SEPPA 2015/IPC 2015: “The tribe has spoken” – the images that didn’t make the cut…

by Christine

*****This post is SAFE for 2015 IPC/GIA Judges*****

It is done. The whirlwind that is PPA District competition season is over.

Thank. Goodness.

SIDEBAR: In addition to entering two districts, I spoke and judged at the state conventions for Montana and West Virginia as well as worked the Ohio Convention/Northeast District Competition. *whew!* Obviously my time management skills need refined in a major way – my hat’s off, once again to the judges that have done this for years, you obviously have this down to a science and possess superior organizational skills.

For you results oriented folks – the official results are HERE.

For you number-crunching geeks – by my calculations (unofficial, of course) there were 959 total entries, 439 scored 80 or above (45.78%) and 520 (54.22%) did not. There were seven 100’s. Seven.

Yes, I know that IPC has yet to open, but that’s a whole other blog post all by itself. I’ll get to that later.

And now, for a story:

My first PPA-level competition was the 2010 Mid-East Regionals. It was the last year before PPA reorganized us into Districts.

Back then, image competition was prints only, and I remember that I ordered 11 physical prints of 4 image files in order to get my final case of 4 entries. I don’t know if money was growing on trees back then, or what, but I ordered multiple copies of almost every image. Some on different papers, some from different labs, and some were reprints after making “one last tweak.”

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

Five years later, in 2015, I prepared to enter the Northeast District with quite a different set of circumstances.

I had changed my attitude about print competition a number of times over the past year. I tried a variety of new things. Probably too many. OK, definitely too many. Like the kid in a candy store, I flitted from one shiny thing to another until I’d made myself quite dizzy. And sick.

In my twisted journey of discovery, I went in so many different directions that I wound up with 8 possible images for Northeast District. I’m sure some are envious of such a “problem,” but for the artist in me, it caused me great consternation.

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

Again.

By the time I whittled those eight down to the final four, my case was a reflection of the turmoil I’d felt as an artist over the past number of months. It was split down the middle. Two color images and two black and whites. Those who know my work, know me to work almost exclusively in black and white portraits for competition.

But this year, I was questioning… my art… my self… my style…

For the first time my case did not contain four portraits.

For the first time, I created images as an extension of my soul – from anger to annoyance to spite to heartbreak; I can point to each image and tell you what corner of my heart it came from. Some of it was a pushing of my technical skills and some of it was just pushing my heart.

For the first time I paid for someone else to retouch and print some of my entries. I’ll get to that later, too.

For the first time I entered in other states’ competitions as a non-member. Yet another topic we’ll chat about later.

For the first time I entered more than one district. My scores at Northeast were 88,83,82, and 79. I took the 79 , changed it and added in 3 more portraits to make a case for Southeast District, where the 79 blossomed into an 85 and the three portraits got 80’s.

I still wound up with 2 competition prints I didn’t use at all. And I have this perverse need to reprint the 79/85.

And at the end of it all, I still have no idea what I’m doing.

Or at least it feels that way.

I feel a little sorry for the 3 80’s from my SEPPA case. I feel like I just orchestrated a print competition version of Survivor…

Yeah, I sent you guys to tribal council. Sorry for your luck, you’re outta here.

Although I have not made my final choices for my IPC 2015 case, I have narrowed the field and here are the images that did not make the cut.

These two orchids were shot in 2014 and reworked so many times I’m just tired of looking at them. Since the bulk of my work is low key portraits, I know these high key florals are just about the exact opposite and some of my meh attitude is that they are so different from the norm. They don’t interest or excite me. I don’t know – they really never had a chance. They never made it into comp. They’re the old maids of image competition. I also worked them up and had them printed VERY early, like back in December-early, so they were at a bit of a disadvantage to begin with. Poor little things – at least they have each other…

Orchid 1 - Rejected

Orchid 1 – Rejected

Orchid 2 - Rejected

Orchid 2 – Rejected

 Next up for eviction are these three portraits. The each scored an 80 at SEPPA (not my district so they didn’t “seal”) but for me, an 80 isn’t a strong enough score to indicate to me that it’s the best choice as the 4th image for my IPC case.

So, torches have been extinguished for:

jonathan

Jonathan, the tribe has spoken…

The Benchsitter

Bryon, the tribe has spoken…

and last, but not least…

Kyle, the tribe has spoken...

Kyle, the tribe has spoken…

Stay tuned for the next episode of Survivor, IPC 2015 …

What Kind of Board Member Are You? | My Manifesto

by Christine
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2015/2016 Executive Board: The Professional Photographers of Ohio

In our journey in and out of our professional organizations, we take on a number of roles. Members, committee members, chairmen, board members, executive board members. Maybe not all of them, maybe only one of them.  And most likely, not in any specific order.

At some point in time, you might find yourself in a board of director’s seat. And I think it’s very important to decide, in advance, what kind of board member you will be.

Once upon a time, I was the president of a non-profit organization. A 501c3 organization. In my state there are guidelines for non-profits and one of those guidelines is “duty of loyalty.” At the end of the day, when the meetings are over, I must exit my board meeting willing to support the decisions that we made as a team for the organization. Even if I did not agree with proposal or vote in favor of whatever action we took, I supported the decision that was made by the board as a whole. I didn’t get to say “I didn’t support that”, or “I didn’t vote for that.”

When I was nominated for the position, I stood and introduced myself to the general membership. And I was honest. Very honest. I told them I’d be the one that was the pain in their rear end. I’d be the one with the policies, procedures and bylaws in my hand. I’d be the one that questioned everything.

And 9 months later, when the board voted to sweep a financial mishandling/loss/theft under the rug, I resigned. I’m a black and white gal and when areas of gray start interfering – that gets my dander up – I don’t support dancing around with rules and laws and I didn’t agree with failing to take action to address a potential theft. I quietly resigned, took some time to think, filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office and went on with life.

Yet, here I am again. In spite of that experience, I’ve sucked it up and took the step onto the executive board at the Professional Photographers of Ohio. That took a lot of reflection.

A lot.

And so I feel the need to create my manifesto – my list of things that I will die on a hill for, or at least put up a struggle over….

I believe in honesty. In telling the truth and doing what’s right, even when it might be embarrassing or painful.

I believe in transparency. My actions and words will always align. You won’t be left wondering where I stand.

I believe in loyalty. I will do my best job for the organization I am tasked to lead. It is now a priority and I will do everything in my power to serve its needs. I am one of its protectors. A knight of its round table, if you will.

And because I believe that boundaries should be clearly defined:

I do not believe in politics. And I know about three smart-alecs just quipped in their heads about not believing in something that exists, so I will re-define; I will not participate in politics. If it makes you happy as a clam to let other people dictate how you handle something because of favors wanted/needed/owed or personal biases – then bully for you. But that’s not how it works for me.

I will do what I believe is right for the organization. Period.

So yes, I’m gonna be a pain in your rear end. I’m going to ask questions. A lot of questions. And when things don’t make sense or seem to be going against a policy, procedure, bylaw or law, I’m going to open my mouth and say something.

I have a heart, and I have empathy. But I also have a good old-fashioned conscience and a grasp on what is right and what is not.

And that – is where I stand.

2015 PP of Ohio and PPA Northeast District Results

by Christine

Northeast District Photographic Competition Banner

The 2015 PPA Northeast District Results are at

2015 Northeast District Results

The 2015 District Trophies and Category Awards are at:

2015 Northeast District Awards

And the 2015 PP Of Ohio Awards are at:

2015 PP of Ohio Awards

Be More Than A Member; Volunteer

by Christine

I believe 100% that membership in a professional organization is vital to today’s photographer. Belonging to an organization is a way to network, get educated and just recharge your batteries. I usually come away from conventions and meetings with a renewed sense of hope for myself and my business.

I am empowered through education and fraternity.

One of the organizations I belong to is the Professional Photographers of Ohio (PPO), which is probably fairly similar to many other state-level organizations. I joined them in 2009, volunteered in 2010, was elected to a three-year term on the Board of Trustees in 2011 and a second three-year term in 2014. So, officially, they’re stuck with me through 2017, but the reality of it is – I’ll be around for a long time. As long as they’ll let me. I have found my home in the PPO and I think a lot of photographers would be well-served to find themselves a similar group.

Since you only get out of something what you put into it, I highly suggest that you also volunteer. Don’t just pay your dues and sit in a chair. Meet somebody, help pass out goody bags, put white gloves on and help in the print room, run to the supply room and grab a cord for the AV guy so he doesn’t have to run down that long hallway for the 17th time this hour. Do something. Do anything.

But don’t do it all.

And here’s where I’m going to stop with the “rah! rah!” and get serious. Before you agree to volunteer for anything, take a realistic look at the time you have available to do that. We want you to be effective and have your volunteer experience be a positive one. If you over-commit or burn out because of it, well, that’s no good for anyone.

And when I say “don’t do it all,” I mean that. Take the time YOU need to take to go to classes and other educational opportunities that you are helping organize. Don’t always work behind the scenes – find a good balance that will ensure you remain not only a member, but a happy one. I love it when I see someone offer a lot of time and energy to help out, but in the back of my mind, I wonder if they might not be facing burn-out if they keep it up at that pace.

So, be realistic about the time and energy that you do have available. Do not over-commit – but please commit what you can and still maintain a healthy balance. We don’t want our volunteers to become tired and bitter like the lunch lady that whapped down a pile of beige glop on our trays in the middle school cafeteria.

Day. After. Day.

This is the time of year when organizations are doing their yearly revamp. Annual Conventions are just around the corner and serve, in part, to signify a change in leadership. This is when the past year’s board of directors are finished, there’s a little chair shuffling, the executive board moves up a seat and some new faces appear. Sometimes those are appointed and sometimes those are elected. No matter how they end up there, it’s part of a process.

And sometimes that process is tough. Sometimes we have more seats than people to fill them. I’m sure out there, one of you is just waiting to be asked to take on a larger role in your organization. I’d like to encourage you to just take that step and reach out. Tell us you’d like to be involved. Send us an email, whisper in someone’s ear. If you’d really like to be involved in some part that seems already under control – don’t worry – go ahead and mention it – we can always use more members on our team and maybe we’re just really good at acting like we’ve got it under control 😉

There are basically three levels of volunteer involvement in an organization. For the sake of needing to call them something, we will go with casual, committed and vested:

1. Casual

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Print room volunteer Mark Fundak. Mark volunteers every year to help things run smoothly with our print room. I rely on him – he makes my job a lot easier 🙂 ©Tom Welsh Photography

A casual volunteer is someone who has a little bit of time here and there to help out, but just can’t commit to a deeper level. If this is you, then sometimes it’s best to just show up at a convention, find the largest group of people that look like they know what they’re doing (ok, not the ones in the bar) and say “hey, I”m here to help!” – we will totally take advantage of your willingness to help on that basis. This kind of volunteering is fun, spontaneous and much needed, especially when we are in the middle of an event and need some extra hands. And we really do need them!

If this is you – stop off at the registration desk and let the folks that do the paperwork know you are available. You might need to come back  when things aren’t crazy busy, but if you are serious about helping – you will be given that opportunity.

2. Committed

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A rare photo of Tom Welsh, one of our convention photographers. He’s been in charge of our photography for a long time – we heart him. ©Tom Welsh Photography <– I know, I know!

There are a large number of mid-level volunteer opportunities, as well, some that require just a little bit extra work. Some require a little more than that.

Maybe you’d like to work on a committee or be a committee chair, even. We have at least a dozen committees or small sub-groups at my state and I’m betting other organizations have them as well. These are the positions that are really handy for someone with special skills. Sometimes what you did in your pre-photography days are skills that would be helpful to your organization.

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that in my previous career as a quality specialist I wrote. I wrote a lot. I was in charge of policies and procedures for nearly twelve years, which made me a perfect candidate to work as the By-laws Chair. You see what I mean? I’m sure you have a skill that would be very helpful to a committee or chairperson in a similar way.

And don’t think you have to have some super hero skill, either. Sometimes just the ability to drive to the airport and pick up a speaker or judge is helpful. Or maybe you have a knack for planning events  – or maybe you’ve had your ear to the ground and know exactly the kind of speakers that we need to contact to thrill our members who are wedding photographers. The needs are varied and sometimes surprising – so let us know what you feel your best talent is.

This level of volunteering is sometimes the part that’s overlooked. Why? Because a lot of these folks work behind the scenes. Quietly and unassumingly they do their jobs in a way that provides a backbone for the organization. These aren’t the folks running the show, not the ones you see behind podiums or winning trophies or carrying microphones. They’re a little bit behind the scenes, so their work is not as obvious to someone looking in – but to those of us looking out – we know they’re there – and we appreciate the heck out of them. They help make our organization look good. Very good.

3. Vested

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This is the Executive Board for the PP of Ohio. These guys work hard. Real hard. All. Year. Long. ©Tom Welsh Photography

If you want to become involved on a deeper level, perhaps you’re interested in becoming a member of a board of directors/trustees – these are positions with a fair amount of responsibility and time commitment – find out the meeting and event schedule, first. More than likely you’re going to be expected to attend a number of board meetings and conventions. These are generally unpaid positions, so travel and accommodations will be at your own expense. Additionally, there’s going to be work required of you in between those meetings and events. Many hours of work go on behind the scenes in order to organize and host conventions and other member benefits. There’s no magic staff behind the scenes – YOU are the staff. This is the time to seriously consider the time and resources you have available to be involved at this level.

But don’t let this scare you off. You need to be realistic about the commitment, but I can testify that this level of service to your organization will come back to you ten-fold. Because this post is nearing bedtime story status in length – when you have a moment read HERE about my own personal experience with the PPO and how it has been instrumental in my growth as a photographer.

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The PP of Ohio Board of Directors. We work hard and play hard. And sometimes we wear leis. And ugly shirts. ©Tom Welsh Photography

So, think about it and let me know, let someone know, that you’d like to step it up a bit and be more than a member.

We’re gonna have an awesome time 😉

To become more involved in the Professional Photographers of Ohio, please email us at staff@ppofohio.org or call us at: 614-407-8776. You will reach either Kristin or Susan, who will take real good care of you! Tell ’em Wootness sent you!

This is Kristin - call her to volunteer - she will hook you up! ©Tom Welsh Photography

This is Kristin – call her to volunteer – she will hook you up! ©Tom Welsh Photography

All Day Print Competition Education FREE | Lewis Center, Ohio: March 13/14, 2015

by Christine

PROFESSIONALS(final)

If you are already a PP of Ohio member, this benefit is FREE for you.
If you’re NOT a member – it’s FREE for you, too – YAY!!

 

All day education for FREE? This is a joke, right?

No joke, folks, here’s the scoop. The PPA allows anyone who wants to attend a District Judging to view it for FREE.

And you know what’s even better?

You can do it TWICE!

That’s right, you can sit in a dark room for two entire days and absorb the combined knowledge of our esteemed judging panel.

Did I say “esteemed” ?

Why yes, yes, I did. The panel we have engaged for this competition are ALL PPA Affiliated Jurors. This is the Northeast District judging, run by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) with some help from the PP of Ohio team. These judges are the cream of the crop and this group contains several of my own personal heroes.

If things go according to past history, we will have a print judging room and a digital image judging room, so you will be able to move freely between them, depending on your mood/preferences. We just ask that you stay extremely quiet in the judging rooms.

Feast your eyes on the educational team we have for you:

judges2015

I’ve said it a jillion times already, but here it is once more:

Aside from participating, watching a print competition is one of the most educational things you can do for your photography. Even if you never enter a competition. Listen and learn as the judges compliment the good things and critique the things that may be holding an image back. Pay attention to the scoring categories and the 12 elements that the judges refer to while speaking about an image.

YOU WILL LEARN.

This will be the best education, HANDS DOWN!

And if you can get this for FREE – HELLO?? What are you waiting for? I expect to see you lined up, waiting to get a front row seat when I show up at 6 AM. Okay, maybe 7 AM.

Get in on this before the powers in charge realize they could be charging.

Judging dates and times are:

Friday, March 13, 2015: 9 AM – 1 PM and 2 PM – 7 PM

Saturday, March 14, 2015: 9 AM – 12 PM and 1 PM – 5PM

Location:
NorthPointe/Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center
100 Green Meadows Drive South
Lewis Center, Ohio 43035

I will be there – please say “hello” if you see me. Slip me your business card so I know who you are – I’ll probably be crazy busy since I’m the print room headmaster – but I will want to meet you 🙂

I hope to see you there!

PS – If you’re not a member and you’d like to hang out for the whole weekend  – we’ve got a groovy discount for you – just buy a membership and save all the day-pass shenanigans for another time. If you mention my name (Christine or Wootness), I’ll get a $25 discount when I renew my dues – so thanks in advance for that 🙂

PPOdeal

How to Build Your Image Competition Advisory Network (PP of OHIO BONUS ARTICLE)

by Christine

Introducing…. the Image Competition Advisory Network.

I. CAN.

(pause for groaning)

OK, that’s enough, I’m being serious, here.

Basically, here’s the deal. If you are participating in print competition, you want to associate with other competitors. You want to have a team of people who understand what it is you are doing that can give you appropriate feedback. You don’t want your mom or your Aunt Ida or your cousin Jerry’s neighbor. You want competitors. Successful competitors. Local competitors. PPA competitors, not the annual county fair competitors.

And just  how does one go about that?

Here’s a tip from me to you. Here’s what I did. Come closer, I don’t want everyone hearing my secret. Go to this link. It is the top secret, double protected official whammy results from all International Print Competitions since 2009. I want you to download and keep a copy of all of these documents. The names in these documents are your “people.” Fellow competitors. Those who walk with greatness. More than likely, they jingle while they do it.

The names are plentiful and the more you see a name repeated, the more experienced and serious that competitor can be assumed to be.

Sidebar: There are, of course, exceptions to this. This is only a handful of years of very recent data. There are a multitude of names from competitions before this that are also worthy of your attention and being active in your professional organizations will help you become familiar with additional names you should know.

Now, back to the I.CAN thing.

Starting with the current year and working backwards, I want you to check the IPC results for the names of folks from your state. Write them down. Make a notation beside each name as to how many general and loan collection images each person had each year. I just go ahead and tally the number of merits each competitor earned across the years of data (each merit image noted with “G” or “GB” gets one point and each loan image noted with an “L” gets two points).

For example – (Ohio people are gonna love me for this) – I compiled all six years of data for entrants from Ohio and came up with this spreadsheet.

Ohio-IPC-2009-2014

So, what exactly is this? What does this mean?

Well, if you take a look at the column on the right hand side, you can see the number of exhibition merits each competitor earned over the last six years. A higher number of merits means more  participation and/or a higher level of success, while lower numbers indicate less participation and/or success. In this example, total merits above 48 indicate that the competitor entered the Artist competition as well as the Photographic Open competition.

If you’re from Ohio, you now have a list of the people closest to you, geographically, that can be of the most help. Wootness! I just saved you a couple of hours of work!

If you’re from another state, you’ll want to compile your own data in a spreadsheet just like this. Here is a blank copy of the spreadsheet to get you started: Blank Spreadsheet; just put in the number of merits and loans and the spreadsheet will automatically tally the total merits.

These are your people.

You want to meet as many of the people on your spreadsheet as possible; especially those who compete consistently and most recently. You’ll want to pay special attention to the folks who earned higher number of merits –  that indicates those with a bit more experience and success under their belts. Those are the folks you might want to ask for advice and input on your images.

One place to look for fellow competitors is at your local and state affiliate meetings. Check your state competitor spreadsheet against the membership list of your local affiliate or even the state organization. See who might be going to the same events as you or someone who may be close to you, geographically. Not all competitors join professional organizations besides the PPA, so if you find someone on your competitor list from your area, make sure you reach out to them, personally.

These are also the people you want to “like” and “follow” on social media. Don’t be a creepy stalker, just quietly let their work fill up your news feed. It’s a wonderful source of inspiration and also gives you a basis for conversation when you do meet them. I know I’m very flattered when someone remembers a specific image I’ve posted.

Now – pay attention to this – this is not a foolproof way to decide who to pay attention to. There are folks whose names do not appear in IPC results at all that have more experience in their little finger than I can ever hope to have. There are folks who do not compete every year, but when they do, watch out! Just bear in mind that this data does not include every one that is a viable resource, but it does get you started going in a fairly good direction.

Sometimes it’s a bit difficult in the beginning to know where to look for help and this should get you started. If you’re from Ohio and belong to the PP of Ohio – find the print room – find me – I will personally introduce you to as many print competitors as you can handle. And if you want to stick around, we can always use extra volunteers in the print room. See how nicely that works out? This year, we are hosting the Northeast District competition, so volunteers will get an extra special behind-the-scenes view. So exciting!

I found most of my Image Competition Advisory Network among a group of photographers called the Photographic Art Specialists of Ohio. We are all PP of Ohio members and explore the artistic edge of photography. These are the folks I’m most likely to be found discussing art and competition with until the wee hours of the morning. As a matter of fact, I think this was taken during a wee hour:

Back L-R: Robert Kunesh, Milovan Andonov. Front l-R: Christine Walsh-Newton, Robert Hughes, Elaine Hughes.

Back L-R: Robert Kunesh, Milovan Andonov. Front L-R: Christine Walsh-Newton, Robert Hughes, Elaine Hughes.

Bear in mind that not everyone is in a position to advise or help other competitors, so if you don’t get a positive response to a request for help, don’t take it personally. My experience has been that more often than not, competitors are a very friendly bunch who would love nothing more than to welcome another person into our competition family, so just try again and I’m sure you’ll come up with a few folks who are willing to at least point you in a good direction.

Over time, you will meet other competitors from outside your area, through District competitions, or perhaps online forums or social media groups. And you will meet those that you add to your list of names. Before too long, you will have culled your list down to people that you have met, worked with and become friends with.

Your very own Image Competition Advisory Network.

Everyone say it all together now…

I! CAN!

There, I knew you could 😉

PP of Ohio Fall 2014 Image Competition Awards

by Christine

2014FallAwards

PP of Ohio Fall 2014 Image Competition Results

by Christine

PPO Fall 2014 Image Competition Results

The Speech I Forgot to Make

by Christine

PROFESSIONALS(final)

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Four evenings ago, a small group of photographers, past recipients of the PPA National Award, lined up at the front of a ballroom in a Columbus, Ohio convention center. As they stood in line, ready to welcome a new member to their group, their total number of years in the photographic industry was staggering, their accomplishments were many and the medallions around their necks held signs of the level of excellence they had reached. In some way, they each had contributed to the industry in a way that not many have. I waited and listened as PPA Vice-President Michael Timmons began to introduce the award, followed by PP of Ohio (PPO) President Tom Walter, who personalized the presentation for the recipient. As the minutes flowed by, the words became more personal and I began to realize that the next recipient of the PPA National Award was me.

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And time stood still. For a moment. And then it began to spin crazily through tears, hugs and astonishment. And somewhere, I think I was supposed to “say a few words,” but I didn’t. I couldn’t have, anyway. First of all, I’m not very synonymous with the phrase “a few words” and secondly, I still can’t talk about that night without choking up a little, so a speech that night – yeah, I would have screwed it up. You were all better off letting me go to my seat and have a glass of wine. Thanks for that.

But now, here we are, and I feel the need to say something. “Thank you” doesn’t begin to cover it.

I’ve stayed pretty silent about the PPO in the articles that I write because they’re MY group. It’s the group where I work and where I play and where I respect the other members and don’t want to do, say or write anything that would bring criticism upon them. But I’m thinking I can probably run my mouth now, right? 😉

So here goes…

When I began researching PPO, I did that OCD thing and looked up every single thing I could. Hey, it wasn’t like I had a couple of states to pick from, I lived in Ohio, these were my “people” and if I was gonna join I wanted to know what I was getting myself into.

And I was impressed.

In my research, I found state, regional and international print competition results. Exactly the main reason I wanted to be involved. I looked at the lists that spanned over several years and kept seeing a large number of names repeated over and over again. Obviously Ohio had a large number of highly excellent photographers within its border.

Nice.

I joined, I attended a conference, went to some classes, entered a competition, won a trophy. Meh. It was ok. Met some people that seemed like they were having fun & they were kind of nice. I was new and kind of introvert-y, so I just figured I’d hang in there and see what happened. By this time, I’d achieved PPA’s CPP designation, but not much else. I was kind of grasping at what to do next.

And then I asked if I could volunteer in the print room.

And an itty-bitty monster was created.

Little by little, over the next few years, I grew. As a photographer, and as a member. Everything I’ve learned has been at the knee of the PPO. From pestering the print chairmen over the years with every question I could think of, to running through tutorials online with Master Photographers who have offered to help me – it’s been the PPO every single step of the way.

The PPO has given me classes to sit in and classes to teach. They’ve introduced me to colleagues for networking, and to folks who have become the dearest friends I’ve known. When I wanted to work on my Craftsman degree, they gave me a small slot to teach a class in at convention. They’ve given me mentors, mentorees and sometimes just brilliant photographers to talk art with until the wee hours.

They held my hand as I’ve negotiated the requirements for the Craftsman and Master of Photography degrees. They cheered me on as it took four long attempts to pass the Ohio CPP portfolio review and they offered me space to proctor CPP exams for the PPA.

They’ve given me jobs, responsibilities, titles and roles. From writing reports and procedures to taping red ribbons on prints, if they’ve asked, I’ve done it, happily, because I have taken away far far more than I have ever given. I am who I am because of the PPO. They’ve been my rock, my stepping stone and sometimes, my safety net.

And yes, I’m looking through some rose-colored glasses right now, but that’s ok. We all know that organizations are not all peaches and cream and the PPO is no different than any other. Along with the laughter and joy, there’s been some frustration and tears – but you know what? In the end we talk, we negotiate, we argue a little and eventually we figure it out and go on. When you’ve got a team of terrific people to work with, you can get problems squared away without too much fuss. That’s kind of the way it goes with family.

Yes. Family.

A lot of photographers aren’t as fortunate as I. Their state has no organization at all, or one they don’t like, or they live in a state that’s so huge that events and meetings are impossible to travel to.

But me, I’ve got the PPO. And they’re kind of stuck with me, now.

I’ve got no illusions that I’m at the top of my game or that I’ve “arrived.” I’m still shocked that I was selected for an award that could have gone to so many other deserving photographers. I understand the prestige and am humbled beyond description.

I will spend the rest of my career proving I was worthy of it.

My heart is full. Thank you for honoring me with a night I will remember forever.

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PP of Ohio Convention: 1 Week until Print Competition Deadline!

by Christine

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It’s that crazy crush of activity the week before the deadline – I know how it is – trust me!

We’ll make this short and sweet – you must register your images online by March 18 at 11 PM.

BUT! If you are entering prints – you need to register them before that because your prints need to reach our print chair by March 17 via mail or they can be hand-delivered to the convention center on March 20th by 11 AM.

See Competition Details Here

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