From darkroom to digital: Photographer keeps focus as industry changes

MANCHESTER — Tim Becker, owner of Creative Images Photography, will celebrate 40 years of successful business that has spanned from dark rooms to the digital age.

 

Becker got his start in the 1970’s when he quit his job working as a graphic designer to pursue his dream of being a photographer and eventually owning his own commercial studio.

He took his leap of faith during a difficult economic time for the country, he recalls.

“Unemployment was in double digits and inflation was out of control,” he said.

 

He worked out of a dark room that he set up in a friend’s basement. The process of developing photos used to be far more hands-on than it is today. Becker recalls the days of physically airbrushing photo negatives and developing negatives that sat in 4-foot trays.

 

He started out doing freelance work, and his first account was a company that made pop rivets, a job he got from a good friend’s reference.

 

From there, he started freelancing for the Hartford Courant. Within six months he was able to purchase his own 800-square-foot studio in East Hartford. After three years, he bought a single-family home that he converted into a studio. In 2007, he found his current set-up in downtown Manchester.

 

Along the way, the photo industry has changed dramatically.

 

“The big breakthrough was when they went to those Hasselblad-type cameras,” he recalled. “Cameras became smaller and lighter. 35mm was the big revolution.”

Though the industry changed dramatically, Becker never considered taking a different, or more stable, career path.

 

“I never thought about quitting,” he said. “Whatever new comes out, I’ve got to learn it, I’ve got to get good at it, I’ve got to offer it to my clients.”

 

He makes good on his mantra.  Every year he attends a photo conference in New York City where fellow photographers talk about innovations in the industry and can attend workshops. He also keeps up with photography blogs that discuss new technology.

 

His biggest challenge has been the accessibility of cameras lessening the need for professional photographers. The demand seemed to be getting lower, but then he got a call from Google.

“They said that they were starting a program and were looking for commercial photographers,” he recalls. He went through a training program and now does 360-degree virtual tours. You can see examples on his website.

 

Though film cameras and dark rooms have become a nostalgic hobby for some, Becker says he doesn’t miss those days at all.

 

“I know I can get so much better quality for my clients with the digital process,” he said.  He got rid of his dark room in 1990, when he realized that he hadn’t used it in years.

 

When he isn’t in his studio, he works part time as the Republican registrar of voters in Manchester. He feels fortunate to work in the two areas he is most passionate about: photography and public service.

 

Becker’s work and contact info can be found on his website at

www.2cimages.com

Originally published by the Journal Inquirer.  

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