Volunteering for PPA (PPA+IPC+Atlanta)

As most people know, when it comes to any type of craft, sport, media outlet, car company. There is always some type of “governing body” if you will that somewhat dictates the way things go in the world of those industries. This week, I had a chance to volunteer for one in our profession. From August 11th through the 15th, I was privileged to get an opportunity most photographers don’t usually get unless you fork out some change to become a member!

This past week I was fortunate to volunteer for the Professional Photographers of America and a print competition that they hold every year. Fortunately enough for students like me, for the past few years they have held this competition at my school, Gwinnett Technical College. Every year, the director of our program Sheri Finch, comes to the group of students, whether they be in their second year or first, and ask them if they would like to take the opportunity to volunteer and go behind the scenes for this competition.

As one of their big competitions held once a year, PPA’s International Print Competition is held every August at Gwinnett Technical Institute. Using the schools facilities by taking up basically a whole block of the schools 100 building, they spend four days intensively judging images submitted by members from all over the country.

Now, when it comes to this competition, there are two ways of submission. You are either able to submit prints electronically, and or in actual print form (which I was in charge of helping handle). On top of that, there are many categories, ones which I am still slightly confused on. To give an example; there are masters prints, general prints, loan prints, albums, sealed prints, etc. With these prints, the judges during the week, accept and or reject whether they get a merit, go into the general collection, loan collection or a book of images. The book of images is from what I understand a collection of images that were not able to come to a conclusion by the judges as to whether it would be accepted or rejected. Because of this a judge gives up a “token” or what seemingly is a “pass” to go into the book.

Another bright side to this competition along with the others that PPA holds, is that during so, you have the ability to win Merits for any activity that you do during the competition. You can not only earn merits for winning. But you can for judging, volunteering, as well as taking specific classes during the competitions. Depending on what you do can earn you a different amount of them. By the third day we were finally told what in the world it was that a lot of the judges/members had on when they were walking around with these silly looking things that kind of reminded you of what a cowboy would where around his neck with the charm on the top.

All in all, for me personally it was a great experience. I honestly went into the competition to volunteer with the perception that it was going to be a boring time, having to help do things. But in reality, surrounded by fellow classmates and friends, as well as meeting new people who I am sure will stay in contact over these next years. It was definitely well worth the experience and I will never forget it.

Now, on to IMAGING USA and the PPA IPC next year!

-Till next time everyone, Davison!


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