Helen Yancy honored with PPA Lifetime Achievement Award

Helen Yancy is being honored with a PPA Lifetime Achievement Award.
© Foster Yancy
Helen Yancy is being honored with a PPA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Say “Helen,” and many PPA members know who you’re referring to. A highly decorated member and longtime volunteer in many capacities, Helen Yancy, M.Photog.M.Artist.MEI.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP, A-ASP, API, has another honor to accept. Next month at Imaging USA 2020, Yancy will be presented with the PPA Lifetime Achievement Award. Yancy is just the 17th photographer in the association’s 150-plus year history to receive that designation.

A member of the prestigious Portrait Society of America, Cameracraftsmen of America, and the Society of XXV, Yancy is one of fewer than 100 fellows of the American Society of Photographers. She has served as PPA president and chairman of the Board of Directors and holds numerous degrees and accolades, including being honored by the United Nations International Photographic Council with a medallion of leadership.

Yancy was the first person to receive every degree offered by PPA (prior to this year’s adoption of the Master of Wedding Photography degree, which has yet to be earned by anyone).  She is one of only a few Americans to be honored as a Fellow of the British Institute of Professional Photography, in part thanks to her leadership in establishing ties between PPA and the British Institute.

Accolades aside, it is Yancy’s artful imagery portraying people and their relationships that has endeared her to clients and made her a sought-after mentor for countless photographers.

Yancy’s distinct painterly style—infused with sensitivity, realism, and imagination—has influenced generations of artists. “Yancy has been teaching fine art photography since the days before digital and has the ability to create exquisite freehand paintings,” says Jeff Lubin, M.Photog.Cr. “She embraced digital painting when it became available and teaches workshops all over the country.” Students lucky enough to learn from Yancy have called it life-changing.

“Helen Yancy has made so many extra-ordinary contributions to professional photographers and artists around the world,” says PPA Pres-ident Audrey Wancket, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, who will present Yancy the award at the Award and Degree Ceremony Jan. 20 in Nashville. “Her film and image retouching and artistry skills—and the early adoption of digital art along with teaching these skills—improved the beauty and quality of all photographers’ work. Certainly her leadership, from within her state all the way through becoming president of PPA, shows her giving back to our members. Helen has continued to lend her great knowledge and assistance whenever needed. I congratulate Helen on this beautiful acknowledgement of her life’s work.”

Yancy’s legacy continues to inspire photographers. Her bestselling book, “Ordinary to Elegant: Transforming Photographs into Digital Paintings,” remains a bestseller, and her Corel Painter master classes are currently available in PPA’s video library. Yancy’s oil, watercolor, mixed-media, and photographic portraits are displayed in hundreds of homes and in permanent collections and exhibitions around the world.

“In my wildest dreams, I never expected to be honored in such an amazing way by PPA,” says Yancy. “I have received so much from so many, and I’m deeply grateful. PPA enabled me to reach higher and to help others to reach higher, too.”

The Award and Degree Ceremony is open to Imaging USA attendees.