I was a member for two years before I attended my first PPA convention in 1989. My wife Lori and I never thought we had time to attend. But as Ron Nichols, now PPA Vice President, was receiving his Masters Degree that year, we thought we would sacrifice the time to support our friend (and make our first trip to Las Vegas). During that first convention, we were introduced to so many new experiences: the overwhelming tradeshow, programs that inspired as they taught, and--most importantly--a new network of friends in the industry. Our PPA experience was just beginning.
Now, every year, we look forward to spending time with old friends...and making new ones along the way. This year in Tampa we had lunch by the bay with our good friends from Montana, Clark and Rachel Marten. Not only did we discuss our respective businesses, we also shared stories about our children and enjoyed the brief time spent with old friends. And we again had the opportunity to make new friends, David and Ally McKay from California. David was in a Christian Rock band before photography, and we actually met via that connection.
As you can see, PPA is more to me than just another trade association. I can belong to a number of different organizations that will help me with my photography skills and my business knowledge. But there is only one organization that provides the best learning opportunities, mentors that truly care, and friends that will go the extra mile and last a lifetime.
And that brings me to what I would like the President's Message to become this year. I have been so blessed with my PPA experience and the people I have met, so I will feature a different person from my journey each month. They might be from my travels this year as president or someone who has made an impact on my life in the past. I hope this will give you a glimpse into the wonderful people that make up PPA and help you reflect on those you have met during your own walk through life.
Again, thank you for this incredible opportunity to serve as your president this year. May we all grow and prosper...not only in business, but also in our friendships.
Friends Met Along the Way
In July 2000 I had the opportunity to present a program to the Professional Photographers of Korea. Sae Lee, M.Photog.Cr., F-ASP, a photographer from California (originally from Korea), organized the trip and traveled with Tyler, my son, and I. It was an experience that opened my eyes and heart to a very gracious group of photographers and a culture that I had never experienced before.
My son was 10 years old at the time, and I thought it would be great for him to accompany me on this trip. Sae Lee introduced us to Mr. Kim and his son Tae Hung, who was also 10 years old. These two boys from different countries, different cultures, and different languages bridged all those barriers in about five minutes. You would have thought they had known each other forever. Tyler still talks about his special trip with me and the people he encountered along the way.
Sae opened my world (and my son's) to a culture and people that we have both come to love. These kind and caring people are photographers who have been influenced by Western photographers while maintaining their own styles. For the introduction to such creative photographers and wonderful friends...Thank you, Sae.
Dennis Craft, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, F-ASP
2008-2009 PPA President
image copyright Rod Gleason