Support for a Photo Editor in Our Community

Natalie Grace

Photo Credit: A Guy + A Girl Photography

Support for a Photo Editor in Our Community By: Marissa Ericson

     This past October, Rob Haggart published a post regarding Women’s Health Photo Editor Andrea Verdone and her family, who are putting up a strong fight against Leukemia in support of their daughter, Natalie. I was very touched by the article, both because it is a reminder of the need to support one another in the photo industry, and also because it shared the lives of an amazing family whom I have come to love and admire. It is because of Andrea (and also her family!) that I’m the person I am today, and a major reason why I began pursuing a career in the photo industry. The blog post made me realize that perhaps I could help raise awareness and support for Natalie by sharing my own experience of Andrea and her family.

     As a junior in college, I reached out to Andrea for a midterm paper. The assignment was to write a profile on someone in the magazine field whose work I admired. While there are many magazines with compelling and distinguishing photography, my interest in holistic living led me to the beautiful photography in Women’s Health. When I read an online biography about Andrea and her path to becoming a photo editor, I knew I wanted to know more about her career experience and perspective. I sent her an email, and I can’t express in enough words how delighted I was when she replied shortly after and offered a portion of her time for an interview. Within the next few days, I researched and composed all the best questions I could think to ask.  And during our phone interview, she shared a 360° view of her life as a photo editor; how she got into the industry, what it’s like to work with photographers and other industry professionals, the process involved in producing photo shoots, how the final images are chosen, and what it’s like to be a working mom and career professional. Her enthusiasm, openness, and insight when sharing these details helped confirm that this was the industry and career path I wanted to pursue.

     That initial interview turned into a continued correspondence, and ended up leading to a summer internship at Women’s Health. Throughout that time, Andrea continued to share her experience and wisdom with me. When planning photo shoots, I learned the importance of establishing relationships while remaining true to myself in the industry. On photo shoots, she taught me how to be a source of encouragement on set, as well as an aide to the photographer and crew. When selecting photos, she shared with me important elements of the editing process. Her words of advice certainly helped me to build a solid foundation and perspective in the industry. But her portrayal of wisdom didn’t stop there. As I worked for Andrea and started to learn more about her, I began to recognize her passion and love for her role as a mom. She spoke about the importance of being a role model to her daughters, of teaching them values of independence and strength. And I realized that she was also teaching me these values as well. Conversations like this made me recognize how much I admired Andrea for her ability to integrate her career and personal life.

     Andrea’s youngest daughter, Natalie, at three years old, is currently fighting Leukemia. Because of the 24-hour coverage needed to oversee Natalie’s health, Andrea has needed to temporarily leave her position at Women’s Health. While she is dearly missed at the magazine, Andrea, along with her husband Dan, and daughter Hannah, are Natalie’s greatest supporters, and it has been a humbling and amazing experience to watch their family take a great stand against cancer. In the meantime, this is a time when we can offer encouragement and support. A website has been developed, where updates are posted and support can be shared through well wishes and donations.

     I am so grateful for the experience and opportunities that Andrea has given me. When she spoke to me during our first interview, she said that she was happy to share her time with me because she believed in “Paying it Forward.” Ever since she paid it forward to me, I vowed that I would always strive to do the same for others. Thank you Andrea, for your faithfulness to your family and to our photo industry. From all of us at Glasshouse Assignment, and everyone in the industry, we wish you and your family strength, courage, serenity, and love.


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