Last week, Daniel Evan Garza and I traveled to the SPE National Conference in Baltimore, MD.  This was our second national conference; the first was in warm, wonderful San Francisco in 2012.  We had a great time in Baltimore (and actually, it wasn’t too cold, but we still reminisced about passing time between talks exploring the Bay).  We started the conference weekend off with the Thursday evening guest speaker, Joan Fontcuberta, and ended it with the MICA Open House late Saturday.

Joan Fontcuberta was introduced to me by my Contemporary Directions and Practices in Photography instructor at MICA, Nate Larson (also this conference’s chair!).  His Secret Fauna (from which this post’s featured image comes) was a huge inspiration to me, one of the earliest bodies of work I was drawn to in the animal genre.  It’s always stuck with me, so I enjoyed seeing his presentation.


Friday morning, we went to Peter Krogh‘s talk, “Lightroom: Organize, Optimize, Utilize.”  We had seen Peter’s Lightroom talk in San Francisco and we both thought it was super helpful, as I had just started using Lightroom then and that talk is what made Daniel want to start.  We’re huge Peter Krogh fans through and through.

Next was the Midwest Regional Meeting, where I learned that the theme of the fall conference has to do with photography and the archive (!), in Madison, WI.  At the center of the conference will be FlakPhoto and Michael Lesy’s Wisconsin Death Trip.  I already feel so excited; hopefully I can make the 500-mile trip in October.

That afternoon, I went to an excellent panel discussion, “Portraiture and Identity” with Jess Dugan, Kelli Connell, Richard Renaldi, and Chad States.  I’ve been an admirer of each of these artists’ work since I found out about them.  It was like a contemporary portraiture dream team to see them all on the same panel.


Saturday morning, we saw talks by Haley Morris-Cafiero (“Wait Watchers: A Study of Anonymity in the Public Space and Media”) and Thomas Brennan (“Collecting Shadows”), the latter I hope to share soon here on MH.

I had been seeing John Keedy‘s It’s Hardly Noticeable all over the internet lately, so I was excited to see him speak about and share images from that body of work.

The Saturday evening guest speakers were the fantastic Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick.  What a great talk!  I was so entertained and really enjoyed hearing them talk about their collaborative projects that began before I was born.

Saturday night, we took a shuttle to the MICA Open House to see a couple of exhibitions and check out their undergraduate photography area (it had been a while!) and the Photography & Electronic Media MFA program space at the Graduate Studio Center.  We also rode to Notre Dam of Maryland University to check out the SPE Joint Caucus Exhibition at Gormley Gallery.  Great show!


Other talks I saw over the course of the conference were Catherine Lord’s “The Camera and the White Perimeter;” Ginevra Shay’s “Analog Processes and The Community;” the friday evening guest speaker, Zoe Strauss; and Sylvia de Swann’s “Return: A Sequel” (funny sidenote: Return was one of my very first posts on this blog, before it had an animal/nature theme).

And friends! I was so happy to see Tom Baird, Colette Veasey-Cullors, Nate Larson, and Elle Perez from my MICA days;  Alaina Hickman from the MWSPE confernece in Lincoln; Diane Fox and Areca Roe, whose work I featured on MH a couple years ago; and my friend and mentor from UCD, Carol Golemboski.  It was a good conference.  Next year: New Orleans!