Millions of people take millions of photos all over the world every day, but very few of them make money at it, or do it as an art. Herb and Jim Cawthorne of Columbus, Georgia, are among the very few who make money at it. Both of them take pictures for Camera 1. Lee Brantley, V.P. and General Manager of WTVM-TV, makes a a little money at it, but he does it mainly as an art form.
Herb was working as a stock broker in Columbus when one picture changed his life. As a freelance photographer, he covered the Auburn-L.S.U. game in 1972, shooting this picture. It won the 1972 AP Best Sports Photograph award.
Courtesy: Herb Cawthorne, Camera 1
He says he enjoyed that experience so much that he decided to become a full-time professional photographer, teamed up with Spencer Garrard and they opened Camera 1, which has been in business since then. Eventually, Garrard, who now teaches at Columbus State University, sold his half to Herb, who recently turned over the business to his son Jim, though Herb still shoots for Camera 1 and has an office there.
Both of them love their work, just as the millions of amateurs love to take pictures. But, they make money for doing it. What separates them from the amateurs? Herb says, “I’m better at it than most people. Just as our professional designation indicates, CPP is ‘Certified Professional Photographer.’ We put in a great deal of study and passed a professional standards examination, just like CPA’s (Certified Public Accountants), to get this designation.”
He also does it because he like to record history, illustrated by this picture of the old Muscogee County Court House sitting in front of the new Columbus Government Center. The old courthouse was demolished and only the Government Center is left.
- Muscogee County Courthouse (Courtesy: Herb Cawthorne, Camera 1)
Son Jim says, ” The satisfaction is the photography itself. It is always interesting, never boring and rarely the same. I have been photographing seriously since the age of 16 and have never tired of the excitement or challenges. You meet a wide variety of people and get to experience an even wider assortment of life.”
This is one of his most satisfying shots. He took it at a training exercise at Fort Benning. Jim said, “This soldier was the top gunner in his class and he got to shoot the real Javelin. The other students got to watch from a distance. He hit the tank at about a mile away. I got my photo by a combination of preparation and pure luck.”
Javelin Missle Firing (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera 1)
The picture is going on permanent display at the new National Infantry Museum when it opens in March of 2009.
Lee Brantley does a different type of photography. He does occasionally sell some of pictures at art shows, but he shoots them for the personal satisfaction. He is not just an amatuer photographer, though. He has a degree in Commercial Art from Auburn University and started his career as a graphic designer.
“Over the years,” he says, “my art interest focused on photography. My graphic training and tendency can be seen in my photography as I tend to shoot details and odd perspectives, not landscapes and pretty scenery.”
As we look at some of his work, we get the feeling that he is “painting” with a camera.
(Courtesy: Lee Brantley)
Lee says, “I enjoy showing at a local or regional show occasionally and I have several ‘Best of Show’ ribbons to show for it. I even sell a photo or two at most shows. I also do my own matting and framing.”
(Courtesy: Lee Brantley)
He reluctantly switched from film to digital photography. “I recently donated my traditional chemical darkroom to The Britt David Studios and finally made the digital transition by assembling a ‘digital darkroom.’ ”
So that gives you an idea of what separates amateurs like us from the pros and the artists. Well, now, wait a minute. Back in my early days of TV reporting, I shot thousands of feet of 16mm movie film, and I got paid for it so that makes me a pro too! So there!