As most of my fellow Texans know, in my past life I owned and operated one of Houston’s largest and renowned DJ companies prior to becoming a professional photographer.
In 2010, I attended my second Texas School and I was fortunate enough to get into Tony Corbell’s class. It was there that I got a glimpse of the great Frank Cricchio. Our class had many incredible attendees who have remained dear friends of mine like Mandy Lundy, who would later be called Mandy Corbell, along with this salty old timer, Larry “aka Lightmeter” Doonan. The stories Larry and Tony would share with the class about the impact Frank Cricchio made in their lives, along with thousands of others in our industry, left me blown away.
It also left me saddened to know that I was late to the table and missed the opportunity to learn from him and other greats including Don Blair, Monte Zucker, and so many others. These photographers were selfless in educating and inspiring others within our industry.
So, skip forward to 2014 where my DJ company was contracted by the AAPI to provide A/V services. As luck would have it, the original employee was out sick and I had to service this event. I had no idea what AAPI stood for nor did I really care. It was just another event where I was providing sound. While I’m setting up, I was approached by the President of AAPI who was none other than Bill Vahrenkamp. He was the all-knowing Digital Darkroom Core instructor and photographer at Texas School’s themed parties.
I am setting up sound when Bill (who doesn’t know me and I don’t know him) informs me that they have paid for my meal to enjoy during their keynote speaker’s presentation. The stage was set, the mic was hot, and in walks Frank Cricchio!
I was like a kid in a candy store. I could not believe I was getting paid, and paid well, plus had a free meal while getting to hear Frank Cricchio speak. Had Bill or anyone at AAPI told me in advance their keynote speaker was going to be Frank Cricchio I would have happily paid them.
Sadly, I am writing this because Frank aka “The Great” Cricchio recently passed. Another great one is gone.
I am blessed to have been able to hear Frank speak and be inspired by his actions and his words. I have comfort knowing that there are 1000s of like-minded photographers who have been helped and inspired by Frank Cricchio and other great legends of our industry.
Learning from legends is just one of the reasons I will always be a member of TPPA.
Robin Janson, TPPA President