Post written by Tracy Watson
It is said that every picture has a story. If that is true, then John Kline can probably tell it. Ask him about the antique slot machine he traded for photographing a wedding, or about taking pictures of mining equipment seven levels down. John Kline has seen and documented many changes since he first grabbed a camera so long ago. Nowhere in Blacksburg will you find a better, more tangible record of the history of photography or of our town.
John has had a camera in his hands for as long as he can remember. His first camera, a Brownie Reflex, was his companion as a boy scout while he learned about the world around him. At Blacksburg High School he spent many late nights in the dark room as the school’s photograph editor. His summers were spent in the Virginia Tech photo lab. Even his years in the Navy were spent with a camera in hand.
John’s Camera Corner/Gentry Studio has been in downtown Blacksburg for more than 35 years. Having occupied many locations along Draper Road through the years, John recently returned to 213 Draper Road, a space he originally occupied when he first stopped working for Ewald Clark and started his own business. With all the extra room John has been able to fully display a remarkable collection of cameras, from vintage Brownies to 35mm cameras to modern digital cameras. While it may feel like a museum of photography, all these fascinating cameras are for sale and can be serviced right here.
John’s most unique camera can’t be found in his store, however. It’s in the restaurant across the street. A 1960’s photo booth. Pay your money, have a seat, flash your smile and take home a strip of four pictures as a souvenir.
John was among the first to offer color processing in town many years ago and continues to provide film processing and digital photo printing today. He also does passports on site, photo restoration, large format printing and archival printing of your photographs. And if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, John will photograph your wedding, reunion, or other event offering all types of photography from aerials to wedding photography.
John is a proud supporter of “living local” in downtown Blacksburg stating that ” Survival in downtown Blacksburg comes first. We adapt to the changes, but still keep the old alive, for example we are just building a Black and White darkroom again. We have added Records to our store to add a little more variety. I have even sold sleds in the winter so you may never know what to expect.”
Take a look at http://www.johnscam.com/ or better yet, stop by John’s Camera Corner/Gentry Studio at 213 Draper Road and take a look around.