Almar Photo Studio, 63rd & Mozart, Chicago (photo by Elmer C. Johnson)

By 1940 it had been almost 8 years since my grandfather Elmer C. Johnson had picked up a camera to experiment with portraits of family and friends to moving on to freelance photojournalism for the Chicago Daily News and others. But the final stage of his seduction in to the world of still photography and photojournalism was nearly complete.

It was in 1940, while still working at “The News” downtown, that he opened his own photography store/studio called Almar Photo Studio which was in a small storefront at 63rd st. & Mozart in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood.

By this time it was becoming clear to Elmer that his future waws shaping up as being part newspaper business (he continued his layout work at the Daily News and by the mid-1940’s he was the make-up editor for the front page) and part photography (his freelance work was thriving).

However Elmer had bigger ideas and plans…it was at this time that Elmer designed a small mock-up of a newspaper titled “Community Life” which was to contain “More Photos” and exclaimed on it’s front page that “Photo Fans Praise New Paper!”. Elmer knew very well that consumers of news wanted and needed more photography and that with the advances in technology that that was exactly what was coming.

It would be only a little more than 8 years later when Elmer would get a chance to create his own newspaper and use his talent in photography to see his vision come to fruition- for that was when he purchased a small local advertising paper called the Brookfield Enterprise.

Next up: Elmer goes to Brookfield…



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