On the Merits of NANPA

Ellen, I cancelled my NANPA Membership as I don’t see that I get anything out of it. Uwe

Uwe, you do not get anything whatsoever out of a NANPA membership except personal contact with fellow photographers.

If you do not value such personal connections then you wouldn’t value a NANPA membership. And, if you do not attend any NANPA meetings to ignite the personal connection factor, then there is no value in it, either. I think you are being premature here. I don’t think that you have attended any NANPA event yet, have you?

I can afford to miss a few meetings because I have already spent years connecting with NANPA personalities. I hate the thought that you would de-value NANPA without ever experiencing its major asset, that of personal connectedness.

What do you ‘get’ out of a personal friendship with someone anyway? Not revenue, usually. Certainly not fame, not even a concrete ‘value’ in a number-crunching sort of way. You get nothing, mostly; at least nothing tangible.

NOTE: I value my friendship with you. There is no alterior motive here except that I know how you think and I like your style, and I know, from knowing you over time, that you have a lot to offer. I trust your instincts. I trust how you see things.

In my mind that counts for everything.

NANPA has provided that for me ten-fold. You may have ‘met’ Moose Peterson indirectly but I know him directly, personally, I have spent some extended time with him at Yosemite and, as a result, I see him quite differently than you might see him.

We live in a fairly impersonal world. What I love most about photography is not the technology or the equipment, or even the products of my photography. What I love and value most are the personal relationships with people that would not have come about without the medium of photography to open those relationship doors.

Bob Grytten is another good example. Bob and I met in the mid-90’s at the first NANPA summit and my life has been enriched by that relationship ever since. Bob stands for all that the word association has to offer. Bob makes me think. Bob and I laugh and compare notes together. Bigger photographic collectives miss the point because all they offer are annual meetings and workshops and, in some cases, equipment insurance; maybe even a high gloss publication of some kind. But they do not offer personal relationships. Those come purely by chance in the midst of such largeness.

I don’t know about you, Uwe, but I value the ability to call or email someone within the photographic community at any time of day or night and know that I will get an answer to my question. I can only hope that they feel similarly about me. We answer different questions for each other.

I don’t have to wait for OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER to come to my mailbox to get some answers. Indeed, I can get far better answers via my personal friendships with people than anything that OP can possibly do for me.

Photography, for me, is an interactive endeavor. It is not just about equipment despite what OP and so many other photographic publications would have you think.

Photography is all about how I express myself in the world. It is about me. And you are very much a part of that.

Without NANPA and other such opportunities for personal contact I would not know the likes of Bob Grytten and Art Wolfe and Dewitt Jones and Bill Atkinson and Peter Burian and Moose Peterson and Rob Sheppard and Artie Morris and Frans Lanting and Ellen Anon and Mark Lutz and Gary Braach and Joe McCary and Steve Freligh and Lesley Collins and Keith Briscoe and Barbara Jordan…and…so many others. My list is a long one.

That’s what counts. Is it worth $100??? YOU BET IT IS. And more.

Dr. Ellen

PS. Ellen, I kind of waited for this reply. I value friendships but do not make them easily. There is currently no “hook” into a NANPA meeting (too many days and too far away). But believe me in general I think very much like you. The only reason I cancelled is saving money which I really need. I can rejoin in case I get a different perspective.

You said: I value my friendship with you.

Me, too, and that is why I wrote to you. I might even cancel the cancellation!


Bob Grytten (left) with Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph at NANPA

Bob Grytten with Dr. Ellen at a NANPA meeting in FL


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