House of Photography is finishing up a busy season! To say we are discombobulated most days might be accurate, because we’re running a photography studio, our photo camps/classes and the gift shop all at the same time. Though they’re all under the same name, under the same roof, they have drastically different aims and strategies. Because we have three people working at House of Photography, it would make sense to give each of us just one of those jobs, but it doesn’t work that way.
For example, with the Kids’ Camps we just wrapped up, you could expect anywhere from 6-15 campers between ages 8 and 15 years. There’s no way to plan everything that will happen at each week’s camp. Each morning we start at the studio with a short lesson, than we had a chance to apply what we learned on the walks we took from the studio to different locations. Most of the locations were museums like the Sterne-Hoya, the Nacogdoches University Building, Old Zion Church and the Oak Grove cemetery, so we slipped in short history lessons as well. We’d start the next day with a critique of their images from the day before. It was a lot of fun but pretty intense, too. Greg Patterson, owner of House of Photography, is a retired SFA photography professor, so he packed a lot in to every lesson. We’ve collected really funny stories from the last three years we’ve run camps, one of which involves us getting kicked out of one of the local museums. We wouldn’t conduct camp any different, though; history and photography should be fun!
That’s an idea we carry through to our gift store that’s been open less than a year. The premise behind which was the answer to the question we kept hearing from visitors to town; they’d ask, “If you’re the oldest town in Texas, shouldn’t there be more about your history to see and experience?” We took half of our photography studio and turned it into a gift store where many items hail back to a lost time in Nacogdoches’ or SFA history. First off, House of Photography, is just that…a house. A house that was designed in 1898 by famed architect, Deitrich Rulfs. Throughout the gift shop, we’ve hung some of the best images we could find that depict the oldest town. Many of the gifts we sell have a vintage feel like the film roll keychains and old-fashioned camera. Of course, there’s eye-popping photography all around on drink coasters, postcards or in mats to frame. Many local artists are represented including Greg Patterson himself. We like to say about House of Photography that you can find unique gifts for the photographer in us all.
It’s uniquely fun, too. House of Photography is the only gift store we know of that has in it a “Photo Booth.” If you don’t know what a Photo Booth is, think of the vending machine at the mall where you’d go behind a curtain and have a sequence of pictures taken, and they’d print out on a strip. You might wonder why a contraption exists in a photography studio run by a professional photographer. After all, Greg Patterson has been teaching photography for 21 years, plus he’s been a professional studio photographer for longer. He’s better at lighting, posing, and even production than just about anyone around. But there the answer lies, Greg is so at ease with his skill after all those years, he’s able to think of it creatively and in such unique ways most photographers couldn’t touch. He would say it’s been a blessing to be part of an ever-changing industry that’s given him such satisfaction.
Whether you want to talk photography with an expert, or buy a greeting card or gift, or just have a fun experience, drop by House of Photography just behind Goodwill on Mound Street. We might even have your favorite 80’s song playing!
House of Photography can be found on the web at houseofphotography.biz and are open Tuesday to Friday 10-5:30 and Saturday 11-4.
POST CONTRIBUTED BY CINDY PATTERSON