I’ve just returned from the Palm Springs Photo Festival, which is one of my favorite weeks of the year. If you are unfamiliar with this event just know that it is unique to the world of American photography. Based in the beautiful and stylish city of Palm Springs California, the festival is a testament to the singular focus of festival founder and director Jeff Dunas.
Comprised of workshops, seminars, symposiums, projections, dinners and parties, the event is a festival in the truest sense of the word. Several hundred faculty and students converge to learn and experience what modern photography has to offer. The festival has been running for over a decade, and I’ve been fortunate to have attended many times. I always walk away a better, more inspired member of the photography community. This year was no different.
I wanted to share a few things I learned along the way.
1. Photography is more relevant to today than ever before. And by this I mean all kinds of photography. Analog, digital, motion, short-form, long-form and experimental. There is a place for everyone.
2. Photography isn’t all about equipment, it’s about passion, thoughtfulness, and focus.
3. You don’t have to be a beginner to take a workshop. I witnessed elite level photographers taking workshops from fellow elite level photographers. Learning doesn’t stop when you start getting jobs.
4. Regardless of advances in the world of technology, the book is still considered by many to be the pinnacle achievement of photography.
5. Print your work. Printing forces you to apply critical thought to your imagery which makes you a better photographer.
6. Getting good takes time. Slow down, relax, learn your craft and don’t be afraid to fail.
If you haven’t attended the PSPF my advice is to book your slot. Just being in the environment, around both legends and up-and-comers is something that will change your photographic life.