publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Vic Tucker
Remember those popsicles we had as kids? Inside the wrappers there were coupons you could save and send away to get great stuff! At age 7, Vic Tucker sent his away to get his first camera from Popsicle Pete – a Fallon Miniature. His equipment has become more sophisticated since then, but his excitement about photography has not waned.
These days his excitement is taking a grandson up in the plane to take pictures . . .
Vic Tucker was born in Wolseley (100 km. east of Regina), Saskatchewan because there wasn’t a hospital in Cupar. Dad died when Vic was 8 – so mom, who was a teacher, took over the family retail store business in Kinistino and wound it down. Vic went from Martin Collegiate in Regina to study biology at the University of Regina. A job while in school – selling – took him off on a path of industrial jobs, but always with a part-time photo business on the side. And always taking photography classes which had him traveling lots for 7 years as photographer for Sask Power with his work gracing the pages of their annual report.
And shooting weddings on weekends.
He’s been ‘on his own’ with Tucker Photography Oct. 3, 1987 – began with a 2,000 sq. ft. studio in Regina . . . those were the days of big equipment that would fill a trunk . . .
Photo industry jobs in Saskatchewan, and then Edmonton were all stepping stones toward his goal. Once asked why he took a job in Edmonton which might not have been as good as the one he left in Regina, was simply answered with “it’s 5 hours closer to Calgary”. He doesn’t complain about his time in Edmonton at Inland AudioVisual but recalls it was “2 years, 1 month, 1 week and 3 days”. He said it “worked out fine, but it wasn’t Calgary!” In 1993 his Calgary goal was met with a job as regional Marketing and Customer Services representative for Western Pro Image Labs – with freelance work on the side – and a 3 yr. goal to re-start his business full time. He resisted a plum job in Winnipeg and Tucker Fx was launched in August, 1994.
His medium was film – graduating to digital in 2004. “Digital wasn’t new, but I waited until the technology became superior to my Hasselblad Sinar equipment. All the major firms make great lenses – but moved to the Nikon D200 in 2005. I’ve been using the D300 and my new camera is D610. I like the feel of it, and LOVE the menu. I love today’s digital – I’ve regained the degree of control I used to have when I worked in a lab in the old days. Together with my Apple computer – a complete controlled table top situation where I can manipulate images to correct for lighting nuances, and makes things as they could be!”
He likes my dog. We met in a parking lot a few years ago – he was a reader of my daily columns and thought he recognized me. Actually, he recognized Gusta. And we’ve done some business. When I need an aerial photo, he’s my first call.
I asked Vic how he sees the marketplace for professional photography over the near term?
… slow season – though things have come back, but not yet to 2006 levels. I’m working on a number of projects – particularly progress shots on construction projects
And over the next 5 years?
… referrals continue to be my best source of new business. Calls out of the blue . . . I’ve done lots of magazine work in the past – and now I see the quality of publications improving so much. My best work involves use of light and shadow – where a good photograph becomes a great photograph. That’s where knowledge and experience adds greatest value
What qualities distinguish your preferred colleagues, collaborators and suppliers?
… general knowledge, truth, customer service (ie: The Camera Store)
What distinguishes you that causes people choose Vic to do business with – why are you been selected over your competitors?
… follow through, and through – they don’t have to worry
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
… running across a great opportunity – but not seeing it as one
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
… Gary Eckberg who taught to be a better technician, that lighting set a mood – told the story
Who is your hero – real or mythical – who inspires you?
. . . two groups; photographers Margaret Bourke White, Avedon, Stern, Kane to name a few … and, non-photographers, Jarome Iginla .. attitude on and off the ice, Richard Branson
Work life balance?
… sports - skiing, downhill and cross country
What are you reading?
… lots of technical photography reading, spy novels, adventure … self-help books, Robert Frost poetry, Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson.
… my snow-pig is a ’95 Lumina, my highway pride-ride a Grand-prix currently on the mend following an accident
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