While in the studio last year, I reserved some time to make headshots for TEDx Tysons contributors. These were all done prior to the pandemic lock down. At this time they still had speaking and other events to prepare. From speaker coaching, venue logistics, and coordinating volunteers, it is a team effort to pull them off.
With this in mind, I wanted to contribute more than just the event photos to their efforts. I have been exposed to some incredible people while photographing these events. Of course, the talks and the speakers are as inspiring as you have seen on videos.
However, I have been equally inspired by the people working behind the scenes. They are driven to build a community in Tysons. Moreover, they create places for discussion with other attendees between talks. It is here that I see the power of what they are building. These ideas as spreading face to face, not on an internet comment board.
By all means they are planning to return to their events once this is all over. For now, they have many presentations available on their YouTube channel. It is inspiring to listen, absorb, and participate!
Recently I photographed an Open Mic Night event for TEDxTysons. In similar fashion to popular talent shows on TV, potential speakers are pulled out of the audience. Even though they would not be giving a full talk, they would give a preview for judges and the audience to review. There was an initial call for applications so there was some culling before the event. 25 speakers then had their chance in front of the audience to pitch their talk.
Open Mic Night TEDxTysons – Speakers
At stake during this event was an opportunity to give a full talk at the upcoming main event this fall! Not only were they competing against each other, but there was an encouraging spirit in the crowd. Even with all the culling, there was still just a small chance of having the main stage this fall. Contestants were encouraging and supportive throughout the night. For sure, even if they were not picked this time, there are future TEDx speakers that gave their first looks tonight!
Earlier this month, I reunited with TEDxTysons at a volunteer dinner to plan for another year! Given that they have had 3 years of events with good audience feedback, they will make more in 2019. In addition to finding enthusiastic volunteers and engaging speakers the TEDxTysons team has a talent for finding partners. Of course they have a TED brand to lean on, but they have a way of infecting their partners with their enthusiasm to reach the same goals.
When another TEDx event comes on my schedule, I look back on the previous photos on the blog. Without a doubt, getting involved with them has opened so many doors for me and my photography. Contact tracing the people they have connected me to has already spidered to places I could not have envisioned. Even more, the topics and speakers that I have been able to photograph has expanded my view of what and who is out there. These planning meetings really show the starting block of their efforts. Knowing their track record, I would get tickets for their next events as soon as they are available!