Tuesday, December 18, 2012

PPA Charities Photo Idol 2012 - Day 5

We’re over halfway through the PPA Charities Photo Idol 2012 promotion launched on 12/12/12. I truly hope my stories will inspire you to participate; this is not only about recognizing those who helped me along the way, but doing something good for a great cause.

PPA Charities – the charitable arm of the Professional Photographers of America – was established back in 1997 at the urging of then-PPA President Bert Behnke. In 2005, PPA Charities teamed up with Operation Smile as its charitable partner. Since that time, PPA Charities has contributed $500,000 to the organization dedicated to repairing the cleft lips and palates of children in countries where this malady would otherwise go untreated.

At a time of year when gift-giving is appropriate, we invite you to give a gift of your own to help change a child’s life. Not only is this a great cause and excellent way to “pay it forward”, but also an awesome way to honor some of the very important people who helped to shape your photographic careers.

It’s time to add another name to my PPA Charities Photo Idol list. I was probably working print crew at the Northern Light Convention in 2005 when we first became acquainted. However, it was the 1998 NL gathering when this impression was first made. I was sitting in the trade show at one of the empty tables after the show had closed, writing a postcard to my sons. Bert Behnke walked into the room after the print judging and we began to chat. He smiled at the postcards on the table and said “I like to send a card to my son when I’m traveling, too.”

Later that year, when I was on stage receiving my Master and Craftsman Degrees, it was PPA President Bert Behnke who shook my hand after Helen Yancy had placed the ribbon around my neck.

When Bert called me in the fall of 2007 and asked if I would be interested in a position on the PPA Charities board, I was very flattered and humbled. The chance to “pay it forward” in this manner was an opportunity I welcomed. He has introduced me to so many people in the industry that have become good friends.

Bert and his wife Cindy have also spoken across the country helping photographers understand not only lighting and posing techniques, but sales skills and studio procedures.

Bert is also a big Chicago sports fan, which has made for some fun rivalries over the years.

My vote today for PPA Charities Photo Idol 2012 is Bert Behnke. In Bert’s honor, please vote Chicago-style (that means vote early and often!)

Cast your vote at http://www.ppacharities.com/donate_now.html

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