Benefits / Resources / Articles
December 09, 2022

PPA Presents Eric Meola with the Lifetime Achievement Award

Eric Meola will receive PPA’s 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Award & Degree Ceremony on January 23, 2023, at Imaging USA in Nashville! Don’t miss Meola’s special photography exhibit in the IPC Gallery on the trade show floor.

PPA is proud to honor Eric Meola as our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Since 2000, PPA has recognized individuals whose life work has enriched the photographic industry and the profession. Eric Meola belongs now to an illustrious line of Lifetime Achievement Award winners. Past recipients of the award include Joyce Tenneson, Arnold Newman, Ken Burns, and Pete Souza, to name a few.

Meola has distinguished himself in his career which spans more than 5 decades and has brought passion, service, and a vivid celebration of color to the photographic industry. Beyond his acclaimed work as an advertising photographer, Meola’s life’s work has brought people, cultures, and landscapes from the far reaches of the globe into the public zeitgeist. Meola will receive the Lifetime Achievement award at Imaging USA next month in Nashville, Tennessee. 

A 2014 interview with Cameron Davidson perfectly captures Meola’s evolving sensibility of photography as an art form: “As my work has evolved, my subject has become color itself–a celebration of color in all its permutations, both abstract and real.” You can view Meola’s colorful genius in images such as the “Coca Kid,” which he photographed in Haiti for Time magazine in 1972. Coca Kid would later be included in Life magazine’s special 1997 issue “100 Magnificent Images.” In 1975, Meola captured the magnetic chemistry between Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons in black and white. The iconic photograph appears on Springsteen’s 1975 album cover of “Born to Run.”

In 1986, Meola received the Advertising Photographer of the Year award from the American Society of Media Photographers. He was the only photographer named to Adweek magazine’s national Creative All-Star Team in 1989 and received a Clio Award for a series of images he made in Scotland for Timberland that same year. Eric Meola first became a published author is 2004, when Graphis Editions published “Last Places on Earth,” sponsored by Eastman Kodak. In 2014, he received the George Eastman Power of the Image Award. 

Meola is a true pathfinder. He deliberately steers toward the primeval places left in the world capable of sending a chill down his spine with their untouched, raw power. He harnesses the terrifying beauty of mother nature and has found his euphoria chasing and photographing storms. Smithsonian magazine named his book of storms, “Fierce Beauty: Storms of the Great Plains,” one of its “Top 10 Travel Books of 2019.” 

Meola’s photographs are held in private and public collections, including the International Center of Photography, the National Portrait Gallery, and the George Eastman Museum. In recent years, he’s taken to lecturing at his alma mater, Syracuse University as well as the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Art Center College of Design at Pasadena, and the George Eastman Museum.

Eric Meola continues to give back to the industry and champions photography as a visual language capable of great emotion. He’s a photographer with a love affair for color, light, and artistic freedom. We invite you to view his special photographic display in the International Photographic Competition Gallery on the trade show floor, for all three days of the conference. 
About Imaging USA:
Imaging USA is the longest-running international photographic conference, expo, and image exhibition in the world. The event dates back to 1880 when it began as the annual conference and tradeshow for Professional Photographers of America (PPA). More than 10,000 photographers will descend upon Nashville for three days of photography education and inspiration as well as exclusive photography-related shopping.

About PPA:
Professional Photographers of America (PPA), an international non-profit association for professional photographers since 1869, exists to assist its 34,000 members with unparalleled protection, education, and resources to ensure their continued success in the photographic industry. For more information, visit