I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, having been to hundreds of conferences before (mostly covering them as an event photographer doing conference photography).
In their own words, Yes is:
A gathering of…
- voracious consumers of and generators of ideas and information
- creatives that like to engage in conversation about their creative pursuits & the concepts behind them
- people comfortable with & excited about their own obsessive interest in their odd corner of the world
- people on the path to self-actualization, self-awareness and all the goodies that lie therein
So without any formal/pre-scheduled sessions, how was this gonna work out? And since it’s hot in Palm Springs and there are two pools, was this more a nerd/creative spring break like SxSW had become of late? Well, the last SxSW I went to was in 1990 when Joe “King” Carrasco, Vic Chesnutt, & Big Head Todd & the Monsters were the biggest names to play music (and it was only a music festival then IIRC) so I can’t quite compare, but the pool scene was definitely making it feel like a spring break vibe.
However, the many impromptu gatherings and the conversations in the pool actually did hit all the points the founders listed out above.
While it’s not a formal agenda, so if there’s something you want to learn about, you may or may not find it. Most ‘regular’ conferences have tracks or specific goals for learning etc, and at Y&YY it’s more what you bring and share. There are some standy sessions that re-occur each year, I learned but also a lot of stuff that probably relates more to the specific attendees interests etc.
My favorite things were some of the storytelling and talks, which inevitably ended up with discussions afterwards and internal thinking on how those things might apply to your personal and/or work life.
I got inspired by an in-pool conversation that happened quite serendipitously and I think that’s exactly the kind of interactions Y&YY tries to help hatch and foster. I was chilling out on my own just enjoying being in the salt water pool with a slushy beverage. I had posted something to the app and was kinda hanging out in case anyone wanted to engage with that (free postcards!). Unrelated, someone came up and we just started chatting. I’m not sure how we got on the topic since I personally always try never to ask someone “what they do” and don’t really love that question early in meeting someone new.
However, we were talking about creative process and got into some ideas on photo workflow. Turns out my conversation partner was an artist and we bonded over a few things and the conversation went in a variety of directions. Many of the topics got me thinking and stayed with me about pushing myself more on an artistic side. That’s more for personal growth but could also apply to the work with Orange as a photography studio.
There were way too many other conversations, interactions and discussions that came up that helped me reflect upon things and I feel like I got what I needed from the conference. Often times people look for too much out of any experience. I feel that if you get one thing that you can really apply and do, that’s enough. If you get more that’s even better. I certainly had written down many things to follow up on as well.
The pool part is also interesting because, well you are in a pool and that’s fun in itself, but you’re also away from your phone so you have one less distraction. People listen and are more present from that one little factor. You can’t look anything up, you can’t get a notice or text, etc.
I’m excited for the return of Y&YY 006 whenever that may be!
View the full gallery of photos from YxYY005 here!