On Sunday afternoon, we all gathered in a conference room at the Cartwright Hotel to share our pictures.
I had the projector and viewing screen set up. We were tired, but in good spirits. Everyone had been working hard for two and a half days to build a small collection of images to show to the group.
Each photographer choose eight that they wanted to talk about. This could include their favorites, or simply experiments that didn't turn out as expected. It didn't make any difference to us. We were there, in that darkened room, to enjoy the efforts of our fellow artists.
I've seen many of these shows over the years. It's the conclusion to practically every workshop I lead. By the time we get to the final day, the level of comfort and trust within the group makes these presentations fun and not threatening.
The quality of imagery is always high. That happens when people have the time and support to work on their passion and immerse in their craft. And the show on Sunday was not different. The photographs were outstanding.
What was different, however, was how they were made. Since we were working on the streets of San Francisco, sometimes logging as many as 10 miles a day, bulky backpacks were left at home. Most of our shooters opted for a light shoulder bag, a body, and just a couple lenses.
You'd think, at least at first, that leaving your arsenal of glass behind would adversely affect the variety and quality of imagery. But contrary to that thought, I think the pictures actually got better. Everyone was surprisingly fresh and energetic, even as the days wore on. And that energy translated into creativity.
I guess you could consider this a field test of sorts. Do photographers fare better with less gear for urban and travel shooting? Based on the images projected in that darkened conference room on Sunday afternoon...
I would say yes.