Two weeks have passed since Brenda and I travelled to New York to attend PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) 2018. PPE is the largest photographic trade show in North America, and I’ld be lying if I said I wasn’t just a bit overwhelmed with all the things there were to see and learn about. Sure, a lot of it is hype and a sales pitch loosely disguised as a sharing of ideas between people with similar interests, but so what? When you attend one of these events, you have to expect that the companies that paid big money to be there are going to try to make enough money to pay the bills, their shareholders and maybe even have a bit left over for R and D so that they can try to come close to the list of wishes many think they should have fulfilled years ago. They can try to sell all they want, no one has a gun to your head forcing you to buy.
Amidst all the selling, however, we discovered a lot of good people who were more genuine than we could have hoped for and they were willing to share what they liked, what they didn’t, and some of the experiences they had along the way. What’s more, they also were interested in what we thought as well and what our life was like when not behind the camera.
We were there for two of the three days that the Expo was open, and I think you really need to plan on all three to fit everything in (and more than three if you want to spend some time seeing the city.) I made it out for one early morning stroll along the High Line, the 1.5 mile-long decommissioned rail bed that has been built into one of the most interesting parks you will find anywhere. If you love watching people, this is a good place to do it, and every time you reach one of the cross streets that run perpendicular to the High Line, you get a glance into one of the many neighbourhoods that combined create the city that never sleeps.
Despite all the sales hype, the only things I purchased were an XQD memory card and a bracket for my Spider camera holster. I did however get to meet most of my photography “heroes”, the people who I have learned the most from and who I try most to emulate, not so much in style, but in their approach to the craft and to people. Having the opportunity to talk with Tamara Lackey, Jerry Ghionis, Joe McNally, Dixie Dixon, Sue Bryce and Jay Maisel allowed me to check a whole lot of things off on my bucket list.
It wasn’t a cheap trip when you totalled up the air fare, hotel, meals and registration fees, but I headed home feeling that it was money well spent. Sure, you can get much of the same information online without leaving your living room, but you don’t get to handle the equipment, ask the questions that didn’t make it to You Tube or spend a lot of time with people from all around the world who are willing to actually listen to you as you drone on about how the thing you miss most about the Nikon Z7 is the sound of the shutter. You also get to see that some of the people you thought were special, really are.