Friday, March 7, 2014

GPP Dubai - Day 2

Hello again from Dubai. Today was my second day here and the first day of the conference for me. I woke up early, Dubai time, thanks to this 9 hour jet lag which is actually trying to get me to sleep right now instead of writing this post. Anyway, I took my time getting ready and eating a descent breakfast as I had nothing scheduled for today. I figured I would be still getting used to the time change, so I was planning to just take it easy for today.

When I got the Dubai Knowledge Village, where this event is taking place, it was just full of cool things going on. There were photos on display from previous attendees to the event, all the major camera manufactures had booths where you could try out their gear, and Nikon had a free sensor cleaning station. And because you can't have a photo conference without a couple of crazy cats...

These two and about 4 others dressed as faceless ninjas were promoting some storage media company. As I tried to walk by they grabbed me and had their photographer take a picture, which they tell me will be up on their facebook page at some point. Apparently I'm also now entered in a drawing to win a 3 day trip to Nepal. Hey, could be the next adventure!

Anyway, since I was feeling pretty good at this point, I decided to go ahead and sign up for some of the events they were having today. I picked two discussion panels with photographers I respected, not so much for the subject being discussed but more because of the people in the panel.

I sat in on a discussion about instagram, which turned out to be quite interesting, where the members of the panel discussed what they liked or disliked about instagram and the effect is has, if any, on the photography industry. This panel consisted of, among others, David Alan Harvy and Zack Arias. David is not only a Magnum and National Geographic photographer but he currently holds the record for the most National Geographic assignments at 40. Zack is an Atlanta based commercial photographer and a phenomenal educator who travels the world teaching people how to become better photographers. At the end of the instagram panel discussion, they took a selfie to post on instagram, of course.

The second panel discussion was about taking the step from Amateur to professional photographers. This was was a very valuable discussion because we got to hear how all the panel members got their start in the business. I love hearing these stories. The members on this panel were: Drew Gurian, Sara Lando, Joel Grimes, and Laura El-Tantawy. Drew is the former assistant to Joe McNally who is now a concert and editorial photographer out on his own (great guy too by the way), Sara is an Italian portrait photographer with a great sense of humor, Joel is an american commercial advertising photographer with great business sense, and Laura is a British-Egyptian photojournalist. These guys had some priceless advice on getting started in the business and staying afloat in it.

Thus far GPP in Dubai is living up to its reputation. An incredible team of speakers, great content, and amazing people.

Tomorrow: Workshop with Gregory Heiseler.