Happy New Year IPPG!
I hope this newsletter finds you all refreshed after a busy holiday season. I hope each of you had the chance to visit with family and friends and celebrate all that was great in 2018.
With a new year upon us, it is the perfect time to reflect on the highlights of the past year and use those successes (and the failures) to shine as a beacon that guides us down our path into these uncharted waters of 2019.
With that, as I reflect on 2018 and all we accomplished as a guild, a family, a collective group of like-minded professionals, I can't help but feel a sense of joy and happiness. In 2018 we learned how to just "be" with Renee Gage. Jessica Vogel taught us the ins and outs of PPA competition. Rad Drew shared the power we carry in our pockets. Mark Rice and Tyson White gave us the scoop on real estate. Thom Rouse guided us through the great halls of the art museum in Chicago, and we weathered the elements on the pier. Jim Hamel shared his research and techniques for shooting after dark. Many of us spent a week learning and building relationships at Winona. We grilled hot dogs in the rain while Eileen and Laura were sharing their on-location portraits tips at the park. Nancy shared some of her secrets on posing groups. Todd won a printer (that our good friend, Jim Hamel, donated to help the growth of our members). We participated in friendly, state print competition where Kristi Swift put on a heck of a show with the help of many volunteers over many hours. We flew to great heights with Kevin Hudson during his full-day drone program and spent a fantastic, exclusive evening with Roberts Camera starting a new tradition of collaboration. Isaac Coffy clued us all in on the power of social media and current applications (which many have been gaining from). Mary Fisk-Taylor helped us understand the importance of building our brand and utilizing outside help and resources. We had several members challenge themselves with new certifications through CPP and drone pilot testing. And we concluded with an incredible Christmas party that even Santa couldn't miss. Wow! We did a lot of great stuff!
This isn't to say there weren't some things we wish went differently, but it's normal to have these feelings and learn to be at peace with these things. Failures mean progress. Stumbles mean we had the courage to walk, jog, run, and leap. It's easier to make these bold strides knowing we have true friends ahead and behind who call us to hang in there and who pick us back up when we fall.
We are all on the same journey. Despite our differences and other varied paths, we share this road we call photography. We are all at different places, but we are all equal, and that's important to remember. No matter how far we may feel others are ahead of us, we must be confident that if we press forward, we will get there too. Artists should never see colleagues as competitors, but brothers and sisters who share a very special journey. Together we can "see" hardship, loss, heartache, and sadness like all others, but we use our talents to plant seeds in those dark places. Our efforts collectively nurture those seeds we plant into life's great garden of beauty, honesty, love, friendship, motivation, empowerment, equality, and grace.
What a responsibility we have as some of life's "gardeners".
I love what we've done this past year and am proud about what we are, but I'm even more excited for what we have in store for 2019. I hope you got rested up, because starting with Imaging USA in Atlanta, we are just getting started on an incredible year of growth. What can each of us do to contribute to all of our learning? I challenge us to make this year one to remember!
Thank you all for being part of this journey and for being a part of this family.
See you in Atlanta!
Roben Bellomo, M.Ed., M.Photog., CPP