Let the Sun Shine In…Imaging USA 2017, Day Three

1/10/2017

by James Yates

The temperature in San Antonio today reached a sunny 80 degrees. As I mentioned on Day One, I'd like to thank Imaging USA and the 10,000 amazing professional photographers who descended on the city for bringing the warmth. It was a remarkable three days, packed with so much networking, friend-making and bonding that, if you're leaving here not making at least one new contact, friend or mentor...you did it wrong! The education has been so life-changing that, again, if you didn't take away at least one thing for your business in 2017...maybe you should look back through your notes. 

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We had the pleasure of interviewing attendees on the Expo floor all day and they were amazed at the camaraderie to be found at Imaging USA. As people exited the International Photographic Competition exhibit they were beaming, having been inspired by the images. Several members said they had received feedback from IPC mentors at the Merit Cafe and it had encouraged and motivated them to enter in 2017. If YOU haven't entered photographic competitions, there is no better way to improve your craft and push yourself forward. 

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PPA Charities gave away their annual "Dream Studio", a prize package of gear and equipment worth over $50,000. Throngs of people gathered around to hear the winner's name called and, fittingly, the award went to a brand-new Business Challenge participant, Lindsay Syme. Stay tuned to PPA Today to find out what happens with her new Dream Studio throughout the year.

Imaging USA 2017's program closed with the Award and Degree ceremony, honoring those who have earned a PPA degree, excelling and uplifing PPA and its thousands of members. There were 163 degree recipients this year, more than ever before, demonstrating that more and more people are taking their craft seriously, entering competitions, earning merits and elevating professional photography through their PPA membership. 

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The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Robert Freson, the legendary photographer who has captured the last half of the 20th century in his photographs. Everything and everyone from President Eisenhower to Charles and Diana's wedding has been viewed through Freson's lens. President Lori Craft presented the award to Freson, who found it "remarkable and quite unexpected". He said he was "truly amazed" by the work of PPA's members and, coming from him, that is quite the honor. 

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The closing party rages on. Business cards are being passed out, social media links are being exchanged. New friends for a new year, bonded through a love of professional photography, is what Imaging USA is all about. Do NOT miss Nashville next year. Take it from this year's attendees: Imaging USA is the greatest photography show on earth.