Some of you reading may look at some of the things I do and presume it's easy. Should I say easy to obtain. The answer is yes and no and maybe even maybe. Receiving the opportunity to work on the PSPF portfolio review team was something in the making even before I knew what it was. In 2015 when I moved to LA, before I landed I found a group called the LA Women's photography group. In January I attended my first meeting and they've been a crucial part of my photography journey since.
They told me about the Palm Springs photo festival and I volunteered as an intern that year. I loved it. For 5 weeks on Wednesdays I caught the bus from east LA to west hollywood. About two hours each way. Yes the work was hard, but it was worth it and necessary. In 2016 I was again on board as a volunteer and again on the registration team. After the first day I was sent to work as a workshop assistant with Vincent Laforet and was so happy to be working with film and somewhat as a production assistant. Thanks to my mentor B. Kyle I knew my shit, but also knew there was so much I needed to learn.
Fast forward. I emailed the a PSPF team asking if I could work in NY for the portfolio reviews. I was told that they didn't need anyone at the time. I let it go. At the end of August the amazing Courtnay messaged me and asked if I was interested to come on board as staff. See how God works. I say that because I have decided to make a big life changing decision that this particular event gave immense leverage to.
After some training in LA and working in the office in West Hollywood for a weekend, we headed off to NY the morning of the 17th. Our official work day began on the 18th and we worked everyday from 8:15AM-6PM until the 22nd.
Though we worked 8 hour shifts we somehow managed to not only get our work reviewed, but also worked up the muscle to attend some events happening during the evening. Most of this went undocumented by the way. Capturing worth while content is pretty difficult when your spending most of your time engaging with people. I was able to make my way to the floor for about 30 minutes on the last day.
Overwhelming indeed, but amazingly great to be engulfed in any and everything photography and video. Although I wish I could have spent more time on the floor, the small piece I got to experience was enough. I met some amazing people, got to see lots and lots of photos, grew closer to the people in my team, met with reviewers who helped me understand my work better, ate bomb ass NY food, which I miss, slept like a baby on my friends couch the last day I was in town, walked a ton around the city, was on a train again, and so much more.
5 Tips on how you can either work or volunteer at events like this.
1. Find out what events are happening related to your craft and find the right people to contact so that you can find out more on working with them.
2. Make sure the organization or event is one that you can benefit from and gain insight.
3. Be willing to volunteer your time for the greater good of your future investments. It isn't always about the money and you can most likely gain something worth more.
4. Offer something new. Do a bit of homework and find how you can become an asset to the event or organization. Bring something unique and inviting while also being yourself.
5. Do it. Don't ponder on if attending or volunteering at these types of conferences will benefit you. Give it a try and see what happens.