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Just a couple of weeks away now from The Photography and Video Show (TPVS for short), so time to share some thoughts.  Photography is a huge part of my life, so TPVS is always something I look forward to.  A chance to get hands on with products, get inspired and spend time with friends.  It may seem a strange thing to get excited about, but with the lack of a decent camera shop in Cornwall it’s a big deal to have everything under one roof.  And if Covid has taught me anything, it’s that anything can be taken away in an instant.  Covid had such a profound impact on events that we should be grateful TPVS is still going.

So the last time we had a show was September 2022.  TPVS took a departure from its pre-Covid March spot to September in a bid to have a show in 2021.  As I commented at the time, whilst I applaud the organisers for putting the show on, it was without doubt a real lack-lustre show for me.  Exhibitors were missing, stock was missing and attendees were missing (just see image below for empty show floor).  The last show in September 2022 was much improved, but there were still some exhibitors missing.  So it came as no surprise when it was announced the show would return to its March slot, and having listened to the recent show Podcast this was also at the request of some of the brands.  Could 2024 be the year the show returns to something like pre-covid?  I think to some extent my expectations are somewhat clouded by my very first visit.  I’m not sure any subsequent visit could live up to my first, I think that is just natural fatigue.  However, I think there a few factors in favour of the show this year…

  1. Not having a show in 2023 will hopefully result in some pent up demand.
  2. 2022 saw a day closure for the Queen’s funeral.  Impossible to know how this impacted exhibitor and attendance figures, but it must have had some impact.
  3. March is back to the traditional slot, by the sounds of it at request of some of the brands.
  4. Have the supply constraints caused by lorry driver shortage/covid subsided?
  5. Exhibitors as stated on the website is already over 250.
  6. Adobe are back!  This is interesting.  Adobe have not been present at the show for some years.  Regardless of whether they have a ‘physical’ product to sell, just their presence as a big name in the market should give people confidence to exhibit and visit.
The Photography and Video Show hall in 2021
A rather empty show floor from 2021

There are some positive signs pointing to a successful show this year, but what about some concerns I have?  Inflation and cost of living is still a big deal.  Hard to tell how this impacts the show directly, but obviously photography equipment is generally expensive and reserved for disposable income, which isn’t easy to come by at the moment.  This maybe why there is no ‘Super Stage’ this year, which personally I’m disappointed about.  The Super Stage use to consist of big name speakers to which you could buy tickets for, but not this year.  They’ve stated they want the big names on the show floor.  This may sound like a positive step but when you get a big name on one of the theatres or brand displays you’re only hope of seeing the talk is to queue up early, and this is wasted time in my opinion.

Whilst the organisers have done a great job with drumming up interest for the show through the podcast, social media posts and adding exhibitors to the website, there is a current lack of video content.  In the past there have been some YouTube interviews leading up to the show.  When I reached out the organisers there wasn’t a current plan to produce anything.  Lastly a big gripe of mine is the ‘non’ photography related exhibitors.  I won’t name any of them, you can work out for yourself from the exhibitor list.  But personally I want to see photography and video related brands.  I know the organisers are happy to sell a stand to whoever and fill the space, but I personally won’t be giving these brands any time of day.  

There are a few things that will be interesting to see (or not) at the show this year.  Since my first visit to the show in 2017 when there wasn’t a single Nikon or Canon mirrorless camera in site, the whole landscape has shifted to a focus on mirrorless.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out at the show.  For example, will any of the big brands be brave enough to showcase mirrorless only?  I can certainly see it happening.  Whilst at Fotofest the stands were significantly smaller, this was certainly the case, a mirrorless only offering.  If like Canon you are not actively developing SLR cameras, why dedicate display space to them?  I think it would be a bold, but probably a move that is needed.  On a similar vein, the 2022 show saw very small and modest ‘show offers’ on mirrorless bodies and lenses, as at the time demand was very high and supply was constrained.  It will be interesting to see how the show deals stack up this year and if any better deals can be had.  Lastly, as I have covered recently, AI is a huge topic in photography.  This isn’t an easy subject to ‘exhibit’ at a show like this, but it will be interesting to see how it features, if at all.  With Adobe announcing their presence, perhaps they will be touting their latest AI tools across their products.  

As ever I will try to capture some thoughts down whilst I’m there.