I always get inspired when I go to these photographic conferences. It’s great hearing so many wonderful image makers talk about and share their work. I also enjoy seeing old friends and colleagues like my ECU Graduate School Professor Henry Stindt (photo below right) and so many other photo educators I’ve had the pleasure to meet over the years. It’s hard to believe I’ve been attending these conferences since 1985 and it was SPE that helped me land my first “real” teaching job. I’m motivated to go out a take pictures every chance I have in-between work and the various other demands on my time. My students got a lot out of the conference as well. I had them share their thoughts in class yesterday with the other students. Now the entire class wants to start planning for SPE National in Philadelphia this coming March.
One of the key themes behind this conference was making the transition from the college environement to the working world. Speakers like Mark Malone addressed exit strategies for transitioning from college to a photographic career. We just don’t spend enough time on this important issue in our photo programs. I for one plan on incorporating more business and marketing practices in my final Portfolio II course.
There is no doubt that the photographic industry has changed dramatically in the past 10 years and is in a constant state of change due to the rapid evolution of digital technology. Keeping abreast of technology is an important factor in preparing oneself for a career in photography & imaging.
It was also great to hear recent graduates talk about how they’ve pursued their photo careers. I heard it over and over again during the conference. You can’t be a quitter in this industry and you MUST be persistent when it comes to exploring ever option for getting a foothold in the photographic industry. When one door closes you just go to the next one. You get knocked down just get back up and explore your next option. This is great advise for all of us no matter where we are in our careers.
I must admit it was also exiting to be one of the presenters at this years conference. Teaching effectively in the online environment is so crucial now that so many colleges are adopting distance learning and using course management systems like Blackboard and Moodle at their institutions. It was also the first time I did a live Webinar at the same time of my presentation. To think I had people from Italy, Holland, and various states on the US watching my presentation and asking questions is mind boggling to me in addition to the 100+ who attended my talk. This is something I definitely want to do again and get more proficient at.
My colleague Cathy Crowell and I were able to attend this conference thanks to a Title III professional development grant. We always come away great ideas and techniques to incorporate into our teaching and online courses.