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  • Writer's pictureRandy Van Duinen

I Am the New American Society of Photographers Fellow!


Back in July, I completed one of the most challenging endeavors I had ever tried: I applied for the American Society of Photographers "Fellowship." To give you a small idea of what this process is like, you must fill out an application with all the requirements. Next, write a minimum of a 2000-word paper that chronicles your life, progress as a photographer, and how it relates to the 25 incredible images you send in.


Let's talk about the images that you submit to a jury of past Fellowship recipients and/or respected photographers for them to accept. The twenty-five images have to work cohesively as a group when displayed on a galley wall all together, and they are viewed in three rows. Narrowing down the images can become an overwhelming task when you have over half a million photos to choose from. I had some help from my good friend Gregory Daniels. He first told me to send what I believe are my best 50 images so he could print, lay them out, and see what worked together. Between a few different discussions, we came up with a great layout. Now the fun part starts (this is sarcasm.)


If you ever think about applying for your Fellowship, give yourself plenty of time to write your paper and then double it. I wish I had. Trying to tell your story is an exploration into knowing yourself, your work, and your journey to where you are today. Then, edit almost half of it away to make it an interesting and compelling story that relates to your images. This was the most challenging part, and after having a friend look at the paper and photo layout, I was told that it would not make it. I had only one week left before the deadline and rewrote a majority of the paper with the help of my brother Tracy and his incredible wife Michelle, who made all the difference in the paper.


I received a call from the chairman of the ASP Fellowship committee on Saturday. I was informed that it takes many people several attempts to receive their Fellowship. Then he told me I was not one of those people! I am now the newest ASP Fellow, and I cannot express my excitement, joy, and maybe surprise at this achievement. I want to thank all the wonderful people who helped me, especially my wonderful wife, Lynn. Without her support and love, I would never have been able to get to this point.

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