The Paris News from Paris, Texas on March 17, 1991 · Page 9
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The Paris News from Paris, Texas · Page 9

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Paris, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 17, 1991
Page:
Page 9
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Smith Kiker, Jr., a Paris native, takes his photography seriously By Peter Tepp Special to The Paris News "Come on in," the man said, un-locking door with one hand and clutching a cup of coffee in the other. He flicked on the light, sat behind his uncluttered desk and said, "Sit down. Make yourself comfortable." For Smith Kiker Jr., 63-year- old professor of journalism at the University of North Texas, photography is his life's work, and a quick, glance around his office makes that fact obvious. There are photos tacked on a bulletin board on one wall. Some show him going about his business, shooting ball games and such, There's a picture of him in his Texas Army National Guard uniform, puffing on a cigarette, in a mock heroic stance. That's my Patton pose," he explained. There's even a picture of him and the professional wrestler Andre the Giantj and it looks like Andre is going to pick him up by his head with only one of his huge hands. Kiker is pure Texan. He was born and raised in Paris. He attended East Texas State University in nearby Commerce where he obtained.his bachelor's degree in journalism in 1959 and his master's degree in education in 1960. He has an unmistakable Texas accent. But then, accents are relative, aren't they? Kiker kind of backed into photography as a result of a football injury sustained while attending Paris High School. To pass the time while recuperating he built a model airplane. "Since it had taken me a lot of time constructing it, I wanted to make a picture of it," he said, leaning back in his chair and clasping his hands behind.his head. He had a Kodak Brownie camera, a popular item during the 1950s. He shot the eight exposures on the roll and sent it off to be processed. When his snapshots came back, they were all out of focus. "I became very interested then in reading the instructions," he said with a smidgen of sarcasm. "They said that if I needed to get that close to something I needed a close-up lens." So he went to Will Campbell's drugstore, bought a close-up lens, reshot the plane with his Brownie and lo, "This time when they came back they were all really nice," he said, remembering his first encounter with photographic technique. "I started thinking about what made it work. It couldn't really be magic." His curiosity aroused, Kiker started reading about photography. The more he read, the more interested he became. He recalled how he began hanging around the office of "The ,Owl," Paris High's yearbook, trying to glean as much as he could.about his new calling. In 1955 Miss Martha Hankins, the faculty sponsor of the yearbook, made him the photographer for. "The Owl." "As with any learning process, you learn more by doing," he said. If doing is learning; Kiker learned quite a bit. Everywhere he Need a Doctor? Call McCuistion's STAT-CARE PHYSICIAN APPOINTMENT AND REFERRAL SERVICE 737-1100 Whether you are new to the community or not, STAT-CARE Physician Referral Service can help you find a physician to assist you with your healthcare needs. This free service can link you to area doctors in all major specialties. A community service of McCuistion Regional Medical Center went he pursued his vocation. The Paris News, Joe Denne/s photography studio, Paris Junior College, East Texas State, even the National Guard became his opportunities to expand his knowledge and improve his technique. Kiker may seem laid back but his easygoing manner is deceptive. When it comes to photography, he's all business. When the editor of the North Texas Daily popped into Kikert office to call his attention to sloppy work by one of the staff photographers, Kiker instructed him, "You're the editoi . Do what's necessary." THe unmistakable impression was that that photographer was through working for The Daily. This is Baker's 31st year teaching photography at the University of North Texas. "I've seen a. lot of change," he said. "For instance, the abbreviated attire that the female students wear nowadays would not have been permitted in the '60s. They couldn't even wear slacks; they had to wear dresses." He's seen a lot of changes in photography and photographic techniques. "Technically it's not nearly as complicated as it used to be," he said as he fidgeted with a pen on his desk. "It's really nothing more than persistence and undying dedication to the profession." Kiker sneezed, excused himself and explained he had a slight cold. And to make matters worse, earlier he had reached into his desk to grab his nasal spray, but grabbed a small , plastic bottle of lens cleaner instead. The error did not come to his attention until it was too late. As he put his handkerchief away he continued, "Teaching is probably much the same at every level. The most discouraging thing is seeing the many young people sent to college by their parents and they blow it. They miss the opportunity. For an educator, thafs probably the biggest disappointment." , To make his next point, Kiker leaned forward in his chair. "The most satisfying part of teaching," he said, "is when a student figures out what's being taught. It's pretty satisfying; it makes you feel pretty "' - - in his, chair, a faraway look in his eye; "You know," he continued after at time, "the last thing I thought Td be was a college professor." Will Campbell probably had no idea what he'd started when yoimg Smith Kiker Jr., rushed into his store in the early 1950s to buy a close-up lens. . ;Or did he? Paris News Classifieds Save On All The Big Names In Eyewear. And Thejjtfle Ones,Tba 30% Off Contacts. 15PRN Put on a new pair of tSO contact lenses and we'll take 30% off (disposable lenses not included). We'll also give you a 45-day unconditional comfort guarantee on all contact lenses including hard, soft, tinted and gcis permeable. Minimum purchase, $99. Coupon must DC presented at time oforder. No' other discounts or Insurance .ben> 'fits apply. Doctor's prescription required. Exam and care kit not included. MostTSQs are operated by doctors of optometry. Offer good through April 7, 1991 at participating TSOs. WhereDpctors a Make The Difference. Or $25 Off 15P « N A Pair Of Glasses/ Buy a complete pair of glasses and save$25.Complete glasses include frames and lenses. Prescription required for purchase. Minimum purchase, $99. Coupon must be presented at time of order. No other discounts or insurance benefits apply. Most TSOs are operated by doctors of optometry. Offer good through April 7, 1991 at participating TSOs. WhereDpctors Make The Difference. Pciris 15 A&B East,Plaza 784-3371 ©1991 ISO The Paris News. Sunday, March 17, 1991 9A Lamar County Commissioners Court will meet Monday in special session From Staff Reports A special meeting of the Lamar County Commissioner's Court has been set for 9 a.m. Monday in the County Courthouse, according to a notice of the meeting which was released Friday. The agenda for the meeting lists several areas of planned discussion and possible action. They include: • Discussion and-or action on county roads and bridges. • Discussion and-or action on private sewage regulations. • Discussion and-or action on a resolution to authorized a request by the County Attorney's Office for a criminal justice grant. • Discussion and-or action on a watershed project involving Pine and Auds creeks. • Discussion and-or action on a request by the Lamar County Child Welfare Board to ask jurors to donate a day's jury fee to the board. • Discussion and-or action on the renewal of bingo licenses for Family Haven and the Paris Jaycees. • Discussion and-or action on the amended articles of the-' Northeast Texas Housing Finance Corp. • Discussion and-or action on space allocations for the Lamar County Tax Assessor's Office. . « Letting bids on road materials for all precincts. ' • Other items the court plans to address include deputations, line-item budget transfers, claims and an unexplained executive session. 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Shrubs and landscaping have been added. V

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