I’m off to Connect 2017 otherwise known as The Palm Springs Photo Festival. If you love photography and love to get photographically wild then you simply must attend. This is unlike any other event in the United States. Just look at the teaching lineup, workshops and seminars. Then you throw in the symposiums, nightly projections, parties and atmosphere and you have a real-deal photo throw down. So many photography events are centered around tech and are filled with people walking around with their lens hood on backwards. These events bore the living s%$# out of me. Palm Springs isn’t like this. If you are a geek, and you know who you are, you can and will find satisfaction at the PSPF but the tech never outweighs the idea that the importance of equipment is actually making photographs. If you want to learn, sell, connect, inspire or simply experience then this gathering is a must see.
When you land at the PSPF the first thing you notice is “Holy schnikes, I’m in the desert.” Think Bob Hope, dust storms and modern architecture. The festival is the brain child of Mr. Unique, Jeff Dunas. I’ll just say it now. Jeff isn’t normal. Photographer, publisher, collector, printer. I don’t know why or how he continues to create this festival. I’m glad he does, but it has to be so incredibly difficult not to mention horribly complex. The fact he does this tells me at least one thing. He cares. He really cares about creating something unique. And let me say this, we are the beneficiaries. There are so many moving parts and pieces, and all we have to do is show up, attend, act cool at the parties then go home. Jeff’s on the hook for the details. I’m lighting candles for him now. I might run from Newport to Palm Springs
holding a candle like the Olympic torch. I might.
This year I’ll be teaching with Michelle Dunn Marsh. If you know photobooks you know Michelle. We will be talking and teaching about artist books. What they mean, how they work and how to build them. This isn’t a math class. Thankfully. What I love about books is that there is little right and wrong, depending on what you are making. Arguable my most successful book was a combination of all the things I was told never to do when bookmaking. And “success” doesn’t necessarily mean selling a lot of copies.
I shot this image at the festival a few years ago. I’m not a big selfie guy. In fact I hate selfies, but it was the mens room at the museum and I wasn’t sure how many viewers wanted to see this place. I’m here to help. It looks like I might be doing something with my hand but I’m not. I’m just holding my belt. Relax people. Easy does it. Just a photo, and a damn clean bathroom.
In all seriousness this festival is almost endless. I always walk away fired up and more connected. The atmosphere allows for a certain coziness that is rare in my experience, and I always see the best work I see the entire year, not to mention I get to meet and talk with many of the actual photographers, students, reviewers, etc. I’m going to try to post daily. Hopefully I’ll see you there. Come say hello.