I had the pleasure of attending the second annual Xposure 101 conference in Detroit, Michigan from May 19th - May 21st, and let me just say it was PHENOMENAL! In college I worked for the Tampa Chamber of Commerce and would plan the monthly business networking events, as well as liaise with the Tampa Convention Center for larger Chamber events. After graduation I spent two years as a Corporate Event Planning Assistant for a dental company, so I know first hand about the late nights, blood, sweat and tears that into the planning and executing an effective event. As I'm sure you can imagine it is no small feat. This was my first photography conference and I was beyond impressed. The caliber of talent that was there, I don't think I've ever been in a room with that much talent - the stage was bursting. Keith B Dixon, Jenn Lewis, Matthew Jordan Smith (who I got to spend some time with and managed only to fangirl sob while talking to him only once), Shawn Lee, Terry White, Bryan Blanken, Elle Danielle. I'm still in awe that each of them traveled and presented completely free. Giving of your time like that when you're performing at the level each of them is is completely unheard of in so many industries. Google some of these names, you'll recognize their work - one of them shoots Oprah. Idk if you've heard of her, so maybe you'll recognize the name Tyra Banks? Vanessa Williams? Mandy Moore? Yeah, Oprah and Tyra's photographer flew in, presented FOR FREE, and stayed for the entire conference. If that's not dedication and interest in your community of artists, I don't know what is.
The images I've shared below are some of my favorites I shot on the photowalk in downtown Detroit (also, let me just interject - don't believe the hype...downtown is gorgeous! There's a Shake Shack, which I did not get to have lunch at because we were busy shooting, but trust - my hungry self pulled out every trick in the book to get a burger. In the end though, I was too engaged with Jenn teaching patterns of light in sunlight, and posing to be bothered. I didn't want to miss a thing because I was too busy eating.) Shawn arranged models for us to have and these women did phenomenally. Modeling is so much work, my goodness, I was so glad to be behind the camera and not in front of it. Which, I mean, if you watch my social media - I post a lot of selfies, lol, so that's saying something. It was a brisk Spring day, but you'd never know it looking at our models. We're calling out to them, posing them, moving them and they're just handling it with poise - so professional.
The dates for the next conference haven't been announced yet, but I have yet to find anything that would keep me from attending. It is so important to invest in yourself as an artist, and in your business as a professional - and this conference proved that a million times over. I'm home now with a to do list longer than the Nile, but I'm so focused and hungry to apply what I learned, it doesn't even feel like work. I mean, at the end of the day working for yourself and grinding hard means you and your family will benefit, not the corporation. Isn't that the best reason to keep pushing? For me, it absolutely is. Plus, I like nice stuff. ;)
Enjoy the pictures, until next time -
PS - I'm going to sit down and reread The Alchemist now. (haha, a little inside joke from Sunday's panel discussion)