PhotoPlus 2019 wrapped up at the Javits Center in New York yesterday. All of the camera manufacturers — Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic — had big booths in the hall. Sony was conspicuously missing.
Down 37th Street
Sony, for reasons rumored to be the high cost of exhibiting at the event to a dispute over the cost of an Internet connection, was not showing at the Javits Center this year. Instead, the mirrorless pioneer put on a show of their own at Sony Creative Space a mere block from the Javits Center and PhotoPlus.
And what a show it was. Sony had displays of its wares from lenses to high-end video cameras along with sets where attendees could shoot models. When I checked it out, the offerings included an Edward Hopper-esque diner, a boxing gym and a projected window on a background where and actor was lit dramatically.
Sony had its visionaries presenting photographic education and inspiration on a stage opposite the sets. A seating area was provided. The presentation by wildlife photographer Colby Brown that I saw was standing room only. Nineteen speakers presented and there were over 30 presentations and photowalks.
A participant I spoke with said that after the “show” closed, food and drinks were brought in and nightly parties ensued.
Sony’s Creative Space NYC was the quiet buzz on the floor at PhotoPlus this year. Everyone was talking about the breakup and what it might mean for the future of PhotoPlus. PhotoPlus seemed to be smaller this year, taking into consideration Sony’s absence. The aisles were noticeably wider. The traditional classes that were the original plus in PhotoPlus Expo (the original name of the event) were gone. The thinking seemed to be that the vendors on the floor would provide the education that, formerly, was held in the downstairs class halls.
The photo industry continues to contract with camera sales down 25% this year. Camera stores are closing across the country and now a major camera maker chose to mount its own show a block from the traditional, long-standing photo trade show on the east coast of the U.S. Is this a harbinger of things to come? Or is it only a reaction to the changes in the photographic market brought on by the smartphone? Time will tell and Photofocus will be telling time’s story.