Winner of a WeddingWire's Bride's Choice Award for three consecutive years, experienced photographer Kusuma Wijaya of K Studio captures memorable shots of families, wedding parties, and individuals. Wijaya was working at a restaurant when he found his calling during a chance conversation with of photography-loving patron. When Wijaya asked him why he takes pictures, the aged cameraman replied, "every single picture has its own story.” That was all Wijaya needed to hear to inspire him to change his career path. So he jetted over to New York City, where he attended the School of Visual Arts. Diploma in hand, he founded his own studio, as well as an organization for pro photographers from his native Indonesia. His ultimate dream is to start a tuition-free photography school in his country, but in the meantime, he's cultivating a diverse, colorful portfolio of images—each, of course, with its own story.
Since falling in love with photography at a young age, Felix Augustine has snapped photographs of numerous celebrities, including Nelson Mandela, Tyson Beckford, and Fantasia Barrino. Felix travels across the city to capture portraits, wedding photos, and headshots with dedication and expertise. Committed to giving back to his community, Felix also tutors local kids in media communications, with an emphasis on photography and video.
Founded in 1914, the original New York City location of Sterling Optical doled out frames amid the Ford Model Ts and paperboys that swarmed the city's financial district. The original band of eyesight experts weathered years of economic depression by impressing customers with speedy, full-service vision care, later launching a second store near Washington, DC. Today, a century of steady franchise expansion has given rise to almost 200 store locations in 23 states. Most locations continue the tradition of offering one-stop optical services, giving customers access to exams and onsite labs that manufacture glasses in one hour. The spectacle provider has been named one of the nation's leading franchises by Entrepreneur magazine.
After graduating from college, Lucia Rollow started looking for a place to print her photos in New York, only to be put off by expensive and snobbish darkrooms. So she began her own operation in a storage unit in the basement of an apartment building. Unable to tolerate solitary confinement for long, Lucia opened it up to other photographers and dubbed the space Bushwick Community Darkroom. Allison Putnam was among the influx of regular visitors, and she eventually became Lucia's cohort in the communal photography effort. The two share a passion for old-school photo printing, despite the availability of apps that impart vintage effects digitally. As Lucia told Gloria Dawson of The Brooklyn Ink, “The darkroom was the reason I fell in love with photography, just the idea that you could capture this image and replicate it and watch it appear seemingly out of nowhere is incredible.”
Meanwhile, photographers Vanessa Gill and Cheryl Arent were working on a communal-darkroom venture similar to Lucia's, and in 2012 the duos joined forces to crowdsource funding for a real studio space. Today, all four ladies work out of their newly opened studio, where they keep film photography alive with professional printing equipment and cryogenic storage tanks for old cameras. With the support of the community, this quartet teaches classes and provides film photographers with affordable access to resources such as enlargers and a Fujimoto CP51 color processor.
Though he now captures images of celebrities such as Adrienne Bailon, actress and model Meki Saldana, and pro football player Devin Thomas, Jonavennci Divad is a self-made man. He began his career in graphic and web design, teaching himself as he progressed into the field of beauty and fashion photography. His editorial work, which favors head-on close-ups, high-fashion poses, and plenty of eye contact with the gremlin inside the camera, has appeared in numerous media—including the pages of The Washington Post, Essence, and Krave Magazine. His family and personal portraits continue to line the fireplace mantels and oversized lockets of his studio's clientele.
Regardless of which of the hundreds of Target Portrait Studio locations you meander into, you can always count on a similar experience. Tucked into Target retail locations throughout the nation, each studio boasts a staff of professional photographers, premium lighting equipment, and advanced digital cameras. The seasoned crew takes pains to customize photo sessions to suit each customer's vision, setting up desired backgrounds and props before guiding families and high-school seniors through a mélange of poses. Afterward, customers will work with a professional to personalize their portraits with different special effects and styles, such as black and white or sepia tone. They then pick up their physical portraits at the studio in 7–10 days. If they don't feel like holding their breath that long to see the final products, they can access the images in an online gallery within 24 hours of the session, at which point they can order extra prints for gifts, collages, and greeting cards.