President’s Message

RussCaron0182-Edit2013-2014 MPPA President

Russell R. Caron

The Maine PPA is about many things, and education is really high on the list. There isn’t one of us that can’t possibly learn more, is there? Through our monthly training events, and through our always-inspiring and thought-provoking Maine Mentors programs led by our talented membership every spring, the MPPA offers diverse and idea-producing training by industry leaders.

I always say “friends first; competitors second”. Networking with peers is vital to me, and it likely should be to you as well. I have seen wonderful synergy – the phenomena that collaborating yields a total greater than the sum of the parts – when working closely with my competitors… and I bet you will too.

If pressed to identify a single benefit that has made me a better a photographer, I would say that would be participating in Print Competition. Wow, thinking back at my first year competing, and it wasn’t all that long ago, have my scores and prints ever improved! I credit much of it simply to enthusiasm, a want and a willingness to learn and be better, and what I learned through officially-judged print competitions. Don’t be intimidated. Perhaps sit and watch the first year. Think through that next year, and shoot for your clients, shoot for yourself, and shoot to enter print competitions. Learn from what you see win, learn from what you see critiqued during judging. And, MPPA hosts a print critique night each year a few months before competition. It’s a great “dry-run” to help you select and fine-tune images to enter.

Not: a bunch of old guys sitting in a dark room smoking cigars.

We are: enthusiastic, ambitious working professionals (with a large number of young women, reflecting today’s photographic professionals) involved with a diverse range of photographic art, running successful businesses. We want YOU to join us, if you haven’t already.

As I write this (Saturday, April 13) I reflect on the inordinate amount of talent that lies in the state of Maine (and around us!). I participated in the Maine Photography Show and was literally overwhelmed at the diversity and talent represented by the entries at this show. Some were by MPPA members, but the vast majority were not. My challenge to every member: reach out to just ONE new person and get them to join the Maine PPA. We’re not even at the tip of the potential membership iceberg. Let’s show others the real face of Maine PPA today. Just think where we could go over the next year with twice the talent and enthusiasm!

Volunteer to be a Maine Mentor next spring. Host a workshop. Teach a PPA Super Monday session at your studio. Be a speaker at a neighboring state’s PPA meeting. Speak at career day at your middle school. Lead a photo shoot. Start an on-line photo competition or “photo-of-the-day” challenge. I can’t tell you how rewarding (OK, tough too…) it is to volunteer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (please ‘google’ this if you don’t know what NILMDTS is). Teach a child how to use a camera (you should have seen the student entries at the Maine Photography Show opening: It was impressive!). Did you know that when we teach it makes us grow to learn even more? Studies prove it. Above all, it just feels right to teach and share.

Let’s make this year the best in each our collective lives, business-wise and personally, and I’m suggesting doing so with MPPA as part of the formula will help guarantee success! 

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