[28 October 2011]
Just on the eve of the PDN Photoplus Expo in New York City, Canon decided to throw an exclusive soiree for its staff and media with the teaser “Legends in Imaging”. I shoot events with my trusty Canon and wanted to take a look at what they had in store at this event.
When I arrived at the location (a trendy loft space known as Skylight West), I found they had on display the new Canon EOS 1D-X and also the belle of the ball, the Pixma Pro-1 printer. Canon executives, including Katsuichi Shimizu and Chuck Westfall, gave presentations about the new technology and the collaborative efforts involved between internal divisions and external clients to get the printers to reproduce images “exactly as you envisioned”. To demonstrate the power of the technology, Canon invited one of their “Explorers of Light”, Vincent Isola, to get some hands on time with the equipment.
As Isola thanked Canon for the opportunity and explained that the images of musicians he had taken (posted on the walls near the entrance) would be auctioned off for charity in the future and also thanked the musicians who provided their time to the project as well. Unfortunately, the audience was not as courteous to Isola as they were to their corporate bosses and their buzz sporadically made it difficult to hear him from the photo area right in front of the podium.
Aside from the printer, the other major highlight of the evening was a performance by Herbie Hancock. Canon had recruited Hancock (a Canon fan he proclaimed) to perform and to participate in a unique music video opportunity. Select attendees were lent cameras to take pictures of the final song “Chameleon” which will be printed (on Pixma Pro-1s), edited and synced to the recording. This “stop motion style video” sounds interesting and hopefully it works out. The only deterrent may be the stepping on toes that occurred as a result of the sheer number of photographers involved.
Hancock’s set included several classic songs from the opening “Watermelon Man”, mixed with bits from a song called “Seventeen” and picking up the keytar in the middle. Hancock then went onto another song about a kin in the fruit tree, “Cantaloupe Island”, which highlighted his effortless piano abilities as he improvised in and around the original groove.
Then, with a bit of extra time, the group performed a brief piece which allowed Hancock to fiddle with some of his gadgets including an iPad. Finally came the jazz fusion “Chameleon”, which, like the other songs, did not show any signs of age. It is hard to believe its almost forty years since the release of Head Hunters. After his performance, the Grammy-winning Hancock took some rounds of the loft to chat with his friends and pose for pictures with Canon personnel. For Canon, the event was a celebration of their progress in making technology that will allow the user to know what they will get from input to output. For the guests, the event was a chance to see the technology and to capture their own images of a legend.