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By John Owens

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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.

 

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"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.

 

 

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John Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burgers.

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.


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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." 

Aaaaaand Imaging USA is off!


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Record numbers of photography pros are piling into the Gaylord Opryland. We're already nearing 11,000 with 2 more days to go! We've got photographers from China, Sri Lanka, Italy, France Korea, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Germany, Belgium, and more plus the good ol' US of A. New Orleans, Mississauga, Vancouver, Albuquerque, Chicago, Hollywood and a solid turnout from the locals here in Nashville. 


Wherever you came from you brought your energy. It's contagious! There's a great vibe going on in here, and we can't thank you all enough for coming and creating it. Have you mastered getting around?








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!

1.       5 Tips for Successfully Marketing Yourself at an Industry Trade Show

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!

2.       Why Sports Illustrated Laid Off All of its Photographers

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?

3.       Joshua Kane: Running a Destination Wedding Photography Business

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.

4.       Pixels to Paint: Mixing Photography and Printmaking Yields Beautiful Results

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.

5.       India Through a Lens: The Nation Embraces Photography as Art

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.

6.       Study Finds that Professionally Captured Photos Are More Memorable Than Amateur Ones

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.

7.       Johnson Publishing to Sell Historic Photo Archive

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.

8.       Street Photography: It All Comes Down to Editing

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!

9.       Photographer Suing Nike Over the Origins of the Famous Jordan "Jumpman" Logo

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?

10.   Photographer Captures Enchanting Landscapes Inspired by The Brothers Grimm

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!

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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."

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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.

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By: Lauren Walters 

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This week, take a stand as a photographer. Sign a petition or commend those who give back. Check out the top ten blog posts from this week.

PUBLISHING: Do you walk through book stores scrutinizing book cover photography? Maybe you could do it better? Join a stock agency to get your work out in the world! Read more to find out what it takes to sign with a stock agency.

CONVENTIONS: Learn how to prep for conventions like Imaging USA. Which preconvention events pique your interest? Read this "must see" list of events for Imaging USA. Get ready, the fun starts next week! 

GRIEF PHOTOGRAPHY: After diagnosed with a severe heart condition before birth, the parents of this child turned to a non-profit organization "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep".  The experience for both the parents and photographer was an emotional one. However, the portraits helped the parents cope and aided the healing process. 

TUTORIAL: Shooting on a sunny day? Perfect your photos by capturing all the tones in your shot. This blog explains how to punch up your photography using dramatic range.

PHOTOGRAPHY FEES: In Fairfax County Park, authorities enforced a $100 fee for commercial photography back in 2011. Why? The park was overrun with publicity due to weddings and other commercial photography. Will they finally reconsider?

PETITION: Are you using a left-handed camera made for a right-handed photographer? Well, you just might be in luck! Sign the petition on Change.org petition to request that Canon designs a left-handed camera.

COMPOSITION: If you're off to a coast anytime soon, these quick tips from Digital Photography School will help you make the most of any seascape photographs. Learn the rules, and learn when to break them here!

DECISION TIME: In business (and in life) we all get caught up in the process of making decisions. Imaging USA speaker Jeffrey Shaw is back on his podcast with Brian Whetten and they are here to guide you through the process of finding big wins in your decision process. Your weekend can always use a little more inspiration!

EDUCATION: What should we be learning as photographers? The question is: are we learning it? Read about the parallels drawn from music to photography education. 

PROFESSIONAL vs. AMATEUR: Educate your potential clients with PPA's #PhotoFails video. Showcase simple mistakes that can ruin their experience with an inexperienced photographer.  

Tune in for next week's Round Up! If you have a blog you want us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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By Chris Homer

A third generation photographer, Luke Edmonson has the craft in his blood! He's been a
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 professional photographer for nearly 20 years, starting out in commercial photography and then teaming up with his father in 2003 to create Edmonson Weddings. We chatted with Luke about defining style, his career as a photographer, what inspires him and more. Here's the recap of the interview:

1. What would you say is the biggest difficulty people usually face in defining their style?
The biggest difficulty in finding a style is finding your own voice and doing the work to discover who you are and what you want to say. It's not simply a matter of the type of photography you like or admire. It's not simply your ability to execute what you want when creating your imagery. You have to know the "Why" behind what you are communicating.

It's about understanding and knowingly pursue what is behind your vision when you are capturing a moment, your subjects, how you light, direct or pose them. So, an artistic style, at its very core, requires introspection. Something that as individuals many of us do not want to do. It requires you to become still...to be quiet...to reflect with intent.

I like this quote from Katherine Anne Porter, Pulitzer Prize winning author, who says succinctly "You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself, and your style is an examination from your own being."

Let's examine that for a minute...

a. You don't create a style? Then what is all this talk about "finding your style" or "creating your style" that you hear bantered about? Perhaps it's just marketing speak to make it more palpable to the audience who is listening. Who wants to hear about work when the world sells us on the premise of "easy, fast and simple"? But don't for a second betray yourself to think that discovering something is easy. Especially when it involves learning about yourself. What is it that you bring to each photo shoot that shapes the direction of the imagery you capture?

b. You work and develop yourself? Yep, it's a never-ending process of growth periods, plateaus, and sometimes darker times. When things get stagnant, it's up to you to make the changes necessary to break through. When you are on top of the world it's about fighting complacency. None of us ever have it all truly figured out. However, with growth and development, some challenges as a photographer that may have taken hours to solve visually can be solved in mere minutes, once you've had that proverbial light-bulb moment.

c. Your style is an examination from your own being? Like most of us, you probably became a photographer when you fell in love with it. Perhaps, it was because of its immediacy. Perhaps it was because of how it made your feel when people complimented your early eye. But now that you have been in it for longer, what keeps you in the field? What drives you to create? When you look back on your work, what patterns and tendencies do you see? How have you transitioned from WHAT you see when you shoot but HOW you see, think and feel when you shoot? Have you had to persevere and overcome challenges in your photography? Your fingerprint is firmly implanted on every image you create. I encourage you to study it and understand it!

If you want to become a better photographer, it starts with becoming a better person. How can you pour out your life into others if there are areas in your own life that are holding you back from doing just that?
By Sarah Ackerman

Get to know hometown favorite, Russ Harrington before you hit the road to Imaging USA! Russ is an accomplished photographer, specializing in celebrity and musician clientele (we hear Nashville is a pretty awesome spot for that sort of thing). 

What made you want to get into photography? 
Our family always took pictures, so when I got my first 110 Kodak for Christmas, it was on!

What should people expect to take away from your class?
I'm going to show tons of photos! People will get to see different lighting ideas, how to work a location and what all goes into a celebrity shoot. Things they may not have thought of like renting RV's for the glam teams, working with assistants and what not. 

What is your favorite part of a photo shoot?
When the [music] artist gets on set and you do that first test. It all comes together at that point. You finally see how the light looks on your artist and not your assistants, you see the wardrobe you've picked for the setup. If it's a big shoot, we've built sets, pre-lit them and have wondered how the artist will fit in the vibe or world you've created. Sometimes, we might have 10 setups that we're doing that day. No matter what, I still get that cool feeling when I see the first shot pop up on the Mac.

 What do you enjoy about shooting with musicians?
I am, in general, a music fan. So getting to know them, photographing them and then being able to see your images represent them is a very special thing. Musicians just have a cool vibe, you want to capture that. You want to capture images that they love and that their fans love. Granted, some would rather be far away from a photo shoot, but they know it's one of those things they have to do. In the music industry, fresh images are a must. The bonus is they are generally more creative than the average client. Artists and celebrities are pros, they move like models and I just love shooting them.

 How did you get into the celebrity/musician market?
I photographed models for years so it was a natural progression. Fashion is all about the angles, the lighting, the location and wardrobe, and that's basically celebrity photography. I started showing my model portfolio to Christian Music Labels at first and started to shoot a ton of those. My big break was an editorial shoot with Trisha Yearwood, which I'll go into during my presentation. 

 What has been your favorite photo shoot of all time?
There's not a "favorite" necessarily, but I've had a lot of cool memories and images that I love every time I see them. I do have to say when Loretta Lynn calls you her photographer, that's pretty dang special. Brian Setzer is one of my favorites for sure, rockabilly singer and master guitar player from the Stray Cats. I could photograph him every day - he's just cool! I also got to do a big gig in LA for Dr. Pepper and Chelsea Handler. It was awesome, but I had butterflies for sure. 

What's the biggest mistake you made when you were just starting out?
You have to remember, I started shooting professionally in 1983. I've done some dumb things, but every year I tried to get better and make more money than the previous year. At one point I made a joke about an artist's hair that was pretty amazing and said "If I could afford a toupee like that, I'd be all over it!" Well, what do you know - it was a toupee. Whoops!

What's the best part about being a Nashville photographer?
This is my town! I grew up here, I met my wife here, we raised our boys here, and now to see what's happening with how popular Nashville is getting is crazy. We've put our loft on Airbnb.com and its awesome meeting folks from around the world that want to visit.

Country? Or... country?
I love the twang, I love a steel guitar, I love bluegrass, I love Jack White, I love Keb' Mo'. I just love music.

Join Russ for his class "Music & Celebrity Portraits" on Monday, February 2nd from 10 - 11:30 AM and discover how to manage the workflow when dealing with people in the spotlight. 

If you haven't registered for Imaging USA yet, there's still time! Head to ImagingUSA.org/Register today - we can't wait to see you in Nashville!

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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.

Hello everyone!

We are well aware of the situation at Opryland last Thursday and rest assured; everything is under control. First of all, no further cases of Norovirus have been reported. Second, this is not uncommon in the hospitality industry and third, the folks at Opryland are taking care of the situation.

They are working with the Metro Nashville Department of Health which applauded their fast response and disinfecting actions. According to health officials (and reported in The Tennessean), "Opryland is going above and beyond the health department's recommended cleaning and disinfecting measures to stop the spread of germs." All rooms have been aggressively sanitized. All door handles, escalator handrails and elevator controls have been wiped clean. Opryland has been cleared for guests.

We're excited for this year's Imaging USA and your record registration numbers show that you are too! 
And the good news is that with everything the Gaylord has done in the past two weeks,  you now have the added comfort of staying in America's cleanest and most sanitary hotel.

Get ready for the biggest and best Imaging USA yet!


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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.

 

1.       Imaging USA: The Next Stage of Your Photography Career Begins Here!

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!

 

2.       The Consequences of Working for Free

BUSINESS: 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. 

3.       How to Make Artistic Multiple Exposures In-camera and in Photoshop

TUTORIAL: 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 experimenting!

4.       How I Learned to Stop Taking Photographs and Start Making Photographs

PARADIGM 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.

5.       Why Photographers Aren't Artists

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.

 

6.       Help Unravel a Gordon Parks Southern Mystery

HISTORY: 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.

7.       Help, I Am Being Sued for Nearly $500,000 by a Model I Photographed

COPYRIGHT 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!

8.       Gotham 7.5K A Rare High Altitude Night Flight Above NYC

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.

 

9.       Photographer armed with just a SWORD braves threat of wolves and -50C in Siberia to snap awe-inspiring Northern Lights images

-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!

 

10.   Stunning Photos of Acrobatic Dancer Leap and Twirl Amid Dynamic Clouds of Powder

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!

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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!

Come listen to Thom speak at Imaging USA in Nashville, TN. He will conduct a course called "The Case for Fine Art" on February 1, 2015. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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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! 

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By Chris Homer

February is approaching quickly, which means it's almost time for Imaging USA 2015 in Nashville! To help you make the most of the conference, the Imaging USA mobile app is now available for free download. This app will allow you to create your own schedule, find and network with other attendees, stay up-to-date on conference updates and specials through social media, participate in the game to win daily prizes and much more! 

Make the most of the app when you get to Nashville! Take a minute to watch the quick tutorial videos below. You'll learn how to use the exhibitor, speaker, schedule and mapping features of the app, where you can post to social media and find important information, how to build your own agenda and how the game works (there are prizes for top ranked attendees each day!).

Exhibitors, Speakers, Schedule, Mapping


News, Information, Social


My Event


Networking


Game

By Sarah Ackerman

This year at Imaging USA you will find a completely new thing... the Merit Café. There you'll find a series of short seminars, from Sunday to Tuesday, by the International Photographic Exhibit. These sessions are geared to getting you familiar with and better prepared for future photographic competitions ! This These 30-minute short format sessions are restricted to first come, first serve for seating. Get there early and soak up all of the knowledge you can from these amazing International Photographic Competition (IPC) experts! Questions will be more than welcome, so ask away!

Here's what's on tap:

Sunday, February 1
1pm "Using Titles [of your images] to Your Advantage" - Larry Lourcey
1:30pm "The Road to Becoming a [Image Competition]Judge"- Kimberly Smith
2:30pm "The Judging Process: How an Image Becomes a Merit" - Donna Goodhale
3pm "Print Presentation" - Carl Caylor
6:30pm "Becoming a Master Photographer" - Gabriel Alonso
7pm "What the Heck is the Artist Category?" - Doran Wilson

Monday, February 2
1pm "Using Titles to Your Advantage" - Larry Lourcey
1:30pm "The Road to Becoming a Judge" - Kimberly Smith
2:30pm "The Judging Process: How a Print Becomes a Merit" - Donna Goodhale
3pm "Print Presentation" - Carl Caylor
6:30pm "Recognizing Impact in Your Images" - Ryan Brown
7pm "12 Elements of a Merit Image" - Jeff Dachowski

Tuesday, February 3
11:30am "What the Heck is the Artist Category" - Doran Wilson
12:00pm "12 Elements of a Merit Image" - Jeff Dachowski
1:00pm "Becoming a Master Photographer" - Gabriel Alonso
1:30pm "Recognizing Impact in Your Images" - Ryan Brown

Please note: schedule subject to change. Follow @ImagingUSA on Facebook and Twitter for last minute show changes or download the Imaging USA mobile App!

PPA's District Competitions will be underway shortly after Imaging USA, so use this valuable opportunity to ask all of the questions that are causing road blocks to your future with photographic competitions. 

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! 

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SarahA-2763.jpg

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.


Are you still on the fence on attending Imaging USA? Don't just take our word on why it's so great, listen to why Sharma Ferrugia decided to attend and what she got out of it.
 

In addition to networking with over 10,000 of fellow photographers, exploring 600+ tradeshow booths and learning from some of the industry's best photographers, you also get to know you're starting 2015 off on the best foot possible! With Imaging USA, you're building your education for your business, inspiring your creativity and networking so you'll have the best support system possible when it comes to any challenges you face throughout the year. 

Registration is still open at ImagingUSA.org/Register. Remember, hotels are filling up fast! As a matter of fact, the Gaylord Opryland, the headquarter hotel, is 99% sold out! (This is not a marketing push, this is a fact). So here's a quick list of nearby properties. And as always, head over to theLoop to make new friends before you arrive, find a roommate or just ask any questions that might come up in your planning process!


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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for SarahA-2763.jpg

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.



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