Hi, I'm JC Kirk, and I have been taking photos ever since I was a child, just like my children are doing today. Only today, they are starting with DIGITAL. I started out with a 110 camera and then to 35mm, both film. I transitioned to digital when my first was born, but it was still a point and shoot. My first digital SLR camera came about in 2006 and I started shooting photos for fun and didn't think about ever going professional, let alone making a business out of it. I have had several small businesses in the past including a Computer Repair Service, a "family" type hometown video rental store, and a few others.
In 2005, I played around with the idea of making an indie film and ended up filming, directing and producing a 10-minute short film in a 72 hour film competition. It didn't earn any rewards except for my friends having fun and most everyone losing lots of sleep for a weekend. The judges said that "it was funny", AND it WAS supposed to be a Comedy so I suppose we did okay for our first try. It made people laugh and still does today. Video editing takes so much more time than a still image. Video is like a million still images! So that moved me over to still photography. Now, I don't do so much video as I enjoy lots of time with my two kids but I still want to write a screenplay that I have written in my head - maybe one of these days I will make time to do that.
In 2009, I developed some more skills and became more interested in Photography as a hobby and a potential business. I went overseas to travel a bit and I took my camera bag with me. I took some interesting images and a few great ones. I orchestrated a 10-hour long layover in Amsterdam so I could take even more beautiful photos. I then started researching for a better camera and buying a few books on photography so I could end up with better results in a shorter amount of time. I kept learning! With very few exceptions, I was self-taught. I never had any formal classes or went to any universities to study photography or journalism. I did learn and still do from other photographers that I find on the internet and also local. I have lots of books that I've skimmed through. I have bought some instructional videos and watched some of them. I try to keep learning all the time and I learn something new or later think that I should have done "this" or "that" better each time I do a photo shoot. One of my weaknesses still today is posing people. What I try to do is give them little directions and let them come up with something that feels and looks natural. I still look for and read articles on posing subjects.
In 2010, I started getting real serious and buying much better equipment. I thought that if I could take some awesome photos with an older and cheaper camera then what could I do with a better camera and pricey lens or two? The results were better and that motivated me to invest in some studio lighting and backdrops. I also started taking some aviation type of photos to document a restoration project of a Lockheed Electra. I also started some online training to greatly improve my knowledge and skills.
Most of my photo shoots are done on site and not in my studio. My studio is in my basement and it is set up pretty nice but I wish there was a little more space and height. I have a paper-roll background system now and a few cloth backdrops.
In 2011, I was asked to do a Pin-Up photo shoot. It was a last minute shoot as they had a two day deadline. I didn't think I was quite ready for the task but I have really been wanting to shoot Pin-Ups in a vintage style and I had been researching Vargas' and Elvgren's work. I wanted to do this with photography and also now have two or more styles that give it that vintage and drawn look. I wanted a modern style mixed with the classic appearance. Some of my final prints have a paper like quality and/or rustic look and/or washed or faded offset appearance as well. I ended up with several creative styles that display the Old 81 Pin-Up and I do all that with my digital camera in and out of my studio.
In 2012 and into the first quarter of 2013, I figured I needed more experience and knowledge with the Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom programs. I also needed to upgrade my editing computer and add the latest versions of the software. I spent hours fine tuning my skills and learning new ways to be creative in post production. I also worked on streamlining the workflow needed to accomplish such tasks more efficiently. I also purchased a new camera body (full frame) and more pro lenses. With my improved skills, knowledge, creativity, and equipment, my finished images were now turning out to be better than the ones I took just the year or months before. This WAS the major turning point from good to great. I went back and looked at a few photos that I took in 2009 and compared those to ones that I took in 2013 and I really impressed myself with seeing the HUGE difference. I was now, more than ever, very proud of my accomplishments and what I have achieved over the years. I will continue to learn, strive to do better, and most importantly make my clients happy.
In April of 2013, I came up with an Active Duty campaign to promote smiles, interest, memories, keepsakes, and tradition. I called this assignment BOMBSHELL 2013: FOR THE TROOPS. From what I am told, they absolutely loved it. It was the least that I could do. I will do this again as it felt so good to give to these fine men and women of the US Military. I have given out a few prints here and there for Veterans before (and that also feels good) but this time it was just for Active Duty personnel. This felt so amazing! The return on this investment was invaluable. I know that I can take many different types of shots and photos. I want to try at least every genre once. Right now, I enjoy creating great images for great people.
I have shot Maternity Photos, Children's Photos, Dance Recitals, MMA fights, Boxing, Landscapes, Travel, Restoration, Business Card Photos, Soccer, Christmas Portraits, and many others. Right now, my favorite would have to be aviation type of 1940's era Pin-Up. If you have an idea or something that you want to do or shoot then let me know what I can do for you.
The name Old 81 Studios came to me after several ideas that I came with. I did not want to use JC Kirk Photography even though right now I pretty much am a one person company. I do get some help from time to time. So, Old 81 Studios was thought of from living next to Old Highway 81 that runs North and South through Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and other states. Near Wichita, Old 81 Highway is actually Broadway throughout Sedgwick County, Kansas.
I look forward to working with you and bringing some of my self taught talent to your photo shoot. I will shoot in studio but I prefer to shoot on location at the place of your choosing. Shooting on location gives your photos the uniqueness that you deserve. I don't try to cookie cut or give you the same "herded" look that you would find at those cheaper places. If you want "just some photos" then by all means go get those done. BUT if you WANT some photos with a photographer that can make your session special and YOURS, then choose Old 81 Studios. I will take lots of photos and spend time with some test shots and getting a special look. My photos can be printed to about anything you can imagine. Huge wall prints? No problem. Huge Gallery Wraps or Metal prints as you would find in a museum or art store? NO PROBLEM! Those Gallery Wraps are amazing! Think about how long and how many generations that family portrait or custom shoot will stay in your family. Ever see an old black and white from your great great great grandparents?
I'm JC Kirk and I shoot for you! I'm following my dreams one shot at a time but I am also wanting to shoot your dreams one session at a time.