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Wendover Neefus III, mostly known as Wendy, joined me for an interview on Thursday, June 6th, 2013 at 743 Warren Street, where his family’s photography business has been for the large portion of its lifespan. The studio, Neefus Photography, is currently in the process of closing down; Wendy and his wife are slowly but surely preparing for what he calls semi-retirement. He and I sit at the main counter among mostly bare walls with few photographs remaining.
Wendy has lived in Hudson for the entirety of his life, excluding college years, and has worked in his parents’ photography business since 1968, after the completion of his undergraduate degree. He was enthusiastic to start working there as a young man and quickly discovered his passion and talent for commercial portrait photography. These years were marked by many hours in the dark and a successful and joyful joint family work effort; Wendy got along very well with his father, while him and his mother sometimes butted heads. Wendy considers himself a craftsman, compared to his father whom he deems a true artist. His mother used to hand-color late into the night the photographs his father had printed during the day.
He discusses and frequently revisits the theme of change from analogue to digital, and the challenges and wonders tied to that change. For example, Wendy never could have imagined being able to remove braces from a student’s school photo. School photos and weddings were the business’ main jobs. Wendy’s wife, Brenda, helped him when he took over the business after his parents passed away. Although he considers himself a people-person, she was often the one to capture the expression of people during a sitting, especially babies and small children.
Together they have four sons, whose paths in life and careers Wendy discusses with satisfaction and pride. He attributes much of their success to their education at Rudolph Steiner schools, which he only stumbled upon via a strong disappointment in Hudson’s public school system. None of his sons were interested in the photography business. Brenda and Wendy also have grandchildren.
Wendy describes his two other loves besides photography: skiing and fly-fishing. He is very involved in both of these fields: he is an active member of both the Ski Patrol and Trout Unlimited. He looks forward to being able to dedicate more time to these passions, and also will continue photographing outdoor sittings, his favorite format for portrait photography. Wendy addresses both the excitements and fears he faces about his retirement.
Wendy discusses the changes he has observed in Hudson throughout his life here. While he welcomes the cultural and artistic addition to the city, he also laments the development of real estate because “nobody who can afford to live here anymore”.
In general, Wendy has no regrets looking back on his life. He merely wishes that he had completed his Masters of Photography and disliked his roll as a landlord to the various types of tenants of the apartments above the studio. Wendy celebrates his life as having been fulfilling, a successful marriage of work and fun. His motto and advice to listeners is: “Play when you get a chance, you never know what tomorrow’s gonna bring.” Wendy noted that tomorrow is Wendy’s and Brenda’s 45th anniversary.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
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