Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

Some Thoughts on the SPE Regional Conference, Boone NC

Journal Entry

Oct. 16, 2006
6:45 a.m.

Fall Leaves Blowing

I just returned from the Regional SPE conference in Boone, NC last night. It was a very good one for a variety of reasons. Not only was the programming excellent, we were situated at a beautiful location in the Blue Ridge mountains at the height of the spectacular fall leaves change. John Scarlata and Mark Malloy did an outstanding job coordinating this years conference.

Fall Leaves, Boone NC

Cathy and I were presenter’s which of course was an honor in itself – I was very proud of Cathy for having the courage to share (and document) her difficult journey of her mother’s demise and death to Alzheimer’s disease.

Friday Night Reception – Printsharing

I got to do my presentation about online teaching and hopefully offered some new insight into the methodology (and technical issues) behind the world of distance learning as it relates to Photo-Education. The presentation is also on this Blog, called the Web Enhanced Photo-Curriculum.

John Baucom and Greg Bragg – CCC Students

To me SPE is more than just conferences, keynote speakers, dues, image makers and print sharings; it is really about relationships. Developing, renewing and nurturing relationships with people that have a love and passion for photography and photo education.

Christa and me & Old Friends

I look back when I was a graduate student at ECU over 20 years ago and my first SPE conference at Penland in 1986. I was overwhelmed by it all to say the least. Roger Manley talked about his exploits in Australia and Sally Mann shared her incredible work during an imagemekers presentation. SPE was all so new to me back then, yet I immediatley felt a kinship with these fellow photographers and educators. I met Tom Braswell, Bones, Gil Leebrick, John Scarlata, Cordelia Williams, Ken Bloom and Jay Phyfer at my first regional in Penland. Joe Champagne, my Professor at ECU Henry Stindt and I camped out in the freezing cold that weekend. Everyone thought we were crazy, but it was fun and invigorating. Since then I’ve continued to meet new people and develop special friendships with so many great photographers, educators and artists through both Regional and National SPE conferences and retreats.

Silly Snapshots

Sure it’s great to hear the speakers, check out vendors, and attend the image makers presentations; however what I truly think is so special about SPE is its members. The people in this organization are what make it so great. I spent the last hour of this past conference in Boone taking digital snapshots and portraits of Tom Braswell, Gil Leebrick, Joe Champaigne, Cameron Dennis and Bill McAllister. We were just being silly photographing each other in the big beautifully lit hallway of the conference center.

Tom, Gil and Cameron & Sam and Cordelia

It hit me while driving home through the majestic Blue Ridge Parkway that as much as I enjoyed listening to Sam Abell’s (National Geographic Photographer) photographic journey and attending some great talks, what it all boiled down to for me was the great friendships I have made over the past 20 years at the annual conferences and retreats. All I could see in my minds eye were 5 silly “old” guys taking pictures of each other and laughing loudly as we looked down at our little digital camera screens to see what we shot and shared those corny snapshots with each other. It really is all about taking photographs whether they be snapshots or serious imagemaking.

Tom Braswell & Joe and Mark

We all were doing what we love… taking photographs. SPE has been the hub for many like minded individuals to come together and share that passion for photography

Tom Braswell – Capturing the Light


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This entry was posted on October 18, 2006 by in Conference Presentations.
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