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A Life of Photography - Richard Korczynski

There is an old saying that states “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Even though that may be true to some extent, it is the individual behind the camera who makes the photo and one can learn a great deal about the person behind the camera when viewing the photos that they take.  In this digital age, there are a lot of people taking a lot of pictures, but for one Victoria photographer, taking photos is not just a job, it is a passion.  

Richard Korczynski is best known as the owner and founder of Korcynski’s studio and photo lab in Victoria.  For most of his life, photography has been his passion.  As the years have rolled by, the question has arisen as to whether he will retire but for Korczynski, retirement at the age of 77 is not an option.  

 

Korczynski has always been interested in photography starting in his high school days. He photographed his first wedding in 1959 and in 1962 Korczynski took up residence in Victoria working for DuPont and doing photography on the side.  When he felt like his job at DuPont was getting in the way of his photography, he decided to leave DuPont and go full time into the photography business.  That was forty-two years ago.  He started his photography business with his wife on North Street and eventually moved to the familiar location on Navarro twenty-eight years ago.  At one point he had three of his children join him in the family owned and operated business.  Currently he and his son Pat are the only family members operating the business.

 

KORCZYNSKI PHOTOS

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“Photography has changed a lot.” States Korczynski. “At one time there were only two or three studios in Victoria…we have purposely slowed down…or doing different things. We don’t do weddings anymore.”  But the changing times has not dimmed Korczynski’s passion.  His passion these days is copying and restoring old photos. “That’s what I do pretty much all day long.”  He stays in the office working almost every day.

 

For almost 30 years, a big part of his business was taking his photos and attending art shows all over the country.  Korczynski has displayed his landscape, nature and wildlife photos in 29 states across the country.  His Texas bluebonnet photos sold all over the nation.  Between he and his son, they attended 50 shows a year. 

 

Retirement?   “I just don’t do well sitting around doing nothing.” Remarked Korczynski. “Basically I’ve been retired for years because I do exactly what I want to do.  I do have hours that I have to keep.  I will do this until I’m 87 if I’m mentally able I guess.”  Over the years he hasn’t missed but two or three days of work in 42 years. 

 

All the work that he currently does is on a computer but he still prints negatives.  He has developed a way to print any size negative.  At the time of this interview he was in the process of printing over 200 old black and white negatives taken in the 50’s or 60’s and these negatives were in great shape.  According to Korczynski most black and white negatives will last a life time.  Some color negatives do not hold up that well.  Some of the color negatives he was working on were going to be printed in black and white for that reason.  Although they do not develop film anymore, they can print the negatives.

 

What does he do in his spare time? “My hobby is photography.” States Korczynski.  Traveling all over the country, Korczynski would often stay in an area just to photograph it.  He still tries to take two or three trips a year just to take photos.  Traveling to California this past summer and New England this past fall, Korczynski has plans for an Alaskan trip soon.

 

 

His advice?  “Stay healthy and keep working.  I love to work.  I would rather work than sit and do nothing.  I take a lot of work home at night.”  The digital age hasn’t slowed him down at all.  He still likes the film aspects in some respect but he doesn’t shoot it anymore and has gone totally digital.  For Korczynski this is really nothing new.  His business had the second digital lab in the state of Texas!  They were in the forefront of the digital age in photography in Texas.  Over 18 years ago they purchased the most powerful computer needed at that time to operate a digital lab with a whopping half a gig of RAM!  Before that, he had never owned a computer and he self taught himself into the digital age. Now he owns four computers. Things have definitely changed since then.  Camera equipment has changed too. He is a Nikon shooter for the most part and especially likes using wide angle lenses.  He also uses a small Lumix camera when he travels and tries to travel lighter these days.  But with all the traveling and photography that Richard Korczynski has planned, it looks like retirement is definitely not in his plans.  There is an old saying by Confucius that says, “Choose a work that you love and you won’t have to work another day”.  It looks like Richard Korczynski has done just that.