The Magic of Hatchfest

November 10, 2007 | By Amanda Edwards | Creative, Photography, Photojournalism

Picture by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Hatchfest

First of all, Montana — who knew? “How do you feel about flying up to Bozeman in October?” my editor asked. “Ummm, where’s that?” I am pretty sure was my answer. It wasn’t until I actually landed and was greeted by a trio of impossibly friendly HATCHfest volunteers that the stereotypes started to subside. Yes, there was that taxidermy-ed Grizzly Bear by the baggage claim but the minute I was handed a schedule of events I knew I was in for a real treat.

Bozeman is quite possibly like no other place I have ever visited. Home to Montana State University and countless Hollywood escapees, the city has a thriving arts scene. With its Emerson Cultural Center, Ellen Theatre and Thirsty Ear Hi Fi all within walking distance along or near Main Street, downtown Bozeman is nothing short of a feast for the senses.

Picture by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Hatchfest

HATCHfest has been linked with Getty Images since its inception 4 years ago. This year marked my second HATCH and my job was to document the various discussion panels and participate in the photography section of the CNBC journalism lab. What this essentially entailed was acting as a mentor for journalism/photography students from MSU and Bozeman High School. The students were given a brief to capture the essence of HATCH either with a single portrait of one of the visiting Groundbreakers or with a behind- the-scenes, reportage-style photo essay. As in the proverbial real world, a deadline was set and the students were eventually subjected to what I hope was constructive criticism.

Picture by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Hatchfest


Picture by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Hatchfest

What sets the HATCH experience apart from the reality of my world as a professional photographer is just how genuinely friendly and approachable everyone is. While I am blessed to work with an outstanding team at the Getty Images Los Angeles office, I still can’t help but get caught up in the magic that is HATCH. The festival has an integrity that I have personally never experienced before. Most notably, there is none of the pretense I associate with larger arts festivals. Students are actually encouraged to contact their mentors and ask for any advice they might need. In turn, the mentors are just as prepared to drop everything and meet with their students. Perhaps I’ve grown a bit jaded, but I just can’t see that happening at other festivals where gift lounges abound and schmoozing reigns supreme.

But don’t let the lack of hype fool you. HATCH puts on an amazing party. The difference is that HATCH does it completely with heart. And quite a few bottles of Stella!

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