Why I Hate Being Called An Award-Winning Photographer

March 15th, 2017/Personal/

You have to admit it sounds a bit arrogant, even if it is true.

Recently my marketing and web development firm asked why I’ve never promoted all the awards I’ve won during my career. I quickly answered, “It’s not about me.” He smirked…paused….sighed and said, “It’s all about you.”

The first award I ever received was when I was about 22; the Professional Photographers of America recognized one of my photographs and placed it in the esteemed Loan Collection. This particular year the Loan Collection was to be displayed at Epcot in Disney World. It was quite an honor. My friends and family were thrilled but I knew that it took an entire team to make that image: the amazingly talented Dick Listenberger was the art director with my mother Georgia Garrett having (strong) creative input and Tena Vetor assisting.

A few years later the Professional Photographers of Indiana awarded me the Irving Chase Award (basically “rookie of the year”). I was grateful because Irving Chase was the late father of my family friend and previous president of the Professional Photographers of America the late, great Evangeline Chase Parker. That same year I was recognized by both Fuji and Kodak with honors at that state level. Even so, I had a grandfather, a mother and stepfather who were all Master Craftsman of Photography, a grandmother and father who were both Craftsman of photography. So in comparison it seemed a little lackluster.

As my career has continued to unfold, I have been recognized by such wonderful organizations as the American Advertising Federation with two Gold Addy Awards for food photography; architects with the American Institute of Architects were awarded with Merit Awards, and interior and exterior photography were given Citation Awards, and Honor Awards. Another series of food photography was accepted by the camera manufacturer Credo/Leaf to be exhibited in Stockholm. Just last week designers submitted interior photography recognized by the International Interior Design Association with the Runner Up in Economical Design and Best of Show in Residential Design. Yet it wasn’t until then that I realized why it irked me so much to tout myself as an award-winning photographer:

Not one of these projects was accomplished alone.

A team of very talented people were involved in each shoot that has been awarded with accolades. Last week Parallel Design Group and One 10 Studio designed and successfully completed two interior projects that I had the honor of photographing. For these two projects there were six designers, two assistants and one photographer involved. Nine people won awards last week. I was simply one of them.

So I will follow the lead of my marketing firm and tell you I am an award-winning photographer – it’s true. Through the span of my years in the industry, many have acknowledged my photography as worthy of recognition. However, as I reflected last week on my latest accomplishment, I discovered that what I actually excel at is collaborating with some incredibly talented people. We make each other look good don’t we?

-Lesle Lane, Owner and Founder

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