This month we celebrate 36 years in full time photography service. In those years we have done just about anything imageinable. We have photographed a standing president (Jimmy Carter) and a current First Lady (Laura Bush). We have had portraits displayed in the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum in Oklahoma City and one in the White House. And I do believe they have one of Laura Bush in the Presidential Library. For many years I photographed stock images that graced the insides of magazines like Sports Afield, KY Afield, Ducks Unlimited, Deer and Deer Hunting, Bowhunting, Game and Fish, and others. I have had images used by the National Park Service for postcards and brochures, as well as souvenir books. A Lincoln poster was printed to commemorate the Lincoln Boyhood Home coming into the NPS and another for Lincoln's bicenntennial. Our Youth Salute program has been in existence since 1984 and continues to be a great success for the community as well as the Young Achievers program. Over the years we photographed in the hundreds of weddings. I quit counting after 1000 and that was 15 years ago or more. So maybe 1500 to 2000 weddings in my career. Of course, I couldn't have done this without the help and support of my dear wife Suzann. Also our faithful sales person Claudette Rateau. We have had many other employees who have also been a great help to the studio. At one time we had two other wedding photographers to keep up with the volume. The first 12 years of our studio we had a full color lab and BW lab and did all of our own printing...thats a lot of images to be printed by hand. At one time, we were going through a case of 8x10 color paper a month...that is 1000 prints per.
A lot has happened in the photography industry in the last 10 years or so. Digital changed the landscape. Kodak is now just a shadow of it's former self. Numerous labs and companies have simply gone out of business. Newcomers have flocked into the field of photography and honestly, most of them don't belong here. The quality of images has gone down as a whole with the influx of "newbies" who have had no training or education in what makes a photograph "good"...only a passion to do photography. Most burn out in 3 years of less only to be replaced by another horde of newcomers. Where will all this go? Who knows. The public will suffer from poor images for as long as they are willing to put up with less than great. Let the buyer beware has always been a good motto.
So what does that mean for me, for our studio? Well a lot of things. We will continue to stay in operation and provide the best images possible for as long as possible but with some changes. What changes you say? I am not so sure yet. I have a hankering for expanding my fine art area and intend to expand into that. So you will be seeing more and more of that. Photography as well and painting. I am a member of the Indiana Pleinaire Painters Association and intend to get more involved in painting events and gallery showings.
Retirement from full time studio is on the horizon. I can't say exactly when but the idea is there. 36 years is a good long time for anyone to be in business and still be vital and busy. Suzann and I have a grand baby and and farm with Texas Longhorns. So you see there is plenty for us to be doing.
Mulling this all around has made me nostalgic. I can sense a change coming just like the first cool breeze of fall. The leaves haven't changed color yet, but you know its coming. Until then, give us a call and schedule your session. We're still here and cookin.