What a blast at the National Geographic Seminar

We’ve just returned to Portland from a week in D.C. to attend National Geographic’s annual seminar. If you ever get invited to go, do. It’s only a day-long event but it feels like so much more.

With Vince Musi as the emcee and a series of stellar presenters, the day feels like a week of photographic engagement that makes you think and laugh and cry and get angry and generally, sit in awe.

Abelardo Morell, Mark Leong, Hany Farid, Hank Willis Thomas, Lynsey Addarrio, Elena Dorfman and Don McCullin presented their work. To hear McCullin talk with Peter Fetterman was a particularly rich experience.

Catching up with friends is an equal part of the experience. Having worked at the Geogrpahic and many other places, there were so many threads of friendship coming together in that magical space that it was like parachuting with a whole bunch of people and hoping to talk to all of them before landing.

David Alan Harvey said in a facebook post after the event that it was like having 200 20-second conversations when you want to talk to everyone for hours. And so I barely got to talk to David.

One of the richest moments for me was with Bill Allard. I had waited to buy his new, retrospective book until we got to D.C. As I walked into the reception at day’s end, Allard greeted me warmly and saw that I had his book under my arm and offered to sign it. He encouraged me to read every word, saying that he had labored over the words and thought them equal to the photographs. I agree, they are.

I also got to catch up with John Moore and Ivan Kashinsky and Karla Gachet at lunch that day and Elizabeth Krist, Lynn Johnson, Penny de los Santos, Joanna Pinneo, Bonnie Jo Mount and Michel duCille at dinner that night and many other friends throughout the day. What a blast.

Now we can’t wait to go to Look3 in Charlottesville, Va., June 9-11. Tickets are available on line now.

And then we’re heading to a week-long celebration of photography in Cuenca, Ecuador, in July. Stay tuned for more on that.

It’s going to be a good year.

Gallery show worth seeing, times two

Almost done with contest editing