Today, 500 attendees gathered in excitement and adoration to hear from a very special talent and icon in this world, Peter Lindbergh. The doors to the conference center opened and I walked quietly to my seat. The room felt different than before. There was a quiet rumble and conversations I overheard were filled with shock, confusion, and sadness. I soon learned that Peter Lindbergh, 74, had passed away the night before we even had a chance to meet a man who gave women a voice when society expected otherwise. Although I did not get to hear his story, his legacy and message lives on. Peter believed for women to be seen that they must be seen authentically with every flaw we label ourselves with and in return he not only created a stunning body of work in fashion but empowered everyone he photographed with his talents. It is not only heartbreaking to know that Peter passed away so unexpectedly but that his family has to grieve their loved one momentarily from a distance. My heart goes out to his family but I know an incredible legacy has been left to demonstrate what it means to have passion and a sense of humanity in every piece of work we create as photographers.
With such a devastating loss, Sue Bryce and her team pushed forward and we had some great instructors to learn from today including Canon explorer of light - Joel Grimes, women's portrait and boudoir photographer - Kara Marie, and photojournalist and portrait photographer - Tony Carter. Each photographer represented a profoundly different body of work but every person had a humanitarian message of loving the people you are photographing so that you can tell authentic stories with your images. Each one of these photographers have the ability to play such a humanitarian role because they first discovered their self-worth and value as a contributing story teller in this world.
Allow yourself to be photographed, often. Document your life. No one is promised tomorrow.
"If photographers are responsible for creating or reflecting an image of women in society, then I must say, there is only one way for the future, and this is to define women as strong and independent. This should be the responsibility of photographers today: to free women, and finally everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection."