At the end of March, I attended the Photography Show at the NEC arena in Birmingham. It was an opportunity for me to experience a trade show, learn about things that I had never even considered within photography and meet some other people who share the same passion.
It was a four day event and I was there for three of them which gave me the chance to sit in talks from two incredible photographers; Mary Ellen Mark and Martin Parr. Hearing them speak about their work was immensely inspiring and also made me realise that they weren't superhuman but in fact just normal people who loved what they did, lived for it and worked extremely hard to train their eye and sharpen their talent.
Alongside Mark and Parr, other experts were doing live demonstrations, educating visitors about their particular field, providing invaluable knowledge that they had gained from their experiences. I caught presentations by street photographer Matt Hart and fashion photographer Wayne Johns. It was great to be able to speak to them after the talks and pick their brains a little bit.
All of the events were happening alongside the many stands that were advertising the latest gear and tech available to photographers. All of which were offering "show only deals" on their goods, undercutting even internet prices, although it wasn't the latest releases that were catching my eye but in fact some of the more dated, almost vintage items that were of more interest to me.
I was staying in an excellent hotel called Staybridge Suites, in the centre of Birmingham which meant a short train journey to and from the NEC each day, allowing me to spend the evenings exploring the city streets. Even though it is not far from my home town of Stoke-on-Trent, aside from the main shopping areas, Birmingham is largely unfamiliar to me. It was great to be able to have time to walk around and explore even though I ended up in places which were mostly deserted.
By the end of the three days of lots of walking, lots of talking and lots of learning I was exhausted but I still really enjoyed my time at The Photography Show in Birmingham and I hope to do it again. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in taking and making photos. The show will take place again next year at the NEC from 19-22 March.