hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

mila | WPPI the review

i was in vegas for 8 days.  EIGHT DAYS!!!!  i don't even like vegas!

2009 - first time i heard about wppi.  i wanted to go but i was in the philippines.  a loooong way away.  couldn't make it.  

2010 - hanssie was making plans.  we were gonna hit coyote ugly and dance on the bars.  i had to slow her roll and let her in on a secret.  i was pregnant.  that would NOT a good table dance make.  kaya was due the week of wppi.  i pouted and pouted.  couldn't make it.

2011 - as soon as i could, we planned the dates.  i tacked on a couple more at the end, told curtis he was coming after it was over for a mini vacation, bought the tickets, then paused to think.  CRAP.  what am i doing?  i'm not a vegas person!  what the hell am i gonna do there for 8 days?!?!?  ... but it's wppi!  and it's gonna be fun?  oh god.  what did i sign up for?  i'm gonna get black lung.  but it's like spring break for photographers!  umm... i'm actually anti-social and slightly awkward.  but there's all the vendors to check out!  i'm gonna miss kaya!  this is gonna be expensive.  what the hell am i doing?  

no lie.  i approached the week with trepidation.  i seriously thought that after a half day there i would try to figure out a way to get back home early.  never mind that i planned a mini vacation with curtis at the end of the week.  turns out i had nothing to worry about!  i had a BLAST!  i'm an education junkie and that was the place to see all these amazing speakers in one venue.  i was inspired, rejuvenated and yes liquored out but it was great!  i also got to take a really good look at a lot of the products that are available but had never "met" up close.  i'm a tactile shopper and this was perfect for me.  i was actually so busy running from one thing to another that at one point i had to stop and remind myself to call home.  i was being a bad mommy.  i got caught up in all the uninterrupted fun.  the "freeway" from my room to the classes and the showroom became my catch up on home time.  i was up as early as i could roll out of bed to go to platform classes then rushing off to the showroom floor then hurrying back to get ready for parties.  i shamelessly consumed more than my share of liquor and danced nights away.  surviving on 3 hours of sleep and fists full of almonds during the day and getting an ungodly amount of walk-a-thon-ercise.... i lost 4 pounds in vegas that week.  oh yeah... i had  it all!  and the best part was yet to come!  curtis was coming to wind the week to a close for me.  sigh.  

i met so many amazing people that week, people i will never forget and hope to keep in touch with for a very long time. mind you, this is hard for me coz i'm just not the most diligent at keeping in touch or remembering people's names but some connections can't be ignored.  thank god for fb!

worries out the door, on to the review..

the speakers i got to see that week that i now gush about
  • jonathan canlas - if you've been following my blog then you know that i've been on a mission to reintroduce myself to film photography.  here's a guy that has tried to leave film behind and failed.  his love and passion for this medium are apparent in his work.  he's brought me even farther around.  i'm now on a hunt for some great cameras to add to my collection.  his mantra ... "film is not dead".   thanks to my friend katie neal for telling me about him.
  • john mireles - edgy, real, raw, editorial.  that's how i describe john mireles' work.  and i LOVE it!  he spoke to my heart when he said that your photography should be a reflection of you.  
  • jesh de rox - i'm a sap.  i love dramatic influence.  i love emotion.  even in silence i want to feel an impact.  jesh taught me how to get there.  he's a poet and i was BLOWN away by his method.  i warn you though... it's not for everyone, but it's definitely for me. 
  • julieanne kost - this woman rocks!  anyone that can teach technical anything (which lightroom and adobe are) with humor injected into the lesson is a goddess.  
the speakers i wanted to see but missed :( i curse myself for not rolling out of bed in time (due to over partying) or for having to pick some other awesome speaker who's schedule overlapped with these guys.  
  • jennifer hudson - her art is a breath.  it's ethereal.  it's beautiful.  it's amazing.  i want to take a workshop with her.  thank you to my friend cheryl for telling me about her.
  • jerry ghionis - i wish i could gaze through his lens from inside his head.  his view is just so different and unusual.  i really enjoy how he sees things outside the box.  luckily i got to see him just last week in long beach when came out on a tour.  thanks to my buddies at smugmug for getting me in.
  • joe buissink - a legend in wedding photography.  who doesn't want to see him?
there were soooo many people i could have seen but not enough time and not enough me to go around.  i literally had to do my homework before deciding.  first i had to be inspired by their images coz let's face it, if i didn't like their work i wouldn't learn anything and preference is sadly subjective.  then i had to make sure that the topic would be beneficial to me.  lastly, it had to be someone that i hadn't already seen or could see easily in the future.  running smugs and living in socal gives me wonderful access to a host of amazing photographers.

then there was the showroom floor which was like going to toys r us for the first time.  luckily my retail shopping savvy kept me from being overwhelmed and inundated by the assortment although it still took a couple of days of saturating myself in all the options before i could distill the information into the usual categories ... want, need and ignore.

next year i want to sit in on the print and album judging.  i think it's a world of information that can only help me understand better how to master my craft.  i also intend to submit images for judging.  my mentor scott robert won 11 awards this year including 3rd place over all!  and get this...  his mentees that turned in submissions won too!  so inspired!

gosh i really can't wait till next year.  oh and btw, that mini vacation with curtis at the end of it all... really was the best part of all.  it was the perfect way to end an awesome week.  

and now for some party photos care of scott jarvie

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