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It all started on Feb. 4, 2005, when Maddux Achilles Haggard was born with a condition called myotubular myopathy. He couldn't breathe, swallow or move on his own. On his sixth day, his parents, Mike and Cheryl, made the decision to take him off life support. But first, they asked photographer, and then PPA board member, Sandy Puc', to take black-and-white portraits of them with their son before and after they took him off life support.

Four months later, Puc' received a call from a client's sister who was having a baby under similar circumstances. However in this instance, the hospital didn't tell the family their baby wasn't going to make it. Puc' talked with Cheryl Haggard afterword and expressed her guilt that she wasn't able to give this family her best and most professional images because the family wasn't told. It turned out that Haggard too felt guilt--that she had these professional images and other families had a Polaroid or cell phone image at best.

And it clicked--they decided to turn grief into passion and love and formed Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS), named after the children's bedtime prayer. Within six months the PPA affiliate had over 2,000 volunteers. Now as it approaches its tenth year, NILMDTS annually serves tens of thousands of families, providing over $5 million in services per year. What started as a grassroots movement in Colorado now reaches every state in the U.S. and is present in 42 countries worldwide.

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At first weary that the photographers were taking advantage of grieving parents, hospitals now refer to NILMDTS volunteers as "the angels" because of the work they provide. Staff at partnered hospitals is trained to mention NILDMTS if a situation arises where the infant isn't expected to survive, and in other cases, the families themselves will reach out. According to co-founder, Sandy Puc', 60 percent of requests come from hospitals while the other 40 come directly from the families. The work is done completely on a volunteer basis.

"Our photographers pack their bags and go to the hospitals for free," said Puc'. "They don't promote their own business--they represent the organization. There's no money exchanged, but the value to these families and the world is tremendous."

As the organization has grown, NILMDTS has become a recognized part of the grieving process.

"These families go to the hospital super excited with a diaper bag and painted nursery back home, and they leave with "how to grieve" literature--that's it," said Puc'. "They don't know how to prepare or how to grieve."

By: Booray Perry

I had just finished shooting a sunset beach wedding and was walking across the parking lot to my truck when I noticed another photographer loading her gear into her minivan. She stopped what she was doing, walked over and introduced herself. 

"I'm Carol," she said, "Have you ever heard of the Tampa Area Professional Photographers Association?"

"Sure," I said, "I've been to a couple of meetings."

"Really? I don't remember you."

"It was a while ago."

"You should come back, it's a great organization."

I had heard about TAPPA a year earlier and had gone to a couple of meetings just to check it out. It was a little awkward for me to suddenly be in a room full of people I didn't know. It was obvious that a lot of the photographers in the room had known each other for a long time. They were laughing and joking and seemed so at ease with one another. I sat by myself, pretending to be very interested in something on my phone. I felt intimidated because I didn't know anyone, didn't know if I was good enough to be there.

After running into Carol in the parking lot I thought I might give it another try. She seemed nice and really enthusiastic about the association So I went to another meeting. This time, the president of the association noticed me and came over to introduce herself. She was bubbly and engaging and she made me feel welcome. The best part was, she made me want to come back again the next month.

After a couple of more meetings I began to evaluate whether or not being in the association was worth my time. What's in it for me? I wondered. What could they teach me, what could I learn? Like a lot of photographers, I was focused on trying to grow my business and worried that someone else would take my business from me. I decided to change my approach. I wasn't going to go to the meetings anymore because I was hoping to get something out of it. What would happen if I just went to meet people and didn't care about impressing anyone or guarding my secrets (trust me, there are no secrets). What would happen if I just made friends? 

That was three years ago and I've barely missed a meeting since.

I meet a lot of photographers and every time I meet someone new I encourage them to come and join TAPPA. There are lots of great reasons to join the Professional Photographers of America and plenty more to join your local affiliate. The problem is that I think people don't talk about one of the very best reasons to join. It's not the education, it's not the competition, it's not really the networking.

It's the fellowship.

After World War II, a generation of Americans returned from the war. They had been in the military for years. They had been in regiments, battalions, units, platoons... they were always being put into groups. So, when they came home to the states, they joined groups. The Elks Lodge, the Masons, the Lions Club... after World War II there were hundreds of social clubs. Everybody was a member of at least one. Ralph Kramden of "The Honeymooners" was a member of the Raccoon Lodge. Fred Flintstone was a member of The Loyal Order of Water Buffalo.

But not anymore.

Now, we get all of our social interactions online. Facebook is the new social club. In some ways that's a good thing because it's better to have an online social club than no social club at all. But it's also a bad thing because people just don't join anymore. Especially young people. I know because I never join anything. I hate to commit.

After three years in TAPPA I have dozens of friends who are photographers. I went to Imaging USA for the first time this year and met even more photographers. Here's what I notice: My Facebook friends who I've actually met in person interact with me a lot more than the people I've never met. There's a connection. There's value in face-to-face interaction.

Now, every month when I go to a meeting, I look to see if there's anyone new sitting at a table and that's immediately the table I want to sit that. I want to meet them, I want to talk to them and I want them to feel welcome. There are photographers who have been shooting since I was in elementary school and yet there they are, every month, meeting new people. They have a fuller and richer life because of it.

So, if you haven't joined your local PPA affiliate, do it. Set a goal for yourself that you're going to meet someone new every month. Go to the meetings, go to the picnic, go to the Christmas party. Do something with people who share your interests. Do something with photographers. 

And, if you don't have a local affiliate, start one. Kevin Newsome started TAPPA in his studio back when they had this thing called, "film" and he's still there every month. When I got a chance to bid on a big event job, I called Kevin for advice. When I needed to hire some extra photographers to work the gig, Kevin told me who to call and what they would expect. When I decided to start competing, Kevin helped me pick out my images.

At Imaging USA I ran into a TAPPA member on the first day, around lunch time. When I said I was going to eat lunch by myself, Melissa said, "I've already eaten but I'll go sit with you." Suddenly I wasn't all alone in Atlanta. My affiliation was there.

When the "Photographer of the Year" asked me to lunch, I thought, This is great! I'm really making friends! Then, over bread and pasta he asked me to photograph his wedding. It's the only wedding I've ever worked where I knew a lot of the guests. They were fellow affiliate members.

When one of our members had a robbery at his studio, he had more replacement equipment than he needed within 24 hours. When a member called me from a wedding and said he was feeling sick, I volunteered to come take over. I recently called a member just to chat on a long drive back from a gig and he said, "I'm on vacation and I usually don't answer my phone but I wanted to make sure it wasn't a photography emergency."

I can pick up the phone and call any one of a dozen photographers... just to talk. I couldn't do that three years ago. I was all alone in the wilderness.

One day I turned around and realized, I have a lot of friends. That's the benefit of joining your local PPA affiliate that no one ever talks about. And for me; it's the best benefit of them all.


About the author:
Booray Perry has been a member of PPA since 2008. You can view his original story on his Google+ page and on his blog.




On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, professional photographer members of the Professional Photographers' Society of New York State Inc. (PPSNYS) will work together to capture New York's resilience and unity. Called "Project 9/11," the PPSNYS initiative will involve members of the association taking photos throughout New York State on Sunday, September 11, 2011.

During this 24-hour period, the association will capture the spirit of New York's resilience and unity through the eyes and lenses of its over 400 professional photographers. Participants will be photographing people and events from Montauk to Buffalo, Jamestown to Plattsburgh.

The ultimate goal of Project 9/11 is to produce a piece of living history, demonstrating the power of visual media to capture and document the emotions, people and events in this brief moment in time. And PPSNYS is harnessing the talents, minds and hearts of some of the finest people in the photographic profession to make it possible.

Participants will submit their photos to the Project 9/11 Committee, who will evaluate them. The photographer with the winning photo will be honored at the 2012 Photo North East Convention and Trade Show, taking place March 24 - 27 in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

For more information about Project 9/11, please contact PPSNYS Headquarters at 518-434-9500 or headquarters@ppsnys.com.

About PPSNYS: The Professional Photographers' Society of New York State Inc. was formed solely to instruct its members and the public in photography and to create, foster, promote and encourage the exchange of knowledge among its members and the public. PPSNYS is a society dedicated to the advancement of photography both as a science and an art. Members are encouraged to develop the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, business practices and customer relations.

Photographers stay informed and connected to local, state and regional organizations with newsletters, magazines or websites. But these publications don't produce themselves! All PPA Affiliate editors and webmasters are invited to participate in the 2011 Affiliate Communications Competition, which encourages excellence in affiliate publications and recognizes the individuals who spend their time and energy editing, designing and maintaining them. Entrants earn an achievement merit if their entry is accepted into the competition and an additional merit if they win.

Pass this news on, so the affiliate members who work hard to keep you informed get the recognition they deserve!

Entry forms and rules are available at the Competitions page on ppa.com, and it is free to enter. Entries must be received at PPA no later than Friday, February 25, 2011. If you have additional questions, please contact PPA at (800) 339-5451, ext. 226, or e-mail awijesinghe@ppa.com.

All PPA Affiliate organizations' publications--whether in print or online--are produced by fellow members who help you stay connected and informed, while running their own businesses. It's hard work...so make sure they enter the 2010 Affiliate Communications Competition and earn merits for their service!

Entry forms are available at the Competitions page on www.ppa.com, and it is free to enter. Entries must be received at PPA no later than Friday, February 26, 2010. If you have additional questions, please contact PPA at (800) 339-5451, ext. 226, or e-mail awijesinghe@ppa.com.

All PPA Affiliate editors and webmasters are invited to participate in this competition, which encourages excellence in affiliate publications and recognizes the individuals who spend their time and energy editing, designing, and maintaining them. Enter and get free, valuable advice for improvement. Plus, you'll earn an achievement merit if your entry is accepted into the competition and an additional merit if you win!

After  run-off elections in California, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) welcomes more leaders into the new council for 2009 - 2012. As a non-profit, member-driven association, PPA's membership ultimately governs the association through such representatives in the PPA Council.

The new additions to PPA Council from these state run-off elections are as follows:

California
Dan Jones - Davis, Calif.
 
Michigan
Tina M. Timmons, M.Photog.Cr. - Vassar, Mich.
 
Pennsylvania
Mary Jane Smith - Huntingdon, Pa.

PPA welcomes our new councilors, and we thank them for their service! To see the full list of PPA Councilors, please view the online Councilor Directory.
 
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) proudly ushers in the new council for 2009 - 2012. As a non-profit, member-driven association, PPA's membership ultimately governs the association through its representatives in the PPA Council.

Councilors are professional photographers who volunteer their time and service to guide and act as the voice for their state's PPA members. Duties include discussing and voting on changes to the Bylaws and Adopted Procedures and the leadership of the association (via the election of the board of directors and the Nominating Committee). They also play a crucial role in sharing the PPA message to existing, new and prospective PPA members.

Currently, three positions remain open due to ties for the final Councilor position in three states: California, Michigan and Pennsylvania. These states' eligible PPA members will receive a paper ballot for the run-off election. PPA will be notifying these states and their members of the timeframe for the paper ballots and the run-off election's outcome.

To see the full list of PPA Councilors, please view the online Councilor Directory. PPA welcomes our new Councilors, and we thank them for their service!

PPO_JDPhoto.jpgAnne Kitzman, of Anne Kitzman Photography in Wilder, Ky., was the grand prize winner at the Professional Photographers of Ohio's 56th Annual Convention, Trade Show and Print Competition. The award was presented on March 9.

Kitzman will receive $5,000 of free printing and services from JD Photo Imaging in Flint, Mich.

"I'm very proud to contribute to Professional Photographers of Ohio," said Tom Hicks, a partner at JD Photo Imaging. "I believe print competitions are a great tool to raise the quality of professional photography in our industry. Our lab does anything we can to support them."

Professional Photographers of Ohio (PPO) is an affiliate association with the international Professional Photographers of America (PPA). In addition to the PPO print competition, numerous programs and demonstrations were offered along with new trends and techniques for professional photographers.

JD Photo Imaging is a full-service professional photographic lab serving photographers throughout the United States and Canada. For more information, visit www.jdphotoimaging.com.

Contact:
Tom Hicks
JD Photo Imaging
810-239-8671
tom@jdphotoimaging.com

Affiliate Managers Meeting
PPA Headquarters, Atlanta, GA
Sunday, June 7: 1pm - 5:30pm and Monday, June 8: 9am - 3pm

Improve your association management--Don't miss these discussions presented by PPA Staff! Learn to solve specific problems unique to your situation:

  • motivating your board
  • recruiting volunteers
  • budgeting & financing
  • negotiating with hotels
  • sponsorship and more...
Please confirm your attendance. RSVP to: affiliates@ppa.com.

Hotel Accomodations

Hyatt Place Atlanta Downtown
330 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
404-577-1980
atlantadowntown.place.hyatt.com

  • Room Rate: $135 per night
  • For reservations, call 888-492-8847 (use corporate rate code PPHO)
  • Reservation deadline: April 15
Many Americans, including professional photographers, most of whom are self-employed, are feeling the effects of current economic tough times. And many photographers fear that if they don't get some relief fast, their businesses will suffer irreparable damage.

Throughout its nearly 130-year history, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) has provided business-critical resources to professional photographers. Today PPA, together with its long-standing Industry Advisory Committee, announced a renewed commitment to giving all photographers the help they need to combat economic challenges during the next several years. New programs and resources will be rolled out regularly, giving photographers tools and information to make a real difference in the bottom line of their businesses.

Many of the ideas for helping photographers navigate difficult times come from PPA's Industry Advisory Committee, which has met at least twice a year for decades, collaborating with PPA on ways it can help make photographers successful. In fact, the committee met again this weekend, praising PPA for its regular work on photographers' behalf in the areas of health care reform and copyright protection.

"It's wonderful what PPA is doing to lobby on Capitol Hill to secure health care benefits for photographers," adds Kevin Casey, CEO of Collages.net and member of PPA's Industry Advisory Committee. "This is an important issue that affects the daily life of photographers, and it's important that we are there trying to solve serious issues, rather than just talking about them."

"Our Industry Advisory Committee has been such an important part of our advocacy efforts. They care about photographers and are serious partners in helping us get through these difficult times. We have serious situations, and that means expending serious resources, including substantial financial resources, to make a difference," explains David Trust, PPA's CEO. "Some groups are out there talking, but this takes a lot more than talk - it requires real action, which PPA is already taking."

Photographers are urged to take advantage of the programs and resources available now,  only through PPA, the world's largest non-profit association for professional photographers:

Professional Photographers of America (PPA), a worldwide non-profit association, exists to assist its 22,000 members and the photographic industry in achieving their professional, artistic and fraternal goals; to promote public awareness of the profession; and to advance the making of images in all of its disciplines as an art, a science, and a visual recorder of history. For more information, visit www.ppa.com.


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