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Photographer turns hobby into Memories

West Knox Countian David Gerwels has fulfilled the American dream: he has taken his hobby and turned it into a business.

Memories Photo and Digital win the “Shops at Franklin Square” has expanded from a photo lab and portrait studio to a certified digital processing facility and portraiture. Having received recognition from two large photo organizations, the Photo Marketing Association and the Independent Photo Imagers for their quality processing techniques, Memories owner David Gerwels said he is very proud to have taken “a hobby and turned it into a business.”

Gerwels was born and raised in Farragut and said that the only experience he missed was going to Farragut High School. His family was transferred to Pennsylvania for his high school years and Gerwels said that it was a nice change for them.

Majoring in business administration at the University of Tennessee, Gerwels said that he always had a camera in his hand. He opened Memories in 1997 as a photo-lab and portrait studio. He was the primary photographer and employed one other associate. From there the business has grown. Gerwels recently purchased a separate portrait studio on South Peters Road, aptly named Memories Portraits, which features both indoor and outdoor photography.

“The studio is set on three acres and is landscaped beautifully,” he said. “We are in the process of building a beach scene right now.”

While many of the portraits are taken on the grounds of the outdoor studio, Gerwels said that many people still prefer an indoor studio picture.

“We do a lot of families and children, especially newborns,” Gerwels said. “We will also go to a client’s home if they would prefer to take a picture there.”

Memories photographers will also travel to family reunions and anniversary parties to take group portraits.

“We do everything but weddings,” Gerwels said.

The digital lab in the “Shops at Franklin Square” specializes in digital photography as well as restoration and manipulation of photographs.

“We are able to fix water or heat damage,” Gerwels said about the restoration service Memories provides. “We can also remove someone from a picture if a family situation has changed. We are able to change a background and colorize a picture if necessary.”

Memories Photo and Digital sells specialty gifts such as personalized photo calendars, tee shirts and towels.

They have two photo kiosks in the digital lab lobby area allowing the customer to bring in their digital CDs or camera cards and print out their own photos while they wait. Beginning in the fall, memories will offer the kiosk software to their customers at no charge.

“The customers will be able to use their own personal computer and with the software be able to do everything that they would do at the kiosk; eliminate red eye, crop and improve the color, et cetera,” Gerwels said. “ They can burn all of that information on a CD and bring it to us and we will make their prints, or they can upload all of that information to our computer and we will have the prints ready for them when they come in.”

Gerwels said that they are able to print wallet size up to mural size photographs. Memories Photo and Digital also offer digital camera courses.

“We offer a two-hour course that is specialized to each person’s individual camera,” he said.

“I teach them everything that they need to know about their camera and other techniques to allow them to take the best digital pictures that they can.”

The cost of this digital camera course is $25, but the students are given a $20 gift card for photo processing.

Gerwels said that he has the most up-to-date equipment at the shop.

“It is great to be independently owned because I can do the research and pick to best equipment possible,” he said.

Attending many seminars and conventions throughout the year allows Gerwels to stay current on the latest in photo and digital technology.

For more information about Memories Portraits, log onto or call 357-5800.

For more information about Memories Photo and Digital and the digital camera courses, log onto or call 531-5800.


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