There is no shortage of workshops and conferences in the creative space fighting for our attention, money and time but a gathering of any size can have a significant impact if you reach out and take it. From the three events of which I selected to attend this year, I have met and surrounded myself with some very interesting people.
I try so very hard not to act like some foolish fan but it can feel quite incredible to have Freeman Patterson sit down at the lunch table directly across from you, or drive around town with David duChemin looking for dinner, or to help John Sexton setup his projector, or talk with Kurt Budliger late into the evening, or to setup camp in Darwin & Sam’s basement for a week. On one side, I question why would I ever publish this with the guilt of bragging or name dropping but at the same time, it’s this surreal moment to be surrounded with so many influential names from the photography world that you have grown up respecting. But still irrationally feeling like I don’t belong at the same table by faking it.
This past weekend was the Canadian Association of Photographic Arts Conference which was keynoted by both Freeman Patterson and David duChemin. And although I’ve only met David in person twice (first in 2008), the effects of reading 6 years of blog posts, all the printed books, digital books, podcasts, a standup comedy dvd and attending one of the most motivating presentations that I’ve ever had the opportunity to be part of, I can’t even begin to explain his impact on me personally without sounding foolish. So I won’t :-)
It’s hard to explain why. When I first found David’s work, he was traveling the world with World Vision and transitioning away from comedian. Something I had very little in common with. Maybe it’s the contrast of our work in combination with the shared creative opinions because at that time, Davids public brand was a low-key humanitarian who had no where near the popularity he has today.
So what’s the point of this post? I suppose it’s about the building of relationships and listening to those you trust. In a world where popularity and perception can make someone look bigger than life, we can sometimes have glazed over eyes and be starstruck at those higher up on the ladder. Assuming that individual doesn’t believe they have reached the top step, it can be humbling to hear that they may be equally excited.
I’m not one to be comfortable in situations where introductions are required but a relationship can be so much more when the reader knows the writer, and the writer knows the reader. The written word can only go so far.
In conclusion and to paraphrase by mashing together David’s own words: “Life is not about photography. Photography is about life.”