Up with People
I spent the entire summer haunted by Photokina — what I’d say, how I’d say it, what I’d shoot, who I’d meet; I’d visualized and prepared and anticipated to the point of obsession. But the actual experience? Way beyond anything I could’ve imagined.
Of course, the event itself is massive: this isn’t a bunch of kiosks in a conference hall but a city within a city. Several huge buildings, outdoor terraces, every single nook and cranny packed with photographic goodness. I had expected Fujifilm to have a small booth next to a live stage — it turned out to be almost an entire floor. Very, very impressive. But beyond the physicality and the scope of the show, the experience for me became more about people than anything else — the people attending the shows, those I had a chance to talk to, the team organizing it all and of course, the photographers with whom I was sharing the stage while I was there: Bert Stephani, Kevin Mullins, Zack Arias, Gianluca Colla, Elia Locardi, Eric Bouvet, Pete Bridgwood, Ken Kaminesky, Alex Lambrechts, Bobbi Lane and Lee Varis. I also got a chance to chat with David Airob and Paul Schlemmer before leaving for Venice. I know this all sounds like a lot of name dropping but here’s the thing: I knew all these guys would be interesting; I mean the sheer diversity in that group was enough to insure there wouldn’t be a dull moment. But I had not expected such a huge, talented bunch of people to be so much fun to be with. There wasn’t a single ego to spoil the mood and we had a total blast before the talks, during the talks and… Well… After hours. Do you know Germany has beer? It does. So there.