With the 2012 UPAA Symposium just around the corner, we thought it would be nice to hear a fresh perspective on what it is like to attend the Symposium for the first time and the great benefits that it can have for a University Photographer:
By Patrick Wright, Clemson University
First, a little background: When I first got out of college, I worked at a daily newspaper for about 9 years. I photographed the usual staple that was expected: the car wrecks, the Friday night football games, the store ribbon cuttings, the politician podium speeches and anything else that editors wanted. Nine years of that and I was ready to move on. Enter Clemson University, South Carolina. They were looking for a photographer with some photojournalism experience and I was looking for a change. So 23 years later and I desperately need new motivation before I burn out.
In Jan. 2009 I joined the UPPA and it’s been a motivator ever since. And this year, I finally did more than just enter the Monthly Image Competition; I flew to my first UPPA Symposium.
June 20, 2011 – Greenville – Atlanta – Denver – Salt Lake City
Flew into Atlanta, no problem. Flew into Denver w/10 minutes to spare for my next connection. Made that connection because plane was late arriving. Bad, since it was late arriving, it was late leaving for Salt Lake. Which made me miss the shuttle to Provo.
Waited at the airport for next shuttle but no matter; the drive to Provo was interesting. The Wasatch Mountain range was gorgeous viewed from Highway 15 to Provo. The snow was still on top of the mountains. The young man driving the shuttle said snow skiing is planned well into July. I observed a lot of construction all over the place: businesses and homes. Didn’t see any evidence of a recession here. Got to the Cottontree Inn just in time to hop in a van and go with a group to Tucano’s restaurant. First person I met was Mark Philbrick. He said I could register at the UPPA table when we got through eating. Tucano’s was the priority right now. Ate like a Viking, felt like a beached whale when I was through. Started talking to other university photographers right off the bat. Seems many of them have the same issues and concerns as I do. I thought I was the only one like this. Got back to the Cottontree Inn and later that evening was the UPPA 50th Anniversary Celebration complete with a Nikon-shaped cake (sorry, Canon) and champagne (alcoholic and non). Not a bad day so far.
June 21, 2011 – Due to popular demand, the BYU Staff taught a basic Video Production Class on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning in the hospitality room at the Cottontree Inn at 7am. After this, we traveled to the Gordon B. Hinckley Center on the campus of BYU where speakers of wide and varied professions spoke to approximately 80 registered guests on Tuesday and Wednesday. Let me say right now, the campus of Brigham Young University, Mark Philbrick and all the others, staff and students alike, were remarkable. The campus was beautiful, the people willing to help any way they could, you just could not ask for a better, organized crew. The first speaker out of the block was Carri Jenkins, Assistant to the President, University Communications, who welcomed everyone to the symposium. Next up was Ron McMillan whose topic was labeled, “Crucial Conversations.” Ron is the expert on training people how to communicate better in stressful situations with stressed out coworkers.
After Ron came the print competition judging. Just like the monthly judging online, only nice, 11x14 prints on row after row of racks side by side. Many who judged said that this was some one of the best examples of photography they had seen. Lunch was at the Cannon Center on campus. The nearly 2000 young, would be athletes also there for sports camps made lunch interesting.
Dave Broberg, spoke later on “The Relationship between Photographers and Graphic Designers.” Dave directs the production of all visual communications for BYU’s 21 athletic teams including posters, ads, media guides and all other promotional materials. Martin Vloet, photographer at the University of Michigan, spoke on his school’s decision to use Photoshelter and the advantage of using this service. Then Andrew Fingerman of Photoshelter spoke on “Social Media for Photographers.”
Sports photographer Donald Miralle’s topic for the afternoon, “Seeing the Same Thing Differently.” An eye-catching multimedia show of past and previous work spoke for the person who has covered nearly every major sporting event including the Summer & Winter Olympics, Super Bowls, as well as the Ironman Triathlon, golf tournaments, rodeos, balloon races as well as sports portraits.
Dinner was on the Hinckley Center Plaza as conversations and friendships were formed over make-your-own burritos. Later, back at the Cotton Tree Inn, “Best Practices for Digital Asset Management (DAM) at Universities” was sponsored by the people at Cantos, David Diamond and Laurie Wagner. Canto Software, makers of the Canto Cumulus digital asset management system, Topics discussed was how applicable any DAM experience level can be so it was open for novice and expert. Also how others in Higher Education are using Cumulus today, and what’s most important when choosing a DAM system.
June 22, 2011 – First thing was the video production class and then first speaker of the day was BYU’s athletic trainer, Robert Ramos. He spoke on “Care & Repair of Photographers” ie: your back, knees and joints and how to care for them and treat them with a healthy respect now or pay later. This obviously sparked a cord with many as the Q&A session; Ramos was hit with question after question on how to lift correctly to how to take better care of yourself after a hard day of shooting.
Right after Ramos, the group packed up and traveled to Salt Lake City for “This Is The Place Heritage Park”, a Mormon pioneer town, where the Nikon Shootout took place. The theme was “cooperation.” Many scratched their heads on that one but went with it. So for the next few hours, the park was swamped with people who actually knew how to use a camera correctly. Many of the traditional garbed employees asked why there were so many photographers. After a quick explanation, they smiled and went about their work. After a bar-b-que lunch at the John Park Home, it was off to the Utah Museum of Fine Art (UMFA) at the University of Utah campus to hear photographer Art Wolfe speak. The 30-year veteran who has traveled the globe extensively showed his work he’s doing in the Himalayan/ Indian cultures.
The 263 seat Dumke Auditorium was to capacity to hear Wolfe talk about his camera gear, his approach to connecting with his subjects, his favorite and least favorite places to shoot, and how the business of photography has changed over the years. And not to mention his knock-out multimedia show. The night finished up with a trip to the Cascade Golf Course for dinner and a round of putt putt golf in Orem.
June 23, 2011 – Morning started off with the last class from the video production crew and then our final visit to the Hinckley Center to hear Robert Seale. After majoring in both journalism and art, Seale began his photography career as a photojournalist, where he worked as a staffer at several major newspapers. He eventually landed at the Sporting News, where he spent nearly 11 years shooting Super Bowls and World Series games as well as cover portraits for the popular magazine. Then he switched gears and became a Houston based free lancer specializing in shooting people for magazines, prestigious design firms, corporations and advertising agencies.
Seale spoke on his professional life from photo journalism to freelancer. Lighting techniques, business practices, and how to deal with subjects and clients were also spoken on. And his multimedia show was top notch just like all the other speakers. Later, after our meal at the Cannon Center, the group checked out and headed south to Bryce Canyon. Before we checked in Ruby Inn, the group stopped at Red Canyon for our first exposure to the area’s land formation and had a box lunch dinner. After we did checked in from Ruby Inn’s three hotels, the group went back to Red Canyon where Robert Seale held a “sunset shoot” complete with model and strobes. Consideration of land, lights and gear were a few of the many aspects covered.
June 24, 2011 – Friday morning came early for a lot of us because we loaded up around 5am and headed to the rim of Bryce Canyon for a sunrise photo shoot. We were not disappointed. When the sun came up and hit the rocks, shutter clicks echoed the canyon.
After reluctantly leaving the canyon and heading back to the Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand, University of Buffalo photographer Doug Levere spoke on the uses of Smugmug. The final day finished up with a panel discussion, “What’s Next” for the future of photographers and universities. Then a business meeting with new members elected to the Board and an Awards Luncheon at Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill. Winners of everything were announced: The Nikon Shootout, 2011 Print Competition, Publications Competition, and others as well.
For more information on the 2012 UPAA Symposium hosted by Miami University in Ohio and links for registration, please visit http://www.upaa.org/blog/2012-symposium/symposium-info/