About Len Moser – My Professional Journey
I’ve been photographing people and things for as long as I can remember. Some say I was born with a camera in my hand, but it was actually my brother-in-law who introduced me to photography.
I was about twelve at the time when he gave me a home developing kit. I would photograph my friends and run home as fast as I could to develop the photos. It was like magic, watching those pictures come to life in the developing tray. I was hooked forever.
In the beginning, I enjoyed developing pictures the most, but as time went on I began to enjoy photography even more. My Mom bought me a Voigtlander camera and I used to go with the Medicine Hat Camera Club on outings, taking pictures. At 14, I was the youngest member of the camera club.
After high school I went to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology where I met my wife to be, Lindy. We both graduated two years later with Diplomas of Photographic Technology.
For the next few years, I stumbled around Edmonton from job to job. The positions I held were microfilm technician, aerial photo developer, photo wholesaler and a baby kidnapper. That’s what they called it in those days, I would go from house to house photographing babies in their home.
In 1974, Moser Photography was born. I would take on any assignment I could get. Wedding photographs were big at the time. I also did a lot of PR type photography including the grand opening of the first MacDonalds in Edmonton.
We incorporated in 1978 when things really started to take off. By then I was doing mostly fashion photography and commercial work. I was getting assignments from advertising agencies and traveling quite a bit. Life was good.
In 1982, I went through my first recession. It was scary. I only had a hand full of clients and they weren’t busy, so jobs were few and far between. Something had to change.
I was on assignment in Grande Prairie where I looked up an old classmate of mine from NAIT. He showed me his one hour photofinishing lab, which was one of the first in Canada. I was just blown away. At the time, the labs that did my processing took weeks and here was a guy doing it in an hour and the quality was great!
I knew I had to get into this, so I started looking for possible locations. This type of business needed to be in a shopping mall and because I was unknown, the big city malls wouldn’t look at me.
So I started searching in smaller communities. There was a possible location in the Medicine Hat Mall. This made perfectly sense because I grew up in Medicine Hat. We had family and friends there.
In August, 1982 we opened One Hour Photo in the Medicine Hat Mall. It was exciting and we did very well. We were in a city of 50k people with no competitors. Life was good.
When digital photography exploded on the scene, the photofinishing market started to decline. As more and more people purchased digital cameras, fewer and fewer people were printing pictures. It was clear that some changes were in order.
So in 2003, we opened a portrait studio once again. As time went on, more of our income was coming from the portrait side of the business than the developing side. In 2008, we moved out of the mall and opened a portrait studio in Crescent Heights
On September 1, 2012, we moved the photography business to our home in Ross Glen.