A few years after the official opening of the studio, the business incorporated registering under the name of “Swiridoff Photography, Inc. At the same time I became more active in the Professional Photographers Association of Central California, participating in local state and national events. Encouraged by a dear friend, Elmer Kingham of Redlands, I prepared a topic and went on a lecture-circuit up and down the state presenting it to other local Photographer Associations. This was one of the requirements counting towards the total cumulative merit-points required for a Master’s Degree in photography as well as national exhibit-merits and the merits received for attending extension courses offered by the State association at the West Coast School of Photography in Santa Barbara. I usually went there as part of my annual one-week vacation, enjoying camaraderie of colleagues and expanding own horizons in special areas of photography, sometimes taking along one of my employees.
Then followed years of my holding positions on the board of local and state organizations, finally serving as the president of PPCC, which was a great opportunity to give back to the profession some of what I had learned in the process of running my business. Interestingly, One of my first speaking engagements took me to Redlands, about 300 miles to the southeast of Fresno, where I presented a program to the Inland Empire Photographers Association. On that occasion I also visited my dear friends Lisa and Neil Adair in their studio and spent the night in the home of Elmer and Vera Kingham on 811 West Olive Street. (Same street number as our first address in Fresno) Little did I know that 30 years later I would become a “regular” in Redlands and that I, motivated by circumstances would own some real estate in that town, where my niece Monica and her family would be living, oddly enough on same street and only a few blocks from the Kinghams. Our goddaughter’s family would move to that town as well, where her mother Elena would graduate from the Loma Linda Medical University, and where her own parents the M.P.Kulakovs would later move too also.
In 2006 on one of my visits to Redlands, I suddenly remembered that it was right here, in this very town, where so many years ago I had presented my first program to the Inland Empire Photographers Association and decided to pay tribute to the memory of my old friends, The Kinghams, now deceased, by revisiting their home on Olive Street. The present owner of the house, a friendly woman was happy to show me around, sharing some of her own memories of that remarkable couple. Inquiring if the Adair Photo Studio was known to her, the lady answered, “Oh very much so, Neil Jr. their son is a great photographer”.
I could not wait to dial the studio’s number. Lisa, his mother, answered the phone immediately recognized my voice, insisted that I “come by right now, it’s been too long!” Indeed many years have gone by since my first...