I was invited to attend BIRDIE, a brand new photography conference organised by White October Events. The event was held at The Shoreditch Village Hall which is situated in sunny Hoxton Square, London.
The conference was very well organised, the venue was good, and the speakers were excellently curated. It was an enjoyable day.
There are some excellent web design / dev conferences here in the UK, but I’m not aware of any similarly executed photography events, so this was refreshing. I’m sure this event would appeal to anyone into photography, even if it just happens to be a passtime.
Here’s a few highlights…
Kevin Meredith a.k.a. Lomokev
Kevin was previously a web designer and talked about how he initially fell into professional photography by earning a few quid snapping images at raves in the early 90’s. He found a niche experimenting with Lomography and talked about The Tokyo Lomo Olympics which sounded like it was a lot of fun.
Amongst other cool client work, Kevin also talked about an exciting commission he has just landed documenting the new Brighton i360 and will be producing a long duration timelapse of the construction process.
Naomi is an IP Consultant and talked about ‘Copyright, photography and the Digital Age’. This was a very insightful and well communicated presentation. It was fascinating to learn a bit about the early beginnings of copyright and the more recent technicalities of digital content protection.
The law is still lagging behind in certain areas, but was good to hear things are changing. For example, this October the law will be changed here in the UK for; Caricature, parody and Pastiche, Quotation, and Format shifting (making copies of digital content for multiple devices).
I’d missed the recent news about David Slater’s monkey image and was astonished to discover that US law ruled that the copyright in this case was owned by the monkey. Utterly daft, but just shows how whacky laws can be.
Stevyn is an author and also one of the BBC QI Elves. His highly entertaining talk was suitably titled ‘A Quite Interesting alternative history of photography‘.
We were treated to a bountiful array of historic images and accompanying facts. The Victorian ‘hidden mothers’ who’s efforts to camouflage themselves in order to keep their babies still during laborious photo sittings, gave us all a good chuckle.
Chris gave a charismatic presentation featuring some captivating images from his online digital collection Retronaut.
I was so impressed by the subject matter, I whipped out my laptop and ordered Chris’s freshly published book ‘Retronaut – The Photographic Time Machine’ literally the minute he had finished talking.
Every single session was great, so I must quickly mention the rest of the speakers and their talks here…
Conor MacNeill talked about some of his astrophotography experiences, Katja Ogrin showed us a selection of her music event photographs, and Agatha A. Nitecka discussed her work as a movie stills photographer, capturing intimate images on film sets exclusively using a 35mm film SLR with prime lenses. Last not least, Tom Seymour interviewed the event’s host Dan Rubin which provoked some thoughtful discussion.
Throughout the day there was demonstrations from Triggertrap a smartphone-based camera triggering solution and also The Instant Lab a smartphone to Polaroid instant printer. Both born from Kickstarter campaigns, both awesome products.
Take away mind blower…
“There will be more images taken this year than have ever been taken in the entire history of humanity” (a brain boggling number, something like 900 billion).
A quick timelapse
The event was certainly a success and looks as though it will be continuing, onwards and upwards, so I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in Photography.
I always find listening to peoples stories in this format really interesting and insightful and I’m sure you will too.
Congratulations and thanks to the organisers and all people involved, great job.
- Website: birdieconf.com
- Twitter: @BIRDIEconf
- Organisers: whiteoctoberevents.co.uk
- Monkey image: ©2011 David Slater
- Brighton i360 image: ©2014 brightoni360.co.uk
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