Photography is an art at Photo Hut |

Photography is an art at Photo Hut

Susan Wood

When Tony Harper, 47, blew out his low back from working in construction a decade ago, he decided to build a new career in an exciting, new field that wouldn’t tax his body.

Before the owner of Photo Hut opened his business last August, he went back to school at Lake Tahoe Community College in 1991. First, he took classes in computer science.

But it was a simple tip from an instructor that changed his life.

“He said, ‘You should do something fun and take a photography class,'” Harper said.

The rest is history.

And now, Harper chronicles the life and times of Tahoe in his well-known landscape shots. Two were up for showing at the Art from the Heart silent and live auctions held Sunday at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. The proceeds benefit the college foundation’s art gallery.

“I never dreamed I’d have anybody to buy my images, but people do. They come in, and their reaction to my prints is very fulfilling,” he said.

Beyond his offshoot hobby and business of taking photographs, Harper spends a lot of time these days touching up other people’s images at his small, 10- x 20-foot shop, located next to the Red Hut on Lake Tahoe Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe.

It took about $20,000 to get the business off the ground.

He specializes in digital imaging services, including scanning, photo restoration, printing, CD recording, the creation of prints from slides and negatives. The majority of his work involves enlargements.

Harper is following the technology wave, using a high-quality scanner.

“People get scanners, but usually not the high resolution ones,” he said.

Harper also makes enlargements, frames artwork and sells his own photographs off his shop’s walls.

“I’m lucky and blessed that I can try to make a living at this. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s worth it,” Harper summed up his venture. “I’d be happy just to keep (my family) alive,” the single parent said. “I didn’t get in it to be rich.”

Harper can be reached at 530-542-4790.

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