June 01, 2005

convention_recap.jpgAt the end of the day…the 7th International Photobooth Convention was a terrific success. From the dozens of people who stopped by over two days to take pictures in the booths to the artists who came from around the country and around the world to experiment, collaborate, and talk about their work, the convention was well-attended and kindly praised by the enthusiasts who stopped by. The convention received great coverage in the local daily and event papers, a spot on the Sunday evening news, and two interviews on the Monday morning news. The convention also helped this blog garner its first comment (from someone other than us) and first trackback, both exciting steps.

The whole “posting throughout the convention” idea didn’t really work, because all involved in making the convention happen were busy from morning to night setting up, taking down, cleaning up, shouting out, speaking up, and all the rest. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be putting together a convention wrap-up page where the current convention info now resides.

For my part, I have to say the convention was more fun, more interesting, and more gratifying than I had expected it to be. Admittedly, Tim and I had set pretty low expectations – “If it’s just the three of us, it’ll be a huge success!” – so when actual tens of people came to take photos, to collaborate on projects, to hear my talk and watch Amélie, and to chat with us about photobooths, it was a very pleasant surprise. On a personal level, I had never before had the luxury of free and open photobooths in a studio space, so thanks to Tim’s generosity and willingness to foster his fellow artists and enthusiasts alike, I was able to experiment, test out ideas, and so some work I’m happy with as a starting point. I didn’t know what to do with myself at first, without having to find crisp bills and fend off waiting kids, but I quickly got used to just pushing a button and waiting for the flash.

The convention was also a great learning experience for me and for others, as well, as we got a look inside the booth, and became familiar with terms like “transmission,” “toner,” and “spider assembly,” as they pertain to the tiny, miniature darkroom that lives inside each and every traditional-style photobooth.

I’d like to say my thanks to all of the people who attended the convention, from the UK to the East Coast to the greater St Louis area, all of whom contributed to a terrific weekend, the biggest convention so far, and an example of how to run a successful, fun, and fulfilling participatory art event. Thanks Tim, thanks Steve, and thanks St Louis! Check out my Flick photoset for photos from the convention. And thanks to Mark Pike for pointing us out to Boing Boing.