It embarrasses me to to think about how difficult it was for Maggy, Erika and Pam to finally convince me to attend Big Summer Potluck 2011. A barn, in Pennsylvania, in the middle of summer? I can’t tell you how grateful I am they finally invited me to speak. Wait, “grateful” isn’t the right word. More like honored. There are probably going to be some amazing round-ups written about the conference (sorry, “conference” is, again, not the right word for BSP). There were way better food photographers there, wayyy better portrait photographers (ahem, Brian), and there were some amazing writers too — I can’t wait to see their posts. I’m so lucky to have met all of you.
If you’ve been to events like Blogher Food but not Big Summer Potluck, the first thing you might notice is that this doesn’t look like a hotel conference center, and that’s part of the genius of this event. The location was at Linden Hill Gardens.
Yes, there were chickens…
This is the barn where amazing people spoke. Wait, that makes me sound like a jerk. I’m not talking about myself, although I loved being on a panel with the fabulous Pam Anderson. On the subject of Pam, everyone already knows how much I adore Maggy, but this event was the first time I met her sister, Sharon — love her too.
Back to the real speakers, I wouldn’t even dare to post a photo I took of Penny De Los Santos speaking (that’s Shauna Ahern above, of course). What can I say about Penny besides that I need to spend more time around her? For one thing, she said, “Photography is a metaphor for life.” I won’t do that statement justice by trying to explain it here, but not only do I agree with Penny, but I realized when I heard her say it that I’ve always felt the same away but never expressed it. But the real takeaway for me? “Moments.” If Penny didn’t bring me to tears when she talked about capturing and reliving these amazing moments in our lives, then Shauna sure did. Penny and Shauna inspired me both to create and to recognize and appreciate life’s moments, big and small. Thank you. I literally feel like a changed person, and that’s not just the wine from Saturday night talking.
Speaking of moments…
Karen found these doors before me. About Karen and Chris, how is it that I finally got to meet them, and now they’re moving to Atlanta? Grrr… Speaking of friends old and new, I have to give a special mention to my NYC crew, because it was so fun hanging out with you in a barn in Pennsylvania for a change — Jackie, Mitch, Ken and Margaret. To Jennie “Palillo”, I love that even though we see each other all the time now, it was still so fun to be with you at the conference and sit on the floor of my hotel room during the after party which I totally did not organize. Sara Kate (buy her new book!), did I get a little carried away with excitement when you showed up with Penny? What a great surprise to see you there, especially since we never actually see each other in New York City.
To my non-NYC friends, old and new — Wendy, so glad we finally connected and thanks again for your Philly dining tips. Sally, it was nice chatting so much. Ethan, it’s great hanging out with you, and thanks for the gummies and ketchup chips. Winnie, whether you meant to or not, you really helped connect everyone.
Amy, two kids or not, we need to think about a Korean food pot-luck. I mentioned Brian already, right? He needs to be in New York. Shaina, we should have started talking earlier. So many more people I really enjoyed seeing: Colleen, Jen, Amanda, Aimee, Georgia, Marisa, Megan, Jeanne, and more.
To everyone else who so graciously introduced yourself to me and offered some kind words about our fan-side presentation, thank you so much. I’d also like to offer thanks to the conference sponsors including KitchenAid, Kerrygold, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Pop Chips (have been eating them for days now), and Green Valley Organics.
This photo should have come last (or first) because we started the conference here, and we ended it here too — the stunning Anderson home.
But as great as the locations were, the conference was really about the people, and moments like this — taking a break, chatting, meeting, reminiscing, laughing, crying, and sharing. Thanks, everyone, for helping to make this such a memorable event.