Photostock – Art in the woods

Sorry to take so long to get back to the blog. I returned from Photostock about 10 days ago, and took a few days to rest. Then I attended the American Guild of Organists Regional Convention, and after that I needed a couple more days to rest. Not only do I need more rest time than I used to, but both of these events were intense and comprised of long days!

So, what is the “take away” from Bill Schwab’s Photostock?

Not unlike many other things, that all depends on what one puts into it. I had expectations, of course, but tried to keep them in check, as I really didn’t know what to expect. The event has been going on for 10 years, and has evolved and grown, as good things do.

It was not what I expected in many ways. There was much more structure than I would have thought. A lot of people did get out in the area (beautiful part of the country) and take a lot of pictures. I did not, but that was my personal preference. Landscape is not my thing. (And in all fairness to me, I had two photo shoots on the way to Photostock, which produced 100s of photographs.)

There were several presentations by various photographic artists. This was unexpected, surprising (to me) and very enlightening! All types of photography was presented, but the connecting theme, whether intentional or not, seemed to be to stretch oneself. Get out of your comfort zone. Shoot new stuff. Try things. Be bold. Be adventurous. Experiment. Take risks. You get the idea.

The artists, and particularly the women (Schwab had made a point of inviting several female artists to speak), were fabulous and inspiring. Not to be sexist, but women photographers seem to me to be much more adventurous with photography than most of the male photographers I know. There’s very little of the same old rocks and trees with them.

There’s precedent, of course. Look at Margaret Bourke-White, Imogen Cunningham, Mary Ellen Mark, Berenice Abbott (we had a presentation about one part of her career), and see how experimental they were in many areas of their work. These are just a few examples.

I may be overgeneralizing, but I see a trend.

Artists you should know about:

Christina Z. Anderson:

Anne Berry:

Jennifer Crane:

Lori Vrba:

An enlightening two and a half days. Worth the trip, and worth the time! I may go back.

Will it change my own photography? Directly, no; but only because I was changing anyway. It has, perhaps, contributed to speeding up the process.

Stay tuned …



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