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2010 PhotoPlus International Conference & Expo -
and the Steel Orchestra: The Nexus

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Attendees on the floor for the 2010 Photoplus International Conference & Expo, NYNew York, USA - It is another year and we again find ourselves at the annual PhotoPlus International Conference & Expo in New York at the Jacob Javits Center, to take in the premiere event for the showcasing of new developments in and related to - photo and imaging technology.  For all of three days this is the epicenter of all things dealing with digital photography and more.  Three members of the When Steel Talks (WST) team are here to observe and absorb as much as possible.

The steelpan music industry is an extremely visual one as it is a performance-based phenomenon. We live in a time when imagery is everything in terms of attention-garnering and story-telling.  The delivery and viewing systems have changed much over the years. The internet, social media and mobi devices have taken the lead, but the impact of having imagery in support of or congruent to, other media-ops, remains the same.

Similar to former rapper-turned-actor and film director Ice Cube in his role as ‘Fudge’ in the movie Higher Learning, when asked by his professor, Maurice Phipps played by Laurence Fishburne “Why are you here?” and he quickly responded “to get the information” - we are here to get the information.  That knowledge is certainly here at the PhotoPlus International Conference & Expo. There are seminars, floor exhibits, open workshops and an exhaustive array of photography and imaging products and related services.  In addition, you have rare and direct access to recognized industry professionals - people who are in the technical “know” - from whom to learn and explore possibilities.

It does not matter whether you are involved with the NBA (National Basketball Association), Nike, NFL (National Football League), Renegades Steel Orchestra, Exodus Steel Orchestra or Warner Bros.  The underlying need to be abreast of these technological developments, changes in viewpoint and approaches, is essential.  After the last ball has gone through the basket, or in the case of the steelband art form, the last note has been played and the roar of the crowd has subsided - much work is now to begin.  The proper capturing and packaging of the imagery, sound and story are vital to the successful marketing, promoting and advertising of your brand and its activities - past, present and future.

Late master musician and arranger Clive Bradley with Pantonic Steel Orchestra in iconic 2002 photo on stageWhile we live in the sonic domain because of the music we produce, the performance visual and photographic imagery have always been integral components of the successful promotion of music performances, and the artistes that create the music.  What is pop entertainer Lady Gaga without imagery?   There are few, if any people seriously involved in the steelpan music industry, who have not seen the now-classic WST photo of master arranger Clive Bradley (pictured above - captured with a Nikon Coolpix 5000) on stage with Pantonic Steel Orchestra for the 2002 New York panorama.   This photo has been reproduced in major magazines, newspapers, utilized as an album cover, and on clothing - among other media.  And this iconic digital image has been shared across the internet.  The mystique and grandeur of Bradley were enhanced and globally embraced through that photo.  Like it or not, we cannot separate the wholesale marketing and promoting of the images and imagery, from the art form itself.  These are indispensable components of the global popularizing and business aspect of the steelpan music art form.

So, why are we here again?  We are here because information that is vital to our industry - the global steelband culture and art form - is here.  Information that is central to the continued success of stakeholders of this industry is available to all here at the 2010 PhotoPlus International Conference & Expo. 

Access to information is paramount to making intelligent decisions. Within the last couple of years the WST network - through the addition of Ning, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube - has incorporated large numbers of additional members whose expectations, understanding and use of new technologies, are different than the ‘traditional’ web user; they clearly represent the future.  And information on the direction that imagery has taken is easily accessed at the PhotoPlus Expo.  In this regard continued evolution, and merging and embedding of these technologies, need to be commonplace for all levels of band management particularly Presidents, Directors of Marketing and Public Relations Officers.  They exercise a strong influence on their respective brands’ images within the steelband music public arena.

Seminar in session for 2010 Photoplus International Conference & ExpoIn sync with digital imagery, there are related seminars at this year’s event that cover everything from grant writing to web design.  Following is a sample of the listing; these were just for the morning sessions:

  • (Lighting Masters): Location Lighting: Big Light From Small Flashes

  • (Portraits/Wedding): Posing is Back and it’s this Year’s ‘Black’

  • (Commercial/Editorial): Delivering What You Promise on Global Assignments?

  • (Photo Markets): The “Experiential Style” – A Fresh Approach to Wedding Photography

  • (The Art of Photography): Compose Yourself & See The Light

  • (Marketing & Social Networking): How to Get Work From Ad Agencies

  • (It’s Your Business): Grant Writing 101

  • (Video & Multimedia): Cinematography with a DSLR

  • (Technically Speaking): Extreme Website Makeover: Putting Your Website to Work For You

  • (Software & Workflow): Digital Workflow Live with Adobe Lightroom 3

  • (Hands on Master Class): Digital Video Basics

Click for full seminar listing

WST staff found the seminars very informative and valuable in imparting important information for the progress of any operation that is intent on remaining relevant in this competitive and technology-driven environment.

Canon workshop in session for 2010 Photoplus International Conference & ExpoThe major steelband music franchises must take advantage of and be personally responsible for, their brands’ marketing and worldwide recognition through global dissemination of digital imagery and related technologies. Furthermore, their franchises must be digitally ready or the ‘brands’ will suffer. Having said all that - none of this can be done if one does not know what he/she needs to know - or worse, have a clue what one needs to know.

There is no local, everything is global and in this regard there are only economic realities.  You pay for not knowing and these days, one definitely will not get paid, if one does not know.

The future is now.  Increasingly, one’s presence in this virtual realm - social networks, web sites, blogs, apps - has become compulsory.  Stay abreast of changing technology, or fall out of contention.  Note:  one will not simply fall behind; rather there is the risk of becoming irrelevant, especially in terms of the virtual [online] world.  And it is this irrelevance that can lead to obsolescence in the ‘real’ world.

Bottom line:  you cannot tell the full story without the images to go with the package.  The story is not enough.  The audio is not enough. The artist(s) and said performances are not enough.  The visual component is a mandatory aspect of the story-telling/portrait.  Moreover, the world expects it.  The nexus between imagery and any art form is exemplified by the experience of attending the PhotoPlus International Conference & Expo.  Saturday is the final day.

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