by Phil Jones Published 01/02/2008
What a great Convention!
It is literally a week since the end of the Convention and I think that I am still reeling from what proved to be a truly memorable event. Unquestionably, as a progressive organisation the SWPP & BPPA had to take on board the need for progress in a few areas but I am sure you will all agree that the organising team headed up by Juliet and Phil seriously went to town!
Again the Business School was a resounding success. Headed up by the energetic Mitch Graf the team delivered sound and inspirational business advice to 200 eager delegates in two exhausting days. Our thanks to all the lecturers who shared of themselves so selflessly and I have no doubt that for some there will be an encore by request.
The main body of the Convention featured some outstanding speakers, many of whom gave their time to assist in the 20" x 16" print competition. The Judges were led by David Williams from Australia who ensured advice to the hungry audience was free flowing and plentiful. He was ably supported by our very own Mike McNamee together with Doug Box and Ken Sklute both outstanding practitioners and experienced Jury Chairmen from the USA.
Every day vibrant and active demonstrations of excellence in imaging were delivered in the numerous lecture rooms, hallways, bars and corridors all over the Novotel! One could easily trip over Gordon McGowan, Doug Gordon and Trevor Yerbury in passing by with eyes fixed on their dynamically posed models.
Information flowed in from every direction morning, noon and night and even continued into the wee small hours in the bar, another venerable seat of learning. It would be almost impossible to pick a highpoint or a shining star as each of the lecturers delivered great programmes that added to the variety of the event. One real bonus proved to be the Extra Plus Masterclasses for the privileged few. The opportunity of some low ratio time with a few of the worlds leading practitioners was exceptionally well received and may well be repeated next year so ask the questions now and pitch for places.
The social scene was also a great success with a heavy attendance at the Saturday night party with some great food and good company. This was an ideal stage to mingle with delegates from countries far and wide that added a cultural richness to the whole event.
With around 8500 attendees flooding through the doors over the 6 action packed days the Friday to Sunday Trade show was also a huge success for all who participated and already there are many advance bookings for 2009. So many of the companies represented relished the opportunity of being face to face with real buyers as well as browsers with great sales being achieved over the course of the show.
This year there were a number of action tableaux provided by the big guns of Adobe, Apple, Nikon and the Flash Centre as well as numerous other events that served to enrich the Trade Show and draw great interest for the exhibitors concerned making both floors exciting places to be.
The event was crowned by the Awards Ceremony eagerly received by a packed room and wonderfully presented by Philippa Forrester of BBC's Tomorrows World fame who ran an amusing and tight ship. The 20" x 16" print competition was celebrated first with Mac Books going to each of the category winners...Gerald Hardage, Rachel Wallace, Amy Turner, Ciaran O'Neill and Geoff Waugh with Amy Turner taking the coveted first prize of a Wacom Cintiq with a fantastic Wedding image. The main awards supported by so many members who have worked so hard over the last year came next and the overseas top shot of 2007 went to Stephen Galea from Malta and the coveted UK title to a superb photographer and absolute gentleman, Stuart Bebb with a beautifully crafted and romantic wedding image... featured on the front cover.
All of the winners are now displayed on the website together with literally hundreds of shots of the entire event covered by our resident photographer, Walt Malone from Canada whom we thank.
Finally I cannot let the opportunity pass to congratulate all who entered our competitions, the huge number of visitors to the Trade Show whose attendance pleased our supporters and sponsors and our members who make this event possible. Last but by no means least our dedicated staff team and volunteers who worked day and night to make this the success it was. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Next years event is scheduled for 14th - 19th January 2009 and I am sure will continue to grow. When the dust settles I am sure that Phil & Juliet will put their thinking caps on and bring you a glorious event. All we have to do is support their valiant efforts by turning up in droves to enjoy what has become one of the world's premiere photographic events.
See you in 2009!
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Hilton London Metropole Hotel ...
You have 225 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 11th January 2017