by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2011
The team hope you are back from the Convention with your creative batteries fully charged. As usual the event started with the business school and judging, followed a hectic pattern of lectures and off-site photo-tours, then the Trade Show opening, then the awards dinner and finally an all-day seminar. Attendance was up and the trade representatives reported brisk business ('what recession?' said our CEO, Phil Jones!).
The 16x20 and qualifications panels were run concurrently over two days and the judges and assessor were kept very busy indeed. The standard for the 16x20 was very high and so were some of the scores. Urged on by Chairman, Michael Ayers, the judges were encouraged to use the full range in the higher scoring categories and, combined with the high standard of the entries, applause regularly rang out as marks of 90+ were chalked up. !).
The lecture rooms ranged from quiet for a couple, through to near riots outside others and some lecturers were pressed into delivering extra sessions. Even those with small numbers worked well because the attendees got that extra special attention that results from the lecturer being able to devote closer attention to individuals. I attended a couple of Dave Simm's talks and there were interesting debates in both his album design and multicultural wedding talks.
The dinner was the usual jovial affair, headed up by Phillipa Forrester with her usual skill: her curtsey with Lucy Jones at the end was lovely, I suppose that the mother of three boys enjoys the company of a little girl in a pretty dress! The evening was summed up by a grabbed motor-drive sequence from Tom Lee. Armed with the privileged knowledge of who the winner was (we had actually even dummied up the cover a few weeks ago) Tom hid behind yours truly and fired his sequence as Helen Sapiecha was announced as the overall winner. Her face tells the whole story as she slowly realises she has won, a lot of tears were shed at the Sapiecha table!
Putting the magazine together made me realise just how much was going on outside of the judging rooms. Damian McGillicuddy, David Beckstead, Doug Gordon and John Denton were obviously having a whale of a time out and about, above and below London. Damian's pages were a real joy to put together, the boy should stick at it, he's showing promise! Practical sessions had an obvious draw and our gratitude should go to our models who remained, busy, beautiful and great fun despite some of the cold temperatures they were asked to strut their stuff in. Judging from the shots of the shoot (thanks to Richie Walton and Dave Silvester) the delegates certainly had a good time, it's always a compromise between having sufficient numbers to pay the staff and venue charges, and people getting enough shooting. The man who really thought Christmas had come early was the London Underground chap who could be seen standing on tip toe at the back in most of the scene shots (just checking Ulorin Vex was in no danger standing on the lines - yeah, whatever!).
Digital video was something of a theme and it has been expanding over the last two years. Stuart Barry made a short film with the delegates, Rob Summers was busy filming most days and I also attended Andrea Nielsen's excellent lecture on 'fusion', the word used to describe the mixing of video and stills in projected shows. It is an area where some strategic planning has been going on, so watch this space.
So now we have Focus to get through. Drop by the Societies' stand and say hello, the team will be there in force.
Societies Convention and Trade Show at The Hilton London Metropole Hotel ...
You have 352 days to book for the SWPP Convention starting on Wednesday 20th January 2016