This year our studio is celebrating it’s 40th year in business! In the upcoming weeks, we are so excited to share stories of when Phil created Phil Hyman Photography and about some of the unique people he had the opportunity to photograph during the past 40 years. Here’s one of our favorite stories about when he first started:
Phil Hyman established himself as local portrait photographer in Greer, SC in 1972, but his passion for photography began several years before he ever started the business. While on the road driving a tanker truck for the Gulf Oil Company in Spartanburg, Phil dreamed of making pictures that told stories and showed the true emotions of people. Though he owned several cameras throughout the years, his limited salary did not allow him to afford the type of equipment he needed to create the images he desired.
An unexpected turn of events allowed Phil to obtain a camera he had dreamed of while driving the highways. During a family wedding anniversary party, his wife’s cousin Larry Sullivan prepared to take some pictures with a Yashica 35mm camera he had purchased while in Vietnam. On a whim, Phil asked him how much he wanted to the camera, but the $50 Larry asked was too much for him to afford. “He might as well have said $1,000, because I didn’t have the $50,” he told a local paper back in the 1970s. He continued, “about a month later we went to Larry’s house one Sunday afternoon and I just had the wildest notion. I said, ‘Larry, I’ll trade you the pellet pistol I’ve got out in my car for your camera.’ Of course, I didn’t have any idea he’d do it. But he agreed to trade – right off.”
The proud owner of this high-quality camera, Phil began photographing birthday parties, children in his daughter’s kindergarten class, local buildings, fair booths, and anything else he found sold prints successfully. He began to take on bigger projects, such as bridal portraits and weddings while continuing as a truck driver. He eventually experienced enough profits to quit his job as a trucker and open his own photography business, which started out on Main Street in Greer.