After twice being named Kansas Photographer of the Year, thirty9 CEO Richard Miller knows a thing or two about what makes a photograph technically great and emotionally perfect.
He developed his photography passion as a kid, working alongside his dad, Bill, who opened a photography studio in 1939 in Pittsburg, KS. Richard and his dad poured over countless thousands of prints together, father teaching son the technical aspects of an exceptional photograph. After he officially joined his dad’s company, Richard’s interest in photography continued to grow and eventually became an ardent hobby.
Two generations later, Richard is proud to bring thirty9 to the marketplace; the perfect culmination of his history and passion for photography. We sat down with Richard to talk about why quality, in addition to sheer beauty, is key to the perfect photograph.
How did you become interested in photography?
My dad, Bill Miller, was a great photographer and taught portrait lighting and posing all over the country. I grew up working in his studio, filling in at times for employees on vacation and other odd jobs. After joining Miller's, I began to submit images to the Professional Photographers of America competitions.
What does it mean to be a master photographer?
Professional Photographers of America defines it as an award "for superior photographic skills demonstrated through the Photographic Open category of PPA's International Photographic Competition, advanced education, and service to the industry." The degree is achieved through a culmination of continued education and competition.
How were you influenced by your father being a photographer?
My dad and I looked at thousands of prints together for color and density. In doing so, he taught me the finer aspects of lighting, exposure, and composition.
What makes a quality photograph and what is your team looking for when they review images to choose for thirty9?
The most important thing a photograph can have is impact! You must immediately be attracted to it or not, much like a painting or other forms of art. Beyond that, the subject matter, the lighting, and the composition must create an emotion which makes you say, "I really like that!”
What does it mean to you to bring high quality photographs into homes around the country?
The art of photography has been overlooked ever since photography was invented in 1839. Highly creative individuals have taken photographs that so many of us would like to have on our walls. With thirty9, you can bring high quality art into your home at a reasonable cost, so the beauty can be seen and captured by everyone who views it.
What advice do you have for people purchasing photography for their home, what should they look for and be aware of? Any other tips?
I truly believe there is a perfect photograph for every wall. Perhaps it invokes the memory of a place, a feeling, or emotion. Certain colors will go better in certain rooms. The right image can completely transform the overall feeling of a room, and each individual homeowner has his or her own taste. Find out what resonates with you and best complements your environment. Once you make an emotional connection with the work of a photographer, having a collection of their pieces can enhance the overall welcoming feel of a home. We hope our customers will enjoy these images for many years to come.