Portrait photographer Mauch to retire
Of all the things that survive, of all the anchors keeping us steady in fluctuating tides, these are the treasures: the missing teeth, the apple cheeks, the wedding-day blushes, the Sunday best, the familiar eyes crinkled at the corners, the smiles. Always the smiles.
These are the things of second-grade pictures and family portraits, of prom souvenirs and graduation albums. These are the highlights of small, paper rectangles that have a place of honor behind plastic in wallets, that hang above mantels, that are e-mailed to grandma and posted on Facebook.
Robin Mauch knows this. She knows she can set the lighting just right, find the perfect background and adjust her camera to perfection, but the true value of a portrait is in the soul it reveals.
For more than 27 years, she has been involved in photography in Grand Junction, first as owner of Mauch One Hour Photo in Mesa Mall, which evolved into Mauch Photography. It’s a business she has loved. And, after finishing a few last jobs, it’s one from which she will retire.
“I always told myself when this building was paid for,” she said, indicating the building at 2464 F Road into which the business moved in 2002, “I’d retire. And it was paid for in August.”
The decision to retire wasn’t easy, said Mauch, 57, but there are so many things she has wanted to do over the years that she didn’t have time for because of how busy the business kept her.
“And I’m so grateful for that,” she said. “The people in this town have been so supportive. I’ve been so blessed to do what I’ve been able to do.”
Mauch said she and her husband had been looking for a business to buy in 1983. Previously, she had been marketing director for a mall in Missouri and was looking for a change. After getting some photos back from a vacation, and appreciating the brilliant colors and photo quality, they opened a one-hour photo business. Several years after their business opened, a handful of other one-hour photo stores popped up, so Mauch began branching into studio photography.
In 1996, “I decided I needed to know how to take pictures,” she said. She earned a master’s degree and joined professional organizations “because education is so vital.”
Through the years, she has taken senior and family portraits, photographed weddings, gone into District 51 schools for class and individual photos and navigated the delicate relationship between photographer and subject.
“A lot of people are insecure about having their picture taken,” she said. “So, I think that once you know your craft and don’t have to think so much about technique, you can work on finding the things that make someone special. Because everybody has something wonderful about them.”
In the past year, Mauch said she achieved a longtime goal of photographing a wedding on a beach, which she did in Mexico. She also was flown to Ireland to photograph a wedding there.
With that achieved, she said she is looking forward to a new chapter. She said she plans give herself time this summer to rest and unwind, then begin another longtime goal of volunteering in the community. She hopes to work in schools, volunteering in classrooms and teaching photography and art.
“And I haven’t been able to donate my services to Hospice, the symphony, so many other organizations I love,” she said. “These people have been my friends for years and have supported me, so now it’s my turn. I’m just going to use my talents and skills more as a friend than a businessperson.”
In fact, her hands feel a little itchy without a camera in them. For example, the oldest of her two sons is getting married soon, and though the family hired another photographer for the wedding, Mauch made him and his fiancee promise to give her several hours for portraits, too.
Because she knows better than anyone that those are the things we keep, the treasures.