went to work with Larry T. and his wife Mina to get the Platypod booth setup. The trade show, smaller than usual, looked terrific. But size has nothing to do with stature! It was obvious that every exhibitor is here to help get things back on the right course. I felt a lot of pride in being a part of something so needed by our industry. We masked up, we'll sanitize everything, and at 11:30, we'll meet a group of passionate photographers and artists who share the same pride, excitement, and enthusiasm all of us do!
Here's my point. We really can beat this thing. Call it sappy and hokey, but if everyone stopped listening to the politicians, the media, and their know-it-all friends who "read it on the Internet" and turn up the volume on what they feel in their heart, we wouldn't need to keep giving up so much.
And to everyone at PPA who's stayed the course - thank you! You've weathered the storm of criticism, and like everyone I talked to yesterday, we couldn't be more proud to be a tiny piece of the association's history! I shared a post from The Story People the other day...
There came a moment in the middle of the song when we suddenly felt every heartbeat in the room
& after that we never forgot we were part of something much bigger.
Wishing everybody a terrific day ahead. If you're here, come by the booth and say hello - and while my usual suggestion of eleven second hugs may not be in line with the challenges of the pandemic - a long fist bump with eye contact is a great substitute! And remember, people can still see you smile, even behind a mask.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.