I am a strong believer that if you give just for the sake of it, you will get much more in return.
I have attended 2 Grande Séances from Studio4Fun as participant. I have learned a great deal about photography over there by interacting with models and other photographers. Anyone who attended the Grande Séance events will know there is a lot of time being put into these before and during. But how much really? I have put together, along with 2 other photographers, a few events too so I had a brief idea. When the invitations were sent to register for the Grande Séance, I took a moment. I knew what it was like to show up on a Sunday and shoot away for a few hours. What I did not know is what it is like to be in the back end, making sure everything runs smooth, being a Grande Séance grunt. I had time for that during the weekend, originally, so I registered as a volunteer to help. Of course, other stuff happened (like last minute kids’ activities) but Anne-Marie was kind enough to handle all that.
I showed up on Saturday, Feb 5th, ready for a smooth day surrounded by photographic gears that I like to think is what heaven looks like. I knew we had to put together a few studios. I had done that before so how difficult can that really be?
<theatrical pause inserted here to build apprehension>
Jesus Christ! I never saw that one coming! It was a hell of a day. 4 studios to put together, 3 lights setups per studios, 3 to 5 lights per setups. Do the math. That is a lot of seamless backs, light stands, flashes, receivers, modifiers, cables and more. The team had assembled the few decors we had received for the event on Friday, thank God for that! I have never walked this much in years. The RCA building is enormous and obviously, the studios had to be scattered left and right, up and down with door numbers arrangements that got me lost a few times. And I am not covering the rest like preparing the tables, the chairs, the makeup stools, the paperwork and such. The work needed took from noon to the middle of the night but I was granted an early sympathy leave for having to drive an hour in a snow storm to get back home. I got home and fell in a coma at 1:30am.
5:30am Sunday, I was back up with stiff legs. I hit the road and got to the door at 7:45am, ready to tackle the last minute adjustments before the participants arrival. After their arrival, the volunteers’ roles were to orient the participants in the right directions, help facilitating the shooting periods and sometimes convince photographers to take their place in front of the models. That part of the day was great. Everyone seemed to enjoy their experience and had a blast. Then came lunch, more shooting, dinner and then repacking everything (you can do the math thing again…). By 11:00pm, we were done, at least the volunteers.
That weekend, I got to meet great photographers and models I want to work with. On top of that, I got to see the logistics needed to put together such show so 50 photographers can meet 50 models and makeup artists. After seeing everything Hai Au Bui, Daphné Caron, Marie-Claude Hamel and the others (including me) have to go through to make this happen, I grew a much better appreciation for the event. How many people would get through organizing all this to put such event on the map? Now, how many people would do it 13 times…? This post is not about me and the number of foot steps I made in 2 days walking around the RCA building. It is about the people like Hai Au, Daphne and Marie-Claude who put their lives on the back burner and give countless hours to help a communities to grow stronger; I salute you! Some may say it is a business, people paid to attend. I can’t see anyone doing such a thing for the money. It has to be either to clean your soul of all the sins you committed by submitting yourself to exhaustive mental punishment or to give back to the community. I don’t think Hai Au and his gang can really be that bad. There are a lot of people who networked that day, many business cards were exchanged and creativity will grow out of these new established relationships. Without the Studio4Fun Grande Séance, many of these people would have stayed home waiting for the Superbowl to start, leaving their cameras in their bags.
I am happy to give time to Hai Au, Studio4Fun and the team. What did I get out of this? I got drive, much more than I expected. Drive to continue and drive to be better. There is no price for a kick in the butt. I got to shoot a couple of pictures and the feedback received was worth so much that the sore feet and legs I had to cope with later were mere peanuts.
Until my next shoot, let me share with you behind the scenes…
Hai Au Bui delivering his opening speech to the participants…
…and everyone is paying attention
Emmanuel Bevia interacting with Cynthia Laporte-Barette
And then other seize opportunities.
Tammy-Lou Pate at work
Katia Proulx providing touch-ups between shoots
Marie-Luce Myre-Lapierre accepting the fact that some jobs are bigger than others
Gilles Brunet and Claude Metivier firing at a model
Annette Woloshen working with Marie-Pier Olney-Lessard
Benoit Champagne explaining the role of textures in the images to Andreanne Tremblay…
…but in reality, I think he just wanted to feel the building.
Hai Au herding over a 100 people in a hallway for the group shot