The Photography Show: more than a shopping opportunity

Getting on for twenty years ago now, I visited a show called ‘Focus on Imaging’ - now The Photography Show - and I came home with a memory stick. Is that all? I hear you say. No, not quite but I’ll get to the point in a minute.

The Photography Show is a wonderland for photographers and, as the website says, it’s ‘Full to the brim with everything a passionate photography enthusiast or a well-seasoned professional photographer could possibly dream of’. It’s a veritable feast of cameras, lenses, lights, props, tripods, albums, studio backdrops and, dare I say, some courses and workshops too 😉 - the list goes on. So much to spend your money on and it’s great to get the opportunity to grab a show offer because everybody loves a bargain.

And that’s fine, but if you haven’t got the budget for all the things you photographic heart desires… well, sometimes it’s nice to press your nose against the glass and plan for future purchases. But it can also be a little frustrating. So why bother to go at all if all you buy is a memory stick? I’m starting to get to my point now.

Yes, my new memory stick worked perfectly, thank you. It didn’t change my life. That was down to something else entirely.

On the Nikon stand, was a guy standing in front of a screen on which was an image of a windsurfer. The bronzed young man in the picture was surfing on a perfect azure blue ocean, his pink sail standing out against the rolling black sky of an incoming storm. It was pretty dramatic and caught my attention, so I joined the audience. As the speaker’s talk unfolded, we learnt that he had been on holiday and had taken the picture while lounging on the beach. A doctor at the time, this impromptu capture had the effect of completely changing his life. There and then, on the white sands of the Caribbean, he decided to trade his secure and successful career in medicine for the life of a freelance photographer. Quite a leap.

This man went on to talk about his career in photography and he was very engaging. He really captured my imagination; the way he spoke was both passionate and inspirational. And here I am. Doing what I do. I consider that the man on the Nikon stand is directly responsible, because I don’t think I would have had the guts to turn the hobby I loved into a career, if it hadn’t been for listening to him.

So, my point is that The Photography Show is not just a place to feed your expensive habit with shiny new kit, although there are endless opportunities to do so if you feel inclined. It’s also a place to be inspired. By the images you see and the people you meet. And that will cost you nothing more than the entrance fee.


Working with Alexa Hilton on the Live Stage at The Photography Show 2017.