Reimer presents 50 years of photography to Pratt – Pratt Tribune
By John Huxman
Freelance journalist [email protected]
On Saturday, November 5, a special hallway exhibit opened at the Vernon Filley Art Museum showcasing 50 years of Pratt’s Stan Reimer photography. The exhibition will be open to the public until March 18 and there will be a mid-term reception on January 28 from 5-7 p.m.
One surprise Reimer included in the showcase of his life’s work is a photo he took in sixth grade. He said he saved money selling vegetables at a roadside stall to buy his first camera. It was the start of an illustrious career, punctuated by a few twists and turns, but which always came back to photography.
After majoring in music and psychology as a student at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, Reimer took up band management at Winfield for 10 years. It was after this stint as a teacher that he decided to take up photography full time. He moved to Pratt in 1975 and bought a photography studio. Its first location was on First Street. He had a second location on Second Street which he sold when he was 65.
Reimer currently has his photography business spread across three locations in Pratt; one in the 400 block of S. Main Street, a camera room on Third Street, and a production studio in his basement at his home.
“I basically did all kinds of photography for the last time, well, I still do now. I’m overwhelmed with work at the moment, mostly portraits. I did 10,000 high school sessions and I did 1,000 weddings,” he said. “We stopped number one thousand.”
Reimer said he’s done all kinds of photography, from landscapes to the Miss Kansas pageant.
“All there was to do, I did,” he said.
Reimer oversaw the creation of the Vernon Filley Art Museum. Thirty years ago, he said he was approached by Emily “Mimi” Filley to create a place where his art collection could be displayed.
“I built the place,” he said.
Filley made a generous donation to build the museum, and Reimer was told to put together a board of trustees to oversee the project. Ten years later, the museum was opened.
Reimer said he remained director of the museum for the next 20 years until his retirement a month ago. Mimi Filley’s husband, Vernon, had been a surgeon at Pratt, and she collected art all her life. Reimer said she donated her entire collection to the museum. He said running the museum had taken a lot of his time over the past 20 years, but he kept taking pictures.
When asked about his favorite works, Reimer mentioned two of his works at the Sherman Hines Museum of Photography in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. They are two portraits. He also said he was pleased to present one of his most recent works which is part of the current exhibition at Vernon Filley; a photograph of fall leaves in Lemon Park.
As for the type of photographic work he enjoyed the most, Reimer said it was senior photography.
“There was such a variety of people and they always wanted something different,” he said. Throughout his photography career, Reimer said he enjoyed getting to know the people of this part of Kansas through his studio.
When asked what some of his biggest challenges have been over the years, Reimer said he’s been watching the decline of professional photography. He takes photography very seriously and has spent a lot of time and money on training over the years. He attended classes and seminars around the country, earning Master Photographer status, a status determined by someone having had at least 25 of his photographs selected for national exposure by the Professional Photographers of America. (Only four photographs can be entered per year).
To date, Reimer has had 92 of his photographs chosen by this prestigious organization for exhibition. He is a master craftsman photographer, which qualifies him to teach professionals. Reimer said he saw his profession downgraded by advances in technology.
“Today everyone has a cell phone and a digital camera,” he said. “They think they are photographers without feeling the need to know even the basics. They no longer see the need for professional photography. Consequently, the profession has declined both in number and in professionalism.
Reimer’s exhibition at Le Filley showcases his work dating back to the beginning of his 50 years of photography with great variety. To see this show, check the museum’s opening hours at http://www. vernonfilleyartmuseum. org/ as well as information on the various shows.
Reimer hinted at the possibility of having several special screenings of his work for budding photographers. If this happens, the information will be online.