I In the crazy, wonderful world of photography I have many acquaintances, a lot of good friends, a few great friends and a small group I am proud to call part of my extended family. David and LaDawn Ziser are family! 

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I first met David over 30 years ago at one of his first photography workshops. His vision and passion have profoundly influenced my work. Since that first meeting I have assisted him at weddings and he has assisted me. We have worked together in the classroom and with clients in Cincinnati, New York, Dallas, Florida and Puerto Rico. David’s son Aaron lives in Park City, so David and LaDawn visit Utah frequently. We even take vacations together! Here a few shots we took for the ships crew on a recent cruise.

So, when I heard that David was having heart bypass surgery (for the 2nd time), I was concerned. David is high energy guy. He lives life at full throttle. His passion for photography…and life in general, is extraordinary. Knowing that it takes a lot to slow him down, I assumed that he might need a little extra help. I hopped a plane and went to Cincinnati to lend a hand.

 As it happens, David’s need for surgery came at a rather inopportune time – is there such thing as a good time for heart surgery? You see, David runs one of the biggest and best photography conventions in the United States each January…Photo Pro Expo…and this year the convention was 2 weeks after his surgery.

 Well to everyone’s surprise (except his), David was on his feet and putting in 18 hour days for the entire 5 day convention. Like the Eveready Bunny he just kept going…and going. He did TV interviews, competed in a day long “shootout” with renowned photographers Lindsay Adler and Matthew Jordan Smith, introduced over 15 speakers and hosted dinners and social events. Don’t tell his cardiologist!

 As it turns out David had lots of help. The photography community is filled with warm, giving people. The convention was great and I had the opportunity to work with and to learn from some of the finest photographers in America. I’ll tell you about it in a future post.

 Let me ask you…who are your mentors? What have they meant to you?