Today I want to talk about this cool conference I just attended. We'll get back to our semi-regular programming in my next post. I owe you all at least 1 more post on my April trip to Morocco and then I really should share some stories and images from my May trip to Tuscany and the Cinque Terre. Plus I'd love to share a post or two about my January trip to Utah, which I forgot to write about (oops). I found some images the other day from Zion and Bryce and thought hmmm....are these on the blog? Nope. They're not. But they should be so check back soon.
This past weekend I was very lucky to be part of the volunteer staff for the 2015 Out of Chicago Conference. It was a pretty amazing four days. Chris Smith, the founder of OOC, has a vision about how the Chicago photographic community should look and feel. He's shaping our community with his website, blog, photo walks, workshops and flagship conference. If you aren't part of this community yet, I highly recommend that you get on board now. There are lots of things happening between now and the 2016 conference. You'll improve your photography and feel totally inspired by all that you'll learn.
In the past 4 days, I literally met hundreds of other photographers, made dozens of new friends, celebrated existing friendships and greedily scooped up tips from photog professionals like Bryan Peterson, Kevin Kuster, Marie Laigneau, Thomas Leuthard, Michael Muraz, Angie McMonigal, Jim Harmer and Levi Sim. We went on photowalks, learned about street photography, investigated lighting, broke down composition, perfected our post-processing, improved our portraiture by learning to value our subjects more than our images, looked at architecture from an abstract viewpoint, captured the city at night and shot cityscapes in the rain.
It's actually been a little depressing today, working from home all by my lonesome. Usually I relish my solo work environment but it's been really hard to disconnect from the togetherness of the conference. Some of my closest friends and I sent each other a raft of texts and emails before we jumped over to Facebook for more of the same. I finally settled in to work about lunch time but by then, you know, I was hungry... Suffice it to say, the conference was distractingly good.
The energy that is created when you squeeze so much talent into one conference center is pretty incredible. It felt a little bit like college, since we went to classes and slept in dorm rooms with shared bathrooms, and a little bit like sleep-away camp, since we ate ice cream out of those little paper cups at lunch. Today I'm grateful to be sleeping in my own bed but it's hard to believe it's over and we have to wait till June of 2016. We'll all be there though and I hope that you will be too. In the meantime, check out the OOC website and sign up for a walk or something. And check back here in a few days for posts on Morocco, Italy and Utah.