Meeting of the Minds

Every January, hundreds of National Geographic photographers’ paths all converge in Washington, DC to attend a series of photography events, one of them being the National Geographic Magazine Photography Seminar. It’s an exclusive event, with standing room only, as some of the best photographers in the world settle into seats to learn from each others’ experiences and personal tests in photography.

For me, it’s an event that always reignites a sense of awe and appreciation for the power of photography and encourages me to turn my focus more towards it. There is also the added bonus of 1000 “star-struck” moments with photographers I have idolized since I was a teenager.

I love the different approach each photographer brings to the table. Lynn Johnson, named last year’s “Photographers’ Photographer” especially stood out to me. She takes herself completely out of the equation. She is not afraid to admit she struggles and considers herself a “collector” of images. She noted,”My entire life is hiding and then leaving.”

I also got the opportunity to join a National Geographic Your Shot meetup with Jim Richardson (named the 2015 Photographers’ Photographer) in Lafayette Park. The walk was great and it was nice to be out shooting with other local photographers, as well as get some insight from Jim on how much he researches before going into the field to shoot. He told me that he almost always spends one day researching per one day of shooting. It gave me a lot to think about in regards to planning out the story and was an interesting contrast to Lynn’s style.

After the walk, we returned to hear from all six of the photographers who lead walks that morning. It felt really wonderful to hear them talk about the power we as a photography community and as individuals hold.

Needless to say, it was quite an inspirational week, and I intend to keep the momentum going.