Since joining Panasonic in 1984, when he worked in the Research & Development Laboratory, Mr. Ishiguro has maximized his optical design expertise for developing camera element technologies. He has been key in driving the growth of Panasonic’s LUMIX digital cameras by developing revolutionary optical technologies in the TZ-, FX- and FZ-Series. In addition, he was highly involved in creating and establishing the partnership between Panasonic and Leica, and helped to ensure that Leica lenses would be incorporated into the LUMIX line.
When Mr. Ishiguro first joined Panasonic he was in charge of the optical design and commercialization of zoom lenses for video cameras, developed apsherical lenses and oversaw commercial production of lenses at Panasonic’s Yamagata Plant and developed the auto-focus system for video cameras. In 1995, Mr. Ishiguro developed and initiated the commercial production of compact camera modules. By 2000, he was placed in charge of designing and developing zoom lenses for digital still cameras.
In 2006, Mr. Ishiguro revolutionized the “compact superzoom” digital camera category when he developed the 10x optical zoom thin-profile with the TZ1, reducing the retracted size to 33mm, as compared to the conventional dimension of 55mm. Furthering the evolution of the TZ-Series, in 2007, with the introduction of the TZ3, Mr. Ishiguro developed a thin apsherical lens and achieved a 28mm wide-angle, while reducing the 10x zoom lens to an impressive 30mm when retracted. The TZ3 has proven to be a top-selling and award-winning camera.
Thomas Shay – Norman C. Lipton Lifetime Achievement Award (see above)
David Vaskevitch – Visionary Award
David Vaskevitch's career as visionary software architect, business innovator and author spans more than 30 years. As senior vice president, chief technical officer at Microsoft Corp., Vaskevitch reports to Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and works with him to develop a focused and unified strategy and architecture for future Microsoft products and platforms. When digital photography emerged in the mid-90s, Vaskevitch recognized that this was going to be a transformational technology for the computer industry. Vaskevitch then saw that his personal passion for photography had a direct connection to his work at Microsoft. Vaskevitch used his position to influence and further the digital imaging agenda at Microsoft culminating in 2004 with the creation of the Rich Media Group (RMG). Under Vaskevitch's stewardship RMG has grown to significant size and is starting to fulfill his vision. Vaskevitch holds bachelors of science degrees in math, computer science and philosophy, and a masters degree in computer science from the University of Toronto.
Frans Lanting – Photographer Award
Frans Lanting has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world, and has been commissioned frequently by National Geographic, where he has served as a Photographer-in-Residence. For more than two decades he has documented wildlife and our relationship with nature in environments from the Amazon to Antarctica. He portrays wild creatures as ambassadors for the preservation of complete ecosystems, and his many publications have increased worldwide awareness of endangered ecological treasures in far corners of the Earth.
His books have received awards and acclaim: “No one turns animals into art more completely than Frans Lanting,” writes The New Yorker magazine. His previous books include LIFE: A Journey Through Time, Jungles, Penguin, Living Planet, Eye to Eye, Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, Okavango: Africa’s Last Eden, Forgotten Edens, and Madagascar: A World Out of Time.
Lanting has received numerous awards for his work as a photographer and conservationist, including top honors from World Press Photo, the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award, the title of BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Sweden’s Lennart Nilsson Award. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands inducted him as a Knight in the Royal Order of the Golden Ark, that country's highest conservation honor.
Founded in 1939, the Photo Imaging Manufacturers & Distributors Association (PMDA) has promoted the photo and digital-imaging industry for over 67 years with an emphasis on photo imaging manufacturers and distributors. PMDA provides an open forum for its members to exchange ideas and learn new technologies and business trends, in addition to administering programs that promote photography to the general public. The member companies of PMDA have a box seat on the changing product and business developments of the photo industry and a unique opportunity to network with other industry principals and managers in the receptions preceding each meeting and special event. PMDA has also teamed up with PMA International to create the Photographic Information Council (PIC) to promote photography to the general public. PIC’s website (www.takegreatpictures.com) provides great photo tips and techniques, celebrity photographers, contests, new product releases and projects. See PMDA’s site, www.pmda.com, for more information.