Former Editor in Chief of JPG Magazine and founder of the new site Pictory, Laura Brunow Miner, gives us a recap of the Phoot Camp event that she organized.
Our good friend Laura Brunow Miner has been a mover and shaker in the photo game for a while now. She was Editor in Chief at JPG before their restructuring, and has since been working on other photography projects, including her new site Pictory. Laura gathered some of the most interesting photographers she knew for an incredible event in the backwoods of Northern California for a camping trip/photo summit. We asked Laura to be a guest blogger and fill us in on her adventure. So without further delay, in Laura’s own words (and photos):
“Perhaps by now you’ve heard about Phoot Camp (the crazy, invite-only photography camping trip and workshop). I was there. In fact, I organized it. And while I said in The Story of Phoot Camp that you’d have to get me drunk to hear more… I’ve got a few tidbits for you.
1. We got a little bruised and beaten. Well, Improv Everywhere photographer Chad Nicholson did. Chad doesn’t really do things halfway: he ran a marathon a week before Phoot Camp, arrived at Phoot Camp with a van full of scuba/camera/lighting equipment, and during our scavenger hunt was more than happy to climb a wobbly branch over a ravine or chase some wild turkeys over a cliff towards our waiting lenses. As a result of this (much appreciated) throwing of caution to the wind, he got a little banged up along the way — but was a really good sport about it.
2. We were surrounded by critters. I didn’t want any cars to be in the way of our shots so — that’s right — I booked us for hike-in camping. (Which turned out to be a real pain with all of our equipment, but was totally worth it.) This also meant that deer casually strolled past our tents, quail fluttered around, turkeys ca-clucked at us, and raccoons bullied us for our goodies. But hey, no mountain lions or bears, so let’s call that one in our favor.
3. We had s’more virgins in attendance. I mentioned this was an international event, right? Kevin came from Brighton, Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek came from Vienna, and one of our San Franciscans is a native South African. This is wonderful for diverse points of view and nice sounding voices around the fire, but also meant there were people who had never eaten the chocolate/marshmallow/graham treat we Americans consider to be mandatory for camping. Verdict: they loved ’em.
4. Polaroid failed us. There was only one sad face at Phoot Camp. Michael O’Neal, a creative director at Apple, brought two Polaroid cameras and a heap of film. Coincidentally enough, the weekend of Phoot Camp was exactly when the last stocks of Polaroid film hit their expiration date. Michael’s face dropped as photo after photo came out of the camera borked.
5. We had star-crossed lovers at the campground. Of all imaginable good fortune: there was another big group camping at the same state park that weekend… ALL dressed as cowboys and Indians. We couldn’t wait to get them over to the camp’s stage area to photograph them. The feeling was mutual — but fate intervened. A park ranger shut both groups (them: drinking and hollering, us: flashing and photographing) down before we could ever make magic together.
I’d tell you more… but a girl’s got to keep her mystery, right? Make sure to check out The Story of Phoot Camp to see the amazing photos that came out of this weekend, and stay tuned for next year. You can follow happenings on twitter, or send me an email if you’re dying to be on the list for next year. Thanks for reading!"