Fond memories of corporate events past...


We spend a lot of time at the dining room table talking over dinner. Ben, Belinda and I have been sharing nearly every evening meal together for the better part of the pandemic. Breakfast is different. Ben and Belinda are grumpy when they wake up and I find it's more efficient (and better socially) if I head to swim practice before they get up. They mumble answers at the breakfast table and, sadly, I am the only "morning" person in the family. Best that we all keep a quiet and respectful distance until they are fully awake.

But dinner is much more lively. They are completely conscious; animated, and we discuss everything from exercise, diet and politics to sociology, technology and advertising.

Last night I got off on a tangent about corporate events. How they were held just over a year ago and before that all through time immemorial.

The image above triggered a memory for me of an over-the-top event I photographed for a high technology company in the first decade of the new century. We camped out at the Breakers Hotel in West Palm Beach, ate Lobster at Mar-a-Lago and sat through presentations on  How to Save your Company given by professors from Stanford and the Wharton School. (ironies of ironies...)

While always physically in the middle of things but on the periphery of relevance I loved these kinds of events where I was well paid to be a social documentarian. Catching nuance of the meetings and events for some unknown, future use. 

My favorite part of the whole show (after the bits of high strung corporate drama and posturing) was waking up early in the mornings to see the sunrise or walking down the beach in the late afternoon with a camera in my hands and a break in my schedule. 

I'm sure events will come back at some point soon. Everyone will have their vaccine passports and we'll gather once more to munch on crustaceans and guzzle expensive liquor. I hope the photographers will be invited back, along with the caterers, meeting planners and various other barnacles clenching tightly to the bows of commerce. 

The Breakers' breakfast nook?

1 comment:

Frank Grygier said...

I spoke with a friend who owns a software company in the industrial automation space and his last two trade shows were virtual affairs. He stared at his "virtual booth" for hours waiting for someone to enter and discuss his products. Not too many takers. He did comment that his budget for swag was the lowest in memory. Oh and the manufacturer he represents charges the full price for the physical "booth". The art of doing business is rapidly changing.