Tradeshows aren't new for me. I spent two years of my life as a sales rep and it didn't really vibe for me. I always felt the connections I made were tainted by the ulterior sales motive. In reality, some relationships last today and others have faded, so it wasn't all in vain.
I've since focused energy into my education and research at UC Berkeley, while still photographing primarily for The Brooklyn Circus SF, various lifestyle and fashion gigs and a select amount of weddings. I'm learning that I prefer the real connections forged through creative collaboration and my camera.
Liberty Fairs was a gut shot.
I had created expectations from second and third person masks. I had projected my ideals on what I thought would be a room full of inspiring, creative people showing and selling the fruits of their labor.
It was, it wasn't.
Besides the aloof, haze that Vegas intoxicates you with ( I swear they pump something through all of that manufactured A/C), Liberty, (capsule), and Agenda felt like an odd fairy tale, something was off, something wasn't right.
The BKc curated a beautiful section. Freedom Hall; a unity of likeminded brands and creators who are striving to offer a different tradeshow experience. I stood in awe as Art Comes First and Kristin-Lee Moolman brought this insane, NXT LVL energy to the joint. Orchestrated chaos of portraits on a simple white background. It was a fountain of youth. Feeding off of that, I wandered throughout the aisles, checking in on brands I had always wanted to see, while feeling lost and out of place. Lonely.
Where was my voice? What was I doing here?
I shot a lot of great, photos, met and caught up with new and old friends. On the surface, I was satisfied. Coming back I find myself at a sort of identity crossroads, and think of the Walt Whitman poem, Song of Myself. I, like Walt, am an omnivore of experience, wanting to think, feel, capture and see all that this world has to offer, but what I learned, is who I thought I was, I wasn't. Where I thought I fit in, I didn't.
And I'm OK with that.
Lonely as I was, I know where I stand and what to check off of the list. More than that, I'll be back in august. Photos below.