Dave Pidgeon started his HippoCamp journey behind the camera, snapping candid photos and even author headshots early on in our conference days. But, an accomplished writer himself, he will be putting on the lens cap to talk to us about—what else?—photography for writers! Dave was kind enough to answer a few questions about his upcoming reading and trip to Lancaster for our annual writing conference:
Q: Tell us a little about your involvement this year at HippoCamp.
A: Writing and photography have so many parallels. This breakout session, Photography for Writers: A Crash Course on Visual Storytelling for Enthusiasts of the Written Word, will teach attendees pro-level tricks and skills they can use immediately (including with their phones!) to improve their storytelling abilities through the images on their websites and social channels.
Q: Our motto is “memorable creative nonfiction.” Tell us about one of the more recent memoirs, essay collections, or individual essays you’ve read and why it was memorable.
A: I just completed “An Embarrassment of Mangoes” by Ann Vanderhoof about a late 90s saunter through the Caribbean with her husband on their sailboat. Their trip took two years, and it reminded me of the trips in my own life which led to transformation in character and perspective. It’s time to get moving again!
Q: What made you decide to participate in HippoCamp this year as a speaker? If you’re a returning speaker, how did your past experiences encourage to want to come back?
A: HippoCamp is by any measure the best writers conference regardless of genre, and a significant reason for that are the attendees. There’s a familial atmosphere, a type of reunion with friends who are all on a journey in storytelling. You can’t help but come out the otherwise motivated, inspired, and believing in yourself and your story.
Q: What’s going to keep you busy between now and HippoCamp?
A: I started my own niche photography business in 2021, and after just one year, I’ve experienced astonishing growth. I’ve reached a point where I’m hiring an assistant because of the workload. The experienced has shifted my thinking toward a balance of working as a creator and being a business owner.
Q: Since you’ll also be attending the conference, when you’re not wearing your “speaker hat,” what are you most looking forward to learning or doing?
A: I’ve found breakfast on Saturday and Sunday to be as entertaining, insightful, and conversational as anything at HippoCamp. There’s just something about the roundtable discussions that happen organically that lead to new friendships and networking.
Q: We love introducing Lancaster to attendees. Since you live in the area, what would you recommend to other attendees?
A: My fellow vinyl record collectors will discover A Day In the Life Records on Walnut Street worth a stop. If they’re willing to take a little drive, they might also enjoy Lititz Music Co. in downtown Lititz or the Record Connection in Ephrata.
Q: If your presentation has a motto, what would it be?
A: “Control what you see.” The camera, whether it’s a DSLR or a mirrorless or the phone in your hand is a tool you control, not something that controls you. So how do you “control what you see?” You’re going to walk away after just one hour knowing how.
We can’t wait for Dave to join us this year! HippoCamp 2022, a creative nonfiction conference sponsored by Hippocampus Magazine and Books, is Aug. 12-14 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For more information or to register, visit our official conference website here.
(Learn more about the conference and see details of all previous years at our magazine website’s HippoCamp page.)