April 22, 2020
Spring travel plans scuttled because of coronavirus? Me too, but if that is the worst we suffer in this calamity, we are so very fortunate. Late in February/early March, things were feeling pretty scary and getting on a plane seemed like a very bad idea. I suspected the three spring trips I’d planned were not going to happen, and of course, everything was cancelled. However, now that the initial shock and fear has subsided, and departure dates are passing, it’s hard to not feel a bit wistful.
This past week I was supposed to be in Minnesota for the Animal Image Makers Conference. Among other speakers, I was SO excited to hear and meet Tim Flach. If you don’t recognize Mr. Flach’s name, you will surely recognise one or more of the covers of his beautiful books, such as More Than Human, Equus, and of course Dogs. My debate was whether or not it made sense to lug these huge books to the conference to have him sign them – I’m pretty sure I would have! I was looking forward to hearing Mr. Flach speak of “How We Might Evoke Empathy with Animal Portraiture” and “Visual Theories and Iconic Imagery” and geek out on “left gaze bias” in dogs, and luminance, colour and composition. I do hope he will still be able to speak at the conference in 2021, because if he’s there, I’m there!
On a bright note, the Image Competition portion of the conference was not cancelled. Organizers made an impressively fast pivot to hold the competition remotely. Participants watched online from the comfort of our homes as judges handed out scores and discussed the merits of image submissions. As far as I could tell, there were only a few minor glitches. A successful event ensured that 366 images submitted were judged, all in one day, by three judges. This is so impressive! While I didn’t win any awards in specific categories, I was pleased to learn that my image of beautiful Ruby scored in the top ten for all images submitted, and also scored second highest in the category of dogs alone. I’ll take that!
I was so looking forward to connecting with many other animal photographer friends I’ve met in person and online. There’s nothing like immersing yourself for days in a subject you are passionate about with others who are too. Conferences like the Animal Image Makers Conference help me improve my craft and serve my clients. This year we take a mulligan, and that’s fine, but I am so looking forward to the 2021 convention.
I hope you and yours are healthy and coping in this new world-wide reality.