Friday, March 26, 2010

Beach Weekends!

I've looked through my late spring/early summer wedding calendar to set up some times for photos at the Outer Banks. I've got the specific dates on my Facebook page and I hope to be able to take 4-5 appointments per day. Appointments will be in the late afternoon/early evening at a spot to be determined later. I like to stay in the Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills/Nags Head area if possible because it's more convenient to most of you. Send me an email or message through Facebook for more information. I'm looking forward to seeing you AT THE BEACH!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Massive Project Begins . . .

Once upon a time . . . there was a young man with a passion for photography. There was nothing in his background as a small-town, farm boy that should have fed this passion but you can't argue with destiny. He farmed to pay the bills and support his family and worked at his passion nights, weekends, whenever he could. He was a child of the Depression so hard work was familiar and, throughout his life, he thought a 15-hour day was pretty normal. He encouraged his wife to learn to hypo and dry photographs and to learn oil coloring, and he trained his two children as photographers. He loved it all.

Of course, I'm writing of my father -- a craftsman, a perfectionist, an artist. I'm proud to follow in his footsteps and to carve out my place in the business he created. I've had several friends who have pointed out to me in the past few years that I'm "sitting on a gold mine." They are referring to the fact that I possess practically every negative taken by my father, my brother, and me from the mid-1940's to the present. I have no way to estimate how many there are but it must be in the hundreds of thousands of negatives -- maybe a million or more. Many times throughout the year I'll be contacted by former customers to pull their old negative file and make prints for them. Just this week, I scanned and created digital files from bridal portraits my father took in 1951. And the "gold mine" my friends are speaking of is not the money I make off of projects like this but by the fact that I have the ability to help people remember those split-seconds in their lives that were meaningful -- a gold mine of memories.

Our old negative files are organized . . . and they're not organized. It depends on how you look at it. If you know WHEN photos were taken, we can usually put our hands on the negatives pretty easily. Most people remember their wedding date or the year a child was born but a lot of times our minds can play tricks on us when remembering the correct year or month for other events like family portraits, school events, etc. It's been in the back of my mind for a couple of years that I ought to come up with a better way to access the boxes and boxes of negatives I have. Lynn and I talked on Friday and I finally decided that I could debate it forever and not make any progress so we could just jump off the cliff and start the organization even though we know it may take a couple of years. So . . . on Friday, Lynn began entering negative files into a data base that we will be able to search by the name of the client regardless of year. Once this process is complete (and it may take forever), we should be able to search by name and get the year the photos were taken along with the file number for the negatives. She started with the most difficult box which is all the negatives taken by my father prior to 1950 (after 1950, he began numbering his envelopes and entering them into a yearly ledger book). Of course, we're getting sidetracked as we always do when looking at old negatives. Lynn found several family names that she recognized and that she just HAD to take a peek at. There are also many document copies (marriage licenses, army discharge papers, etc) that my father used to do for people before there were Xerox machines which I find fascinating. One of the most interesting discoveries was in the envelope labeled "Little Linda Johnson." Since Lynn and I both know Linda (now Linda Parker), she opened the envelope to see the negatives and actually found not only an old proof from the sitting but what must be my father's first price list. I've scanned them both for you to see and it absolutely amazes me what his prices were. Not even considering the inflation aspect, I know how much time and effort goes into producing an 8x10 black and white print. I understand better what all those 15-hour days were for.

So the project has started. How long it will take is anyone's guess at this point and Lynn and I may have white hair before it's done but we're going to try. As time goes on and we get a rhythm to our work, I also hope to create a reasonably priced way to scan these old negatives and sell them as digital files. I know as I get older that I really appreciate my family history in photographs and I suspect many of you are the same. I'll be sharing some of our special "finds" in The History Channel album on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Background Fun

One of the speakers I heard at the photographer's convention showed us a fairly simple method for switching out backgrounds. I'm still an amateur compared to him but I've enjoyed playing around with it a little bit. I thought Camren's photo that I originally shot on a nice white background would look good on a gorgeous sky. There are some more samples on my Facebook page.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My First Photo

I bet you thought you were going to see the first photo I ever took. Sorry . . . but I don't know what that photo would be. Probably it was one I took with my father's old Brownie camera at summer camp. No, this is the first photo OF me. Lynn was looking through our old files searching for a negative for a client and ran across the envelope in my father's handwriting that said "Carol Hedspeth -- First Photo." I HAD to take a look. Of course, I have seen these photos before but it has been a long time and they seemed to mean a little bit more to me today. I take so many baby photos and know how special it is to do that. It struck me that my father was WAY ahead of the times. These days photographers sometimes go to the hospital for photos during labor and to the homes of new babies for complete sessions. Daddy was ahead of time snapping this photo on the day I was born in the old Roanoke Rapids Hospital. Of course, I LOVE the photo with my mother. I showed it to her and she was telling me how thrilled she was to have a little girl . And, as with lots of old photos, it's so interesting to see the little details that might have been overlooked in the past but are now so special. I see my mother's little suitcase on the table behind her and recognize it as the same one she still uses today when she takes a trip. In the photo with the nurse is a beautiful bouquet of roses in a "Proud Papa" vase that Mr. Sandlin -- a local florist in Roanoke Rapids -- sent to my parents. He and my father had worked together at so many weddings and I still have this vase today. And, it wouldn't be my father in those old photography days without having flashbulbs in his pockets, and he had obviously pulled a few out of his pocket and left them on the table. I would love to know who that nurse is holding me. Lynn and I have studied the photo a little this morning and commented on the fact that she is obviously young and unmarried -- no wedding ring but a class ring on her left hand. If any of my Roanoke Rapids friends can identify her, you'll win my heart. And possibly a great, big gift certificate.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The History Channel

I've often thought that I ought to spotlight some of the tens of thousands of negatives I have in my father's files because they are such a wonderful, rich history of our area. (It may even be millions of fnegatives because I have no way of counting them.) I just know that they go back in organized fashion to 1950 and there are many more that were pre-1950 that are not very organized. I'm going to occasionally pull one out and scan it and share it on my Facebook page under "The History Channel" photo album. I'll show you the one I'm starting with because it's one of my favorite photos. These stylish ladies are the the charter members of the Conway Womans Club taken some time in the mid to late 1950s. I can recognize many of these remarkable women and, of course, I'm especially proud to see my mother and my dear Aunt Pat Hedspeth in the group. Those of you who are Conway folk will enjoy trying to recognize more of them. And keep your eye out on the Conway Photo Shop Facebook page. I'm going to make it my goal to try and add at least one photo per week.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Graduation . . . just around the corner

Graduation will be here before we know it. I picked up some fun ideas at all of the conventions and workshops I've been to lately and thought I'd show a few. The photo here is the class shot of the Northeast Academy Class of 2010. We were a little later than usual taking their photo this year so everyone was pretty cold last week out at Deberry's Millpond but we got it done. You can check more of the senior products on the Conway Photo Facebook page.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Look Out for High Tide!!

It's been a rainy winter and the ground is soaked but this is a little bit crazy. I found lots of new toys and ideas at the photographer's convention and this "water-y" effect is one of them. I was playing around with it a little this morning and wanted to share a photo. I've got more of them on my Facebook page. So, step over the puddles and come on in to Conway Photo.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

School's Out . . .

School's out . . . or at least it is for me, for a while. I've had a wonderful couple of months -- learning and being inspired. It's almost like I'm back in college which was great. In January and February, I was fortunate enough to attend a national convention (absolutely awesome) and three different state-wide meetings -- two in NC and one in VA. I have heard some dynamic speakers -- real experts and innovators in their fields -- and have been inspired to work on TONS of new projects. I hope I'll be sharing some of these with you soon and I hope I'll get back to a more regular schedule of blogging. I feel like I've neglected my blog a little bit lately because I've been trying to get my Facebook page more organized. Hope you continue to check out what's new on both!!!