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Remember those prizes attached to the Imaging USA survey you took? We've got winners!
Kristen Schweitzer (Captured Moments Photography, Manhattan, Kansas) and Crystal Lugo (Crystal Lugo Photography LLC, Coral Springs, Florida) each won a $250 Amazon gift card. All they had to do was fill out the Imaging USA survey! Schweitzer and Lugo were chosen at random out of 1,722 respondents to receive the prizes.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to fill it out! The survey gives us feedback to make Imaging USA the most valuable, business-boosting convention and tradeshow it can be for you and your needs. It's your show after all!
Make sure you join us for Imaging USA 2016, January 10-12 in Atlanta for the biggest and best show yet! Registration opens June 2015.
For now, take a look at this year's photo gallery to re-live your favorite moments!
By John Owens
Amidst all the classes, tradeshow deals, football, parties and networking at Imaging USA was a healthy dose of charitable giving. PPA Charities, the philanthropic arm of PPA, flexed their veritable muscle as donations rolled in through a series of events and a certain special drawing.
Events included the PPA Charities "Boots and Bling" Celebration, which featured a silent and live auction. On day one, more than 100 attendees braved the Nashville cold for the first ever PPA Charities 5K Fun Run. And things culminated on the last day with PPA Charities' Dream Studio Giveaway, where one lucky winner walked away with a life-changing prize.
Imaging USA attendees were clearly feeling generous. "Boots and Bling" raised over $25,000, with the aid of a massive photo book donated by 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Peter Lik, M.Photog. Valued at $4,500, the limited edition piece auctioned for $7,000 alone. The Sunday morning 5K raised an additional $7,000+ and Tuesday's Dream Studio Giveaway brought in massive ticket sales right up until the drawing, totaling a whopping $50,000.
By Mariah Ashley
This is one of my all-time favorite quotes: "Such a pleasant thought, if you improve overall conditions everyone can sail happily into the sunset".
It's an idea I try to set my moral compass to and a philosophy I practice in my business. When I recognize this quality in others I want to latch onto them because lately it seems most people practice the "every man for himself" motto and would sooner see you walk the plank than steer your own ship.
...except at Imaging USA. There, everyone is raising the tide. Unfortunately, it's not possible to latch onto 11,000 people, not even if you're a Kraken (mythical sea beast with many arms). Still, I wish I could give every special person I talked to a big old slimy tentacle hug. I guess I'll have to settle for squeezing them with my words instead.
But before things get awkward, let's consider ships.
The Grand Imaging Awards were presented to a packed room Monday night at Imaging USA in Nashville. Many medalists and finalists were honored, but the crown jewel of the evening--The Grand Imaging Award--went to Roberto Falck, M.Photog., for his album Monks in the non-event category.
"It's such a pleasure to be part of this community," said Falck, who received his master of photography degree the next night. "I'm honored and proud, this is so unexpected. We all work hard for this competition and it feels amazing to be honored by my peers."
Roberto Falck was selected as the overall Grand Imaging Award winner out of a pool of six category winners. The other winners were Alex McClanahan in the event album category, Nicholas Jones in the artist category, Jim Doyle in the illustrative category, Ben Shirk in the wedding category and Louise Simone in the portrait category. These winners raise the bar as true artists in the photography industry and inspire other photographers to do and be more. Each category winner received a crystal award and a $500 cash prize. Falck received a second trophy and additional $500 check.
The Grand Imaging Award winners have been judged to be the very best of the 2014 PPA International Photographic Competition (IPC). The Grand Imaging Award winner is selected from thousands of entries. Falck's image was judged by a panel of over 40 jurors to be the very best of all of the loan collection images - which makes it the best of the best of the best.
In addition to the Grand Imaging Award, PPA awarded medalists from the IPC. Bronze medalists had all four of their submitted images earn merits. Silver medalists had one of their images entered into the Loan collection and on up to a four for four perfect case for Diamond medalists. At this year's ceremony, PPA awarded 49 bronze, 103 silver, 86 gold, 49 platinum and 26 diamond medalists.
The International Photographic Competition is held each August. District competitions run January through March. The judging of all PPA photographic competitions are open to the public and will be streamed live online. For more information, visit PPA.com/Competitions.
That's a wrap folks! What a party to end what was officially the biggest Imaging USA ever with more than 11,000 photography enthusiasts here at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. We hope you all danced and had a blast with your photography friends--new and old. Now you understand why Imaging USA is like a reunion!
And we couldn't be happier to have you all be part of the PPA family. It's the third recap in a row, but we have to say it again--without you, there is no Imaging USA. THANK YOU!!!
"It's been an amazing Imaging USA here in Nashville," said David Trust, PPA CEO. "Seeing so many photographers here learning and improving yourselves and your businesses is what it's all about for us at PPA. Imaging USA is for you, and you made 2015 the best year yet."
Another day equaled more laughs, learning, networking and shopping for the thousands of you here at Opryland.
You filled the room for Nashville's own Russ Harrington and for many other programs great programs throughout the day. We heard Allison Tyler Jones's program was so good it got even extended and received a standing ovation! The Imaging USA Expo floor was steady packed and plenty of you checked out those amazing photographic exhibits.
Best of all? The room was FULL for this year's Grand Imaging Awards, which shows your and/or your fellow attendees' growing interest in photographic competition! Congratulations to Roberto Falck for taking home the Grand Imaging Award for his image/album "Monks".
"It's such a pleasure to be part of this community," said Falck, of Brooklyn, New York. "I'm honored and proud, this is so unexpected. We all work hard for this competition and it feels amazing to be honored by my peers."
By: Lauren Walters
Ready to take the plunge into Imaging USA? First, stay up to date with what's happening in the world of photography. Read our top ten favorite blog posts and use them as conversation starters at the convention!
PERSONAL BRAND: Headed to Imaging USA next week? Get a head start! Learn how to market yourself successfully for when you're walking around at the Expo. The first step is to plan, plan, and plan again!
LAYOFFS: For a magazine so heavily reliant on its high-quality images, we were surprised to learn that Sports Illustrated laid off their entire staff of six photographers. A cut of photographers of this scale hasn't happened since The Chicago Sun-Times cut their 28-staffed photographers in 2013. Is history repeating itself?
DESTINATION PHOTOGRAPHER: PPA photographer Joshua Kane gets paid to travel the world and photograph destination weddings. Although Joshua is living the dream, it's not always a vacation. Read about the challenges and benefits of a destination photography business.
MIXED MEDIA: How would a printmaker involve photography in their process? After mixing digital and print mediums, a hybrid medium was born. Check out a lithographer's approach to digital photography.
TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: India has always been rich in imagery, but not so involved in the art of photography. After their first photography festival four years ago in New Deli, India has become more present in the photography scene. Check out breath-taking images showcasing the exotic Indian lifestyle.
DUH! (THANKFULLY): According to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), people can distinguish a professional from an amateur photographer. The researcher who conducted this study used special equipment to record the subject's eye movements when exposed to photographs. Check out other conclusions they drew from this experiment.
ARCHIVES: Hoping to raise funds, the publisher of Ebony magazine is selling their entire photo archive. This collection dates back to 1945 including historic and award-winning photography. Find out more about this collection.
EDITING: As a street photographer, you can shoot anytime, anywhere! Where the structured schedule is lacking, the photographer picks up the slack when it comes to editing. Why would one have to heavily edit street photography? Read more to find out!
COPYRIGHT: Learn about Nike's "jumpman" logo legend. Was there a photograph behind this genius design for inspiration? If so, does the photographer deserve to be compensated?
INSPIRATION: We all know those beloved fairytales from our childhood. How about capturing the landscapes that inspired the original Grimm's fairy tales?
Check back with us next week for more top blogs. Any interesting blogs you'd like us to check out, let us know on theLoop!
By John Owens
Back in the fall, PPA launched the second annual PPA Kickstart Scholarship. Our four lucky PPA members are already in Nashville for their pre-convention classes--completely on the house! The winners were given the opportunity to choose between a full-day of hands on classes or a two-day Studio Management Services workshop.
We chatted with each of our winners last month, and their excitement was evident. Each will be attending their first Imaging USA. Here are some highlights from the conversations:
By Mariah Ashley
I'm sitting here in Massachusetts with a blizzard bearing down on my house and all I can think is, This better not mess up my plans to go to Imaging USA in Nashville on Friday!
It's colder than a frosted frog here so in the spirit of Nashville, I'm passing the time researching country and western idioms. What I've discovered is that we're pretty boring here in New England, at least in terms of color phrases. You know, one of the best things you can do when visiting a new place is to learn some local lingo. I've included a bunch in this post so that you can fit in too. You're welcome.
Anyway... What a difference two years can make! It was just two years ago that I tried to fake a flu to get out of the trip to Atlanta for my first Imaging USA. My business had two speeds at that time: slow and stop. Yep, my crick had run dry. True story. I had $79 in my bank account. Coming up with enough money each week to make payroll was like trying to put socks on a rooster.
I couldn't see mustering the energy, let alone the money to make the trip. Fortunately for me, my business partner Trish is as bright as a new penny and saw right through my lame faux-flu. She insisted I get on the plane. Never in my wildest imagination (and trust me it gets crazy as a bed bug in there) did I imagine how much that trip would change my life. When we arrived in Atlanta we were desperate--desperate for inspiration, desperate for answers. We had nothing to lose so we went with open minds and empty pockets and found everything we were looking for.
PPA has received word that world-renowned landscape photographer Peter Lik will not be able to attend Imaging USA, February 1-3 in Nashville, TN. Lik posted a statement to his Facebook page Friday night:
In October 2014, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) changed my life with a monumental announcement that I had been chosen as the recipient of the organization's highly coveted Lifetime Achievement Award.
I was completely taken aback and honored to become one of only 13 photographers in history to ever receive this award.
Due to personal reasons, it is with an extremely heavy heart I announce I am unable to attend Imaging USA in February to accept this remarkable award or act as keynote speaker.
Thank you again to PPA for this incredible honor. After 30 years of traveling and taking photos, I continue to lose myself in the beauty and power of nature in an effort to finally capture an image I can call my favorite.
PPA President Susan Michal offered her support for Lik.
"Peter is a class act, and a proud PPA member and advocate," she said. "I personally know that he is extremely disappointed he will not be able to attend. We wish him the very best and certainly hope all is well."
While Lik will surely be missed, Imaging USA in Nashville is still on course to be PPA's biggest and best event in its 146-year history. The event has already set attendance records with the biggest registration numbers ever seen to date. "Peter is a lot of fun and a good friend to PPA photographers. We'll regret his absence, of course, but this isn't changing the fact that we are getting ready for our best event ever," commented PPA CEO David Trust.
Organizers say last fall's announcement about Peter Lik's attendance created some buzz. But his absence will change little in terms of events and celebrations showcasing Lik's work or Imaging USA's overall success. While he won't be able to attend, Lik's presence will still be felt at Imaging USA. He will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Award and Degree Ceremony on Tuesday night. And a hand-selected exhibit of his super-sized images will be on display in the print exhibit area throughout the event.
Lik has also made significant donations to Saturday Night's PPA Charities Celebration, including his newly released book featuring 317 large scale images. Only 2,500 hand-signed copies of this collector's item book, which retails for $5,000 per copy, are being issued worldwide.
Among next week's highlights are the Big Game Super Party Imaging USA Kick-off, which may be the biggest Super Bowl party anywhere, the best slate of photographic education ever assembled, the giant Imaging Expo, two large photographic exhibitions, and the closing night party in the Gaylord Opryland's Atrium, which is expected to be one for the record books.
It's not too late to register and join in all the fun! Head to ImagingUSA.org/Register to Be More with us in Nashville.
Sarah Ackerman is known around PPA as #Sarah in part because she handles all things social media and in order to differentiate herself from the other Sarah's in the office. Sarah loves improv comedy (think "Whose Line") and routinely performs around Atlanta. When she's not tweeting/facebooking/instagramming all of the action at PPA, she can be found gallivanting around the world or wandering around the woods with her pup, but more than likely she's on stage making people giggle.
By: Lauren Walters
Itching for news in the world of photography? Here are our top ten blog posts for this week. From tips and tutorials to adventure and high art, this week's top ten is a creative cluster.
EVENT: Become more knowledgeable, connected, and confident by attending Imaging USA. This convention hosted by PPA takes place on Sunday, Feb. 1 - Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee. Read this article to find out about all the benefits it has to offer. Come join the fun at Imaging USA!
Relating the life of a photographer to a life of a circus performer, this blog
shares a few concepts of working the circus life that seem all too familiar to
us photographers. There is no publicity value in working for free. North
America has a silly belief system that work should not be enjoyable, therefore
we should only be paid if there isn't enjoyment. But, don't sell your skills
for free just yet! Value your work and yourself as a professional.
Interested in expanding your portfolio with creative pieces? Try a multiple
exposure piece! From abstract to artistic portraits, regardless of the medium,
this tutorial covers it all when it comes to multiple exposures. Have fun
SHIFT: Going from taking photos to making art can be a huge step. A common
struggle among learning photographers can be focusing on a shallow depth of
field. As soon as you start to learn that photography is a story telling device
is when you start "making" photos instead of "taking" them.
ARTISTS vs. PROFESSIONALS: As a photographer, do you consider yourself an artist? This blog distinguishes creative individuals as craftsmen, artists, professionals and finally entrepreneurs. Furthermore, this blog explains that true artistic geniuses such as Beethoven no longer exist. Instead of artists, we've become professionals.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The featured photograph dates
back to 1956 in an Atlanta airport. Relations of race and gender are assumed
through this intimate photograph. Although, the details of this photo still
remain a mystery today.
PROTECTION: After signing a release, participating in the shoot and getting
paid, a model decides to sue the photographer for the photos getting stolen.
The model signed a release allowing her photos to be used as stock, but they
got stolen off her personal Facebook page after posting them herself. You won't
believe where the images wound up!
AERIAL, BY NIGHT: "Gotham From Above" was shot from a helicopter 7,500 feet above the ground of New York. Capturing aerial photographs can be quite a challenge; helicopters vibrate, so the photographer had to use a relatively high shutter speed. This project showcases the scale of New York City.
-50C AURORA BOREALIS: Into the Siberian wilderness, a Russian photographer ventured to capture images of the Northern Lights. Because of temperatures (as low as -50C), the photographer designed a coat to protect his camera. We applaud this photographer for braving such harsh conditions for the sake of art. Take a look at the results!
COMMERCIAL VS. FINE ART: Check out this high art marketing campaign. An acrobat dances in a cloud of powdered milk to create the most stunning photography designed to sell creamer. Did this approach make you crave creamer?
Enjoy this week's blog posts? Check back next
week for more excitement! If you have a blog you want us to check out, let us
know on theLoop!
By: Lauren Walters
Thom Rouse began his career in 1994. He now splits his time as a portrait and commercial photographer. With two diverse sides to his career, Thom has mastered the art of photography. In the following interview, he tells us about himself as an artist.
What is your definition of "fine art"?
I wouldn't dare try to define art! My thought is that if you have a personal experience with literature, music, a painting or a photograph, then it must be art. We don't really need to define it, agree on it, or consult a critic to decide what it means. If we have an experience with it, positive or negative, I think it must be art.
Who are some of the artists who inspire you?
There are many artists who inspire me and the list changes daily. Among those near the top of my list are Salvador Dali, Gustave Klimt and Tintoretto. Among photographers, I'd include Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gordon Parks and Irving Penn. As soon as I start a list, I can think of 30 more I should have added.
Why do you teach classes for other photographers?
It sounds trite, but I like to teach because I learn so much from it. It pushes me to think and evaluate the things I think I know about my process and my craft. While teaching, I often have some self-revelation about my own image making and I always learn from other photographers, usually from the newest newbie in the room.
You've had over 50 images go Loan - what do you enjoy most about photographic competitions?
My reasons for entering competition have changed over time. When I started, I was solely trying to make the judges happy and earn merits towards a degree. Once I earned my degrees, I tried to make and enter images that I liked the most and were unique to me. At that point, I stopped looking for what I thought would achieve the highest scores. If we're not learning from competition, I see no reason to compete. We all need to present our work and receive feedback; it's a part of our ongoing creative process. No matter where we are in our careers, photographic competitions guarantee to make us better image makers. The more we enter competition, the more we have to work at stretching ourselves. It pushes us to take chances and do work that advances our vision; not just entering images that will earn more merits.
What makes photography such a versatile medium of expression?
It's great to be a photographer: a time when the medium has become more versatile than ever! I started later in life at 40 years old, but the 20 year span of my career has encompassed the transition from film to digital capture. As much as I loved the traditional darkroom, I came alive with digital post production. During that time it has become an entirely new medium that encompasses painting, compositing and extensive possibilities for post-capture manipulation. The technology has created endless opportunities, yet we have to remind ourselves that we still create images with our eyes, hearts and minds. That's what makes photography truly versatile.
Do you pursue any other creative endeavors?
Sadly, I do not. I gave up music 30 plus years ago; although, I'm greatly inspired by other media. I fantasize projects in other media, but I've never acted on it.
What is your favorite image you've captured?
I have several favorites because they were influenced by very personal experiences that captured, expressed and expanded those experiences. I think the best and most impactful work is done when it's grounded in your personal experience.
Who should take your class at Imaging USA?
I think that photographers in any genre and at any experience level will find something of value in my program. I'll be making the case for spending time on fine art and how fine art will translate into added success in commercial and portrait work. Creating and displaying fine art expands your reputation as an artist, and will contribute to both your image making skills and to your bottom line.
What are the top 3 things people should take away from your class?
1. Pursuing personal fine art will keep you fresh, alive and vibrant as an image maker.
2. These days everyone is a photographer - being recognized as an artist elevates your status and recognition in the market.
3. Fine Art translates into skills and styles that let you create work like no one else in your market.
Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?
This is trick question that should be answered with "all of the above". I know that Elvis and Johnny Cash have influenced nearly everyone that's followed, but my first choice for listening right now would be Jack White!
This must be a based on Nashville connections; otherwise I'd be voting "none of the above" and writing in Miles Davis!
By: Lauren Walters
Let's get to know one of our speakers who will be at Imaging USA in Nashville, Tennessee. JulieAnne Jonker has her master of photography and photographic craftsman degrees from PPA and is also a certified professional photographer (CPP). In the following interview, she sheds some light on her career as a photographer.
Who's your class for?
Any photographer, really. It's about inspiration as much as what it takes to get your photography studio to the next level. I'll help you direct your business based on your definition of yourself as an artist
What are the top 3 takeaways from your class?
At the end of my class, you will be able to understand 3 things:
1. Who you are as an artist
2. What direction you want to take your studio in 2015
3. How you can operate a low-volume, high-end studio in this economy
Define your style as a photographer in 5 words.
My style reflected in my photography is vintage, ethereal, classical, compelling and timeless.
What makes your portrait style so unique?
The influences that I continually derive from the fine art world shine through my work and define my photography style.
What is your favorite medium of expression besides photography?
Outside photography, there are two outlets I use to express myself: painting and sculpting.
What was your proudest photographic moment?
Being invited and voted into the Camera Craftsmen of America has to be my proudest moment as a photographer.
What is one marketing mistake many photographers make when they are first starting out?
Inexperienced photographers tend to compete on price, and price only, to get their foot in the door, but that presents them as cheap studios with too many sales and specials.
What do you want to be known for?
As an artist I'd like to be known for creating timeless pieces.
Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?
Definitely, Jimi Hendrix.
JulieAnne has had a long streak of success. Learn from her at Imaging USA in Nashville! You'll have two opportunities to hear her speak: on the business panel "5 Golden Nuggets" and in her solo-class called "The Portrait as an Art Form".
If you haven't registered for Imaging USA, you can do so now at ImagingUSA.org/Register! We can't wait to see you in Nashville!