Above is a self-painted image of Helen Yancy and her dog Charlie. Helen was only the 17th person to win the Lifetime Achievement Award in the history of Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

Helen’s speech in a nutshell

“I have just a few words to share with you that I want you to take to your heart because they are coming from mine.

The first one is learn. Learn. Learn what people are telling you. Learn what’s the truth and what isn’t. Learn the difference between what’s good and what’s trivial and what’s going to pass away. Set your ego on the shelf and learn your craft. Learn your craft!

The second one is listen. Listen. Listen to your mentors. Listen to your critics. Listen to your judges in competition. And don’t get mad at ’em. Listen to them, because they’re going to help you grow. Listen to what people are not saying. Listen to between the lines.

The next thing is levitate. When something goes wrong, or you make a mistake, or you didn’t do it right or you are disappointed, or somebody got ahead of you, levitate. Rise above it. Rise above it.

And, the last one is love and laugh, because life’s too short if you don’t love and laugh.”

Read or listen to her complete (short) acceptance speech here.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob