Seriously? 15 years???

Sometime in 2004, in front of our first location on Mill Street, Downtown Georgetown

Sometime in 2004, in front of our first location on Mill Street, Downtown Georgetown

Hey there!

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!!!

Jeff

My Heart is in Savannah, Georgia!

We recently celebrated our daughter's birthday, which made me reminisce about her last birthday and where we were.  While this year we were pretty much stuck inside due to a freak ice storm, last year we were lounging around the warm and wonderful Savannah, Georgia. With the magnitude of grossness happening outdoors I was reminiscing hard.  If you’ve never been to Savannah you should definitely put it on your bucket list. Even if you haven’t read the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt, you should go. I would recommend reading it though; it's fantastic!  Don’t cheat and watch the movie, it doesn't do the book any justice. the book is based on a scandalously true story and many of the places mentioned in said novel can be toured and explored within the city. The book kind of acts like a walking tour, only with murder and voodoo (the best kind of tour guide). 

The first time we went to Savannah, GA was in 2008. I incorrectly assumed we could see enough of the city in a couple of days (I was wrong). I immediately fell in love with the whimsical trees and atmosphere. We stayed at The Marshall House. Built in 1851 it served as a hospital for soldiers, a gorgeous historic four-story building with a shared balcony on the second floor only. One of the coolest features of the balcony is that you can only access it by climbing through the massive window in your room. The concierge was incredibly personable and polite and made sure we stayed on the second floor. Room 215 became one of the nicest and most unique places we’ve stayed in with a claw-foot bath and incredibly high ceilings. The Marshall house features nightly wine and cheese socials with backgammon tables (my favourite) and the best breakfast you can imagine. The whole experience is just luxurious and our small taste of the city and culture left me wanting more.

We didn’t get a chance visit again until 2015, this time with our 2 children in tow. We decided to spend a couple of nights in Savannah on our way to Athens, Georgia for a family wedding. Our daughter was about to turn 3 at that time and being that we named her Savannah we thought it would be really special for her to turn 3 in Savannah. Once again we stayed at The Marshall House, and they surprised our daughter with a staff signed card wishing her a happy birthday, which I am still impressed with to this day. In the short time we were there we did manage to visit the Savannah Children’s Museum and the Georgia State Railroad Museum.  We made some really meaningful memories there, so while looking longingly out the back window as we drove away, I promised myself we would spend an entire week the next time we visited.

That’s exactly what we did in April of last year! We rented an apartment right in the city on Liberty Street. I fell in love with the historic 2 bedroom apartment, located in the Historic District right on the border between tourism and local living. I could have spent the week just walking the streets around our apartment admiring the stunning homes and gardens.  We enjoyed tourist activities such as the Trolley Tours, exploring Davenport Museum, eating ice cream at Leopold’s (this truly is the BEST ice cream I have ever tasted), eating at the Pirates House (which authentically was an Inn where pirates rendezvoused dating back to 1753) and walked around the waterfront on River Street. Then we started talking to locals and finding all the little gems the city has to offer. An amazing little hole in the wall offering amazing sandwiches and craft beer, spending an afternoon at Tybee Island lounging around the sandy vast beach, and walking the lovely Forsyth Park. 

We also heard all about Bonaventure Cemetery, which is located just outside of the city and was the location where the Bird Girl statue featured on the infamous cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was photographed. The Bird Girl was relocated as she became so popular that there was concern with her crumbling due to being touched by admirers. She was relocated to Telfair Museums' Jepson Center for the Arts, where she can be both viewed and cared for. As photographers we felt it was a necessity to visit Bonaventure Cemetery, so we loaded up our kids and spent the afternoon in the most beautiful cemetery I have ever been in!

There is a piece of my heart in Savannah, Georgia and I cannot wait to return and fall in love all over again. Is there a place that makes you feel that way? I would love if you would be willing to share your favourite place and why!

Thanks you for walking down memory lane with me!

Love LOCPS xoxo

Here’s a list of websites to some of the places I’ve mentioned in case you want to find out more-

The Marshall House- https://www.marshallhouse.com

Georgia State Railroad Museum- http://www.chsgeorgia.org/GSRM

Savannah Children’s Museum- http://www.chsgeorgia.org/SCM

The Pirates House- http://www.thepirateshouse.com

Bonaventure Cemetery- http://www.bonaventurehistorical.org

Forsyth Park- http://www.savannahga.gov/1813/Bicycles-in-Forsyth-Park