One of my passions is competition, which I have used as a learning tool for over twenty years. I still remember the first time I entered four prints in the Professional Photographers of Michigan print competition: I was so happy to receive two red ribbons and two yellow ribbons...without any thrown out! Each year I am inspired by the creativity and quality of others' works and am committed to create my own best image. At Michigan's competition some new photographers did very well alongside the "veterans." One of those veterans was well-known lecturer and mentor Barry Rankin. Barry received the Photographer of the Year for PPM--congratulations Barry! I hope everyone is planning on entering PPA's International Print Competition (June 6, 2008). Let's get our images ready and make this International Judging the biggest ever.
Speaking of international, I will be representing PPA this month in Korea. This is the fifth year that PPA has held an Asian Pacific Affiliated Judging at Professional Photographers of Korea's convention (at Seoul's COEX Center). It has been nice to see the benefits of this relationship each year, as we present the Master of Photography degrees to PPA members from this region.
Thank you again for allowing me to share this time with you. And start working on those competition prints!
Friends Met Along the Way
This month I would like to introduce you to three people who taught me about photography. When I bought my studio in Marshall, Michigan in 1979, I had no real training in photography. In fact, I had only owned a 35mm camera for a few years.
Taking the advice of a lab rep, I started attending our local PPA affiliate in Michigan (Triangle). After a couple years, I knew I was in over my head. So I paid attention to the others who attended, soon identifying three photographers I admired for their businesses, friendship, and photography. One you might know: Ron Nichols, current Vice President of PPA. The other two might be new to many outside Michigan: Rod Gleason and Duaine Brenner. To these three I owe most of my success.
At one Triangle meeting, I suggested that we start a focus group and meet once a month for breakfast. I lived about an hour away from them, so I offered to do most of the driving. I'm sure it didn't take them long to realize my real reason for the group, as I brought stacks of proofs each month for them to critique...but they were very patient. They introduced me to many photographic fundamentals over pancakes and eggs.
Ron, Rod, and Duaine became my first mentors within this profession--a gift I will never be able to repay. Never did they make me feel inferior or stupid for asking hundreds of questions.
When you read this, I hope you call or e-mail the person who was your first mentor. Chances are, they might not realize the influence they had on your life. From the bottom of my heart, thanks Ron, Rod and Duaine. Thanks for everything you did for me.
Dennis Craft, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, F-ASP
2008-2009 PPA President
image copyright Rod Gleason