Women In Photojournalism Conference "Lived The Moment"

Sep 18, 2006

By Ana Bianca Marin


Brooks Institute of Photography student and conference volunteer Ana Bianca Marin was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. Marin's photograph "Terra" was selected as one of 50 on display in the Saturday night gallery show "Living the Moment" at this year's NPPA Women In Photojournalism Conference in St. Louis, MO. Here's her take on the weekend:

ST. LOUIS, MO – The National Press Photographers Association's Women In Photojournalism Conference is about being a woman among women, a professional, a student and a passionate dreamer who shares visions, advice and life stories. More then a get-together, the weekend was about letting down a guard that is commonplace in the "real world." More then getting pats on the back or catching excellent advice, the conference was about reminding oneself of the power and beauty of being a woman in the field.

NPPA's Women In Photojournalism Conference student audience membersKMOX radio personality Carol Daniel pointed out the importance of finding ourselves and knowing who we truly are before we can throw ourselves into the journalism profession. If we do choose to live the life of a photojournalist, we can be sure that it will be a great and rewarding one. That is, of course, if we survive it, as Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas put it.

Despite the many trials and tribulations along the way, the conference emphasized staying with it. Many of the featured speakers spoke about the difficulties of starting out, while young students listened, including a handful of high school students. I learned the importance of "never taking no for an answer," as the first slide of Washington Post photographer Melina Mara's presentation dictated.

Gorgeously striking pictures, from daily assignments to long-term projects, filled the screens of flooded conference rooms. NPPA-Nikon Sabbatical Grant winner Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu's devotion to her subjects' stories and Barbara Davidson's remarkable personality worked in unison with Karin Schwanbeck's, of Quinnipiac University, guidance regarding the business aspects of photojournalism.

But not all is business. During the NPPA Women In Photojournalism Conference there were more than enough opportunities to meet different people in a very relaxing atmosphere. During meals, the gallery show, and even throughout the ongoing portfolio reviews, it felt as if everyone was part of a big family coming together to exchange stories, visions, ideas, hopes and dreams amidst a great amount of laughter.

And the audience was global: Jinfang Xu came all the way from Xinjiang Province, in northwestern China, for the weekend gathering.

The conference was simply a testament to the theme. This weekend, we lived the moment.

Read a related story from this weekend's conference.