I’m finally back at my desk in New York City—my brand new desk actually. As if preparing for WPPI wasn’t enough, we moved offices while we were in Las Vegas to 85 Broad street, the old Goldman Sachs building. It’s nice to be in a new office, but I’m definitely going to miss our old office in the village which had a similar feeling as my studio in Chelsea. Our new neighborhood in the financial district feels like unfamiliar, uncharted territory. (While I fit right in with my bow tie as I pass the New York Stock Exchange, my jeans, and Pea Coat do not.)
Speaking of unfamiliar. How about jumping into a new job, and helping to plan a show in five months for 12,000 people? Attending and speaking at WPPI this year was very familiar, but being on the “other side” was not. I knew this gig would be nutty, and of course carry a ton of responsibility, and I was prepared for that challenge.
I want to start by thanking everyone who attended the show this year. You guys are amazing! Thanks for all the love, hugs, high-fives and endless showing of support. To the speakers, vendors, judges, and volunteers—if we had added a 25th hour, you would have gladly accepted it and worked through it. You guys brought it, and made this year a huge success. I also want to thank the entire Photo Group staff who I worked with on the show. Thank you for putting up with my endless newbie questions, and being patient with me.
I’ve made a commitment to be transparent.; we heart WPPI, and it’s because of you that it continues to succeed, so in honor of that transparency, here are a few things we could have done better:
WPPI-U. It was a fantastic line-up of speakers. They were prepared, delivered great content, and much of it spanned many topics. Feedback has been wonderful, but the timeslots were a little short. In our effort to balance a full day of learning, plus time for bathroom breaks and meals, time became a challenge. Overall we’re looking at longer sessions across the board. As a speaker myself, I find it’s important to be concise, but also realize there needs to be time to deliver.
Welcoming new members. Joining this conference for the first time alone is terrifying! Next year, I’m committed to doing something to help you navigate each day. Of course if you’re reading this, and you’re new, I’m here for you all year! Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org J
New speakers. As a new speaker I remember being afraid of asking too many questions. Next year, I plan to spend more time with them and make sure they’re comfortable in their rooms, and have been properly setting them up with their A/V. There’s nothing that can throw off a platform than problems setting up your A/V.
Print Competition. What a great year of entries! We had nearly 2,000 prints this year, an increase of nearly 23 percent, you guys set the bar for the upcoming year! We’re working on getting the winners gallery up now, and can’t wait to share them with you! Thanks so much again to the judges who worked tirelessly for 10 hours (or longer) each day to judge every print. Unfortunately, a few mistakes were made due to errors in recording and disqualifications. We have done an audit of the awards, and I can assure you that I have personally contacted and apologized to those affected, and am humbled by their graciousness. Given that it was my first year, I’ll admit I could have managed the process better. A good friend once told me, “Mistakes are crash courses in learning”. The knowledge I’ve gained from this year will prove to be invaluable, and our team has already started brainstorming ideas to make next year better.
Where we succeeded!
We are still a family! WPPI has always been a huge family whose members love each other. I want to make sure we didn’t forget it, and I think we succeeded. Jerry Ghionis’ “What Would Jerry Do?” was our first Saturday night event, and it was a huge hit. Next year will be even better! We had some great parties this year that made for incredible networking opportunities. It was a great awards evening, too, with Jerry and Kevin’s hilarious banter and bringing levity to the entire night.
The app was a huge hit also. Let’s face it, we live for our iPhones, and the WPPI app’s inaugural year proved very successful. Next year we will improve on it, making it one of our best navigation and planning tools at the show.
The education! With so many master and platform classes to choose from, I’ve heard there were endless choices for every attendee. Many of you said it was hard to choose, which is a great problem to have. There were fewer lines, and our operations team did a superior job keeping everything organized. I know it was challenging to find the locations of classes in previous years, and between staff, and signage, you didn’t have to look very long to locate your class. Thanks once again to all of the dedicated photographers who spent countless hours preparing for their classes.
You. Whether it’s your first year, or your 30th, your dedication to making WPPI fulfilling is OUR success. This is your WPPI, and because of you, it was a great year. Get some sleep; we’re gearing up for “On the Road” in just a few short weeks!
Here’s a short film Rob Adams (Vanessa Joy, John Defiora + crew too!) created. We’ve always had great films about WPPI as a whole, but never anything specific about the print competition. I need to send HUGE thank you’s to Triple Scoop Music and Lens Pro To Go for being such amazing, supportive sponsors. Without you guys none of this would be possible.