Studio 712 Photography opens with focus on community spirit
Michel Rohner, owner of Sioux City’s newest photography studio, Studio 712, has come back to Sioux City after living and working all over the world.
He opened this studio in January in the same building that houses Mind & Body Connection, 1925 Geneva St.
Rohner keeps his sessions reasonably priced and covers a vast amount of subject matters, people and dogs being his favorite. He is even going the extra mile by working with non-profit charities and organizations and setting up photography fundraisers.
“I thought a photography fundraiser would be a nice alternative to just selling sweets, popcorn or candy,” said Rohner. “They are selling these popcorn tins for $30, so it’s like, come on…it could be really awesome popcorn, but how long can it last? Photography is a little different. I’m helping give the gift of memories that will last forever. It’s a different kind of product and I think people could appreciate it more than the other stuff. I wanted to tie it into the community, so I decided to do fundraisers for non-profits. Any non-profit group can contact me through the fundraiser tab on my website, www.712photo.com.
“For $30 you get a mini session and for $10 more you get a print pack with an 8x10, a 5x7, 4x6 and four wallet-sized photos. In most cases I’m seeing 25 to 50% of the proceeds going to the charitable organization.”
But why is contributing to charitable causes so important to Rohner?
“The community has given so much to me,” said the photographer. “The community has given so much to my family. With my business, I’m not seeking to be rich. It is about working with the community and standing by the community’s side. At the end of the day we are all in this thing together and there is so much this community needs from animal rights, to children’s rights, to women empowerment, to extracurricular activities that help kids while their parents are at work. Growing up, I was left home caring for my siblings, and I wish there were more programs then that I could have participated in. I think for my sister, Girls Inc. would have been a great program to help her grow and gain independence.”
Rohner has run a fundraiser for Noah’s Hope in the past and is currently raising funds for Girls Inc.
What was it that made Rohner click with photography?
“I was always a photographer,” said Rohner. “My parents bought me a camera when I was young. I loved taking pictures at the zoo when I was a child. The passion re-kindled when I was a teenager. I always felt like I had an eye for it, but I never looked at it as a profession because I always had pressure from my parents to be a lawyer or have a really good job, so I didn’t think about it until I got sick of doing my corporate job; at the time I was working for the Screen Actors Guild. I was done working there after three years; I wanted to do something more creative. I picked up a camera again and started living life as a photographer.”
Other photographers who influence Rohner include Martin Parr, David LaChapelle and Annie Leibovitz.
Why did Rohner take the creative road instead of something that would eventually make him more money in the end?
“It’s in my heart, it’s what I love to do,” said Rohner. “It’s what motivates me, it’s what gets me up in the morning; what gets me through the day. Quite literally, photography has saved me. I would be lost without it. I’m not really a drawer or a painter, so for me photography gives me that instant gratification. You snap that picture, and there it is…then you get into all the editing and post-work.”
Rohner’s Girls Inc. benefit is happening now through April 19.