The only thing to brighten the morning up was the enthusiasm of the Maltese photographers and the beauty of Vivienne. It was interesting to hear the problems that the Maltese encounter when trying to source models locally as it's judged to be slightly immoral, especially where lingerie or nudity is concerned. The weather meant I had to change the lesson-plan on the hoof and at the end of the four-hour session I was shattered. I love teaching as it really pushes your creativity to see the light, understand it and then explain it to the students. Everyone appeared to enjoy the sessions though, and we got some fantastic images. The whole event was filmed by the two main national news channels. How wonderful that we made the main TV news, although Viv in her undies was deemed to be a little too raunchy for broadcast. Great to stay up that night and have a few beers with a few of the tour party and also Bob Campbell from OnOne Software who had joined us that day. I love OnOne and always enjoy Bob's company and it was great to see him there and have a chat.
Sunday was our last day of the tour. I had a few lectures in the daytime and hope I managed to share some of my vision of photography with the delegates. The main part of the day was the evening. It was the awards dinner, the culmination of a year's worth of effort for the delegates and a wonderful experience for us. I was honoured to be welcomed on stage and accept a small gift for my minor contribution to proceedings. More importantly it was great to see the way that Christopher Azzopardi and John Ambrogio had pushed and challenged each other all the way before John edged the Photographer of the Year award. That goes back to my thoughts on their driving. You need to challenge yourself, push yourself forward, pit yourself against someone else at times in order to develop. That competitive attitude is what will push your creativity and technical skills forward.
Eventually the night came to an end and so did the magic of our trip. Hugs all round with a fabulous bunch of people. I could credit so many but risk offending more by doing so as the list could be as long as this article. Suffice to say I can't wait to see my new friends Charles, Kevin and Ruben when they speak at the Convention and any more of the gang who make it over at some stage. Equally I will be back in Malta at some stage next year, not least as my boys have decided that's the place to go for summer holidays 2011.
With two hours' sleep it was a very grumpy bunch that assembled in the foyer at 4:30am and drove off by taxi to the airport. A little coffee, a sleep on the plane and a little breakfast and I was prepared for the drive back to Yorkshire. Round the magic roundabout we went, up the M1, into Leeds, threw Viv out of the car and back home to the family in Beverley. A fantastic experience and one that will stay with me forever. It's said that travel can broaden the mind. This trip certainly did for me in so many ways.
I learnt much about light, about composition and my craft as a teacher. More than anything I learnt that photographers in all locations are just wonderful people with a desire to learn and expand their minds.
Thanks to everyone who made it possible and above all two special thanks - Vivienne for being so patient and gorgeous and my wonderful wife Liz who looked after boys, dog, cats and fish despite still recuperating from major illness. Couldn't do it without you.
See you in January one and all.
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
You have 194 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 20th January 2021