I flew to Phoenix Arizona on Labor Day, a day ahead of the 2018 Portrait Masters Conference. Beside the amazing conference (more on that in a moment), I got to spend a little time with some local friends plus have my very own portrait session –something I have been wanting to do for a while. One reason is so that I could have beautiful legacy portraits to leave behind when I am gone. Losing my mother and my sister unexpectedly taught me the value of portraits to the ones left behind. Those and the few photos I have of my grandparents and great-grandparents are a priceless treasure to me. It’s not vanity to want to leave something physically tangible for the people who love you and will want to remember you –it’s a loving gesture.
Another reason I did it was so that I can better connect to the experience MY clients have. I haven’t seen my images yet so I will wait to share more about that later but let me just say without yet even seeing my photos, it was worth it. Of that I am sure.
The PM conference itself was beyond my expectations. I have been to many conferences in my life. From business to health related to faith based and I have to say this was one of the best I have ever attended. The energy was palpable and the kindness and generosity of the attendees and staff just blew me away. I made some friends for life there. A true blessing indeed.
From the perspective of a creative personality the whole week was immensely satisfying. We creatives can become very cocooned. We live in our heads a lot of the time so being able to connect and share with other creatives is often exactly what we need but forget to do. We watched, we listened, we laughed and cried, we practiced, we shared, and it was wonderful.
While it’s difficult to pick a favorite presenter I have to say that the opening talk by Platon was certainly the most memorable. His images are spectacular and world famous, but it was his message that was so inspiring. He spoke with humility and humor and much sincerity. He is a respecter of persons and challenges the listener to do the same. He exhorted us to not just use our cameras to take “pretty pictures” but to actually heal society. Yes! Now that is a powerful idea!
“Beauty is the splendor of truth,” (veritatis splendor), and beauty, if we let it, can be transformative. Dostoevsky wrote that “Beauty will save the world”, beauty that is, as it is rightly ordered with truth and goodness. “. . . these three live only in their unity. The good, taken separately from truth and beauty, is only an indistinct feeling, a powerless upwelling; truth taken abstractly is an empty word; and beauty without truth and the good is an idol.”
This has always been my heart’s goal and though I don’t always achieve it, I continue to strive for it. What the PM speakers —Platon, Sue Bryce, Joyce Tenneson, Zack Arias, Richard Israel, Felix Kunze, Richard Wood, Lola Melani— all did so well was affirm this goal in me. And it was completely unexpected. So much so that I was brought to tears several times.
What I gained from those four days is yet to be fully uncovered but I hope and trust that the good work begun in me will be seen through to completion. That what I pursue and accomplish is always towards a higher purpose.