New York Photo Review
Volume 2 Issue 37 October 25 to 31, 2011

Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Soho Photo Gallery
Central Booking Magazine

Another NY Photo Plus

Lighting Demonstration at Photo Expo by © Norman Borden. Source: nyphotoreview.com
© Norman Borden, "Lighting Demonstration at Photo Expo" 2011

Did you ever hear the old (very old) expression that says, in effect: “You know Picasso never talked about the kind of brush he used.” Tell that to a photographer and chances are it will fall on deaf ears because most photographers, pros and advanced amateurs alike, love to talk about their “brushes” – namely, their cameras and other equipment. So, it’s no wonder that the annual PhotoPlus Expo at the Javits Center in NYC, which was held October 27 to 29, might be thought of as a stroll through a giant candy store. Temptation is everywhere you look –– but in this case, you’re encouraged to touch the merchandise. And there is plenty of it. Some 23,000 visitors over the course of three days come to see the latest cameras and lenses from Nikon, Canon, Leica et al, and to talk to their representatives. There are also hundreds of displays of everything from photo books and software, printers and printing paper, to Internet services and wedding albums, along with a wide selection of photographic tchotchkes for photography studios across America. There’s literally something here for every photographer – at least those who don’t rely on their smart phones or point-and-shoots to earn a living.

While it’s fun to walk around and touch the merchandise, the big manufacturers strive to get and keep an audience’s attention for 30 minutes at a time. Companies such as Canon and Nikon schedule demonstrations and talks by well-known shooters who–surprise!–use their equipment. For example, Joyce Tenneson, a well-known fine art and commercial photographer, was on Canon’s Saturday schedule. She showed images from her new book, “Assignment Work,” that ranged from an ad for Absolut Vodka to portraits that included the King and Queen of Jordan and one of Ben Kingsley not wearing a shirt. “When men take off their tops, they’re less uptight. That’s what I want.” (In case you were wondering, the King of Jordan was fully clothed.) For the technical-minded, top professionals conduct demonstrations of cameras and lighting equipment. It’s free, interesting and sometimes educational.

Nikon model with matching Nikon model by © Norman Borden. Source: nyphotoreview.com
© Norman Borden, "Nikon model with matching Nikon model" 2011

Sadly, there were no demonstrations at Kodak. It’s probably safe to say that no major photographic company has been more impacted by the change in technology than this photographic and corporate icon. Kodak’s stock price these days is less than a roll of film and its display area at Javits was much smaller than it used to be. There was a short line for free film (one roll only); a company rep was also handing out free packages of inkjet printing paper. Later, I saw stacks of it lying on the counter. I hope Kodak overcomes the challenges it now faces.

Another attraction of PhotoPlus was the wide range of seminars; they ranged from “The Crazy, Sexy world of Boudoir Photography” to “Landing Video Work.” Over the years, I’ve learned some of the offerings can be a waste of time and money; it depends on who’s doing the talking. This year was no exception. The seminar I took about photo blogs and online magazines was very informative and helpful, but the one billed as “the wonderful world of websites” wasn’t so wonderful. It pays to check the panel’s credentials before you sign up.

Among the most crowded booths were those companies involved in self-publishing such as Blurb, Inc. Video production is also a big draw now as most digital cameras, even lowly point-and-shoots have video capabilities. The equipment and seminars featured here though were aimed at professionals looking to expand their business or enhance their skills.

Like most of this year’s 23,000 attendees, I left the Javits Center with my yellow plastic Nikon shopping bag filled with literature I will most likely never look at, a roll of Kodak color film, and assorted micro fiber lens cleaning cloths, clearly the cheap giveaway of the moment. I renewed two magazine subscriptions and bought a sample pack of printing paper that Epson used to give away. All in all, a worthwhile, fun experience I will gladly repeat next year.

by Norman Borden

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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery