Jeff here. It has been a while since the last blog post, hasn't it? Basically the whole summer! A while back, Amy asked me to take over writing these...and I fully intended to. Lots always goes on that I could tell you about, but I've been having a hard time with finding the time to sit for any length of time to compose my thoughts in a clear, concise manner.
Oh, who am I kidding...I'm a procrastinator! But I've been thinking about this one for quite a while...
The month of August seems to be - at least, in our lives - a time of change and new beginnings.
Since having kids, the obvious observation would be that this month is when we get geared up to go back to school, which in itself offers a monumental adjustment for us all. But, more so for Amy and I, it always seems that August provides a little more than the standard changes - it is the month that we moved into our first (and last!) home; its the month that we moved from our first office into our second; and it is the month that we "officially" started Left of Centre Photography Services in 2004.
Technically, we registered our company name and website URL in January of that year, but we were really flying by the seat of our pants and making it up as we went along! I had been working for a studio in Toronto for six years previously, and Amy had been an assistant there for just over a year when we struck out on our own. With very little planning, LOCPS was born.
Much time was spent in my Toronto apartment, formulating ideas for a future studio and our first website, designing our logo! Commuting between T.O. and Amy's house in Acton, I could feel the beginnings of something solid taking form - the only thing missing was a place to set up shop. I would always take a different route when travelling around, but always with a purpose - I was trying to figure out a location that we could set up a photography studio business. We always discussed "city or country"; there was lots of familiarity with the photography industry in Toronto and how it worked, but there was also a realization that there were others who chose to set up outside of the city. That idea offered some excitement from a lifestyle perspective, but was further cemented after a conversation about having kids!
As most young couples do, we spoke often about our future and what we envisioned for it. We both wanted children, and Amy preferred to raise children in a smaller town like she experienced. I really didn't want to start a business in the city and move it when the kids came. Then came that fateful day in August of 2004...
Leaving Acton and driving into Georgetown, on what I still refer to as Highway #7, we were coming up to the lights at Main Street, where a right hand turn would head down the hill into downtown. Amy said "Let's go Downtown!", to which I said "Why would we go to Wal-Mart?" See, as a child growing up in Brampton, my idea of Georgetown centred around where the old Memorial Arena was, where long time friends of my family lived off of Delrex - which was behind the mall that had the Wal-Mart - and as the quickest route to get to Guelph from Brampton. In all the other times I found myself in town, I had never, ever been Downtown! And, in my mind, a "downtown" was always located within the major intersection of two main highways, in the same way that the four corners of Brampton are, or even the way Acton is!
We headed south into the downtown and parked. We wandered around, looking at all of the different buildings and storefronts, some were empty but most had something. Some business looked newer; some looked like they had been there a while. But we were struck by the possibilities! There was a bridal shop - which, as a photographer of weddings at the time, was exciting! - and a scrap booking store and a pub and our bank and two Chinese food restaurants and a shoe store and a bakery...what more could you really want??
We wandered up Mill Street a bit and found what was to be our first location - a cute little store front, with an awesome window display that faced the exit of a main parking lot. Our minds started swirling...would it work? Was there any other photographers in town? Can we fit a shooting space? And, most importantly, could we get any work done when the kitchen of the pub was visible from the store, with the smell of food wafting in?
Securing the site close to the end of August, we immediately set our focus to getting the space ready, and started renovations in September. Hours of painting and planning, printing big sample portraits to display and figuring out framing, cobbling together furniture and moving all our equipment in, all the while being concerned that we were crazy, and what if this didn't fly?
Well, it did fly! After the end of Christmas, through blurry bloodshot overworked tired eyes, we knew it would work; we also knew we would have to move locations for a whole host of reasons. What we didn't know was that an opportunity for a different spot wouldn't present itself until...August. But that's a different story for a different time...
With the thought of the anniversary of our business being here in Downtown Georgetown, we thought that it might be fun to take a look back and post some of the images from that first year (or so), and maybe tell a few stories about them - as we remember them, at least! - and hopefully have a few laughs at any photos that feature Jeff's hair from back then. We'll post something every Thursday, under the hashtag #TBT and #locpstories
Thanks for taking a moment to indulge me as I head down memory lane and share a bit of our history. And, if you have any suggestions or photos that you'd like to see, just let us know!!!