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Connecticut Professional Photographers Association

2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

The Lifetime Achievement Award was started by fellow CTPPA member Art Rich, M. Photog, Cr. as a way to honor longtime CTPPA members for their commitment to the art and business of photography on a professional level. This year we are proud to announce that the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to the fabulous and dynamic duo Rene Genest, M. Photog, Cr and Joan Genest, M. Photog, Cr.

Rene grew up in Bristol, Connecticut. As a grade schooler he enjoyed taking pictures with his instamatic camera. His first real training in photography came when he took a B&W photography course as a senior in high school. After high school, he started training with Art Rich Photography in Southington to be a wedding photographer. During that time, he also worked for Jim Wright Photography, shooting teams and candids for the Southington High School yearbook. Rene continued to work with Art Rich in Southington until 1979 and then as a partner in North Haven until 1998.

Joan grew up in Southington. Other than taking family snapshots with her Kodak Pocket 110 Instamatic camera, Joan had no real desire to become a photographer. Joan was a high school senior when she borrowed her brother Larry’s 35mm camera to take on her class trip to France. Little did she know that she would eventually take pictures for a living. Joan loves to play the piano and the flute and graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a degree in French. She was Miss Southington 1976 and Miss New Britain 1980.

Joan and Rene started dating while Joan was in college. When she was home on weekends, she would occasionally assist Rene on weddings. After a few weeks of assisting, she wanted to take pictures as well. So, she started training at Art Rich Photography to be a wedding photographer.

In 1980 Rene and Art Rich opened Art Rich Photography in North Haven as a partnership. Rene and Joan worked together in the North Haven studio and were married in 1981. In 1998, Rene and Art dissolved their partnership and Rene and Joan opened Storytellers Photography where they continue to work today.

Rene joined CPPA in 1973 and Joan joined in 1980. They quickly became involved in the association by working on the registration committee, attending every seminar and meeting, and competing in the print competitions. They were building their business and honing their skills as photographers and business people. Over the years Rene and Joan have served on the CTPPA board, worked on many committees including prints, props and photography. Joan served as 2nd and 3rd VP, working to book speakers, chaired the trade show and the convention journal.

Rene and Joan are also longtime members of PPANE. Rene served on many PPANE committees including bylaws, nominating and future planning. He chaired several committees including trade show, registration, prints, props, scholarship and photography. Rene served as the PPANE President in 1998 and received the PPA National Award from PPANE. During those years Joan helped on many committees as well. She chaired the PPANE 100th Anniversary Party when Harvey Goldstein was PPANE President. But, the committee she loved the most was print competition.

Rene became the NEIPP head trustee in 2009. He served as the acting executive director in 2011 and 2012. He then finished his term as head trustee again from 2012-15.

Rene and Joan both joined PPA in 1983. They worked diligently on the President’s Party at the PPA convention when Connecticut’s own Roland Laramie was PPA President. They both have earned the Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman degrees from PPA. They have given programs on children, family and senior portrait photography and selling in all 6 New England states, plus many other locations across the US, at PPA and in Quebec, Canada.

Rene served as a PPA Councilor from Connecticut from 2003 until 2015. Joan has served on several PPA committees including the Photographic Exhibition Committee, By-Laws, Rules and Ethics Committee and she currently serves as the chairman of the Juror Review Committee.

Encouraged by mentor Roland Laramie, Joan became a PPA Approved Juror in 2000. A few years later, Rene also became a PPA Approved Juror. They have judged at many state, regional and international competitions. In 2014, Joan completed the program to become a PPA Jury Chairman and continues in this capacity today. Joan has received the PPA National Award from CTPPA and the American Society of Photographers.

Their civic volunteerism led Rene to join the North Haven Rotary Club in 1982. He is a Paul Harris Fellow and a past president of the club. Rene remains active in the Rotary Club today, volunteering his time at their many fundraising and community activities.

In 2004, Joan became a member of the North Haven Education Foundation serving as secretary and working on several committees. She continues that service today.

Throughout their 38-year career in photography Rene and Joan believe their greatest achievement is raising their two children, Marie and Andre. They worked hard to provide a good life and education for their children and their family.

Rene and Joan are grateful for their career in photography, for the many friends they made and the fun they have had in CTPPA, PPANE and PPA. They are grateful for their clients and friends in their community and for the great honor of receiving the CTPPA Lifetime Achievement Award

Please join us at the CTPPA Awards Reception on March 24, 2018 to congratulate Rene and Joan on their Award. Register for the event at

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