Photo Shows And Photographers

One question I have heard posed recently is whether, in the Internet age, socialization and learning among like-minded individuals can’t be better accomplished via the web. Sounds stupid, right? Yet many folks would have you believe that you can learn everything you need to know in whatever the realm of discussion or experience from the net. Thus, the rise of “webinars” and other attempts at relaying information that, to me, often come off more alienating than illuminating.

© 2010, Grace Schaub, All Rights Reserved

A visit to a photo show that is not just a glorified flea market soon dispels that loss of contact. Yes, all the shows have their barkers and booth magnets, and sometimes the crowds are intense, but it’s what takes place around the products, the information both presented and shared, the meeting of like minds, where the real value resides.

Culture has always been passed around in trading environments. It’s where tribes learned how to make new tools or found a liking for objects made from materials not in their realm. They realized that there was a world, and often one that offered a richness of experience, beyond the borders of their land and minds. I think the same thing goes on in photo shows where, yes, there is product on display (that, after all, is how they get to pay the rent on the hall) but where there is also a lot of interchange taking place. The learning might occur in formalized presentations, but often it takes place in more subtle venues. The reward could be that you are shocked into understanding how someone else approaches a task that you have narrowed to dull repetition. Or simply that an idea you have is new and undiscovered. Or that you are able to gather it all in and synthesize the next stage of vision for yourself and others.

High hopes, I know, but all of the above is why I have recently taken a liking to shows like WPPI, PPA, and PhotoPlus Expo. It’s also why photokina is always on our travel plans, as the immersion in worldwide photography it offers (as well as product, of course) is unlike any other photographic gathering we know. These shows have both product and process, and, when done right, create a center of activity that has changed many a photographer’s life.

The reports in this issue were done at the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) Show by our intrepid team of reporters. This show, mostly for dealers and retailers, is a great chance for our crew to experience products and associated services from companies that sometimes cannot afford a road show or large PR presence to bring new gear to our attention. It’s not a show for photographers, but, as you’ll see, it gives a fair preview of what you might be seeing in stores in the months ahead. To help you further your research on these items, which we simply cannot cover in exhaustive detail in these pages, we have provided an Instant (one click) Link to the websites for all the products and companies mentioned. Just go to and click on the Instant Links tag on the homepage, then choose the June 2010 issue.



In the April 2010 issue of Shutterbug, the copyright dates on images by Joe Buissink were listed as © 2009, and should be (page 128) © 2000; (page 129, left) © 1998; (page 131, top) © 2003; and (page 131, bottom) © 2001.

We regret any confusion this misattribution of copyright dates might have caused.