Northern Short Course and Strictly Business Recap

March is a travel month. I spend most of the weekends out of town at photography conferences learning business, philosophy and aesthetic.

First up was Philadelphia and the American Society of Media Photographers Strictly Business 3.

Next up was Providence and the National Press Photographers Association Northern Short Course.

Each conference brings it’s own unique perspective to photography, ASMP was all business. I networked like crazy and learned the latest theories about how build and keep business. The entire conference is build around developing a community of photographers and fostering good business practices to keep photography a viable way to make a living.

NPPA concentrates on the storytelling and educational aspects of photojournalism. Critiques and analysis of news images and multimedia play a big role at the confrence. I sought out to expand my network of fellow photojournalism educators through the education track of the program.

Coupling the two programs produces a powerful knowledge base that combines art and commerce. I’ve learned more about photography by regularly attending and listening to others smarter than me than I have learned by practicing in the field. It is at the professional conferences where you will have a chance to mix with others from all over the country who are working in the field. The exchange of ideas will elevate your work you return home and begin practicing what you learned.

The final travel occurs at the end of March, I accompany a group of eager students from Point Park University to Washington DC. There the students have opportunities to meet and experience the way media work in the nation’s capital. I am able to share the knowledge I gained at the conferences with the students in a real way by helping them network, develop relationships and practice their craft.

Photography is an ever evolving profession, as with any craft you have to stay in sync with the industry, from student to professional, to remain viable.

Goodbye Kodachrome

Andy at the playground.

On Dec 30, 2010 Dwayne’s Photo in Parson, KS processed the final rolls of Kodachrome bringing an end to ‘all those nice bright colors’. Throughout my career I have been only an occasional Kodakchrome shooter, mostly for fun. Earlier this year, after being inspired by Steve McCurry and his final Kodachrome project, I embarked on a personal project to document a few ‘last things’ with Kodachrome. They include Denali National Park, Washington, DC, Prague, Bratislava, a family lobster boil, an MFA exhibit for a close friend and most importantly my children playing.

A reflection of the US Capitol.

I photographed many scenes and places which I am probably the last person ever to document with the classic film. But after looking at all of the slides the images that are the most important to me, not surprisingly, are the images of my friends and family. The other places I went and documented turned out just fine, but those images simply act as a snapshot document of places I have been. The images of my friends and family the images represent something much more special. They will for ever provide a special and unique memory of 2010 and will be by far the most important things I have ever documented with Kodachrome.


Billy Ritter, MFA, Kent State University.