First off, thank you. Thank you for the sacrifices, for sticking your neck out, for imparting your wisdom and experience onto others and for being passionate about what you do so that I too can be passionate. Anyone who seeks to create something for themselves knows there is no end to learning and honing your craft. The process is beautiful and tragic at times. Without the inspiration of our mentors, teachers, and idols, what would motivate us through the long and lean times?

There are so many people who have impacted my work, from my very first high school photography teacher Mike Nebel and Journalism teacher Shannon Casto, to the photography greats whose work I adore. Annie Leibowitz, Margaret Burke-White, Diane Arbus and the insanely talented Vivian Maier to name a few.

And in this age of information on demand, I am able to learn from the most talented men and women who are doing it. Thank you, CreativeLive. Thank you, Sal Sincotta, Sue Bryce, Victoria Will, Chris Orwig, Kevin Nace, and my new best friend Gary Hughes. There’s something about your teaching style that takes all the mystery out of lighting. Like a little bell went off and after almost 15 years behind a camera I went,…”Duh.” You talented, hard working people are creating a new generation of masters in both the art and the business of photography. Just ask any one of the thousands of women worldwide who has taken Sue Bryce’s glamour studio business model and made it into a lucrative industry. “This ain’t your momma’s glamour shots.”

Don’t let me forget the amazing, empowering individuals I have met in my community, both on and offline. Thank you for encouraging me, supporting me, challenging me and even doubting me at times. We are sharpened like knives, shaped by the course stones and sharpened by the finer ones. There are people in my life, who for better or for worse they have shaped the kind of photographer I am, and the kind of business I want. I am better for every one. Thank you.

Robert Greene writes in Mastery “As we continue to observe and follow the lead of others, we gain clarity, learning the rules and seeing how things work and fit together.”

At the end of the day, I am grateful, inspired and transformed as a photographer and an artist thanks to you. Teachers. Mentors. Masters.