so a geek, an iPhone, and a 5d walk into a bar

Yes, I realize the irony of this photo in light of my last post.

I walked into a bar with my camera.  I had my iPhone.  Not a Holga.  That would have been the trifecta.  To save face, I did walk in there with a sizable posse of other photojournalists, visual artists, and editors during this past weekend’s Geekfest in St. Petersburg.  For those that don’t know, Geekfest is a weekend of photo juiciness and inspiration put on by aphototday.org founder, Melissa Lyttle (above w/Sol Neelman).

What makes the conference so great is the fact it isn’t a conference.  There are no sponsors (well, except Leica who was on hand to hand out M9′s to play with).  No contests.  There are no formal portfolio reviews.  There are no requirements to do anything…except drink and be close to some amazing photographers from across the globe.  This year was highly attended and it gets bigger and bigger with every year it happens.  This is a far cry from the first one I went to years back, which was 20 of us just sleeping on Melissa Lyttle’s floor in her tiny, one-bathroom house in Ft. Lauderdale.  Insanity.

Bottom line, these people are my favorite photographers.  And dear friends.

What Geekfest does is remind people like me what we do as photographers.  It’s important work.  Personally.  Publicly.  It’s fun and full of stresss.  Beautiful and ugly.  A job, but 80% of are technically unemployed as freelancers.  We press a little button and make rectangles.  That’s about as simplistic as it gets.  The bigger picture is we are all creative and we call just strive to see.  Yes, even the guy who was running around with a Pocket Wizard and off-camera ring flash attached to his Holga (sorry I didn’t catch you in time to give you a friendly batch of crap about it).

The speakers were top-notch as always.  Amazing picture editor Mike Davis hit us with a live edit of Melissa Lyttle’s work and dropped quotable after quotable:  My favorite was, “I always encourage photographers to make pictures you can’t see.”  So lovely to think about.  Todd Heisler knew who I was.  That’s pretty sweet.  He also showed a ton of work from “A Final Salute” and the “One in 8 Million” series, which of course is nuts as most of you know.  People like Lisa Krantz and Greg Kahn reminded newspaper photographers what newspaper photographers should be doing.  Deb Pang Davis inspired those of in need of an identity check.   Sol Neelman ended the weekend talking wierd sports and personal freedom under the cloak of a Lucha mask.

Everything was perfect.

The perfect kick in the ass I needed.

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