In 1913 the Pelak family of the Galitcia region of Russia did not have enough food to feed everyone; so during the “Buffer Wars” between Poland & Austria, the family drew straws to see who should leave to make a run for it. Roman drew the short straw, so he defected from the Polish Army & eventually landed in the promised land of New Jersey.
He arranged to marry a fifteen-year old girl & was told that they were jobs for brave men in the hard-coal mines in NE Pennsylvania. In St. Clair, he raised his seven children, went to church each Sunday, survived five mine cave-ins, smoked tobacco daily, had bacon & eggs as well as a shot & a beer every day until he died quietly at the age of eighty-five. As it turns out, all this effort was so his grandson could make a living taking photographs of beautiful women.
God Bless America!
Paul began drawing hot rods in elementary school, pin-ups in middle school & illustrated the yearbook in high school, leading to his BFA in Communications from Kutztown University. While in the last year of college, he asked a local beauty if she would model for him. Paul & Margaret fell in love and have been together ever since.
After developing E-6 & C-41 for Jack Nochton at VIP Color for two years, then getting married to Maggie, selling Lincolns for Paul Haldeman and renting space from renowned Morning Call photographer Chuck Zovko, they began their portfolio. With Maggie doing hair & make-up, Paul shot Kristen McMenamy as suggested by a former boss, Tom Weigand.
Then everything changed.
Natasha Pelak was born in May 1984. Paul could no longer tell his beautiful daughter she could achieve anything she wished while her daddy spent money on photography while forcing himself to sell cars. On September 15, 1984, after drinking half a case of Molsen the night before, Paul handed in the keys to his 1984 Mercury demo and started Pelak Studios with Maggie.
For over 18 years Pelak Studios created spaces at 1013 Linden Street, 7th & Hamilton, the Faar Building, on 8th & Hamilton, the Factory in Emmaus and the second floor of Symphony Hall. Clients included Martin Guitar, Binney & Smith, Just Born Candies, Rodale Press, SCUNNCI, and beloved Hess’s Department Store. Their Christmas parties were attended by all the creatives in the Valley each year and became legendary.
Then in 2002, Paul was asked to write the countries very first completely digital photography program & chair the program, which he did. After 14 years in the Tampa Bay area shooting with his son Nicholas as second shooter/digital tech & teaching college, they are back. Some SE clients included Harley Davidson for Vanity Fair, Lingerie Football League, the Buccaneers, & Ideal Image among a few. With the help of the globe-trotting networking dynamo daughter Natasha Pelak, they are back in the valley to stay.
While embracing all things digital, the philosophy remains strictly traditional (Maggie is not upset about Paul being stuck in the 90s, just that it is the 1890s as evidenced by the mustache). The Bauhaus precepts off “less-is-more”, the desire to create timeless images rather than trendy and relying on high production standards rather than post production antics drives every image before the shutter is pressed. What makes each assignment so exciting is the love of getting in the clients head to bridge the span between what they need the image to represent and the visual impact the artist desires.
Enjoy our images & get in contact with us should you want to talk about collaborating on having us create images for you for your business.