What does Studio22 offer that is different? Every print we produce and every item on the shelf or website has the input of a dedicated company owner. A life dedicated to photography. Here’s a short history.
The foundation of Studio22, built on the success of Colin Sunkel Photography.
PART 1 – 1984 to 2002…
My keen interest in computers started as far back as 1984. Here I am working at my first ever computer. Today, 24 years later, I if I am face to face with a client you will see me at one of our many Photoshop workstations throughout Studio22.
Throughout high school, I assisted my father on many photographic assignments. I started my involvement in the family business at an early age. I had to work my way up from gofor.
In 1993 I graduated with a National Diploma in Photography from Peninsula Technikon. From 1991 to 1996 I was fortunate enough to assist many local and international photographers in diverse styles from fashion, portraiture, automotive and jewelry to furniture sets.
When I was not studying or assisting, I was working at Colin Sunkel Photography, my parents’ business. On completion of my studies, I joined the company as a member of the Closed Corporation.
In 1994, I had an opportunity to assist a New York based studio – here I can be seen in Central Park on a shoot for Volvo.
Having acquired the property at 22 Beaufort street in 1987, after renovations, days before the opening I was painting the 7m wide concrete curve of Studio22 – the original Studio22 was a fully equipped photographic studio. We moved to this new property due to the growth of our darkrooms in our previous building – as the darkrooms grew (two colour and a black & white), our studio space grew smaller – it was time to expand – at the time photography was our key concern and the majority of the printing we did was for our own work – as my father and I both did photography back then.
In 1998 I was off to London where you can see me printing in a one hour lab – my first taste of the automatic printing process – I had only ever done hand printing in Darkrooms with enlargers. It only took me days before I was “running’’ the store – I enjoyed it and was so engulfed by the energy I was working double shifts – opening and closing the store almost every day, even forgetting to take lunch breaks. Dreams of my own labs started to surface.
My next London job was at “The U.K.’s No. 1 Photographic specialist”, Jessops, the famous Oxford Street store. Here I worked in professional camera sales, selling the likes of Hasselblad’s and Mamiya RB67’s. I was also involved with all the typical photographic items – Elinchrom and Bowens lighting, Manfortto tripods to Lowepro bags. This was my inspiration for the growing range of pro equipment available from Studio22 today.
On my return from the UK, I was inspired to print at a higher capacity. As a first step and personal project I purchased an old Noristsu film processor and printer and renovated both entirely on my own from the bottom up. We offered a Develop and print service to the local residence in the area around our building. The remarkable response we received was a sign that the time had changed and it was ready for us to evolve – a taste of the future.
We were one of the early studios to adopt digital photography into our services. I was eager to dive into the digital printing revolution. As much as I loved film, my love for computers meant I was able to share my two passions – photography and computers. It did not take long to realize that digital photography required much attention and good post production. My interest soon showed that I was more passionate about the printing of images than the photographing. I had a meeting (with my parents) and we discussed the future of photography and how digital imaging would play its part. That was the day I decided on our new direction – it was time to leave the photography behind me and focus on printing and retail.
To be continued…