Tuesday 19 February 2019
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Paul Nurnberg : The Man Behind The Lens

story by Cindy Reid
photos by Susan DeLoach

You probably know Paul Nurnberg’s photographic work from the pages of this publication, Beaufort Lifestyle, or through any number of his artistic and commercial endeavors. Now it’s time to meet Paul, the man behind the lens, as he takes the helm as president of the Photography Club of Beaufort (PCoB) for a second time.
The PCoB was formed in 2005 with the purpose of providing a cordial atmosphere where photographers of all levels, novice to expert, can come together to learn, develop and deliver images that draw out creative talents from behind the lens.
With over 100 current members they are able to provide workshops, competitions, programs and constructive critique sessions. Although in Italy on vacation, Paul was gracious enough to take the time to answer a few of Beaufort Lifestyle’s question.
Let’s start at the beginning- what got you interested in photography?
I loved it in high school and I realized that I could go to school for it and try to make a living at it.
Do you have formal training?
I graduated with a BS in Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY) then I worked as a full time photographer’s assistant for a photographer in Boston for three and a half years, then as an in-house photographer for two large corporations, so yes a lot of formal training. And I have taken many workshops and classes since school as well.
How long have you owned your own photography business?
I opened my first own photography business in North Carolina in 1987. In 1994, I moved my business to Savannah and then to Beaufort (first to Port Royal) about 10 years ago.
What type photos do you enjoy taking the most?
I really love all types of commercial work, and so most of the work I do is commercial. My clients include advertising agencies and large corporations including, locally, Beaufort Memorial Hospital and JCB in Savannah. I also like fashion type things, dancers, food, architecture, industrial and aerial. All of it. If you have seen my ads in Beaufort Lifestyle magazine over the years you would see I have a hard time specializing.
What is your history with the Photography Club of Beaufort?
I was asked by one of the four founders to help start and be a part of it from the first meeting. I have served on the board as Vice President and Program Chair for a total of four years, then two years as President and two more years as past President. This year I was asked to, and accepted, the position of President again with my term starting July 1.
As their incoming president, what are your goals for the club in the upcoming year?
I want to make the club even more fun and try to encourage younger members to join and get involved. Other goals include having more frequent field trips, and more speakers and presenters, using our talented local (Beaufort, Savannah and Charleston) photographers. Also more workshops taught by local photographers.
Tell us about the Dale Westcott Scholarship for aspiring young photographers.
PCoB has an annual photography competition for high school students called the Dale Westcott Scholarship. The award is in memory of Dale Westcott, one of the original members of the photography club and a life-long educator. The Dale Westcott Memorial Award is given annually by PCoB for the best nature photograph submitted by a local high school student. All area high schools may participate as well as students who are home-schooled. The judging takes place at the club’s April meeting and awards are presented at the May meeting. We are really trying to encourage all north of the Broad River high schools and home school students to participate.
What is the best advice you can give a young photographer just starting out?
That’s tough. I went to college and got a four year degree. Now, because of how much technology has changed the business and education, I would recommend getting a 2 or 4 year degree in business and learn photography through college (or other) classes or by assisting other photographers or, joining a club such as ours. In the end, owning a photography business is indeed a business. So much can be learned on line now. I am always willing to talk to people who are considering a career in photography if they would like advice.
Do you teach photography lessons? If so, explain a little about your classes.
I have taught group classes for beginners through what was ArtWorks, and at TCL, as well as through my studio. Lately I have been giving many more one on one classes (or two on one).
I can give lessons on how to use your camera better, composition, how to take better pictures, lighting, post processing using several different types of software, and how to properly store and catalog all of your digital images once you take them. I would like to do more group classes in the future. If anyone is interested they are welcome to contact me directly.
What other professional clubs and/or organizations are you a part of?
I am a member of two national photo organizations: APA (American Photographic Artists) and a few years ago was the Secretary on its national board for two years. Also I am very involved with the SC Chapter of ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers). I have spent a total of ten years on the state board as Program Chair, Treasurer, Vice President and President. Outside of photography, I founded Greendrinks Beaufort and we just had our 10th anniversary.
What is your most memorable photo shoot and why?
This is a tough one. I was just telling my assistant while looking at some old printed pieces of my first big job after having opened my own business, that it involved a shoot of about 30 vehicles and 50 people and bucket trucks, and lots of co-ordination. At one point, I realized that every person there, including the clients and ad agency people were looking at me to tell them what to do. That was early on in my business so very memorable. I also spent several days in Maine photographing truck trailers from the ground and helicopter, so that was also fun and memorable. Also, live surgeries for hospitals, two cookbook projects, etc. I have done a lot so far in my career.
Background Focus
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Aurora, IL but moved to Elmira, NY (a beautiful small city in the Finger Lakes area in upstate NY) when I was an infant, so I am from Elmira I guess.
Tell us about your family.
My wife Libby and I will celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary on Sept 11 of this year.
How long have you been in Beaufort?
We moved here in May of 1996, so a bit longer than 22 years.
What are your hobbies…outside of photography?
I love anything outdoors. Walking, hiking paddling, swimming, reading, eating and drinking.
If you could live anywhere in the world, and continue to photograph, where would you live?
That is a tough one because there are so many places I have not been (and I am writing this from Florence, Italy.)
Digital & Drone
How has the digital age changed your business?
Completely. There’s is a lot more competition now as the barrier to entry into the business is so low. Digital cameras and computers are so cheap now. People who have no training at all can make images that are technically very good. However, one thing that separates a professional photographer from someone who just owns a camera is that as an experienced photographer, I pre-plan many aspects of a commercial photography shoot, and am able to solve problems for my clients during a shoot. A professional photographer knows how to deal with all kinds of situations. Everything from corporate board rooms to operating rooms, from large industrial plants to photographing from various types of aircraft.
How do you feel about the new drone photography?
I love using drones for photography and video. I have actually been flying drones for about three years and currently have two. I earned my FAA Part 107 Drone Pilot’s License last year. Drones can give you a view and ability to photograph from angles impossible to do any other way.
If you could have your dream job, would it be photography?
My real dream job would probably be an astronaut. But really, I can’t see myself doing anything besides photography.
From the Photography Club of Beaufort
Photographers within the Beaufort/Jasper counties should visit our meetings the 2nd Monday of every month at the Lowcountry Technical College. PCOB starts its 2018-19 season in September. Accept the challenge to take your work to a higher level. Come join us this season. New members and guests always welcomed.
Visit our website for current meeting times and locations. For more information go to Photography Club of

The award winning Photography Club of Beaufort has been supporting the desire of many photographers that seek to find and capture the essence of photography and that one spectacular shot.
PCB, with over 100 current members, was formed 2005 with the purpose of providing a cordial atmosphere where photographers of all levels, novice to expert, can come together to learn, develop and deliver images that draw out creative talents from behind the lens.
Beyond the pyramid of aperture, shutter and ISO lies the true essence of creative photography. Taking what may be a mundane subject and composing with light and shutter speed and transforming into work of art.
Capturing an image that elicits an emotional response pulled in by raw subject matter and converted into art by technique sums up the mission of this club. Every photographer is inspired by a good image, but once enhanced with the intent of creating a great image it becomes capable of delivering breathtaking results.
Providing workshops, competitions, programs and constructive critique sessions, a photographer can learn from other club members as well as professionals often invited to address members throughout the year.
With award winning photographers, master aerial drone pilots to abstract landscape programs the club delivers content for its members.
Photographers within the Beaufort/Jasper counties shoulder visit our meetings the 2nd Monday of every month at the Technical College of the Lowcountry. PCOB starts its 2018-19 season in September. Accept the challenge to take your work to a higher level. Come join us this season. New members and guests always welcomed.