PhotoCON Hawaiʻi is a must-attend free event for KCC students and faculty looking to enhance their skills in photography, lighting, and videography. (Photo courtesy of PhotoCON Hawaiʻi)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

From Thursday, February 22 through Sunday, February 25, KCC will be home to two major events. PhotoCON Hawaiʻi is an annual conference that works to educate photographers of all ages and help them build on foundational skills and achieve their goals. All University of Hawaiʻi students and faculty can attend PhotoCON Hawaiʻi for free after registering using their email addresses. Additionally, Career and Technical Education (CTE) Week will be happening alongside PhotoCON Hawaiʻi.

A photo collage from the 2019 PhotoCON exhibition shows the large size of the event. (Photo courtesy of PhotoCON Hawaiʻi)

“CTE week is a national awareness campaign for all of the CTE programs in the United States where they celebrate a month to raise awareness about the programs and to highlight some of the accomplishments that have been made,” said John Richards, the Dean of Career & Technical Education who is overseeing both events for KCC. “It’s a real chance to spotlight what we do at our campus. With such a large liberal arts population, we’re doing this to raise awareness of what CTE is so that our students have a better understanding of some of the options that are out there.”

CTE programs at KCC include all health programs, culinary, hospitality, business, legal, technology, new media arts, and entrepreneurship.

“We hope that this will be an annual event where we can continue to build on this and make it even larger,” Richards said. “We believe that we’re going to be able to put together a model where we can do this through all the community college campuses.”

Activities on Thursday include an exhibit in ʻŌhiʻa Cafeteria showcasing various CTE programs in addition to a hospitality leadership forum in the Foyer and Auditorium 118 (ground floor of the ʻŌhiʻa building). KCC alumni will be sharing their experiences in their respective fields during the forum. On Friday, Richards shared that approximately 400 high school students will be touring the campus and viewing the CTE programs exhibit. For more information on the CTE Week schedule, please visit the KCC website.

This is the first year PhotoCON Hawaiʻi is being hosted by KCC and the first year the event has returned since the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Richards, the culinary program at KCC partnered with PhotoCON Hawaiʻi in the earlier years of the event after it was established in 2017. Now, PhotoCON producer, Ric Noyle, has partnered with the KCC campus to host the event.

“This is his gesture at bringing world-class creative media education to our campus for all to learn and enjoy,” Richards said. “A number of the workshops are layered, if you will, on top of the CTE programs. We’re merging our CTE programs with the PhotoCON workshops.”

The PhotoCON workshops will be ongoing from Thursday through Sunday with topics ranging from becoming a “lighting ninja” to shark portraits and underwater photography.

Bryan Spicer, the CEO, director, and executive producer of Sight and Sound Hawaiʻi will be the keynote speaker at PhotoCON. Spicer has directed and produced over 200 episodes of “Hawaiʻi Five-0” and “Magnum PI.” Additionally, he has worked on projects with Warner Bros, Sony, and Universal.

PhotoCON Hawaiʻi will also have photo walks around the KCC campus to provide hands-on experience for aspiring photographers. Participants can choose which session they would like to attend as multiple sessions will be happening in various parts of campus with different speakers. For a detailed schedule of the workshops on all four days, please visit the PhotoCON Hawaiʻi website.