We're evaluating the feasibility of sponsoring a member of the photo community to speak at a conference in 2011.

Speaking is a relatively big "ask", so this needs to be planned many months in advance. Let's get started!

We'd like the community to establish where ...

What relevant photography conferences are coming up in 2011 that have open speaker slots or calls for papers?

... and then who.

Which members of the community are strongly interested in being sponsored by Stack Exchange, Inc to speak at one of the above conferences in 2011?

To be clear, the speaker is free talk about anything he or she wants so long as it would be roughly on topic for this site -- with a quick acknowledgement of support from Stack Exchange and a mention of the community here.

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    Sounds like a great opportunity to get the word out about our community! – chills42 Apr 15 '11 at 15:33

As I mentioned in chat, I appreciate the votes of confidence. I'd happily promote the photo-SE community during a speaking opportunity of mine, if the photo-SE community supported such promotion...

In addition to being a full-time professional photographer I also teach photography in one-on-one and classroom settings and have spoken on various topics over the years at small and medium sized regional gatherings, so I'm no stranger to public speaking on many photography topics.

The two shows that I'm most familiar with are already done for the year unfortunately... (PPAs ImagingUSA and WPPIs WPPI Las Vegas). Depending on the goals that SE have in mind by sending someone, it might be worth pushing it out until 2012, in order to potentially reach the larger audiences that will be attending the 'big dog' conventions.

Another notion that may be worth kicking around would be for SE to get a photo-SE booth at the trade show of one of the larger conventions and then sponsor a few people to go and manage it (maybe partially sponsoring several people, rather than totally sponsoring one person, in other words). Purely thinking in terms of 'most bang for the buck' having a booth is likely to provide more exposure to a wide audience than a speaker. Additionally, submitting a speaking topic to a convention is no guarantee of getting accepted to speak (unless Joel pulls some strings!), but buying a booth space is a guarantee of exposure as tons of people walk through the trade show hall. The booth would probably need to have a 'hook' of some sort, and some swag in order to get people to come by and check it out.

Anyway, just thoughts...

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    Swag is good advertising though! – rfusca Apr 15 '11 at 19:52
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    +1 for the booth idea – rfusca Apr 15 '11 at 19:57
  • I'm definitely in favor of swag... I was only trying to emphasize that it would be a cost that would need to be taken into consideration. T'would be a lame booth indeed that didn't have something sweet to give away... :-) – Jay Lance Photography Apr 15 '11 at 22:20
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    Well if SE decided to do a photo booth at ImagingUSA in New Orleans, I could definitely make the drive down to help out. The wife has been itching to visit NO again anyway. – rfusca Apr 15 '11 at 22:40
  • I love the idea of meeting a few of the regulars in person in addition to getting the word out. And on Joel's dime? Even better! ;-) – Jay Lance Photography Apr 16 '11 at 3:23

It'd obvious we should send an active member of the community to the conference.

I would recommend Jay Lance Photography off the top of my head, I think he'd be an excellent choice to represent this community. But, that's just a thought.

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    I brought up Jay in chat as well. Professional in the business, active on the site, and has a pretty wide range of photographic interests. If there's an official nomination I go for Jay. – rfusca Apr 15 '11 at 19:12


The Societies 2012 Photographic Convention (in january) - Matt Grum


PDN PhotoPlus Expo October 27-29 - Jay Lance

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    Just my suggestion, I have no idea if either would even be interested. – chills42 Apr 15 '11 at 15:32
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    My only problem with Matt Grum as a suggestion is that he's a high rep user, but not particularly active in the community aspects of the site (from my perspective at least). I don't see him around Meta, the chat room, or any of the Weekly Image threads. – rfusca Apr 15 '11 at 19:25
  • @rfusca. 'I don't see him around Meta, the chat room, or any of the Weekly Image threads'. Those seem like poor reasons for knocking somebody out of consideration. This isn't a favours for pals deal. – labnut Apr 16 '11 at 21:01
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    I completely disagree that its a poor reason - if you're representing the site, then you're representing more than just a question and answer site for photo (IMO). We're a community more than some others and I've nothing personally against Matt - he gives some great answers and is obviously well informed - but he doesn't appear to be active in the community aspects of the site. And thats important to me. If I didn't like him but still saw him around the "community" - I'd have no issue. It's got nothing to do with "pals" and resent that you think it does. – rfusca Apr 17 '11 at 1:13
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    @labnut - I think rfusca has a point. Matt clearly gives very good answers on the site and is a huge boon to the community, but he hasn't been an active player in the social aspect of it. Now, I think that has been changing a little, I have seen some evidence of that, but in general, there are others who are more active in a complete sense. – John Cavan Apr 17 '11 at 4:09
  • @rfusca, @John, the collegial aspect of this site has been its great asset. Vote for whom you will and for whatever reason you like, that is fine. But to actively vote publicly against someone is a serious action and better have a damn good reason. I can hardly think of something more damaging to the collegial aspect of this site. Shame on you. – labnut Apr 17 '11 at 4:24
  • @rfusca, @John. The trivial nature of the objection leaves me bemused. We should be selecting for a capable, intelligent, knowledgeable, articulate, credible representative who will be an effective advocate for this site. Now Matt's lack of social participation has precisely nothing to do with these desirable attributes. I am astonished. – labnut Apr 17 '11 at 4:30
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    @labnut - I respectfully disagree and I'm going to leave it at that because I don't want it to come off like I've got some huge thing against Matt - I don't at all. – rfusca Apr 17 '11 at 4:52
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    @labnut - It's not a vendetta or anything, I just think it's a valid point and should be a consideration when talking about sending people to represent our community. – John Cavan Apr 17 '11 at 13:48
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    Guys, it's important to remember that (at least as Jeff Atwood has outlined it) this would be an opportunity for someone to come up with a topic, choose a convention, get selected to speak on that topic at that convention, and potentially have SE sponsor it somehow. There is probably some element of 'this is who the community would like to represent them,' but there's still a fair amount of work that would need to go into the proposal for a speaking opportunity by the person who wanted to go, and a certain amount of 'out of everyone's hands' in getting picked to actually speak! – Jay Lance Photography Apr 17 '11 at 20:11
  • The community putting their vote of confidence behind myself, @Matt Grum, @jrista, or Handy Andy (joke!) is great (and flattering, don't get me wrong), but it wouldn't get any individual interested in @Jeff Attwood's proposal out of the work of coming up with a topic, presenting it to a conference committee, and then getting picked to preset it. Something that (to my knowledge) no one has committed to doing- or actually started doing- at this point. – Jay Lance Photography Apr 17 '11 at 20:18
  • Seems to me this would probably be the most clear indication of an interest in potentially being sponsored and representing the photo-SE community, and with that in mind, unless several people come up with proposals that get accepted, it seems pretty premature to assume that a vote of confidence (or no-confidence) is going to have much weight one way or the other. As someone who has submitted a number of speaking proposals over the years with about a 50/50 success ratio at actually getting asked to speak, it's very likely that the community won't have a vast playing field of choices anyhow. – Jay Lance Photography Apr 17 '11 at 20:21
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    tl;dr: Can't we all just get along? ;-) – Jay Lance Photography Apr 17 '11 at 20:22
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    @labnut: While I will grant that Matt Grum certainly brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge to our community, I wouldn't really label him as a "colleague"...there is more to a colleague. Outside of providing answers to questions, his voting rank is pretty low, he never participates in meta or chat, and has overall had extremely low participation in any of the extended "community" aspects of this site. While it is certainly nothing against Matt personally, I quite precisely do not believe he is the best person to represent this community, and think others agree. – jrista Apr 18 '11 at 2:55
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    Ugh, we have descended to the level of a tawdry reality show. – labnut Apr 18 '11 at 6:26

I'm having problems finding it, but I suspect someone here might know more, so I'll just post what I'm looking for, and hope someone'll know.

Let's be honest here. This site probably isn't going to be attractive to a photographer in the business for 30 years, for a variety of reasons, unless said person is already somehow getting the word out about photography somehow. But, the best audience for such a conference talk would include the following.

  • Young professional photographers.
  • Some high-end amateurs would be nice too.
  • There's some aspects of this site related to social media, a discussion of using social media would be beneficial.

Putting this together, I know of a few smaller, but potentially more targeted events, which might really make a difference.

I'm sure someone'll know of something better than these two, but I don't think we want to have a presentation necessarily at a huge conference, if we can find a smaller, more targeted one, it might just be worthwhile.

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    Hah, an intelligent voice. To have a useful impact we must choose the right audience. This is a good starting point to debate who it is we want to reach. – labnut Apr 18 '11 at 6:36
  • I generally agree - but we do have a few high rep users who are in the 30+ category. – rfusca Apr 18 '11 at 18:37
  • @rfusca: I didn't mean a 30 year old, rather, I meant a photographer who had been in the business for 30 years... Will edit to make that clearer. – PearsonArtPhoto Apr 18 '11 at 18:38
  • I meant that too. – rfusca Apr 18 '11 at 18:40
  • If you want to talk at the SMUGs, we certainly have the right connections handy. ;) But you'll need a topic to sell to the various SMUG leaders. – cabbey Apr 18 '11 at 18:51

I'll cast my vote with Jay Lance should the situation arise. I think such an event would be well suited to a professional that has been active on the site and, I think, Jay has fit the bill quite nicely here.


I think it'd be valuable to send someone to this:


It's more a show than a conference, but there are associated conferences as well. I don't know if it'd be too late for someone to actually run a session at either PMA@CES or DIMA, or if they have more informal "birds of a feather" sessions one could launch. I think it'd be nice to have someone there on hand in any case.

This would certainly fit more on the gadget side of the site than with the photography business or artistic sides, but to be honest that's clearly a large part of who we currently are.

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