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As a 20 year resident of Carmel Valley, I did not arrive in a covered wagon, but I do feel like a pioneer of sorts. We moved Keane Studios to the Piazza Carmel center in 1993, only ten years after construction first began in “North City West.” For those of you who have arrived in the last few years, you’ve seen growth, but nothing like what occurred in the 90’s, so here’s a little walk down memory lane.
When we moved into what is now the Chase office, next to Baskin Robbins, there was no Souplantation. Francine had not even started The Royal Dance Academy. Grading was being done for 56, which made it a great place to walk the dog! The Doubletree had just opened, but the other hotel sites were quite empty. Except for an occasional pumpkin patch or Christmas tree lot. The biggest shock? There was only one Starbucks!
As portrait photographers, Keane Studios has now seen a full generation of Carmel Valley families grow. The babies we photographed in 1993 are off to college, after a stop at the studio for their senior portraits. We have photographed the children of some of those babies. Other businesses sell widgets we forget another day, or perhaps dispense advice that is irrelevant five years later. Not true of a portrait studio.
After 45 years in photography, I have photographed Presidents and celebrities.
The most wonderful thing about my chosen career, though, is hearing from a client that what we created years before is now a prized possession. When the Witch Creek fire caused 92130 to empty for a few days, it was family portraits we saw being packed in our cars and others. There may be changes in the landscape, good or bad economies, or controversies over land use like that for 56, but there will always be families.
Oh, by the way, who were the original residents of the Residence Inn? Another family! A few weeks after moving here, I was stuck in a traffic jam on El Camino Real. Not unusual, you say? Traffic was stopped to allow a mother duck and her ducklings to cross the road.
Bill started photographing weddings from his dorm room at the Claremont colleges back when Nixon was president and film was the only way to record images. A great deal has changed since 1968, but his fascination with photography, and ultimately the stories of the people he has photographed, has made every day of his 40+ years as a portrait photographer, as interesting as the first. Bill considers himself very fortunate to be involved in what I love doing every day.
As I was growing up, my parents always made portrait photography part of our lives, as it had been when they were growing up. As my own children grew, I developed a deeper appreciation of how important those photographs had become in my life. There was the picture of my uncle and the horse drawn delivery wagon he drove for my grandfather’s business on the unpaved streets of Berkeley; the portrait of my other grandfather smoking a pipe as he fished on the bank near the family home in Morris, Illinois; there was my mom as a six year old child model in Chicago; and then there were my own baby pictures, and memories of family vacations. Because my parents passed away when I was in my 20′s, these memories of my family have become my own link to the past, and a way my family now can connect with their history. Of course, it’s also kind of fun to remember that my hair used to be dark!