AATA International Conference 2017 Albuquerque

Lots of good vibes on this panel at the American Art Therapy Conference 2017 in Albuquerque, New Mexico -- Nikon D7200 with Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/2.8 1/200th ISO 4000

One of my favorite things about being a professional photographer is getting to learn about things I never would otherwise.  One of the ways I experience this is from photographing international conferences like the American Art Therapy Association 48th Annual Conference.  Just a month earlier I got to spend four days shooting the ABSA Conference, and for AATA 2017 three more days at the Albuquerque Convention Center learning about the important work art therapists do with their patients, and especially veterans.

They did not just talk about art, but made lots of art at AATA 2017 too! - Nikon D7200 with Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/2.8 1/200th ISO 1600

AATA 2017 was not just about talking and discussing art therapy, it was also very much about making art, right on the convention center site.  There was an entire area devoted to making art with all the art supplies one could need.  Individuals walked in and worked by themselves, others attended purposeful gatherings to create and share their art.

Filling the ballroom with art therapists at the Albuquerque Convention Center for AATA 2017 - Nikon D750 with Tamron 15-30mm @ f/4 1/60th ISO 4000

The main ballroom was packed each day with attendees listening to panels and featured guest speakers.  It was enlightening to me to hear the breakthroughs art therapists can make with people suffering from emotional issues.  Someone might not be able to express how they are feeling with words, but through art they sometimes can.  It was easy to quickly realize how important art therapy is in many people's lives.

Lots of laughing between attendees at AATA 2017 in Albuquerque, New Mexico - Nikon D7200 with Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/2.8 1/200th ISO 1600

It was not all serious at the conference though!  Attendees were in great spirits in the vending areas, social common areas and the aforementioned art creation area.  I photographed a lot of candids like the one above of people laughing with each other.

Sitting room only for author Michaly Csikszentmihalyi who wrote the book FLOW - Nikon D750 with Tamron 15-20mm @ f/4 1/60th ISO 4000

So many people wanted to come and hear the author of FLOW, Michaly Csikszentmihalyi, speak, that it was in fact "sitting room only!"  I was only assigned to photograph the opening part of his presentation and then the end.  It seemed like everyone wanted to come up to the stage and speak with him!

There was a long line to get your book signed by the author, Michaly Csiszentmihalyi at AATA 2017 at the Albuquerque Convention Center

There was a very long line of people waiting for to have their book signed by him.  I never saw people smile and get excited like I did for meeting an author like this before!  

I had a great time photographing the 3-day conference, learning about art therapy, and debuting my new second camera, a Nikon D7200 that allowed me to get shots without flash I could not before.  I have now upgraded both camera bodies after having gotten a Nikon D750 in September.  These cameras help me get an even wider variety of conference and event photographs!