portrait by Levi Sim

We wanted to take a moment to say thank you to Photofocus founder, Scott Bourne.  Be sure to read Scott’s own words here.

Scott started Photofocus more than 18 years ago and has served as a mentor and inspiration for many photographers.  The team at Photofocus wanted to share their feelings (and we invite you to do the same in the comments section). A few of Scott’s students also wanted to chime in.

Photofocus Team

Richard Harrington (publisher)

I remember spending the day with Scott and walking around Photo Plus Expo.  We talked about helping and changing the photo industry.  I wanted to be on the Photofocus podcast, and he brought me onboard.  Flash forward a few years, and we’d tackled many incredible projects that helped folks.  We published our first eBook together; we taught together, we laughed.  Scott is a generous man who’s lived a bold life.  I’ve watched him squash myths, destroy barriers, and build up people.  Thank you to my friend and mentor.

Kevin Ames (managing editor)

I met Scott Bourne at Photoshop World about three years ago. He shared his vision for Photofocus and told me he wanted me writing on the site. My “Digital Photographer’s Notebook” column in Photoshop User magazine had just wrapped up after eleven and a half years. I was looking for another outlet. Boom! Photofocus! Over the years, Scott has mentored me with writing tips, shared his life experiences and listened to mine. We’ve had meals in Vegas and NYC in fancy and not-fancy-at-all places. The meals were wonderful because of the conversations. Scott, you are one-of-a-kind. I treasure our phone calls, your advice, and entrepreneurial spirit. Thank you for Photofocus, the wisdom and most of all, your friendship.

Levi Sim (managing editor)

Like hundreds of thousands of others, I was a new photographer when I started listening to Scott and his guests on the Photofocus podcast, and they helped me learn to make better pictures. Like hundreds of others, I attended Going Pro and Skip Cohen University, which Scott and Skip Cohen co-created. Like many others, I’ve benefitted personally from Scott’s mentorship and friendship. Knowing that he’s been rooting for me has helped me keep going in my photographic career, and he’s helped me keep focussed on the most important thing–my family. The photography industry and my family are better off for Scott’s teaching, his humor, and his uncompromising dedication to helping others. I’m excited to see where’s Scott’s adventures take him and how he’ll next revolutionize photography education. Thank you, Scott; we’re all rooting for you.

Susan Kanfer:

It has been three memorable years since we first met, photographing horses and cowboys at a workshop in Arizona, talking about our Fuji X-T1’s. Scott always has good advice, quickly answers my questions, and offer words of encouragement. And now suddenly I have gone from being a photographer to being a photographer and a writer! Scott, thank you for your friendship these last few years, for being my biggest fan, and for introducing me to Photofocus. You are the best!

Ron Pepper

Scott, I’ve been a fan for many years before I knew you, and I will always love that you became a friend and a mentor.  Thank you for the straight talk, and for the straight bullshit talks too, both have shown me your wisdom and your often-camouflaged BIG heart.

Lisa Robinson

Thank you for always being a never ceasing cheerleader for all of us here. You’ve always brought wisdom and encouragement to all of us and always and left us better for it. Now it’s time for us to cheer you on as you enjoy your retirement to the fullest!

Scott Lawrence

As soon as podcasts came out in about 2005, I was listening. And Scott was there. Always a trusted voice – a voice of an artist and a businessman, Scott’s guidance very much helped paved the way for my photography career in so many ways. I can’t thank him enough.

Rob Sylvan

I have been a long time reader of Photofocus, but I didn’t meet Scott until a 2009 Photoshop World conference (thanks to our mutual friend Nicole S. Young). I later reached out to Scott via email about doing a guest blog post for Photofocus on the topic of “10 things I would tell a new Lightroom user” with the hope of helping new users avoid common pitfalls. Scott graciously accepted my submission, and that post went on to becoming quite popular. So much so that Scott Kelby picked up on the theme with ten tips of his own for his blog, and some other Lightroom writers followed suit on theirs. This highlighted for me what Scott was so good at doing, which was connecting and helping other photographers in ways that amplified their efforts far greater than they ever could have done alone. I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunities Scott Bourne has made available to me. He is the king of opening doors for others and helping people succeed. Thank you, Scott!

Chamira Young

Scott has been one of the most influential — and encouraging — people in my life. I mean that. He’s also been one of the most humble and helpful. It’s such a pleasure and an honor to know him, and also to have been mentored by him. Every single phone chat and in-person conversation that we’ve had have been paradigm-changing. He genuinely cares about my development as a photographer and also as a person. I know this is true for so many other folks who come into contact with him as well. You don’t meet too many people like Scott. In fact, I’m not even sure he realizes how powerful, creative, and positive his legacy is. He makes you want to become a better person. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m proud to call him my friend. He’s such a blessing in my life!

Bryan Esler

As a longtime reader, and now author, of Photofocus, Scott has been a major contributor in my photography education. From when I got my first pro DSLR until now, Scott has been inspirational and has pushed me into taking the next steps in photography. While I finally met Scott last summer in Chicago, I learned that not only is he an amazing teacher and photographer — he knows how to pick some of the best restaurants in town! Being able to sit down with him for a couple of hours further inspired me to pursue my dreams as a photographer, and that will certainly be an experience I’ll never forget. Thank you, Scott, for everything; you’ve been an amazing mentor and will forever be someone that I will look up to.

Students of Scott

Mark Gunter, Skip Cohen University

Not really sure what to say other than he’s been a big inspiration. I made it to my first Skip’s thanks to Scott’s generosity. I think it was 2012 (my second SSS) when he told us that if we weren’t passionate about photography to get out. It was a lot deeper than that, but his obvious love of the craft and the impact it has on people’s lives continues to be a motivator for me.

Jared Burns, Skip Cohen University

When I started this journey, listening to Scott on his early podcasts was my main source of learning. Then Scott and Skip teamed up and, through those episodes playing on my car speakers, told me over and over again this dream was possible. It didn’t seem possible at the time with the 9-5 and 4-hour round trip commute. However, the things I’ve learned from him through the years has steered me true and part of the reason I’m able to do what I love here today. Thank you, Scott, for all your dedication to education and the industry!

Kaylene Fister, Skip Cohen University

Scott’s had a huge impact on both me personally and my photography – even though I’ve never met him. The first real contact with Scott was when I emailed a question to him and got a phone call back a few minutes later. After I stopped fangirling, we had a great conversation. Aside from the beautiful images, what inspires me most about Scott are his generous nature and desire to help others improve.