Last weekend was SPE. For those that don’t know, SPE is the annual national conference of the Society of Photographic Educators. This is a conference for educators and students involved in all levels of photography. This year was SPE’s 50th anniversary. The nicest part was that it was held in Chicago, just a few blocks from Columbia.
For me, the conference began with dinner with Andy Adams of Flak Photo. We had been talking about getting together to do something for the FOAM blog, for which I write occasionally. However, we never really got into the meat of the discussion, as we got sidetracked by other photo topics.
After dinner we headed over to the Martin Parr lecture. Parr was the keynote speaker for the year, and while I am never quite sure about his work, the talk was genuinely entertaining. He was quite smooth. That ended the first day for me.
As a result of SPE being in Chicago, Columbia and the MoCP were both main sponsors of the event. This allowed us to have a table for the Photography Department and MoCP. The grad students got together and took over both tables and used them as a way to show work. I was there for both Friday and Saturday and heard a number of great conversations about work that was being made.
The highlight for me was Saturday evening. I was invited to a private reception hosted by the Center in Santa Fe. It was attended by reviewers, jurors, curators, and former participants in Review Santa Fe. It was nice as it was a little calmer than the conference and actually allowed for some good conversation. I also got to meet a number of people who’s names I knew but had never been able to actually meet.
This was just my small experience as I did not partake in some of the other many activities.