CeBit Global Conferences‘ crown jewel, the event held at the Deutsche Messe Hannover, Germany is the largest event I’ve covered to date. I had the honour of shooting the keynote speakers stages, which, if I’m honest, is where the best action is happening. CeBit is a massive trade show, occupying over 1 Million square meters of space (yes, that’s 1 Million), and I’m quite thankful that the area that I was assigned to was relatively small in comparison to the overall event. Trade shows are good for businesses and meeting, greeting, and expanding, but photographically, one stand begins to look just like another very quickly. This is one of the reasons why I like stage photography much more. True, the stage never changes, but individual speakers all present in their own individual ways, and some of them can be true characters that make for some fantastic great images (I’m looking at you, Kevin Mitnick).
With all the flights from London to Hannover sold out (we can thank the Lufthansa strike for that one), I had to fly to Hamburg (thanks British Airways) and take the train to Hannover. I arrived just in time for the pre-show meetup, dropped my bags at the hotel, and then hot footed it over to the Opening Ceremony. Now, I knew who I was going to be shooting that night, but to know that you’re going to come face to face with Jack Ma, and actually doing it are two different things. Likewise, when Angela Merkel arrived in the reception room, I had the moment of, “Holy shit…that’s her. She’s right there,” and by right there, I mean literally 2 meters away from me.
And speaking of two meters away…a funny anecdote. As I was the official staff photographer for the event, I was able to stay behind in the audience, while all the other media photographers were corralled to the back of the auditorium. This gave me an incredible vantage point, as well as the ability to sit one chair away from Frau Merkel. Being ever the opportunist, I turned around at one point and saw her listening intently, and went in for the photo. I managed to get less than a meter away from her and captured the moment. Well, apparently this was a little too close for the German secret service, and upon moving to the back to get a wide angle shot, was greeted by two less-than-friendly officers who grabbed my arms and not-so-politely ejected me from the auditorium. A quick walk back around the building, I entered again and continued to shoot, but my prime front-and-center position was lost for the evening. That, and I’m sure I now have a file with the German secret service. Ah well…you know…I’ll do whatever it takes to get the shot.
Over the next five days (also the longest conference I’ve covered to date), there was so much action it would be impossible to summarise it here. However, a few highlights of note, meeting and doing a portrait session with Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden’s voice to the world, as well as the world’s most famous hacker, Kevin Mitnick, were truly extraordinary.
His name is Dan Taylor & he is the biggest, newest talent find in the photography world. (CGC15 certified) His eye is a beacon aimed onto his world–and his ability to share what he sees by capturing it with a lense turns his camera into a generator of non-stop oohs, wows and amazings!
Enjoy, and until the next shoot – Dan