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by James Yates
See, you have to know if you just give things time and put the right energy into it the clouds will give way and the sunshine will break through. This applies to Imaging USA 2017 and how amazing Day Two was, but it also applies to the story of our winner of the 2017 Grand Imaging Award, Barbara Breitsameter M.Photog.Cr., CPP. But more on that later...
The day started with another round of amazing classes. One of the newest and most exciting things at Imaging USA this year is the Drone Zone, a ballroom sectioned off to host classes and demos on all things "drones". Local television news was on hand to get footage and let viewers in San Antonio know they still have another day left to get their Free Expo Pass and come check it out!
I spent a lot of time on the Expo floor today, interviewing attendees and finding out what was on top of everyone's mind for Day Two. Between the special vendor deals, the networking and the International Photographic Competition Exhibit (look for the IPC signs), the word "overwhelmed" came up a lot. Oh, and there's also the PRINT Theatre, where there are sessions every hour on how to incorporate printed products into your studio's portfolio. The looks of amazement on everyone's faces at the trade show are priceless.
Now, speaking of priceless...how to put into words the amazing human being that is Barbara Breitsameter, M.Photog.Cr., CPP and winner of the 2017 Grand Imaging Award for her pet photography portrait, "Send in the Clowns"? Barbara took the top TWO prizes in her category and then won the overall award, an honor she was shocked to receive. I got to interview Barbara after her big win and, while seated with six of her closest friends (almost all of whom she mentored!) the joy and camaraderie that comes from a life well-lived and a hard-won and well-deserved honor was contagious. Barbara created this hilarious image during a particularly "dark" period of personal struggle in her life but, the image and its humor not only helped her through but has put her in a whole new direction with her pet photography work.
"I never even dreamed I could attain this," Barbara says. "It's like looking Parkinson's in the face and saying, 'I've got this.' It's my legacy to my kids to never give up and go for it. I love what I do. I have the best job in the world---I get to work with dogs!"
Barbara (and all of the Grand Imaging Award winners) are a reminder to push yourself, enter competition, find a mentor and really make sure you're living your life to the fullest...even in the dark and uncomfortable spots. The sunshine will show up. Warmth is coming right around the corner.
Tomorrow is the last day of Imaging USA 2017 and, if it's anything like today, there won't be a dry eye in the house. Now, everyone get out there and make Day Three count! Go see the Drone Zone, PRINT Theatre, speakers, the photo exhibit, the Merit Cafe, the Expo, the Award and Degree ceremony....do whatever you can to fit it all in. You can sleep next week.