by Phil Jones Published 01/02/2006
Not content with a feast of training opportunities, entertainment was also high on the agenda with Saturday's 'International Party Night'. Delegates could dine in the good old U-S of A, a French bistro or indulge in Caribbean cuisine, with floorshows to match each area. So whether your tastes were for black jack and roulette, accordions and table magic or even the art of limbo dancing to the rhythm of a steel band, the choice was yours.
Early on Sunday afternoon there were a series of clandestine meetings taking place in Tom Lee's room as the finishing touches were being put to the Award's Dinner presentation. With three very special awards being made that evening, the need to keep our hawk-eyed editor, Mike McNamee, out of the loop, became of paramount importance. Tom and President Terry worked frantically to ensure this year's dinner would be a memorable one, and how they succeeded!
With a little over 500 people in the room, the atmosphere was electric. Both the international and domestic awards illustrated some fine photography and very worthy winners. Overseas Canadian supremo, Walt Malone, had already scooped a handful of awards but was nonetheless shocked to receive the ultimate accolade. And as for the UK winner? Well, Gordon McGowan has won his fair share over the years, but was totally shocked at this latest addition to his considerable collection. The pride and humility shown by all the winners was a tribute to the quality of membership of a truly International organisation.
And for dessert? Over 150 tireless and enthusiastic delegates attended an all-day seminar by Bambi Cantrell. What a way to close this special event!
For me to sum up the 2006 Convention...well, I have made so many new friends and renewed relationships with even more old ones too. I am sure that I am not alone. To some of the new ones I say, thanks for all the Mentoring CD's constituting excess baggage with Ryanair! No rest for the wicked eh?
David Anthony Williams at the 2006 ConventionWell, this year we have been spoiled with fantastic seminars from some of the world's leading exponents of our craft, entertained in style and mesmerised by the final night show. In truth, we were bursting at the seams at our delightful and trusty Coventry venue, but times march on. So, next year we move to London in an all-encompassing venue, which is ideal for our needs. I have a sneaking suspicion that we will be spilling out onto the streets of London in 2007.
I cannot close without paying tribute to the trade, who by their attendance in such numbers, added lustre to the event, and without you it would not have been possible to put on such a great show. I know that many of you will have done well, in some cases exceeding all expectations. So much so, that when we finally arrived back at Head Office in Rhyl, the emails and phone-calls had already begun. So, a mere 24 hours after the event, bookings are flying in at an astonishing rate and for that support, I know that Phil and Juliet thank you from the bottom of their hearts.
By the time you read this, Phil and Juliet will have attended the Professional Photographers' of America Convention in Austin, Texas and will probably just be getting back from PTO in Madeira in time to finalise the preparations for Focus. Their non-stop determination is the driving force behind the success of the SWPP & BPPA and for that I am sure we are all grateful.
The moral of the story? Don't miss out in 2007! Follow the lead of our fantastically loyal trade sponsors and book in early to enjoy what could well be the world's greatest photographic Convention.
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Hilton London Metropole Hotel ...
You have 48 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 10th January 2018