By Lisa Capobianco
Ten years ago, Art Rich founded the Connecticut Professional Photographer’s Association (CTPPA) Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize the work of professional photographers statewide.
A photographer himself for over 40 years, Rich has served as the chairman of the award’s committee, choosing recipients who not only participate in CTPPA meetings and conventions, but who also demonstrate a willingness to serve as mentors for other photographers.
“There are many people, even before me, who put in a lot of time into the Association, and I always thought they should be recognized,” said Rich, adding that the CTPPA serves as a place where photographers could enhance their skills while networking with each other. “If there were not volunteers in the association, there would be no association—if there were no association, photographers wouldn’t be able to advance that easily.”
Last month, Rich himself was chosen as a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award during the CTPPA’s 65th Annual Awards Dinner. The owner and CEO of Art Rich Photography in Southington, Rich has been a member of CTPPA for 42 years, serving as a mentor for a number of photographers and lecturing in New England and the Midwest on photography, business and marketing. Between hosting CTPPA board meetings and holiday parties at his studio and working as a prop and audio visual chairman for the speakers attending conventions, Rich has served in a variety of ways over the years.
“It’s a nice recognition from your peers, appreciating what you’ve done over the years for photography and for fellow photographers for the association,” said Rich, who has a Master Photographer and Craftsman Degree from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), which he is also a member of.
“I am extremely proud of him,” said Rich’s son Jason, the manager of Art Rich Studios, adding he himself started photography at age 15. “He has worked so hard to get to where he is.”
Rich has studied under famous photographers and attended the New England Institute of Professional Photography for 20 years. Rich’s interest in the field was sparked during his service in the U.S. Army in upstate New York. When Rich enlisted, he dated a girl who worked as a photographer. After showing Rich the studio she worked in, Rich was inspired to become a photographer himself. After returning home to Connecticut, Rich began working from his home before moving into a building on Center Street in Southington and then to his current studio on 500 North Main St. in 1975. From proms to school portraits to family or individual portraits, Art Rich Studios provides a variety of services to a number of clients throughout Connecticut.
Rich said he enjoys taking family portraits, knowing he is “creating memories that last forever.” Although he is semi-retired now, Rich said he plans to stay in the business while he can, noting how he enjoys keeping busy. Reflecting back on his career, Rich said he has grown through education.
“You never stop learning,” said Rich, who started his career photographing hundreds of weddings. “You can learn from someone who has been in photography for a year or two.”