OKAY. So. NYC. Day 1. My favorite thing we did on this trip might have to be that several of the nights we were there, we would go visit a photographer, and that photographer would invite their friends in the industry over. They would all talk to us for a while and then we would break up and go talk to them one on one. They would look at our work and critique us, give us advice, and the like. The first night of our visit we went to Chad Griffith's studio. Check his work out, it's fantastic (http://www.chadgriffith.com/PORTFOLIO/1/thumbs). He brought in a ton of people to talk to us. I learned so many great things! Some of the things that were said to me and stood out to me included "I love your more abstract fashion work, do more of that!", "The more conceptual your work is, the more it will set you apart", and "Never let your emotions separate you from what you want to do." That last one is the hardest! Everyone was so great and helpful!
Day 2. We met with Martin Schoeller, NO BIG DEAL. This guy is a big deal! http://martinschoeller.com/, look him up. He sat with us and talked for a good while, and said many insightful things. "You're only as good as your last picture", "Engage your subjects", and "I'm not taking the picture for them, I'm taking it for me." I also couldn't really believe I was in the same room as this guy, his work is incredible and he was so nice to us. He also gave us all a copy of one of his books AND signed it. Absolutely amazing.
Later that night we met at Steve Giralt's studio (http://www.stevegiralt.com/), who also invited a bunch of people to help us. The one thing that amazed me was the amount of people I met that night that were willing to personally help me and stay in touch with them after we leave the city. They gave us such great advice, let alone critiqued our portfolios and were willing to answer any and all questions we had. Some things that were said to me: "I love the soul in your work", "There is more to fashion than Vogue" (hard to remember that sometimes), and Pari Dukovic (http://www.paridukovic.com/, amazing AMAZING work this guy does), said to me "Leave an impression. If you are going to take a step someone has not yet taken, now is the time to take it. Leave people thinking of YOUR aesthetic." Talk about insightful. A huge thank you is in order to everyone that came that night and talked to and helped us!
Day 4. This was a big day for me. I got to meet one of my absolute FAVORITE fashion photographers of all time. Alexi Lubomirski! http://www.alexilubomirski.com/ His work is STUNNING. I have been a fan of his for years now, so easy to say I was SO excited to be hearing him talk to us! Some things he said that stood out to me: "It only takes one person to make a small difference", "Go pick up books you hate, because you will find something in there you like, wether it is a new pose, new lighting...", "Personal work is where the magic happens," and "This is a beautiful, lucky job." Yes, I would have to agree. I am nowhere near where Alexi is in life, but there is nothing like photography. I got to shake his hand and talk to him briefly after the meeting and I may or may not have been smiling the rest of the day because of it. It is an amazing feeling to meet someone you have admired for so long.
SO yeah. These were just a few of the major things that stood out to me on this trip, I feel like I learned a crazy amount of things in a very small amount of time and I am still taking it all in. But to be reassured that your work is progressing and that you do have an eye for photography by people that are successfully doing it now, means the world to me. I am so happy I got to go on this trip and I will value the information I learned for a very long time.