Heading to Beantown for the big meet up at the twice yearly NAPP fest, Photoshop World, ’09. Looking forward to it. I’ve been to many, many photojournalistic conclaves over the years, some of which have been truly profound and moving, while others have been sort of listless and self important. Let me say that “listlessness” is not on the menu for Boston. The energy of the PSW gatherings is bracing. People are jazzed. Truly jazzed. I mean, people camp out at the doors for Scott Kelby’s classes like they did outside of Apple stores the night before they released the Iphone. And what Scott doles out in terms of wit and wisdom is worth alot more than an Iphone, so it’s no mystery why folks are lined up.
Ahoy, matie! Mooster and I do a pre-con Safari, where we lecture and then hit the high seas with a bunch of folks to do flash portrait sessions on board the USS Constitution. It’s a great opportunity for Moose and I to explore our future as Somali pirates. Hey, I figure it’s one of the few growth industries around. It’d be cool, you know, going “Aargh!” and making off with a supertanker. (How do you say that in Somali, I wonder?)
I really don’t have the cojones to be a Somali pirate. Worked there once, in Mogadishu, and it is one seriously crazy place. Before I went in I had dinner with a journalist bud in Kenya, and he had this advice. “If you wanna go somewhere and the Somalis don’t wanna go there, don’t go, cause the Somalis are not chicken shits.” Quite true. I hung there for a week, tended to by my translator, my driver, and my own personal Somali army of 5 guys armed with Kalashnikovs. It’s the only way you could work at the time in Mog. Every morning the steel gates of the hotel would open and we would plunge into the craziness. My guys were strong with the Aidid clan, and they got me in touch with this bunch on a technical, which is Somali speak for a Toyota pickup with a heavy caliber belt fed weapon in the back. Might be an interesting option for Detroit to offer. Could boost sales, especially the way folks drive in say, LA.
Main drag, former financial district, downtown Mog. Shot with a Fujica 617 camera on 120 film.
Got in on a Red Cross plane, go out on a drug plane. Little Cessna puddle jumpers are gutted and stuffed with bales of khat, and then flown from Nairobi into dirt airstrips near Mogadishu. Somalis chew it and kind of buzz their way through the day. Can’t say I blame ’em considering everybody’s armed and there is no rule of law, no police, no fire department, very little running water and electricity, and an economy that makes our current state of things look positively rosy. I’d stay buzzed, too, I think. Difficult place, and sad…..
RC will be there. too. That’s RC as in “Non-Stop Concepcion.” Can’t wait till he bounds out of nowhere, camcorder in hand, in his patented guerrilla interview style of video interviewing. Probable question: “Joe, what’s the coolest thing about CS4?” Joe response: “Uh, well, umm, I, uh, well….I’ve always liked the number 4! So it’s bound to be a cool program! Right? Huh? Is that good?”
Actually, I’ve been getting better at the post stuff. Just got the suite of NIK filters. That stuff is cool, and makes things alot easier for a thunder thumbs like me. You’d think I’d learn faster, being at PSW and all, but it stays busy, so I don’t get to many classes. If you are out there, though, and trying to decide what you’re doing for the week, PSW is very cool. High energy, lots of like minded folks, great classes. You can really tune it up in the three days.
AND THEN TO GPP!
When PSW ends on Saturday, I jump on plane for the Middle East and the Gulf Plus Photo conference. Third year in a row. Just an amazing workshop, in an amazing place. Talk about a faculty. Teaching there will be David Hobby, Cliff Mautner, Vince Laforet, Chase Jarvis, Bobbi Lane, Carol Dragon, David Nightingale, Drew Gardner, Zack Arias, Asim Rafiqui, Chris Hurtt, and Robin Nichols.
Just makes you want to stop teaching and go to a bunch of classes. My hat’s seriously off to Mohamed Somji and his staff for pulling this off at a time when it is tough sledding even in a money haven like Dubai. He has stayed the course and organized all this in the face of daunting odds. It is the central clearing house for photo education, chat, and networking in all the Middle East. More tk…..