Last Monday (4th March) I went to the MacSweeny Photo Trade Show here in Cork. Here's a brief overview of the evening events and my views on them.
First of all this was a charity event, all proceeds went towards Marymount Hospice. More information on this can be found >>here<<.
As I arrived at the event (it was held at Rochestown Park Hotel) I was greeted with a cool gift bag of stuff (Calendar, sweets promo stuff and the like) then straight in to the stalls.
There were plenty of trade stands there, from photography training to the big named brands (Nikon, Canon, Olympus). Each had something great to look at and get hands on with. Some super tele press lens' as seen below; (these photos from the event weren't taken by me but can be found on the Macsweeny facebook page >>here<<)
It was pretty busy which was great to see. Plenty there to see the presentations on stage by Exhibitors and speakers.
Each of the sales exhibitors had something unique to offer within their areas (some showing off flash triggers, whereas others such as Fujifilm showing off their new X series models).
I was personally impressed with Olympus' presentation which was based around the OM-D EM5. After the brief chat by Olympus' representative they brought on stage well known portrait and fashion photographer Mike Bunn who's work can be found >>here<<. As a photographer talking he gave a unique view on the strengths of the camera and it's unique selling points to an audience of people who maybe already have a DSLR or primary camera.
I asked Mike Bunn about his shooting techniques as his portrait/fashion work is quite unique. Where possible Mike will only use natural light and explained the ability to work around that challenge helped him get jobs when there were restrictions on gear (he mentioned a celebrity shoot in which no camera equipment was allowed and he was the only one who could go in with just the camera alone).
I was really impressed with the image stabilisation in the low indoor light conditions it was still producing sharp images while shaking the camera. It definitely tempts me (I'd totally get one if I had the cash!). In terms of sales pitches or the exhibitors I think Olympus was the strongest of the evening (all had something good to offer though!)
Presentations from the professionals
After the sales exhibitors finished it was on to the presentations. First was Barry Donnellan, freelance cameraman and director from Cork explaining his conversion and use of DSLRs for freelance video productions. In his examples he showed work for a local distillery as well as footage from a documentary based on a crash at cork airport. The person I went to the show with is in to using DSLRs for filming so gained a lot from the talk which showed the advantages and tips for starting to shoot film with a DSLR. Setup costs for a rig don't seem too much but can vary in price quite a bit.
The main presentation was done by Landscape photographer John Hooton, talking about the techniques used for some shots in his new book Gathering Light on the Dingle Coast. He explained the patience which is needed for landscape photography as well as the dedication needed to get up very early to get the perfect sunrise shots on the (usually very cold) beach. He was very inspirational explaining that if there is an potential shooting opportunity it is worth taking the time to shoot. He'd regularly also go back to locations still trying to get that perfect shot.
I personally prefer the mountain shots taken by John as there were some really unique angles and use of lines to draw the eye in. The photos in the book are incredibly well taken marketable photos which is something I wanted to ask about as this style of landscape photography is becoming increasingly more well known in terms of techniques so how do you keep it unique or a cut above others.
There was a photo competition with the theme of dreams, both winner's photos can be seen on the Macsweeny facebook page linked above. Both are great shots. I'd like to see more local non commercial work shown at these events, even if not for a competition.
Overall it was a good event. After going to a few UK events it seems like there is more of a community spirit over here however I think there's great room for maybe local clubs to promote there stuff there. I didn't see many younger people there and I think there needs to be more done from a non business side to get younger people in to photo groups. Being in a few myself back in the day coming from a younger view point it can sometimes seem inaccessible and maybe community/club events could be run alongside the trade shows in future.
More information on MacSweeny Photo shop and the event can be found >>here<<