A Dynamic and Dashing Photo Industry Leader
On November 5, 2014, Eugene Mopsik was presented with the Young Photographers Alliance (YPA) Legend Award during an elegant fundraising gala at New York’s Morgan Library & Museum. In celebration of that accomplishment and in consideration of Gene’s 12 years of dedicated service as ASMP’s executive director, we’re publishing an excerpt from the letter of recommendation submitted for this award on his behalf, along with a select image gallery, offering a trip down memory lane.
2015 will mark Eugene Mopsik’s 45th year of contributions to the photo industry, first as a photographer of corporate and industrial subjects and secondly — but perhaps more significantly — through his 40-year relationship with ASMP. During his long service as a dedicated chapter leader and volunteer, in multiple posts as an officer and leader on the national board and in his current role as executive director, Gene has made an indelible impact on the lives, and the livelihoods, of visual communicators far and wide.
As noted in the bio on his commercial photography Web site, www.mopsikphoto.com, Gene is as comfortable with a CEO as he is with a Mack truck. During his tenure as executive director, there are countless times that Gene has demonstrated similar attributes of diplomacy, grace under pressure, razor-sharp insights and tactical skill, negotiating both national matters and the world stage at the highest levels of advocacy, education and empowerment for image-makers of all persuasions.
Gene’s name has become familiar to those far beyond just the photo and imaging industries, and his influence extends from Washington, D.C. lawmakers to corporate executives to important thought leaders in academic and media circles — all at the front lines in determining the future of imaging, visual communications and intellectual property rights.
In tandem with his focus on advocacy for image-making professionals, Gene has shown a steadfast commitment to the education and mentoring of emerging talents. Under his watch, ASMP has become a leader in business education for still and motion photographers through local, national and international offerings, both in person and online, using all the latest tools available.
In addition to his service and valuable insights as a board member for Brooks Institute and the Eddie Adams Workshop (among many other contributions to photo education), Gene’s voice and actions on YPA’s advisory board, in sponsoring a YPA student scholarship and in the establishment of ASMP as a founding sponsor of YPA’s mentor program illustrate a direct liaison between his commitment to aspiring image-makers and YPA’s overarching mission.
Congratulations, Gene, on your many years of service to the photo industry as well as your herculean efforts to shed light on the vital role and mounting challenges facing visual content creators today and in the future. We heartily wish you only the best in the next chapter of your extraordinary career.
Featured below are diverse quotes celebrating Gene, contributed by a wide range of his photo industry colleagues. If you wish to add your voice to this online celebration, please e-mail a quote to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I had served on the ASMP Board with Gene for six years in the 1990’s. When I returned to the board in 2006, Gene had already taken on the job as Executive Director. We met for breakfast the day before my first board meeting and I told him “I knew you were the right person for the job, but I didn’t know you were the perfect person for the job.”
“It was with great pleasure that I joined the national board of directors to take the seat that Gene vacated to become the executive director. I had worked with him as a chapter leader while he was on the board, and then with him as his replacement on the national board. His ability to look at not just the tasks at hand, but those that lay ahead helped the Society lead the industry in a time of incredible transition for most of its members. And he was the captain of that ship. While the seas may still be rough, we all can navigate them far better thanks to his efforts on behalf of all of us. May he have a calm breeze behind his back for all of his future endeavors.”
“One of Gene’s favorite sayings ‘A rising tide lifts all boats,’ is not only a reference to his love of sailing but also to his perception of ASMP and its role in improving the working conditions of its members and the industry as a whole.”
“Gene helped steer ASMP through some of the trickiest waters imaginable. With his skillful leadership and unmatched networking skills, Gene has guided ASMP to unprecedented levels of visibility and influence. Every working photographer has been helped by Gene’s wise words and work.”
“I always thought Gene was the right man for the job, because of his experience as a photographer and also his long experience with the organization. He has an inherent ability to build coalitions across a wide front, to keep the Board in line (so to speak), and to relate to the everyday working photographer — because he had been one. He’s also very polished and thoughtful when speaking about industry problems, and did a very good job of keeping a broad overview perspective, and how ASMP could fit into offering solutions. I think the members don’t realize how valuable his contributions have been. He’s a snazzy dresser too…which I’ve always liked! A bit of class never hurt any operation.”
“Eugene Mopsik has led ASMP and our members through one of the most challenging eras in our industry’s history. We are all better off today than we would have been without the benefit of his leadership, dedication, hard work and willingness to always address the proverbial elephant in the room. Gene’s tireless efforts to promote and protect photographers’ interests have touched countless lives, including my own. It has been a tremendous honor and pleasure to have worked beside Gene these past 12 years. I am deeply proud of all that ASMP has accomplished under his steadfast hand.”
“Gene’s dedication to advocacy for the photo industry is unparalleled. From testifying on Capitol Hill to traveling the country and beyond, he has been a driving force in the fight for photographers’ rights. Gene’s work at the helm of the ASMP is appreciated and his legacy will live on. Here in New York, we have had the benefit of having Gene attend many of our events. He is always a pleasure to speak with and brings a wealth of knowledge, a great sense of humor and an amiable disposition.”
“Gene always did what he felt was the right thing for ASMP. When I was ASMP President, Gene and I worked together and we didn’t always see eye to eye. We fought, argued, discussed and worked tirelessly to convince each other of what we felt was the right thing to do. To be clear, Gene has the quiet, yet tenacious nature of a bulldog. And, everybody knows Gene. He would walk into an industry event and would make the rounds, saying hello to everyone. He knows the importance of relationships in this business. Gene also took it upon himself to teach me (a goy from a flyover state) as much Yiddish as possible. He would throw out a phrase that he knew I didn’t know to keep me on my toes. And he schooled me on bagel etiquette… and I him. I’ve always considered Gene a real mensch. Be well, Gene, and thank you for everything you’ve done for ASMP. I wish you all the best!”
“Gene’s track record as an industry leader speaks for itself. Among the most knowledgeable and dedicated advocates in the visual arts community, Gene is a skilled negotiator, with an uncanny ability to guide industry stakeholders in successfully resolving complex and contentious issues. Gene’s history as a passionate advocate for artists’ rights has earned him a high level of respect from artists’ organizations, publishers, lawmakers and government agencies not only in the USA but also around the world. Gene understands that in a globally networked marketplace, visual artists must think globally, act globally and find global solutions to our challenges. It has been an honor to work with Gene, and I look forward many more years of collaboration.”
President, PLUS Coalition
“Working with Gene Mopsik has been one of the high points in my almost 20 year career at ASMP. His ability to build bridges, and rebuild bridges that had previously been burned, is remarkable. His performance as the face of ASMP has been nothing short of stellar, and his integrity and ability to craft practical solutions have made him universally respected. I will miss his presence, his friendship and his leadership more than I can express.”
—Victor S. Perlman
ASMP General Counsel & Managing Director
“Throughout his tenure as Executive Director, Gene has worked tirelessly on advocacy issues, building a strong global network of relationships, particularly with peers in other organizations also committed to protecting visual artists’ intellectual property rights, as well as with people most directly shaping the public policy that affects the photography profession. This effort has proven most valuable to building ASMP’s reputation as an organization committed to helping its members succeed, particularly through advocacy and education.”
— Tom Kennedy
If you wish to add your voice to this online celebration, please e-mail a quote to email@example.com.