What’s a GeekFest?

We get asked all the time: What’s a GeekFest?! Well, it’s an excuse to hang out with old friends and make new. It's also a chance to be inspired by bringing in some of the best speakers and most incredible photographers we can find.

In short, it is the best little photo conference with the worst, geekiest name out there. Every year, it’s suggested that we need to do something about the name. But in the end, it kind of fits. The name actually started as a joke, in reference to a group of geeks who’s all come together to geek out about photography. That part has never changed.

The first GF was in D.C. with about 10 of us crammed into photographer David Holloway’s basement. The APAD listserv was in its infancy, and we all just wanted to put faces with names. So we devised a plan to get together for a meet-up. We did a shootout on the Mall for the Fourth of July festivities, and talked phototalk all weekend. It was awesome and intimate and invigorating to know that there were some like minds out there.

We've grown up a lyttle since then and have having taken our family reunion on the road: Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Austin, Portland, St. Petersburg (3x), Minneapolis, Denver, Philadelphia, Oakland, D.C. and Los Angeles. Adding speakers, and growing in size — each year offers something different, fun, and amazing. 

Scan this list of past speakers and geek out: Ben Lowy, Penny De Los Santos, David Holloway, Khampha Bouaphanh, Carlos Javier Ortiz, Jon Lowenstein, Scott Strazzante, Wes Pope, Jamie Francis, Beth Nakamura, Karen Ducey, Alan Berner, James Rexroad, Bruce Ely, Robbie McClaran, Laura Lo Forti, Susana Raab, Lane Degregory, Preston Gannaway, Ross Taylor, Boyzell Hosey, Bob Croslin, Michael Williamson, Ted Jackson, Allison V. Smith, Damon Winter, Pat Farrell, Sam Abell, Bryan Moss, Dai Sugano, Alexis Lambert, David Hanschuh, Nicole Frugé, Lisa Krantz (2x speaker!), Greg Kahn, Liz O. Baylen, Zack Arias, Ben Rusnak, Todd Heisler, Deb Pang Davis, Mike Davis, Melissa Farlow, Randy Olson, Tim Rasmussen, Craig Walker, Sol Neelman, Rob Haggart, Sonya Hebert, Benjamin Rasmussen, Matt Slaby, John Keatley, Jasmine Defoore, Danny Wilcox Frazier, Brian Peterson, Ariana Lindquist, Jim Gehrz, Jenn Ackerman & Tim Gruber, April Saul, David Maialetti, Ed Kashi, Holly Andres, J. Kyle Keener, Kainaz Amaria, Luanne Dietz, Sara Lewkowicz, Vince Musi, José Cabaçco, Stephen Crowley, Carol Guzy, Mike Kepka, Elizabeth Krist, Zun Lee, Jonathan Newton, Ruddy Roye, Lexey Swall, Dani Zalcman, Sophia Nahli Allison, Jay L. Clendenin, Karla Gachet, Ivan Kashinsky, Maren Levinson, Dani Kiwi Meier, Donald Miralle, Andrea Stern and Sabaah Folayan. 

Yeah, great visual artists and even better people. That's how we do GeekFest.

Our next stunt is taking a free, slimmed-down version of GF to colleges across the States starting the spring of 2018. We believe in paying it forward. That's how we do. First stop: Western Kentucky University

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Los Angeles 2017

After a kickoff party at a bowling alley that involved a Big Lebowski-themed photo shoot, print auction, and karaoke, nearly 200 of us took over the historic Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena for a weekend of inspiring talks by an experimental filmmaker, listened to a panel discussion with art directors and reps, saw a lot of great work from photographers in all genres, and screened the documentary film "Whose Streets?"

Washington, D.C. 2016

We took our conference to Howard University with a weekend of amazing talks and looking at work that brought us to tears. But first we started it off as we always do, building community with a photo slam thanks to Busboys and Poets, and raising a glass to fallen photographer David Gilkey.

Oakland 2015

We had a blast taking over a rag tag arts warehouse in Oakland. Aside from the usual high level of talent, inspiration and awe-inducing visuals we were treated to, we also got to announce the winner of our very first APAD Backyard Storytelling Grant — live (and much to his surprise!).