For the last two years I have had the opportunity to be the official photographer of Pop!Tech , a 4 day fall conference that happens in Camden, ME. Over the past two years I have shot dozens of speakers while they were presenting on a wide range of topics, including inner-city violence , the fate of the oceans , musical possibility , linguistic theory and emotional robot technology . From musicians to leaders to the change makers of the present world, Pop!Tech has hosted them and I have photographed them.
Pop!Tech started in 1996 as the Camden Technology Conference . Originally it had a more focused theme which was the impact of information technology. Since its creation this conference has broadened its topics to encompassing discussions with world leaders and the social change makers about issues that revolve around the events, media, information and projects that are affecting their lives globally.
Each year Pop!Tech has a designated conference theme in which all of its discussions and talks are more or less focused around; the past few years have seen such themes as "Dangerous Ideas", "The Human Impact" and "Scarcity and Abundance". The entire conference is held in a 19th century opera house which provides a visually stimulating and inspiring environment. Andrew Zolli has been the curator and director of Pop!Tech since 2003 and has helped develop the conference into what is known for today.
There are many different components to the Pop!Tech conference that happen before, during and after the actual fall event. One the really amazing ones is the Fellows Program that has since evolved into the Social Innovation Fellows Program . This program is an intensive training for 10-20 people from around the world that are working on global change through the vehicles of innovative projects with potential widespread positive repercussions.
This program provides the skills in networking, media relations, branding, social media, finances, organizational development as well as many other areas that are necessary skill sets in the work that they are doing. All of the fellows involved in the program also get a chance to present briefly at the actual Pop!Tech conference with additional mentorship for a year following the program. Last year I was also given the opportunity to photograph the Social Innovations Fellows Program, which was its first official year.
This specific conference hosts a variety of speakers and often incorporates music from innovative creative musicians from around the world. Some of the musical highlights from the past years have been John Legend, Amos Lee , Imogen Heap , Zoe Keating , Vanessa German and Abdominal . Each of the musicians presents and performs at the conference which provides a musical interlude between some of the heavier topics.
Between shooting presenters and discussions, I had the opportunity to help out in the National Geographic Photocamp that was held at last year's conference. Whether it was documenting other young and inspiring photographers as they took photos at sessions or general photo assisting tasks like holding up reflectors, I had the chance to share my photography knowledge with others.
Each year the conference hosts so many amazing people from around the world that is definitely hard to pick favorites from all of the various sessions. Each presenter is creatively captivating on the topics that they are speaking upon combined with the vibrancy and impact of their presentations, which are often filled with infinite energetic passion.
Pop!Tech Conference 2007:
Elizabeth Streb is considered an action inventor and presented on her dreams of the future of human body motions.
Jonathan Harris redefines the theory of story-telling thru various platforms.
Van Jones is an activist whose new plan of promoting a green revolution for green jobs instead of jails.
Frank Warren , the founder of PostSecret, discusses his initial solicitation of people's secrets on the streets of Washington, DC. His presentation was just a snippet of the thousands of secrets that have accumulated into PostSecret.
Malcolm Gladwell , author of the Outliers, discusses what separates the extraordinary people from the average people.
Saul Griffith , inventor, engineer and the recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant, discusses his own investigation into his personal carbon footprint and the shocking discoveries that are made in that journey.
It is very exciting that I get to shoot Pop!Tech for the third year in a row. This year's conference should be just as amazing as the last two!