With Frank Cricchio Star of Texas
Lifetime Achievement Award
By Bill Hedrick
Don Dickson of Plainview, Texas, became the third recipient of the coveted “Frank Cricchio Star of Texas, Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Texas Professional Photographers Association. He is a Past President of Texas PPA who later served as President of the Professional Photographers of America in 2011. Since 1994, he has been the Director of the Texas School of Professional Photography. Under his leadership, the school has grown into the largest of its kind in the United States. Instructors from throughout the nation and abroad stand in line for the opportunity to teach at this week-long class that is held each spring.
Don’s interest in photography began at the age of twelve when he received his first medium format camera as a gift from his grandmother after her visit to China. While in high school, Don photographed and published his first church directory and was the official photographer for his own senior prom. After earning a business degree in college, he opened Don’s Photography Studio at the age of 20. “I look back now and wonder what I was thinking! Both my parents were school teachers and I had never heard of a trade association. All I knew about photography and the business of running a studio was learned on my own,” Don explains. It was during his first year in business that a friend invited Don to a Texas Professional Photographers Association Convention. That first convention made quite an impression on Don and led to a lifetime of service to TPPA and beyond.
In 1988, Don Dickson received his Master of Photography degree from the Professional Photographers of America, becoming the youngest recipient at that time in the State of Texas. In 2005, Don received the coveted Garhart Bahker Award at Imaging USA in New Orleans. This award is PPA’s highest award for “Excellence in Education.” More recently, Don was presented the PPA Jurors Meritorious Service Award and has been Chairman of the International Photographic Competition Committee since 2019.
In 2019, Don sold his store front studio in Plainview, Texas, after 42 years in business. Since that time, he has hosted four African Safaris, three to South Africa and one to Botswana. But his civic involvement keeps him busy at home as well. Don is a three-time president of his local YMCA, served eight years on the Plainview City Council, and one year as Mayor Pro Tem. He is also a past president and current board member of the Plainview Rotary Club and past president and 15 year board member of the Plainview Area United Way. He also has a love for the ocean and is an avid cruiser, going on multiple cruises each year.
Don’s love and passion for photography shows in all the aspects of his life. He has been married to his wife, Charlcey, for 43 years and they have two children, Kyle and Suzanne, and two grandchildren, Madison and Kensington. Needless to say, his family is proud of him, but so is the Texas Professional Photographers Association!