My first time at a Photoshop World conference was this year in Orlando. What might seem like a dull event to someone with no interest in Photoshop was, to me, a mind bomb of new techniques, software and gear. So if you like photography, graphic software, digital animation and web development, then perhaps you’ll gain something from this story.
Photoshop World is exactly what that name implies. It’s a gathering of people who are involved in the imaging industry, be they hobbyists or professionals, who use premiere lines of imaging software, hardware and tools to create their respective projects and/or earn their livelihoods.
Honestly, I was not expecting the diversity of people who attended. I suppose I reside in insular professional and personal environments, working in graphic design, marketing, and the arts community. I have friends who look, live and play like me who work in fine art, music, film, photo and web, and also use the same imaging software as me. But the opening ceremony of Photohop World had an eye-opening breadth of people who also work and play in these mediums. This was probably the most interesting part of the trip, seeing retrospectively that what I do is common among a much broader spectrum of users.
The days of PSW are long, but the content and engaging presenters I took in kept me energized throughout every course. On the last day I was beginning to panic, knowing it would soon be over. With so few classes left to attend, I started having second thoughts about the courses I’d plotted in my PSW iPad app weeks before the event. The scenario reminded me of my experiences with music festivals, when I knew weeks beforehand I wanted to catch group X in pavilion Y at time Z, only to realize on the day of the show that seeing groups A-W would be pretty amazing, too. Lesson learned: Keep the last day of PSW loosely planned and without reservations.
My takeaways from PSW are that there are a lot of non-industry people, as well as other professionals, who cut their teeth daily working on the same planet as me. There is also a large group of professionals who have the amazing ability to teach and be engaging, to whom I am grateful for their time and passion for sharing their lessons learned.
However, the most incredible memory from this conference happened on the second morning. I was crossing the street at the crosswalk leading to the conference center when I heard a low whirring sound approaching from behind. As I began to cross the street, I was joined in the crosswalk by an 80+ year old woman on a Segway. This itself was a major shock to my system. The fact that she was also wearing a faded Foreigner T-shirt, circa 1984, blew a fuse in my brain.
I stood at the opposite curb, guffawed, and stood motionless as I watched her scoot away. I so wanted to join her in her magic kingdom of ’80s rock and impractical transportation but, sadly, we had to part ways. I stopped and watched her whirrr onward toward the pink and yellow sunrise. At a conference focused on everything photography, it was the one moment I didn’t have a camera.