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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!