SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio woman is using her passion for photography to serve the community in honor of her brother/business partner who passed away.
Marie Langmore, 53, was born into this passion.
“Both of my parents taught me to give back and I know how much a family portrait means to a family,” Langmore said. “Some families have never had a professional portrait done, so it makes people really happy.”
She said it all began with her dad.
“My dad was the master photographer,” Langmore said. “He did a book on the American Cowboy. My mom got into it and she started with portrait photography and her three children were her subjects. She actually won her first Kodak contest with me and my dog Snoopy.”
Langmore said she and her brothers were constantly photographed.
“We would torture my mom when she would photograph us, so I know what it is like to be in front of the camera, but I much prefer to be behind,” Langmore laughed.
She said her parents taught them the skill of photography to where every member of their family turned out to be a photographer.
“It took me a while to appreciate the family business,” Langmore said. “I got a degree in education and quickly realized that I wanted to go into the family business. I saw how much my parents loved what they did and the bond it created between them. We all had that bond.”
That bond created a close relationship with Langmore and her two brothers.
“Every holiday or chance we had to get together, we talked photography,” Langmore said. “We had this passion that I am grateful to have.”
Langmore credits her style of photography to her mother.
“My mom did portrait projects of women,” Langmore said. “Famous women and women of distinction. I love photographing women and dogs. I am a huge dog lover.”
She and her family moved to San Antonio in 1980 where both parents opened a studio on Broadway.
“My mom moved further down Broadway when she and my dad divorced, and she opened her portrait studio in 1984. Will and I joined a little after that. He before me.”
Langmore said they worked together through the ups and downs of the constantly changing photography industry.
“Will was a master printer and I felt like he was the only person that understood where I was coming from and what I wanted and what I was trying to create,” Langmore said. “When Will and I worked together, we would do whatever it took. Working with children, one of us would be behind the camera while the other one was entertaining them. We would swap off doing crazy things. Blowing bubbles, eating bubbles, we would eat leaves, my brother would pour bubbles on my head and the kids loved it!”
Langmore said in the good times and bad, she always looked forward to working with Will.
“Just going to work every day and knowing I had someone there who supported me,” Langmore said. “That is the best thing about being in a family business — supporting each other. He would always push me asking, ‘What are we going to do to drum up a business today? Let’s do this or that.’ I miss that.”
Sadly, Will passed away in March 2019. Langmore said he had an unfortunate choking accident in their studio. She was the one who discovered his body.
“When he passed, I realized he was my best friend,” Langmore said. “He died in the place he loved, in his photography studio. He is very proud of it and I am still not over it. It was a very tragic loss,” she said through tears.
Langmore decided to close their studio, but she knew she had to keep the family’s legacy alive in honor of her brother.
“He always encouraged me to pursue my passion and the legacy my family and parents created for us,” Langmore said.
Langmore said she and her brother would always do projects together. She worked with Haven for Hope for one of her projects for the community.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, she jumped on another project by herself, working to raise money for the San Antonio Foodbank.
“I wanted to help,” Langmore said. “I was seeing the long lines at the beginning of the pandemic. I saw the long lines and it broke my heart.”
For $75, Langmore held individual family portrait shoots, which she donated all the funds to the foodbank.
“Some families were actually donating more than $75, which was great,” Langmore said.
By herself, she raised $5,400 which amounts to 37,800 meals.
“A dear friend of mine matched the donation so they ended up getting over $10,000,” Langmore said. “It was so meaningful to me that if I could work for free and just give to non-profits on a regular basis, that is honestly what I would like to do.”
Langmore said she will continue the family’s legacy in photography and will pass the skills down to the next generation, which she and her living brother are already doing. She said she plans to continue working with the food bank and other places in need. More importantly, she encourages others out there to continue finding ways to help others through whatever your passion may be.
“Be proud of your family traditions and heritage,” Langmore said. “Family is everything and in our business, we loved giving back to the community and donating to charities. I think it is important to give back others so I will continue working on projects.”
If you know someone like Langmore who is making a difference in the South Texas community or who has a unique story, send us your tips.
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