I got my first camera in 1958 when I was in the fourth grade and I have been making photographs ever since – 54 years. In college, I set up my first darkroom and began selling photos of parties and sports events. I also bought and sold used cameras and became known on campus as the guy who knew about cameras and where to buy them.
My first job out of college was selling cameras in a camera store in downtown Kansas City. Soon I was the manager of a brand new store in North Kansas City. As the store manager I was privileged to attend many conferences, trade shows, and classes about the latest equipment and techniques. Most of our customers were professional photographers, so I became very familiar with the needs and practices of the photography community in Kansas City.
The store owner collected antique cameras and I got involved with old cameras as well. Together we would travel to camera shows and share and learn about various aspects of the history of photography.
In 1973, I opened Mathis Photo Inc. as a black and white specialty lab in Overland Park, Kansas. We were determined to be the best black and white lab anywhere, and we probably were. The business served professional photographers, advertising agencies, government groups, and of course, many individuals. We received a letter of commendation from the Eastman Kodak Company for outstanding business practices in 1991.
in the '80s Mathis Photo Inc. expanded to include a portrait studio, frame shop, and photography museum. A significant part of our business was the copy and restoration of old photos. During that time my wife and I traveled extensively making photographs all over the world.
In 1994, I sold my large collection of antique cameras and photographic artifacts; and in 1996 we sold the photo lab as well.
That year I joined the staff of Kansas City Christian Business Men’s Committee as Metro Director overseeing the ministry in Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri. In 2001 we opened Homer’s Coffee House as a music ministry and outreach to the community.
I managed Homer’s until 2008 when I decided to get back into photography fulltime. I opened Mathis Photography as a commercial studio in Corporate Woods, Overland Park, Kansas.
I have been a business owner and local merchant in Overland Park for thirty-seven years. I count civic leaders, congressmen, business and professional people, artists, musicians, and hundreds of regular folks as my friends.
I have owned literally hundreds of cameras and made millions of photographs. I don’t know everything thing there is to know about photography; and in fact, the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. But I know a lot and I think I can help you learn what you want to learn.
I am a member of the Leawood Chamber of Commerce, the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
I am now entering the fourth quarter of my life. Many people my age have retired and moved to Arizona, but I believe that my time would be better spent passing on my love of photography and my business and personal experiences. That is why I am increasing my writing, public speaking, and one-on-one coaching. Give me call. I would love to talk with you.