My First Blog Post
Me in the early 70's
Here is my first blog post for my new website. I decided to give you an overview of my career in photography which has spanned 50 years as a working professional . It has been an interesting journey and one I really had not foreseen as a life long career.
In 1968 I got my first job in a portrait studio Photographs by Ilse. It was a well established studio with hundreds of clients each year. I did darkroom work, ran errands and took images at many high schools where we had contracts doing lifestyle, sports, etc. for their yearbook. I worked myself into a permanent position by gradually taking over everything we did with the high schools. I scheduled the jobs, photographed them and printed the images for the yearbooks.
I worked 30-40 hours a week while taking a full schedule of classes at Portland State University majoring in history. I was very busy. I realized that good jobs in teaching were hard to find as I neared my graduation. The market was flooded with teachers due to so many baby boomers going into education at the time.
I decided to stay in photography and eventually became a junior partner in the studio. A friend of mine was the major partner as his parents had put up the funds to buy the business. I eventually left the studio and freelanced for a year or so and in 1977 purchased a small studio/camera shop in downtown Milwaukie, OR.
I have owned this business since that time eventually changing the name to Contemporary Images Photography when my loan to the original owner was paid off. I moved the business out of downtown to its current spot in 1981 when I purchased a house. I converted it into a full service studio and 41 years later I am still operating the studio at a much lower volume of clients.
At the peak of my business I had 3 employees and we shot over 600 high school seniors a year, plus boudoir and regular portrait sessions and commercial projects. I was also teaching three evenings a week and shooting sports photography for a local paper. I was very busy!
I managed to start teaching at PSU and the MHCC on a fairly regular basis along with the studio operation. I was honored to be a part of the creation of the Professional Photography program at MHCC where I taught a variety of classes for several years until the program was eliminated. I still teach traditional film classes there.
I'm 70 years old now and still excited about photography and teaching and enjoy sharing my experience with others. I have my own meetup.com group now and I conduct workshops along with non credit classes at Portland Community College and credit classes at MHCC. This new website is a showcase of my current style of photography .
I promise not to talk so much about myself in the future except how it relates to the topics I will be discussing. I have seen two major shifts in professional photography from black and white portraits to color in the 70's and from film to digital most recently. These shifts in technology have really impacted the business in a variety of ways.
I hope this gives you some insight into who I am and why I do what I do. I'm into my 3rd generation of families who I have created images for. Where did the time go? I joke about the time when I realized I had 3 college students in one of my classes who were each 20 or so and I realized I was older then all of them combined! I still have more energy then them so I guess I am doing fine.
Keywords: michael henley, my career
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