Basil Receives His Photographic Craftsman Degree at Age 80 and is Going Strong!
Basil Becknyo was honored with the presentation of the Photographic Craftsman degree at a recent Imaging USA (PPA) convention held in Austin, Texas. Basil and his wife, Margaret were thrilled. He’s had more than enough merits to earn his Craftsman degree for years, but at least 16 merits were lost when PPA converted to a new computer system. Basil is very well known and loved by many photographers. In 55 years, Basil has missed only two PPA conventions.
Basil also attends and participates in many other conventions and training programs, such as SPA in Florida and many local and regional conventions. Basil never wants to stop learning and always wants to improve and become a better photographer. His whole life has been devoted to photography.
Photography enabled Basil to raise five children, and he now has five grandchildren. He owns several buildings in Flint, had a lake house in northern Michigan and two condos in Florida. At one time there were seven or more studios in town, but now his downtown studio Van Dyke Photography is the last one standing.
Basil is in the process of moving to his new studio near his home, but a knee replacement operation in December has temporarily slowed him down. He says his new knee will bring him back to normal again shortly.
The Scene Machine has been a fundamental part of his studio for more than 20 years. He started using the Scene Machine back when it was very primitive compared with today, but he was able to achieve great results. Basil has created thousands of his own background images.
When asked, “How does an 80 year old Caucasian man operate a thriving business in Flint, Michigan photographing teenagers, most of whom are African American?” His response is simple. “My customers like me. They like how I treat them. I make them feel good, I have even helped the kids get scholarships. And they really like the work I produce for them with my Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.”
Basil reports that better than 80% of his work is done with the Scene Machine in order to generate the variety that is so popular with his clients. When asked about what’s in his future, Basil says with a laugh, “I love humor, I love people, I love making them laugh, and I love making photographs of them that they love. I had fun coming into this world and I intend to have fun going out!”