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VOL. 130 | NO. 170 | Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Photographers Create Broad Avenue Studio Partnership


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Creative individuals often do their best work in isolation.

Three Memphis photographers – Amanda Hill, Candy Brasfield  and Nathan Savage – will operate their separate businesses in a collaboration under the Broad Avenue Studios name.

(Amanda Hill Photography)

But sometimes collaboration can go a long way in furthering a mission, particularly when it’s a group of creative small-business owners looking to take their respective entities to another level.

In the Broad Avenue neighborhood, three photographers are coming together to operate their independent businesses in one space, Broad Avenue Studios at 2553 Broad Ave. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 1, Amanda Hill of Memphis Bombshells, Candy Brasfield of eyeCandy Photography and Nathan Savage of Mainstream Images will operate their separate businesses in a collaboration of sorts under the Broad Avenue Studios name.

“It’s awesome to have three styles, three markets in one place,” Hill said. “Creative work is so isolating. It’s nice when you can work together.”

The studio won’t exactly be a walk-in retail space with set hours.

“All three of us will have different schedules,” Hill said. “Most photography businesses are not made up of walk-in traffic. I have had several people come in and say they’d like to do something and we set it up.”

Hill has operated the studio space for two years; she previously operated studios in Harbor Town and Cooper-Young. But as she adds a full-time position with Choose901 to her plate, the timing made sense to consider bringing on other photographers to share the space.

Hill said she and her husband fell in love with the Broad Avenue Arts District after attending one of the night market events.

“We came and said, ‘Wow, this street is awesome and we want to be part of it,’” she said. “We saw this space and loved it. We actually live above the studio. But now I’m going full time with Choose901. Creative work has to be fluid. We have passions for different work. There now was a need to have other people in this (studio) space. I didn’t want to move.”

So she posted on Facebook searching for additional photographers to share the space. Even though the post went on multiple photography group pages as well as her own business pages, no one was biting.

Hill admitted she felt a little hopeless. Savage said the fact no one commented on the posts surprised him. But Brasfield finally decided to take action.

“I saw the post several times and didn’t even consider it,” she said. “There is no way I can do this. But finally I decided I’ll bite. It sounded like a great opportunity.”

And Hill soon found herself with two collaborators and a renewed two-year lease.

“I’m excited to work with these guys and teach them what I’ve learned,” said Hill, who is the only one of three to previously operate a studio space. “Running a retail space and having a presence in a storefront space in a business district is different from being an online service.”

There are some similarities to the services the three businesses offer, but they each are unique in their own way.

Hill, through her business Memphis Bombshells, shoots retro-style portraits and boudoir photography. Brasfield’s eyeCandy Photography offers senior and family portraits, commercial shoots and boudoir.

And Savage does a lot of portrait work for small businesses and events, geared toward being a source for a client’s marketing, media content and social media art. He works with the creative community, from artists and dancers to rappers.

There are benefits to the partnership that extend beyond the ability to consult and work together. The space provides a unique setting that Savage said was too good to pass up.

“I always wanted to shoot somewhere that has natural light coming through,” he said, pointing to the windows in the front of the studio that let plenty of light in. “This is very attractive because of these front windows. There are so many things you can do with natural light coming through.”

Hill said she envisions the studio serving as gallery space for visual artists, possibly for art shows during Broad Avenue events. And she wants to continue supporting other photographers in the community with special educational opportunities.

“We’re going to host workshops and classes to build a better community for photographers in town,” she said. “If you’re a new photographer and want to learn you have to go outside of Memphis. It will be cool to have a space where people can come and learn from each other.”

And for Brasfield, she couldn’t hide the excitement of moving her work away from home and her three children.

“I’ve been working from home and shooting clients wherever,” she said. “I have a space set up in my home for that purpose. A client will pull up and my kids will yell, ‘Someone is here for their shoot.’ I’m excited about having work-life separation. I’ll gain 40 percent of my house back.”

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