The lyrics of “When You Wish Upon a Star” tell the story of a dream coming true.
Likewise, the dreams of five men working to own their own photography studio and ply the trade they love has come true in downtown Tarboro.
For William Manley, Boogieloo Johnson, Thema Smith, Chris Williams and Donald Deans, their dream of having a brick-and-mortar photo studio came to fruition Friday when the group held the grand opening for The Koncept Photography Studio at 105 E. Church St.
“We’ve been talking about a studio and being able to have our own for a while, but we had really been looking for about the last year,” Manley said with his ever-present smile on his face.
The five are part of a larger group of local and area photographers who work together to get better at what they do and share the knowledge they have gained, both with one another as well as others.
“The concept itself is trying to better our work,” Smith said. “We’re still doing what we’ve been doing for years ... just bringing it to a professional level.”
Smith is the senior shooter of the group at 40 years and said he got started in photography as a hobby and just kept shooting.
Manley, who is next in experience at 25 years, said he found a 110 camera to get his start. On his Facebook page, under a photo of his Mom and aunt, wrote, “She was first person that told me I need to buy me a nice camera.”
Johnson previously had a studio and has been shooting about 15 years.
He said he got started “As a way to try and get kids to do better in school. I told them if they did good, I would take their picture and make a magazine cover.”
Williams said, “I had shot for a while, but I began to work at it seriously about three years ago.”
Dean has been at it a bit longer.
“I’ve been shooting since my boys were 8 and 9 and they’re 21 and 22 now,” he said, “but I really started to take it serious abut five years ago.”
Each of the five men talk openly about sharing knowledge and helping each other get better.
“That’s why we got together in the first place,” Manley said. “To help become better at what we do.”
Dean said he felt the strength of the group was the willingness of participants to teach and share knowledge.
“If you’ve got a question, you call any time,” he said. “Anything anybody can do to help somebody else get better is what it’s all about.”
Williams laughed as he told his story.
“I told William (Manley) that it might take me longer to get something. He said, ‘That’s OK. Whatever it takes ... whatever you need, just ask. That’s why we’re here.’”
Smith said that philosophy is refreshing.
“Back in the day, you’d have animosity (between photographers who viewed their profession as a competition),” he said. “It was hard to get help or get someone to share knowledge with you.
“Today, we just want to teach and learn and help.”
Johnson said the group is available to shoot concerts, weddings, sports or whatever a client can imagine.
“We have strength in numbers,” he said. “We shot Tarboro and SouthWest (Edgecombe) basketball games together and captured more (different shots) that any one of us (could have).”
The Koncept group from which the five came celebrated six years on Sept. 9.
“We talked about a group and Boogieloo, who’s my mentor, said, ‘Let’s do it!’, and we did,” Manley said.
To get more information, call Manley at 252-801-6639, Johnson at 252-469-5188, Smith at 252-544-1658, Dean at 252-548-7806 or Williams at 252-886-0407.