Karen Nakamura - M.Photog., M.Artist, Cr.
Karen has been volunteering for photographic organizations since 2005 when she joined the board at Professional Photographers of Los Angeles County. Since then she has worked her way up from Treasurer to Second Vice President up to the 1st Vice President. She has run their print competition. She has received the Presidents Award in 2006 and 2008.
She has also volunteered for Professional Photographers of California starting as the Speaker Display and Affiliate Display Chair for Pro Photo Expo. Other jobs have been the Business and Arts Degree Chair, Affiliate Chair, working on the board for West Coast School, designing advertisements for PPC and West Coast School and she ran the California State Image Competition for the years of 2014 - 2016. She has designed the logo for West Coast School and had the honor of designing the medallion for the California Masters Degree and PPC Hall of Fame. She has received the Presidents Award in 2013, 2014 and 2017. This award is given each year to outstanding individuals who have contributed unselfishly to the advancement of professional photography and the advancement of the Professional Photographers of California and who has been of personal help and support for the president. In 2013 Karen earned the PPC Service Award and earned service bars in 2014, 2015 and 2017. In 2016 Karen was awarded the Barry Evans – Elmer Kingham Award which is given for “Outstanding Service to the Profession” and the Carlos Lozano Mentor of the Year Award which was given to her in recognition for sharing her knowledge and experience to help other photographers. In January of 2019, Karen was awarded the PPA National Award for meritorious contributions to professional photography from PPC and again in 2022 from ASP.
Karen has been serving on the American Society of Photographers board since 2018. She joined the Executive Board as Secretary/Treasurer in 2020 and is currently the ASP president. Besides her board duties, she also helps with the ASP Gala, Late Night Lounge, Graphic Design team, IOD committee, Sponsorship committee and AV. Karen has also been served on the PPA Council from 2012-2018.
Known for creating elegant floral art, Karen’s work is delicate and romantic. Based in Los Angeles, California, she captures her most beloved still-life subjects, butterflies, flowers, and birds, with a high caliber of quality and precision. Karen’s attention to detail is astonishing, as she is careful to perfect every pixel in each piece. She is gifted with a unique take on flowers that evolves with each new blossom she shoots.
PPA has honored Karen with their Diamond Photographer of the Year in 2013 and 2017, and she also awarded the Master Artist Diamond Photographer of the Year in 2014. Karen has metaled in Professional Photographers of America’s photographic competition every year since she first entered the PPA International Photographic Competition back in 2010 to 2020. Karen has also won the coveted Canon Par Excellence Award, representing the pinnacle of achievement at the Professional Photographers of America regional level.
In 2017, Karen was named the California Photographer of the Year for having the #1 case at the California State Image Competition. She has also been the Top Ten Photographer from the years 2011-2014. She is one of the first photographers to earn the California Masters Degree from Professional Photographers of California.
John Powers - M.Photog., Cr., CPP
John has spent the last eleven years as a travel photographer. Using Tokyo as his base, John photographed throughout the southeast Asia region, to include India, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Japan. Five years ago he returned to live in the USA. John continues to “cross the pond” to photograph in southeast Asia, making two to three trips a year. He holds the Master of Photography and the Photographic Craftsman degrees from the Professional Photographers of America and is a Certified Professional Photographer.
Aileen Harding - M.Photog., Cr., CPP
Chris Wooley - M.Photog., Cr., CPP
Chris Wooley is a member of the Ambassador, ASP Mentors, Audio Visual and Event Photography committees.
Chris is a photographer and educator with a retail portrait studio in Spokane, Washington where he specializes in Vintage Inspired Portraits and Commercial Business Portraits. He holds the Master Photographer and Photographic Craftsman degrees and Certified Professional Photographer status from the Professional Photographers of America, where he also serves as a councilor, advocating for photographer rights. He is a past-President of the Professional Photographers of Washington. Chris has won numerous print awards, including multiple Fuji Masterpieces, ACI’s Image Excellence, and various state “best of” awards. He is a recipient of the prestigious “PPA National Award” for his contributions towards the photographic industry. Chris helps photographers learn and hone their craft by presenting at workshops, conferences, and meet-ups across the US.
Chris doesn't visualize! His mind's eye is blank, a condition called aphantasia, which affects about 2% of the population.
Sharon Lobel - M. Photog, Cr.
Sharon Lobel is the Chairman of the Gala Logistics and Planning, Late Night Lounge and Events committees. She has been the Chairman of the Service committee.
Sharon is a National & State accredited Master Photographer and Photographic Craftsman. She is a self-taught landscape, nature, wildlife, ocean, and surf photographer. She is also a travel excursion photo leader, having traveled extensively around the world. She serves as an ASP Governor, Gala co-chair and the Service Awards chair.She is the 2013 & 2016 International Silver Medalist and the 2021 International Bronze Medalist. She has several images in the Loan and Showcase collection books. For Professional Photographers of California, she served as the West Coast School Secretary, PPC State Secretary and Image Competition Critique Chair. Sharon has several state award winning images with PPC and was named the 2016 PPC Animal Photographer of the Year. Sharon received her Service award (S-PPC) early on with PPC and in 2017 she received her PPC Master of Photography Degree. In January 2019 Sharon received the most prestigious award that PPC can bestow upon an individual, the Evans-Kingham Award for her service to the photographic community. Sharon is a past President of PPLAC – Professional Photographers of Los Angeles County and has served as 1st Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Parliamentarian. She is also a multiple award winner with PPLAC. Sharon makes her home in Nevada.
Fujiko Yamamoto -
Fujiko Yamamoto is a recognized bilingual portrait photographer based in Dallas, TX. She has a background in marketing and a dual certification in graphic and web design. In 2014, Fujiko discovered her love for photography when she joined her local PPA Guild. Inspired and supported by fellow photographers, Fujiko earned her CPP in 2016 and her Master of Photography in 2020.
Fujiko joined Dallas PPA board of directors in 2016. In 2019, Fujiko was elected as the first Asian president of the DPPA. As president, her achievements included the implementation of a welcoming committee, new member orientation session, new award system for image competition, fellowship plus for service points, and began sponsor recognition awards. As past-president, she continues and enjoys actively supporting and competing with her local Guild.
In 2021, Fujiko joined ASP and she is currently the chair of their Graphic Design committee. Some of her contributions have included: redesigning the ASP logo, serving as the AV chair at IMAGING, and acting as the chair of the design committee. In 2022, she became the ASP State Representative for Texas. Fujiko appreciates the opportunity and the honor of being nominated to be part of the 2023 ASP Board of Directors. She looks forward to continuing to support ASP and the photography community in many ways.
Marisa Balletti Lavoie–M. Photographer, M. Artist, Craftman
Marisa Balletti-Lavoie is the Chairman of the Social Media committee and the "Queen" of our Facebook page.
Marisa believes in bold, independent, original thought daily, and living her life unapologetically. She is a self taught professional photographer of 15 years, & life long artist. Marisa's Meriden, Connecticut photo studio, The Sassy Space, is the center of her Sassy Mouth™ Photo creativity. Marisa continues to re-invent, and evolve her brand, constantly climbing higher, and pushing boundaries along the way. Marisa has received her Master of Photography, Master Artist & Photographic Craftsman Degrees from the Professional Photographers of America, and has been acknowledged by the American Society of Photographers with the first ever, coveted “Superstar” pin, in gratitude for her work on their social media. Marisa is also a 2021 Grand Imaging Award Finalist for her album "Metamorphosis", and earned PPA Platinum Photographer of the Year status in 2021. She loves music festivals, her family, great lipstick, and boxed wine. Marisa believes in the power of education, and will be an eager student of the world for life.
Rene Gage - M.Photog.
Renée C. Gage is a Master Photographer who has specialized in capturing families, children, expectant mothers, and professionals with her camera for over twenty years. Renée is known for preserving life’s rich beauty and capturing the little moments that mean the most with elegance and eloquence. She is thrilled to be a part of Nepenthe Gallery as it brings a new light, creative presence and community space to her beloved community.
Renée is a member of the American Society of Photographers and in 2022 was awarded her Photographic Craftsman Degree by the Professional Photographers of America. In 2020 and 2021, two of Renée’s images won the prestigious “Best Portrait of a Child” award from the Virginia Professional Photographers Association and “Ascend” was named Top 50 Portraits of a Child in the United States. She is also recognized internationally for her infrared landscape imagery and recently earned a place in the distinguished VPPA Commonwealth Collection. Also bestowed upon her multiple times has been the prestigious Kodak Gallery Award. Renée’s work has been published and displayed prominently around the country in such places as the U.S. Capitol and Disney’s Epcot Center as well as internationally.
Renée began her photography career while living in Maine in 2001 and continues to build an extensive clientele around the world. Wherever her travels take her, Renée preserves life’s rich beauty, image by image, capturing the little moments that mean the most. Renée is active in her communities, giving back to each place she has lived in various ways. The Gages are a proud Navy family and love and embrace the military community wherever they live. Renée currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her loving and supportive husband, their five happy boys and marvelous pup.
Anne Looney - Cr.Photog., CPP
As a portrait, business, and collections photographer based in Columbia, Maryland, I love to artfully document all that you treasure!
After studying English/American Literature at UCSC and spending a year in Provence and Paris studying photography, I returned to my hometown of WDC. There I began my nine year career with the National Gallery of Art Department of Design, photographing and researching antique frames and coordinating design and installation in the West Building permanent collection galleries. This work took me nationally and abroad to study and document framing of master paintings, and provided the opportunity to work with top professionals in art administration and scholarship.
At the same time, my own studio and darkroom work focused on photographing and printing fine art black and white lifestyle portraits. Transitioning to today’s digital darkroom in 2005, I now enjoy over 30 years experience of learning, growing, and adapting in my industry.
Collaboration in the arts is my cornerstone, and as an active member of local and national photography organizations, I pursue continued education, professional standards, and community as a top priority. Dedicated to serving in my field, I have been recognized with distinguished service awards: the PPA National Award, and two service awards from Maryland PPA. From PPA I have earned my CPP designation and Craftsman degree, and have been honored with Best Pet Photograph and Best Nature Photograph in the annual Maryland Professional Photographers Print Competition. My 11 years of service on the MDPPA board included the roles of At-Large member (1 year), Treasurer (5 years), President (2 years), Chairman (2 years) and after a short break, as Chairman 2023-?.
Looking to provide a space for fellow photographers who often work on their own, I started Collaborative Work Day for Maryland PPA in 2018. During that time, members and guests have been meeting once a month in person and/or by Zoom to share ideas, work alongside each other, seek solutions, and in general collaborate in a supportive community.
Traveling, and visiting museums, galleries, studios, and work spaces is essential creative input for me. I look forward to making time to experience art in every place I visit, for inspiration and education. This year I was equally inspired by the musicians in the Rock N’Roll Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, as I was by Andrew Wyeth’s painting studio in Chadds Ford, PA, and museums and aquariums, and places of faith in Japan, Vienna, and Amsterdam.
I am thankful for my life experiences, for what I have learned from others, and for how this informs what I can offer my clients - curated photographic storytelling - and my colleagues - an interest in growing and excelling together.
Lori McCoy, M. Photog.,Cr., CPP
In 2021, Lori came onto the ASP Images of Distinction committee to help with the upcoming first ever competition. After the 2021 IOD, Lori became the committee chair, where she has guided the 2022 and 2023 IOD competitions. She has written articles for the ASP Magazine, is an ASP State Rep, and she is currently working on the 2024 IOD competion. Lori has been an invaluable volunteer for ASP, working on the Gala and Late Night Lounge events, running errands, and doing whatever it takes to get things done!Lori came to photography later in life. She had a long career with the US Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, from 1988 - 2021, as a Housing Loan Specialist. While still working for the government full-time, Lori opened her business, Bella Vita Photography, in 2007, eventually moving to a 2,000-foot square space studio in her city’s historic district in 2016. During this time, she really honed her time management and prioritization skills! Lori’s business now specializes mostly in boutique volume work (mostly show choirs), although she also photographs families, children and seniors.
Lori volunteered with PPO’s (Ohio) image competition for many years, including being print comp chairperson. Lori took the knowledge she gained working the state competition and became the chairperson for her local affiliate’s Professional Photographers of Southwest Ohio (PPSO) competition—modernizing it, rewriting the rules, and implementing the printcompetition.com system to streamline and improve the entrants’ experience.
She served as a board member with PPSO for three years, before coming onto the executive board. She served as Vice President (two terms), President and Past President. Under her leadership, the affiliate experienced membership increases and attendance soared as a result of the dynamic programming she created.
Bruce Bonnett - M.Photog
Bruce has been serving as a Governor and Parliamentarian on the American Society of Photographers board since 2020. Bruce also serves on the Website committee. He leads our effort to create Standard Operating Procedures for ASP.
Bruce Bonnett is an award-winning nature and landscape photographer in Redlands, CA who has been interested in photography since high school. He began a semi-professional photographic career in college focusing on group and portrait photography. He also taught classes on the physics of photography and worked in the university’s graphics arts lab. He holds a Master Photographer degree from the Professional Photographers of America. Also, a member of the Professional Photographers of California, he was named one of the Top Ten Photographers in 2015, 2016, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 and in 2018 and 2022 was the Nature Photographer of the Year. A past president of the Inland Empire Professional Photographers and Videographers, he has been awarded Nature or Illustrative Photographer of the Year for the last eleven years. In 2015 he was honored as their Photographer of the Year. Bruce has been serving as a Governor and Parliamentarian on the American Society of Photographers board since 2020. Bruce is also a retired Air Force officer and systems engineer who worked on multiple aerospace programs. Upon retiring he served in information technology management for two major Southern California hospitals.
His hobbies include watercolor and acrylic painting and keeping his computer network working. His travels included a flight where he met a man who would become an actual airline skyjacker.
Mel Carll - M.Photog., Cr.
Mel is currently the American Society of Photographers Executive Director.
He is also the Executive Director of the Professional Photographers of CA. He has earned his Master Photographer degree with Professional Photographers of America, and also with PPC (Prof Photographers of CA). In 2022 Mel also became the Director of West Coast School of Photography, a PPA affiliate school.
Mel is a Santa Clarita Valley based photographer and instructor. Mel also shoots for Inside SCV Magazine and the City of Santa Clarita. Mel has images exhibited in the Allensworth Exhibit at the California African American Museum in Exposition Park, Los Angeles, in the Santa Clarita City Hall, and the Canyon Country Library. He is on the Board of Directors for the Santa Clarita Photographers Association, Professional Photographers of Los Angeles County, and is involved with the City of Santa Clarita’s 661 Arts Association, whose goal is to bring art to the community. Mel awards include Best of Show in the 2010 PPLAC print competition, and most recently, 2010 Image of the year for PPLAC, and has also won awards with the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association print competitions since May 2008 to current. Mel is excited to bring the SCV Center for Photography studio to the community allowing photographers of all levels to advance their goals, knowledge and joy of photography.