Linda Helm has been a partner to Mark Lukes in both life and business. (Mark is the founding NANPA president and lifetime member. See the “Volunteer” article on Mark in December 2016 E-News.) Linda currently serves as vice president of Fine Print Imaging, where she has worked alongside Mark since 1983. Prior to Fine Print, Linda worked in human services in the nonprofit sector. She has a passion for both nature and photography. Member #99, Linda has been with NANPA since the very beginning at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York.
Do you have a “day” job? What do you do?
Well, my day job since 1983 has been to partner with Mark Lukes in making Fine Print Imaging the best printer in the country while providing the best possible workplace for our very talented and loyal employees. I am “mostly retired” at this point and am now focusing my efforts on some health issues and doing some volunteering that I’ve always wanted to do but never had time while working full-time. For the last two summers I have volunteered for bird, butterfly and native bee surveys for the city of Fort Collins’ “Nature in the City” Initiative. It has been a blast, and it feeds my naturalist soul!
How have you been involved in NANPA?
Largely, my involvement has been as a support system to Mark since the very inception of NANPA. More specifically, I was on the Nominations Committee (now called the Nominations & Elections Committee) for the first two years, assisted presenters when needed at the annual gatherings, and worked the NANPA Foundation’s auctions a few times. At every gathering I tried to fill gaps wherever I saw them. There was always something to keep me moving! I also ran the College Student Scholarship Program with Mark for about five years. That experience has been an absolute pleasure and privilege. I am so inspired by the talent, vision and dedication of the younger photographer/conservationists coming up through the ranks of the profession. I remain in contact with many of the participants that we worked with over the years, and it gives me indescribable joy to witness what they are doing with their careers today. I’d like to think that NANPA had at least some small part to play in helping them to advance their goals and ambitions. I sincerely thank Alice Robertson for making this experience possible for selected students. The ripples from her generosity will continue to have impact around the world for a long, long time.
Also, Mark and I initiated the Foundation’s Philip Hyde Grant, and each year we review the Janie Moore Greene Grant applicants.
Do you feel you have learned something from your volunteering? Explain.
On a pragmatic level, I have learned that I work better behind the scenes than in the limelight, that I don’t handle stress well and that I write better than I talk.
On a more philosophical level, I have learned that people who love photography, amateurs and professionals alike, are by nature other-directed because they are always studying the details while looking at the big picture. They study, they connect, and they care. And that fills my soul with hope.
How long have you been a NANPA member?
Since the first meeting at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. If it weren’t for Ann Guilfoyle (owner of agpix.com and one of the founding members of NANPA), we probably wouldn’t have been there. She asked us to print the very first nature photography exhibit for the group of photographers that convened at the Institute.
Do you have a goal as it pertains to NANPA?
To see it continue, to see it grow and to see many of the young people who have participated in the high school and college programs become the movers and the shakers in this organization and in the photography/conservation world as well. I think we are already on our way.
You and your husband Mark Lukes have been involved with NANPA since its beginning. How do you work together?
Mark and I have worked together since 1983 and have been married since 1990. And we still like each other — whaaat? Honestly, by now, we are acutely aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and our dance as a couple and as business partners has matured into a pretty darn graceful waltz, if I may say so. These days, we are in every way a “mutual admiration society” of two.
As for working together at Fine Print and for NANPA and the Foundation, this is how it breaks down: Mark has always dealt with the technical and analytical and big picture while I have dealt with money and people and details. Both of us talk strategy, and we don’t always agree. That is when the waltz comes in — or the tango depending on the subject — give/take, thrust/parry, move forward.
As for hobbies — Mark’s is work. (He needs to get some hobbies.) Mine are nature study, bird watching (I have every field guide known to man and woman), wood burning, flower pressing, cooking, sometimes sewing, sometimes photography, rocks, fossils (me and Mark). There’s more but this is more than enough J.